Denmark, together with 10 other European Union countries, have called for a new strategy to phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2030 in a bid to combat climate change. The move, which was proposed during a meeting of EU environment ministers in Luxembourg recently, will also see the sales ban of conventionally-powered cars by 2030.

According to Reuters, phasing out petrol and diesel cars are part of European Commission’s new president, Ursula van der Leyen’s plans to completely cut carbon emissions by 2050 to help stop global warming. She also aims to make Europe the first climate neutral continent by 2050.

The Danish delegation argued that to achieve a carbon neutral status, the transport sector needs to decrease its emissions, which it claims is the only sector that’s increasing in emissions. The immediate plan is to cut carbon emissions in the EU by 40% by 2030, with Danish climate and energy minister, Dan Jorgensen saying “we need to acknowledge that we are in a bit of a hurry.”

In October 2018, The Danish government announced that it would completely ban the sale of all fossil fuel-powered cars by 2030, but later scrapped the idea because it would have breached EU rules. Instead, Jorgensen suggested that the gradual sales ban of ICE-powered cars in member states could put mounting pressure on the Commission to completely phase them out in the coming decades.

Are the days of petrol and diesel cars numbered?

Jorgensen also said if the EU could not agree on a union-wide ban, it would be good if at least individual countries were allowed to implement such a measure. “Plan A would be to make it a European ban,” he said.

There’s also the issue of “carbon leakage” where second-hand cars from western Europe are being offloaded to the eastern region, with Lithuania, Latvia, Slovenia, Bulgaria and several other countries suggesting that more things are needed to be done to address this issue.

Jorgensen said it was important to communicate the bloc’s long-term policy directions to carmakers. He said Denmark’s next step was to set up an alliance with the 10 member states that support its strategy to phase out diesel and petrol cars and the possibility to prohibit the sale of them in individual member states. “Then I think others will follow,” he said.

Meanwhile, France is firm on its decision to ban the sale of petrol and diesel cars by 2040, and the country will help its automakers make the switch to electricity, hydrogen and possibly new-generation biofuels.