In Europe and the U.S., there is a growing resistance to climate policies that promote electric vehicles. Many conservative leaders, including former President Donald Trump and Italian Transport Minister Matteo Salvini, have criticized proposed bans on internal combustion engines, claiming that they would destroy jobs and benefit China. Even in the U.K., where Prime Minister Rishi Sunak initially planned to phase out petrol and diesel vehicles by 2030, the deadline has been extended to 2035 as a response to rising voter hostility. While some conservatives, such as Georgia Governor Brian Kemp and Hungarian leader Viktor Orbán, see electric vehicles as a source of job creation, anti-electric car rhetoric is spreading among conservatives globally. Critics argue that promoting electric vehicles will make the United States more dependent on China, which controls the majority of the world’s battery minerals and manufacturing. Some Republicans are proposing extra taxes and fees for electric vehicles, while UK Conservatives are calling for a review of “anti-car schemes.” These debates are taking place as Europe prepares for a series of elections, and resistance to the EU’s climate agenda is growing. Additionally, conservative leaders in Germany and Italy have undermined EU plans to phase out combustion engine vehicles. Overall, the rise of clean-energy technologies is presenting political challenges for leaders across the globe.
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