How Internal Combustion Engines Will Die Out in Eurasia

Denmark announced a ban on new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars this month, joining at least 13 other nations now looking to limit ICE sales. The Danish ICE ban will come into effect in 2030 and will prohibit the sale of new fossil-fueled cars.

Announcing the move, Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said: “I’m all for cars, but they shouldn’t ruin the environment.”

By the time the ban comes into force, Denmark should have at least a million electric or hybrid cars on its roads, he said.

The country, which has a population of less than 5.8 million and is aiming to

Denmark announced a ban on new internal combustion engine (ICE) cars this month, joining at least 13 other nations now looking to limit ICE sales. The Danish ICE ban will come into effect in 2030 and will prohibit the sale of new fossil-fueled cars.

Announcing the move, Denmark’s Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen said: “I’m all for cars, but they shouldn’t ruin the environment.”

By the time the ban comes into force, Denmark should have at least a million electric or hybrid cars on its roads, he said.

The country, which has a population of less than 5.8 million and is aiming to rely on carbon-free electricity by 2050, has seen sales of non-polluting vehicles declining after Rasmussen’s center-right government phased out subsidies, Bloomberg reported

Electric vehicle sales dropped from almost 5,000 in 2015 to around 700 last year, prompting the country’s main opposition party to propose the 2030 phaseout point now adopted by the leadership.

Energy Minister Lars Christian Lilleholt is expected to unveil proposals to make electric cars cheaper this week.

The announcement means Denmark is now the 14th country in the world to set an ICE phaseout date, according to data collated by the Center for Climate Protection, a California-based NGO working to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 

The Center’s survey of global activity lists three countries that have ongoing incentive schemes aimed at phasing out ICEs, without having announced a cut-off point for sales.

The data shows that Europe leads ICE phaseout efforts by far. Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway and the U.K. have all set dates to ditch new fossil-fuel car sales. Portugal and Spain, meanwhile, offer electric vehicle incentives.

Asia only has four countries that have announced ICE bans. But the impact of the phaseouts could be significant given the size of the nations concerned. 

South Korea has an official target of 30 percent of all new car sales being electric by 2020, India is aiming to ban all ICEs by 2030, and China and Taiwan are intending to follow suit by 2040. Japan, like Spain and Portugal, currently offers electric vehicle incentives. 

Two other countries on the list are Israel, which plans to cease ICE imports from 2030, and Costa Rica, the sole American nation to consider a fossil-fuel car ban, which will start to phase out ICEs from 2021. 

The data collected by the Center for Climate Protection makes it possible to chart the demise of ICEs across Eurasia in the next quarter of a century.

By 2025, based on the bans announced so far, ICEs will be on their way out in Austria, Japan, Norway, South Korea, Spain and Portugal.

Five years later, by 2030, bans should have also come into effect in Denmark, Germany, India, Ireland, Israel and the Netherlands; although there is some uncertainty if the Indian target, in particular, will be achieved.

And by 2040, China, France, Taiwan and the U.K. should have joined the list. Scotland is set to impose a ban from 2032, ahead of the rest of the U.K.
 

Although the overall number of countries with bans announced is still small, the size of nations such as China and India means that by 2040 around 3.3 billion people, or roughly 43 percent of the world’s population, will no longer have access to new ICE vehicles.

This assumes current objectives remain in place. While it is likely that many countries may end up failing to meet their targets, there is increasing momentum to ICE bans. 

According to the Center for Climate Protection’s data, seven countries announced moves to phase out ICEs last year, including China and India. So far this year, another five have joined the list. 

And the Center for Climate Protection notes that plenty of additional phaseout activity is happening at state or city level. It lists 25 cities worldwide, including Los Angeles, Mexico City and Seattle, where there are policies to limit ICEs.

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