Over the weekend, I’d read that a compromise was in the works. It sounds as if they’ve come to one.
— tree hugging s*ster 🎃 (@WelbornBeege) March 27, 2023
What’s this all about? Well, almost a year ago, the European Union, during their headlong plunge into darkness, decided that banning the internal combustion engine in a decade or so would look really terrific on their Super Green Energy Neutral resumes. So everyone went and voted “YAY!!!” for this next greatest idea…except those dang cranky Germans.
Germany’s government will not agree to European Union plans to effectively ban the sale of new cars with combustion engines from 2035, Finance Minister Christian Lindner said on Tuesday.
In its bid to cut planet-warming emissions by 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels, the European Commission has proposed a 100% reduction in CO2 emissions from new cars by 2035. That means it would be impossible to sell combustion engine cars from then.
The Germans love to throw a 900 lb gorilla wrench in everything, but in this case, besides Italy, they did have some of the clearer-headed, smaller members of the EU riding along with them. Even 3 weeks ago, German chancellor Scholz was sticking to his guns during frantic negotiations with EU hierarchy – they wanted this deal done. Germany would not allow the EU to kill the ICE, but they were willing to massage the issue.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Monday made clear that he’s fully behind the effort to press the European Commission to amend its effort to ban the sale of new polluting combustion engine vehicles from 2035 by creating a loophole for so-called e-fuels.
Pushed by the Free Democratic Party, a junior member of Germany’s three-party coalition, Berlin is balking at approving the 2035 deal despite it already being agreed by member countries and the European Parliament. Germany is joined by Italy, Poland and Bulgaria, and the opposition prompted the Swedish Council presidency to postpone a vote by EU ministers that had been scheduled for Tuesday.
What the FDP’s sportscar-loving leader Christian Lindner wants is a late change to EU rules to allow the use of e-fuels, made from captured CO2 which can be used as an expensive replacement for fossil fuels. As currently written, the EU’s rule would ban tailpipe emissions from 2035, effectively excluding e-fuels, which do emit CO2. That would force automakers to switch to either electric of hydrogen models, causing potential problems for countries with big car industries.
(Get that part about “expensive replacement” for fossil fuels? It’s the plan, Stan. No one but the elite will be driving anything anywhere. Those books are already cooked.)
Part of the problem was of the EU’s own making – Germany and Italy wanted an agreement in hand about these new eFuels before the proposed ICE banning legislation was ratified, as did the continent’s pretty robust auto manufacturing industry. They were staring down doom with the stroke of a pen from Brussels (I’m wondering if any of auto-workers connected that mentally with the plight of Dutch farmers…?).
…German Transport Minister Volker Wissing on Tuesday said Berlin now wanted Brussels to present this legislation ahead of the plan’s approval, saying that because it had yet to do so, “the German government cannot approve the compromise.”
Italy’s Environment Ministry said that environmental targets should be pursued in a way that avoids harming jobs and production and that electric vehicles shouldn’t be seen as the only route to zero emissions.
Two other countries have also pushed back on the legislation. Poland has informed other member states it plans to vote against the plan, and Bulgaria has indicated it plans to abstain, four EU diplomats said. Poland’s government has previously said that such a ban would restrict consumer choice and lead to higher costs. By acting together, those countries have enough votes to block the plan’s approval.
…Germany, home to the region’s largest car makers, said this week that it would soon approve the use of synthetic fuels in the country, a move that would force Brussels to either follow suit or challenge the German law.
Whatever got done this weekend must have worked out for most parties, because Germany lifted their veto threat. This morning all 27 EU member countries approved that agreement.
The 27 EU member states approved Monday a deal between Brussels and Germany that lifted Berlin’s block on a planned phaseout of sales of new fossil fuel cars by 2035.
A spokesman for Sweden, which holds the EU presidency, said ambassadors backed the agreement. Energy ministers are expected to give the final green light on Tuesday during a meeting in Brussels.
Everything’s better now, in EU Landia, right?
All HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY
Here’s where I don’t get the Europeans. As if they haven’t spent a horrific past 10 months or so, wallowing in abject misery because of their ill-considered and horribly planned rush to unreliable, untested, expensive renewables and all the catchy phrasing that goes with them, only to learn…nothing?
The Germans, especially, seem to adore doubling down on dummkopf. At the beginning of the month, after a ghastly cold, dark, and ruinously expensive winter for German citizens, I posted about how Scholz was intent on shutting down their remaining nuclear powerplants – replacing them with coal fired plants!!! How green is that? How reliable?
Then this, all because Scholz caved to the Greens to get this deal done so a ban on ICEs could go through?
…The ban on internal combustion engines is key to the EU’s ambitious push to become a “climate neutral” economy by 2050, with net-zero greenhouse gas emissions.
…The fuels for which Germany wanted an exemption are still under development and should be produced using low-carbon electricity, but environmentalists oppose them.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz gave in to pressure from his liberal partners to maintain the unity of his fragile coalition, which also includes the Greens, and pushed for the fuels that would make it possible to extend the use of combustion engines.
As if that wasn’t enough, now they’ve sold their souls – again, mind you – for a carbon neutrality ticky point with a carve-out based on technology they don’t even HAVE yet!
Can you say, “pipe dream”?
…The production of e-fuels, also known as synthetic fuels or electro-fuels, starts with the process of electrolysis, which splits water (H2O) into hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). The hydrogen is then mixed with carbon dioxide (CO2) to create the e-fuel in liquid form.
This e-fuel is later refined into e-petrol, e-diesel, e-kerosene and e-methanol, among other derivatives, that have commercial purposes similar to those of the fossil fuels they seek to replace.
…Germany argues these damaging emissions can be offset by decarbonising the entire manufacturing process. This would entail mixing fully green hydrogen with carbon dioxide directly captured from the air, as well as using 100% renewable electricity across the value chain.
“Provided they are produced with renewable energy, e-fuels are climate neutral,” the German spokesperson said.
The current state of the market, however, suggests the goal faces an uphill struggle: over 96% of the hydrogen currently produced in Europe comes from natural gas, while carbon capture technology continues to fall short of expectations, despite decades of development.
These tight conditions put pressure on prices and supplies, relegating e-fuels to a niche, well-off audience and overshadowing one of their key assets: e-fuels can be stored and shipped at room temperature worldwide, contrary to electricity, which is generated for immediate, near-at-hand consumption.
…E-fuels are further beset by criticism for their poor energy inefficiency compared to their greatest rival in green transport: electric vehicles.
The International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT), an independent research organisation based in Washington, has estimated that, on average, 48% of renewable electricity used to convert e-fuels into liquid is lost along the process, while up to 70% of the fuel’s energy is lost upon combustion.
This leads to a 16% efficiency.
By contrast, in electric vehicles, the ICCT says, only 10% of electricity is lost in charging and 20% is lost by the motor, resulting in a 72% efficiency.
It’s like watching a Green Fever Dream fish slapping dance. Stupidly mesmerizing but you wonder why anyone subjects themselves to the repeated painful slaps.
Holy smokes. What an abrogation of responsibility to the country you lead.
Italy and the smaller countries are still opposed, but they’re a minority block now, and can’t stop the forward motion.
What a mess and they just keep digging.