On 24 September 2020, German Member of the European Parliament Sylvia Limmer of the Identity and Democracy Group posed a written parliamentary question to the European Commission. MEP Limmer wrote “in response to my question of 30 April 2020 on zero-emission mobility, the Commission cited the current EU legislation without commenting on the real problem, which is that physical principles mean that zero-emission mobility on the earth is not possible, although this is suggested in EU legislation and in the many statements by the Commission on, for example, the Green Deal. But emissions are simply released elsewhere, unseen at first sight”.
Based on this, MEP Limmer asked the Commission ”how will it resolve this contradiction between the real world on the one hand and the current EU legislation and the EU’s communication on the other, thereby invalidating the justifiable accusation that EU citizens are being fed propaganda?”
In a more pointed question, MEP Limmer asked, “how will the Commission defuse the suspicion that the claim of apparently ‘zero-emission mobility’, which clearly refers to electric cars, is a way of lobbying for e-car manufacturers under the pretext of climate protection, to the detriment of the traditional car industry?”
In closing, MEP Limmer concluded that “a large-scale increase in electro-mobility will lead to a corresponding rise in electricity consumption, which in turn will cause an increase in the use of fossil fuels” and “the result is that electric cars will be responsible for up to 73% more CO2 emissions” and requested more information on “how does this reality fit in with the Green Deal which the Commission is promoting?”
On 26 October, Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans (European Green Deal), responded on behalf of the European Commission. He explained that “in the Climate Target Plan, the Commission has shown that a balanced, realistic, and prudent pathway to climate neutrality by 2050 requires an emissions reduction target of at least 55% by 2030”. Executive Vice-President Timmermans stated that “for the transport sector, this will require a 90% reduction in emissions by 2050 compared to 1990” and added that “the accompanying impact assessment demonstrates that there is a clear role for electrification as a key avenue for decarbonisation in the transport sector”.
He further clarified that “as indicated in the reply to Written Question E-2631/20, zero-emission vehicles are defined under EC law as vehicles with no tailpipe emissions” and that “emissions from fuels production are addressed through separate pieces of legislation” and “as a result, a holistic approach is in place to reduce transport emissions”.
He further explained that “carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from generating the electricity needed to power electric vehicles are capped under the Emission Trading System (ETS) Directive and continue to go down” and that “according to the Climate Target Plan, by 2030, the share of EU renewable electricity production is set to at least double from today’s levels to 65% or more”.
Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans highlighted that “by June 2021, the Commission will review the ETS Directive, the fuels related legislation and the CO2 standards Regulation for cars and vans” and “as part of the latter review, the Commission will look into the potential contribution of the use of synthetic and advanced alternative fuels produced with renewable energy to emissions reductions”.
Finally, Executive Vice-President Timmermans declared that “regarding the data quoted by the Honourable Member comparing the ‘well-to-wheels’ CO2 emissions of an electric car with those of a diesel car, these data do not take into account the decarbonisation of the power sector” and added that “instead, they are based on electricity being generated in a coal-fired plant”.
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