Spain opts out of COP26 deal to end sale of polluting cars by 2035

Traffic on a motorway in Madrid, Spain.
Spain hasn't signed up to the COP26 agreement on banning petrol and diesel cars. Photo: PHILIPPE DESMAZES / AFP
Thirty-one countries agreed on Wednesday at the Glasgow COP26 Climate Summit to put an end to the manufacturing and sale of both petrol and diesel cars by 2035. Spain however has not signed up to the deal.

Currently, 31 countries, 38 municipal or regional governments, 11 car manufacturers and 27 companies have signed up to the agreement.

In total, they represent 15 percent of the international automobile market, which would affect 11.5 million vehicles.

While Spain as a whole has not signed up, Catalonia as a separate region has agreed join the pact.

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Other countries that have signed up to the new agreement include the UK, Finland, the Netherlands, Austria and Canada.

Big polluters such as the US and China however have not, while big EU players France and Germany have not yet agreed either. 

Despite not signing up to the deal at the UN’s climate conference, Spain’s Ministry of Ecological Transition has said that the country “already has the job done” as it plans to prohibit the sale of new vehicles with combustion engines by 2040. 

Spain may also prefer to wait for the European Commission to pass a bill which puts the brakes on the sale of polluting vehicles by 2035, as presented in a draft proposal last June. 

The Spanish government has also announced other climate change measures recently, such as putting an end to shared central heating in apartment blocks and bringing in laws to stamp out food waste such as forcing shops to sell ugly fruit. 

The EU also set out its own dates to achieve this objective last July as they had agreed to prohibit the sale of combustion cars and hybrids from 2035. 

The transport sector is responsible for more than 22 percent of greenhouse gas emissions and 89 percent of these emissions correspond to road transport.

If countries stick to this agreement, zero-emission vehicles powered by renewable sources can reduce greenhouse gas emissions by up to 80 percent.

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