The dispute over a possible ban on selling new cars with internal combustion engines is coming to a head. Interest groups build up pressure on the federal government. The background is a crucial vote at EU level.

Greenpeace criticizes the Greens for the position that environmentalists have softened in the dispute over a possible end for new combustion engines from 2035.

“The Greens seem to be giving up any ambition for climate protection in traffic,” said Greenpeace traffic expert Benjamin Stephan of the German Press Agency. As long as Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) does not propose any effective measures, ambitious targets from Brussels are the only way to catch up on the climate deficit in transport.

The EU environment ministers will vote on the future of combustion cars on Tuesday. On the agenda of the meeting (from 9.30 a.m.) are several important EU climate laws on which member states want to adopt a position. In addition to a de facto ban on new cars and vans with combustion engines from 2035, top politicians are trying to agree on a common position on the reform of EU emissions trading and on a climate social fund worth billions.

Union opposes the ban on combustion engines

In contrast to Greenpeace, the Union parties are building up pressure against a ban. “I appeal to the federal government not to hastily push technologies out of the market that could become alternatives to electric cars,” said Angelika Niebler, co-chair of the CDU/CSU group in the European Parliament of the dpa. It is not yet known what leaps in development synthetic fuels (e-fuels) might make. Leaving development and production to other countries is neither sustainable nor makes economic sense. With e-fuels, internal combustion engines can theoretically be operated in a climate-neutral manner. However, there are currently only small quantities of these and it still takes a lot of energy to produce them.

The EU Parliament has already spoken out in favor of a ban on new combustion engines from 2035 and has thus largely followed a proposal from the European Commission. Accordingly, new combustion engines should not be operated with e-fuels in the future. Greenpeace expert Stephan criticized: “Even the proposal from the EU Commission and Parliament is extremely weak – it cannot tolerate any further dilution.” If the EU states agree with this attitude, the way would be free for the project.

Officially, a compromise still has to be found in joint negotiations between the two institutions. However, it would be almost impossible for the actual ban to change. If the EU states position themselves against phasing out combustion engines, difficult negotiations are likely to lie ahead. The question of Germany’s position had triggered a dispute in the federal government. While the Greens are in favor of phasing out combustion engines, the FDP opposed it.