Farewell to the Internal Combustion Engine – Is Germany Moving With You?

Farewell to the Internal Combustion Engine - Is Germany Moving With You?

Car traffic is one of the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. The Climate Summit is now about how the mobility transition can be successful. The last hour should strike for the combustion engine.

Glasgow – In the heated phase of the World Climate Conference in Glasgow, two dozen countries are looking to set the tone with a conspicuous disapproval of the internal combustion engine.

24 states, six major carmakers as well as some cities and investors are looking to set an end date for the sale of cars with internal combustion engines, the British host of the climate summit announced on Wednesday. There was no prior detailed information about the signatories.

Participating governments seek to “work towards ensuring that all sales of new cars and light commercial vehicles around the world are emission-free by 2040 and in the latest markets by 2035”. So car companies should strive to sell only emission-free cars and vans in key markets by 2035. According to the British announcement, the companies involved include Mercedes, Ford and General Motors.

Will Germany sign the declaration?

According to information from the DPA, the negotiators were still fighting for details till late Tuesday evening. It was still unclear whether Germany would sign the declaration until late at night. The Environment Ministry said that the central government has not yet taken a final decision. However, the transport’s managing minister Andreas Scheuer (CSU) had previously rejected the initiative.

“The fossil combustion engine will be finished in 2035. Combustion technology is still needed,” Scheuer told reporters. “We want to make them climate-neutral with synthetic fuels and preserve the benefits of the technology.” The announcement doesn’t take into account the drive with synthetic fuels. So his ministry is against it. The current federal government has the same line.

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Greenpeace: “It would be a shame if Germany didn’t exist”

Greenpeace boss Martin Kaiser told the German press agency: “It would be very shameful if there was no Germany.” Such an announcement was overdue. Regarding the Minister of Transport, Kaiser said: “Fortunately, Andreas Scheer is now history.” It is important that the big car companies like VW, BMW and Daimler participate. Subsequent commitments also can’t be ruled out: Germany just signed a declaration on Tuesday after several days of hesitation to end its financing of oil and gas projects abroad.

Due to the use of fossil fuels, the transportation sector is one of the world’s largest emitters of greenhouse gases. According to experts, a mobility shift towards cleaner forms of propulsion is critical to achieving international climate goals.

Johnson wants to visit the summit

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson also plans to travel to Scotland on Wednesday to speed up talks over the last few metres. From the point of view of British Summit President Alok Sharma, there is still a lot of hard work ahead of the delegations. “We’re making progress, but we still have a mountain to climb.” German Secretary of State for the Environment Jochen Flasbarth expressed confidence that the controversial Article 6 of the Paris climate agreement may have a solution.

The Presidency plans to publish the first draft of the Final Declaration on Wednesday. The bullet points published so far are criticized by environmentalists as weak and vague. Prior to this the summits were extended several times. It aims to limit global warming to a maximum of 1.5 degrees compared to the pre-industrial period and regulate how the 2015 Paris climate agreement is implemented in concrete terms. So far, the plans are nowhere near enough. DPA

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