A coalition of 11 European countries led by Denmark is proposing an EU-wide ban on the sale of gasoline- and diesel-powered cars starting in 2040.
The proposal, reported by Reuters on Friday, would phase out the sale of new vehicles powered by gasoline- or diesel-burning engines with the end goal of cutting carbon emissions to zero by 2050.
In a statement that evokes California's struggles with the Trump administration, Denmark's Climate and Energy minister, Dan Jorgensen, said that if he EU will not embrace a union-wide ban, he would like for member states to be granted the authority to set their own emissions-related timetables. This suggestion comes in the wake of an internal push to do just that in 2018, but Denmark had to scrap the attempt because members are forbidden to set such rules unilaterally under current EU regulations.
“Plan A would be to make it a European ban,” Jorgensen told Reuters, but he believes that if given independent authority to determine stop-sale dates, Denmark's coalition would grow beyond its current 11 members.
To prevent "carbon leakage," several eastern European countries said used diesel and gas cars shouldn't be sold second-hand in eastern Europe, presumably once the ban begins.
In the interim, the EU aims to cut carbon emissions by 40 percent by 2030 and completely by 2050.
Denmark and its allies are not the only countries in the European orbit who want to accelerate the phase-out of internal-combustion engines. The UK, which is looking to set its own rules in anticipation of a no-deal break from the Union, is looking to leapfrog Denmark's coalition by instituting the same bans by 2035. The UK's ban could make allowances for plug-in hybrids, however.
Not to be left out, California legislators also proposed banning the sale of fossil-fuel-powered vehicles. The bill, introduced in 2017, called for a timetable similar to that of the proposal currently in front of the EU.