Diesel and petrol car sales must end before 2030 to meet the Paris agreement on climate change, according to new research from environmental campaigners.
A report commissioned by Greenpeace suggests that if Europe is to keep to its carbon budget set out in the Paris agreement then banning the sale of new internal combustion (ICE) cars will have to be accelerated.
At the moment, the UK Government plans to phase out ICE sales – excluding hybrids – by 2040 but the report says that even plug-in hybrids will need to be removed from sale by 2035 at the latest.
The report from the German Aerospace Center (DLR) looked at two scenarios for keeping the EU’s carbon “budget” in line with the stated aim of halting global warning at 1.5 degrees above pre-industrial levels.
It found that if emission levels as of today were to continue over the next years, the CO2 budget would be depleted in between five and nine years.
According to the report, passenger cars account for between 13 and 15 per cent of total CO2 emissions and around 58 per cent of emissions from transport. While overall CO2 emissions have fallen 18 per cent since 2005, transport related levels have dropped 6 per cent and passenger car levels five per cent.
CO2 emissions have actually risen in the UK over the last year as buyers shy away from diesel and embrace higher-emitted petrols.
In the wake of Dieselgate and government action to discourage diesel ownership sales of diesel cars have fallen by nearly 30 per cent year on year while sales of petrols, hybrids and pure EVs have rise.
Rosie Rogers, clean air campaigner at Greenpeace, said: “Road transport is one of the few EU sectors where CO2 emissions continue to grow. Phasing-out diesel and petrol cars will benefit the climate, help solve the air pollution crisis and improve quality of life for everyone.
“The speed of the transition is the crucial point. It’s clear most car makers and policy makers are still at least a decade short of meaningful action to clean up our roads.
“The measure of car companies must now be the date they will rid themselves of petrol and diesel. And while many companies are making the right noises on electric, only a small minority have begun to talk phase-out dates.”
The European Parliament is currently considering proposals for revised CO2 standards for new cars and vans that would mandate reduced CO2 emissions by 15 per cent by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030 compared to their limits in 2021.