European Union environmental regulations are championed by German finance minister

Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, has reportedly promised to change future emissions rules, according to Germany’s finance minister, who drives a Porsche, which is making a last-ditch effort to save the combustion engine.

The Federal Chancellor and Ursula von der Leyen discussed it, according to Lindner. “That understanding will also translate into real political action, I have no doubt,”

To ensure the use of synthetic fuels, or e-fuels, would be allowed under new EU fuel efficiency standards which will introduce a zero emissions mandate for new car and van sales by 2035, Christian Lindner told POLITICO that German Chancellor Olaf Scholz made a behind-the-scenes deal with Commission President Ursula von der Leyen in June.

The Commission declined to respond, citing only a previous statement which does not expressly mention e-fuels and instead vaguely commits to introducing new legislation “if necessary”.

A 2035 EU-wide sales ban on polluting automobiles has been agreed by EU member states, the European Parliament and the Commission. This effectively forces the industry to switch to electric or hydrogen vehicles. With a view to reaching an agreement before the start of next year, they are currently negotiating the final details.

Requests for comment from a Scholz representative went unanswered.

In the June Council conclusions, Germany managed to smuggle in a reference to e-fuels, but it was in a non-binding annex and not in the main language.

There was consensus on how to read this and what to infer from it. Otherwise, Germany would not have been able to consent to the fleet size restrictions, according to Lindner.

On September 8, Lindner and Transport Minister Volker Wissing met with Internal Market Commissioner Thierry Breton in Berlin to ask him to support such a last-minute amendment to the bill. According to a representative who was briefed on the discussion, Lindner asked for support for changes to the text that would ensure electric fuels could be used in vehicles sold after 2035. Despite claims that the legislative schedule was not included only to give Lindner a token victory. , reopening the file at such a late date remains a red line for Parliament’s main negotiator.

Electric fuels can replace fossil fuels in conventional engines since they are created by mixing ambient CO2 with hydrogen. Proponents say the technology makes fuels climate neutral by removing the same amount of carbon it emits, saving the internal combustion engine. However, the fuels continue to release harmful nitrogen oxides, casting doubt on their claim to be environmentally friendly. German transport officials chose not to comment.

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