According to reports in German magazine “Der Spiegel” last month, Germany plans to ban the sale of internal combustion engines by 2030. In addition, the country’s Bundesrat, in a resolution, calls on the European Commission to pass directives assuring that only emission-free vehicles will be approved across the EU from 2030 and to “review the current practices of taxation and dues” aimed at stimulating the purchase of zero-emission vehicles. The German proposal comes on close heels to similar proposals in the Netherlands, Norway and Switzerland.
The move to carbon neutrality comes along a global push by governments and, businesses and society towards sustainable mobility and the reduction of the emission of greenhouse gases to tackle the growing climate and health concerns.
In the quest to fight global CO2 emission, 2016 may have marked a significant change for moving towards sustainability goals with the ratification of the Paris Climate Deal by the European Union in October and continued investment in renewable energy. With the public becoming increasingly aware of climate friendly alternatives and combined with falling prices and better value-for-money deals, a shift can also be observed in the behavior of European industry.
For instance, according to studies, in the year following the publication of Volkswagen’s diesel scandal, sales of diesel cars in Europe dropped below 50% due to 5 - 12 percent slumps in key European markets such as Germany, France and the Netherlands. The industry’s aim to lose its carbon emitting stigma could best be observed at the esteemed Paris Auto Show where every major car brand presented Electric Vehicles. In addition, due to their rapidly falling production costs, availability and substantial state subsidies, the solar industry is enjoying an, at least, equally high success.
After years of doubting the success of engaging the average consumer into investing into carbon-neutral goods, affordable alternative energy and transport methods are finally becoming increasingly available to the end-consumer. This, paired with legislation encouraging the reduction of carbon emissions by Industry and civil society, may finally bring the long awaited advent of sustainable living.