The five Fine Gael MEPs are backing various measures to tackle climate change, including an EU ban on diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2035.

Today (Wednesday, June 8), they are voting on EU draft laws to combat climate change by drastically reducing greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions as part of the ‘FitFor55’ package.

Seán Kelly, Frances Fitzgerald, Deirdre Clune, Maria Walsh and Colm Markey are calling for all cars and vans to be fully electric in the EU by 2035, and will vote in favour of the 100% target.

Seán Kelly MEP, leader of Fine Gael in the European Parliament said: “Today is an opportunity for the European Parliament to be more ambitious in tackling climate change.

“We need to encourage and incentivise the use of greener technologies and energy.

“However, we have to be practical in our targets and implementation and most importantly, support people, households and businesses in the transition to a greener economy.”

Meanwhile, MEP Colm Markey said the 100% CO2 reduction target for cars and vans is “crucial for Europe” to meet its target of becoming climate neutral by 2050 and supports a ban on diesel and petrol cars and vans.

“Passenger cars and vans are collectively responsible for around 15% of total EU emissions of CO2, so it’s hugely important that the European Parliament votes in favour of this measure this evening,” Markey said.

“There are challenges with decarbonising maritime, aviation and heavy goods vehicles but there is no reason why we cannot go fully electric with cars and vans by 2035.

“The Irish Government is even more ambitious – with plans to phase out the sale of fossil fuel cars by 2030 and have 945,000 electric vehicles on the road by then. It will be a cheaper option for the consumer to buy and drive an electric car, which is especially important now that the prices of diesel and petrol continue to rise,” he added.

Renewable energy instead of diesel

Seán Kelly added that Russia’s illegal war in Ukraine has added urgency to the need for the EU to end its reliance on Russian energy supplies.

“There is an energy crisis across Europe, coupled with the rising cost of living which has hit our constituents hard,” the MEP said.

“While we must ensure everything is done to move towards more renewable energy, and a reduction in the use of fossil fuels overall, we reiterate our call for the EU to support households and businesses as much as possible during these difficult times. To that end, the Social Climate Fund will be an important tool.”

The MEPs have said that they support decarbonisation plans to protect the environment and prevent further damage, with flexibility and support for the hardest hit industries, such as aviation.

Other key votes under the ‘FitFor55’ package such as on the Emissions Trading System (ETS) file were referred back to committee for further negotiations, after a majority of Socialist, Greens, Left and far-right MEPs voted against the parliament’s draft position on the EU Emission Trading System today.

The Fine Gael MEPs have called for constructive negotiations and add that they hope an agreement can be reached.