The European Commission has announced proposals for implementing the EU's commitments under the Paris Agreement for a binding domestic carbon dioxide (CO2) reduction of at least 40 percent by 2030 through the promotion of electric cars.
At the same time, as the international climate conference takes place in Bonn, the Commission is showing that the European Union is leading by example.
Experts say such action is designed to put further pressure on manufacturers to develop more electric cars. They say this proposal would weaken the competitiveness of EU's car industry and hand the leadership in electric vehicles firmly to China.
"This package would also harm European consumers looking to make the best choice for their health and their wallets. A key reason to this lack of ambition from the Commission is believed to be the last-minute pressure from German politicians to weaken the package," an expert told IANS.
The step follows a joint announcement from the EU and the state of California that they will step up their cooperation on climate action, also working together to scale zero-carbon transportation solutions globally.
Unlike ambitions by California, the EU's proposal released on Wednesday does not contain a clear target on zero-emissions vehicles.
The EU's ambition also seems weaker than that of China, India, or indeed several European countries, who all have announced their own zero-emission vehicle targets. The main reason, believe the experts, for this lack of ambition, is thought to be the car industry lobby.
Research shows that transport accounts for nearly a quarter of Europe's greenhouse gas emissions and is the main cause of air pollution in European cities.
The Commission's proposal will now be processed by the European Parliament and EU member states that can make sure of raising the ambition of the text and ensure the competitiveness of the EU's car industry.
A coalition of seven progressive EU member states has already called on the Commission to resist the lobbying efforts of Germany.
"Zero emission cars are good for the environment, our health and wallets. Research shows that ambitious EU action is needed to tackle the lack of consumer choice when it comes to electric vehicles. These are expected to become cheaper than petrol/diesel cars during the 2020s.
But this will not happen with the current proposal, which lacks a quota for electric vehicles," said a statement quoting Monique Goyens, Director General of BEUC, the European Consumer Organisation.
"We now expect the Parliament and the Member States to ensure that European consumers have more choice in the future."
Peter Mock, EU Managing Director, International Council on Clean Transportation, said: "Our analyses indicate that a more ambitious CO2 target value would foster the uptake of electrified vehicles and as a result would actually reduce overall compliance cost for vehicle manufacturers, compared to a scenario with a higher market share of combustion engine vehicles."
Source- ET Auto