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On the eve of the 5 year anniversary of Dieselgate, a mandatory EU-wide end date for sales of internal combustion engine cars and vans is necessary to avoid further pollution-related health damage. The European Public Health Alliance has joined other health, environment and consumer NGOS  calling on European Commission President von der Leyen, Vice-President Timmermans, Commissioner Breton, and Commissioner Vălean, to set 2035 as the required end date.

To meet the commitments of the Paris Climate Agreement and avoid the catastrophic consequences of the climate emergency, the European economy must be fully decarbonised by 2050. Yet, in Europe, transport emissions are the largest contributor with the least progress to date. To be in line with the European Green Deal ambition, all cars, vans, trucks and buses must be zero emission by 2050. Given the average retirement age of light-duty vehicles of around 15 years, all new vehicles must be zero emissions-compliant by no later than 2035.

The technology is already there, investments are flowing into electrification in Europe and the electric vehicle market is soaring despite the pandemic. Europeans are also on board: in June 2020, a Pan-European city survey showed that two out of three support banning polluting cars from cities, highlighting that city-dwellers want to move around more sustainably but often lack the right alternative to do so. Accelerated decarbonization will lead to a reduction in harmful pollution which could lead to significant social benefits and reduced healthcare expenditures, as well as better health for all

This call echoes concerns raised by medical professionals across Europe, who are speaking out about the effects of transport pollution on their patients and the environment, who have made their own appeal for action to ensure everyone can enjoy a sustainable, clean air future.

EPHA, together with other public interest organisations, is calling on the European Union to:

  • Set an EU-wide phase out of new internal combustion cars and vans (including hybrids) by 2035 and allow individual member states to ban combustion engines earlier;
  • Strengthen the car and van CO2 targets in 2025-2030 to increase the supply of electric vehicles across Europe and their adoption by consumers;
  • Ensure that the Next Generation EU targets zero emission mobility solutions, and not allow governments to use the EU public money on any fossil fuel technology or infrastructure.

Download the letter below.