Now the European Commission wants to ban the internal combustion engine...

Commission President Ursula von der Leyen confirmed in an interview with Süddeutsche Zeitung that the combustion engine will be banned, at least in the EU.

However, whilst she confirms that the Commission will “set a time frame by which all cars must be emission-free,” citing “planning certainty” for the industry, “how they change their production, however, is left to the manufacturers themselves”.

She underscored a previous Commission statement, A European Strategy for low-emission mobility, which said. that “while further improvements to the internal combustion engine will be needed, Europe needs to accelerate the transition towards low- and zero-emission vehicles”.

The transition away from the internal combustion engine may however be hampered by the fact that many valuable patents needed to develop the renewable energy sector remain in the hands of the fossil fuel giants.

A report by the Center for International Climate Law (CIEL) shows that as early as the 1950’s the oil industry was aware of the environmental impact of carbon emissions.

From the 1960s onward, the oil industry was actively patenting technologies that might have been deployed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions or accelerate the shift to clean energy. Industry leaders argued against public research into cleaner technologies—or absorbed public research dollars for themselves—even as they argued internally that deploying new technologies would reduce their own profits. By no later than the 1980s and perhaps far earlier, major oil companies were incorporating climate risks into their operational planning for major projects, and taking steps to protect their own assets from long-term climate impacts.

Smoke and Fumes: The Legal and Evidentiary Basis for Holding Big Oil Accountable for the Climate Crisis (Nov 2017)

In 1963, U.S. oil companies patented technologies for electric cars and low emissions vehicles as their lobbyists tried to squash government funding for research. The technology now used to power Tesla vehicles was in existence in the 1960’s, but it was suppressed.

Esso, one of the precursors of ExxonMobil, obtained at least three fuel cell patents in the 1960s and another for a low-polluting vehicle in 1970.

The American Petroleum Institute, the main oil lobby, opposed government funding of research into electric cars and low emissions vehicles at the time, telling Congress in 1967: “We take exception to the basic assumption that clean air can be achieved only by finding an alternative to the internal combustion engine.”

In 1963, U.S. oil companies patented technologies for electric cars and low emissions vehicles as their lobbyists tried to squash government funding for research. The technology now used to power Tesla vehicles was in existence in the 1960’s, but it was suppressed. Esso, one of the precursors of ExxonMobil, obtained at least three fuel cell patents in the 1960s and another for a low-polluting vehicle in 1970. The American Petroleum Institute, the main oil lobby, opposed government funding of research into electric cars and low emissions vehicles at the time, telling Congress in 1967: “We take exception to the basic assumption that clean air can be achieved only by finding an alternative to the internal combustion engine.” The American Petroleum Institute was created in 1919 to represent the American petroleum industry as a whole.50 From the time API was founded, oil companies recognised pollution issues as an area of significant common concern, and by the 1930s, they had focused particularly on the industry’s shared concerns with air pollution and the related public hostility and risk of regulation it presented. The Ciel report states that researchers discovered more than 20 such patents filed by oil companies from as early as the 1940s for technologies that could help in the development of electric cars. However, Ron Dunlop, then president of Sun Oil, API chairman, and a self-confessed “bean counter”, told a joint hearing of the commerce committee in 1967 that government funding of research into electric cars would be misplaced – because the oil companies were so advanced in their research of cleaner cars. “We in the petroleum industry are convinced that by the time a practical electric car can be mass produced and marketed, it will not enjoy any meaningful advantage from an air pollution standpoint,” Dunlop blatantly said.

Smoke and Fumes: The Legal and Evidentiary Basis for Holding Big Oil Accountable for the Climate Crisis (Nov 2017)

The CIEL report states that researchers discovered more than 20 such patents filed by oil companies from as early as the 1940s for technologies that could help in the development of electric cars.

Robert Dunlop

However, Ron Dunlop (pictured), then president of Sun Oil, API chairman, and a self-confessed “bean counter”, told a joint hearing of the commerce committee in 1967 that government funding of research into electric cars would be misplaced – because the oil companies were so advanced in their research of cleaner cars.

“We in the petroleum industry are convinced that by the time a practical electric car can be mass produced and marketed, it will not enjoy any meaningful advantage from an air pollution standpoint,” Dunlop cynically stated.

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Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright

Gary Cartwright is publishing editor and Brussels correspondent of EU Today.

An experienced journalist and author, he specialises in environment, energy, and defence.

He also has more than 10 years experience of working as a staff member in the EU institutions, working with political groups and MEPs in various policy areas.

Gary's latest book WANTED MAN: THE STORY OF MUKHTAR ABLYAZOV: A Manual for Criminals on How to Avoid Punishment in the EU is currently available from Amazon

https://www.amazon.co.uk/WANTE...

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