The task force in charge of steering Germany to clean mobility
[For reactions to the commission’s start in September, read the article Germany launches task force to kickstart shift to sustainable mobility. On the public controversy triggered by an internal list of proposals to cut emissions, see the article Working paper by Germany’s clean mobility commission sparks public outcry.
Find background on the energy transition in mobility in the dossiers How Germany is greening its growing freight sector to meet climate targets, BMW, Daimler, and VW vow to fight in green transport revolution, and Car giant Germany struggles to ignite Energiewende in transportation.]
National Platform Future of Mobility (NPM)
“The National Platform Future of Mobility (NPM) is a body set up by the Federal Government to monitor and analyse current and future trends in the field of mobility,” according to its website. The NPM replaces the “National Platform for Electric Mobility” (NPE), and extends its scope beyond electric cars to mobility in general.
Energiewende home country Germany struggles to clean up its transport sector, where emissions have remained roughly unchanged for decades as efficiency gains were eaten up by increasing traffic volumes and a trend to heavier vehicles.
The task force develops proposals on how Germany can reach its official target of cutting emissions in the transport sector by 40 to 42 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. Its suggestions will be incorporated in a highly anticipated climate protection law due in 2019. This procedure mirrors the country’s coal commission in the transport sector.
According to its official website, the overarching goals of the NPM are:
- Developing solutions for a largely greenhouse gas neutral and environmentally friendly transport system, involving and integrating different modes of transport in both passenger and freight transport.
- Ensuring a competitive automotive industry and promoting Germany as an employment location.
- Enabling efficient, high-quality, flexible, safe and affordable mobility.
- The NPM advises on the strategic decisions necessary for meeting climate targets in the mobility sector and clarifies facts on complex and controversial issues. Based on this, concrete recommendations for action are made to politicians, industry, municipalities and society.
The commission is led by former SAP manager Henning Kagermann, who already led the government’s former platform for electric mobility (NPE), which has now been disbanded. He is joined by representatives from ministries, states, municipalities, businesses, unions, as well as transport and environmental NGOs.
The commission is divided into six working groups with about 15 members each (details below), and is managed by the transport ministry (BMVi) headed by Andreas Scheuer, a member of the CSU, the conservative Bavarian sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU.
A steering committee coordinates the working groups and brings the results together. “The heads of the six working groups report their (interim) results to the steering committee, which discusses them in their overall context and makes concrete recommendations for action to politicians, business and society.”
The members of the steering committee are representatives from business, scientific, transport, environmental and consumer associations, trade unions, the federal states and local authorities. The six federal ministries for transport (BMVI), economics and energy (BMWi), the environment (BMU), education and research (BMBF), finances (BMF) and employment (BMAS) are also represented in the steering committee.
Working group 1: Climate protection in transport, led by Franz Loogen, president of the State Agency for New Mobility Solutions and Automotive Baden-Württemberg.
Working group 1 represents the commission “Future of affordable and sustainable transport” called for in the government’s coalition treaty. It will “develop recommendations for the Federal Government on the selection of measures to achieve the climate policy sector goals by 2030 […] taking into account their interactions in the economy and society. In addition to these recommendations, the working group should also accompany the implementation of the measures and, where necessary, make further recommendations for action.”
Members of Working Group 1:
- Christian Hochfeld, head of sustainable transport think tank Agora Verkehrswende*
- Burkhard Stork, head of national bicycle association ADFC
- Raimund Brodehl, deputy head of the Hamburg authority for economy, transport and innovation
- Holger Lösch, deputy chief executive of industry association BDI
- Jens Pawlowski, head of the Berlin office of freight transport industry association BGL
- Axel Welge, Association of German Cities (Deutscher Städtetag)
- Frank Iwer, head of strategic and political planning, metalworkers’ union IG Metall
- Dietmar Oeliger, transport expert at the Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU)
- Martin Schmitz, technical director of the Association of German Transport Companies VDV
- Jörg Grotendorst, head of e-mobility division at car industry supplier ZF Friedrichshafen
- Stefan Gerwens, head of the transport division of car drivers’ association ADAC
- Dirk Flege, head of pro-rail association Allianz pro Schiene
- Ernst Christoph Stolper, deputy head of Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND)
- Andrees Gentzsch, member of the management board at utility association BDEW
- Markus Ksoll, head of competition and regulatory policy at rail operator Deutsche Bahn
- Heike von Hoorn, head of multi-modal industry association for passenger and cargo transport, Deutsches Verkehrsforum (DVF)
- Christian Küchen, head of oil industry association (Mineralölwirtschaftsverband MWV)
- Kurt-Christian Scheel, managing director of the German Association of the Atutomotive Industry (VDA)
- Ulrich Eichhorn, head of research and development at carmaker VW
(Working groups 2 - 6 are less relevant from a climate policy perspective. Therefore, this factsheet does not list its respective members)
Working group 2: Alternative propulsion systems and fuels for sustainable mobility; led by Barbara Lenz, head of the transport research institute at the German Aerospace Center (DLR).
Working group 3: Digitalisation for the mobility sector; led by Klaus Fröhlich, Member of the BMW Board of Management, Development.
Working group 4: Securing mobility and production sites, battery cell production, raw materials and recycling, education and qualification; led by Jörg Hofmann, head of metalworkers’ union IG Metall.
Working group 5: Integrating transport and energy grids, sector coupling; led by Stefan Kapferer, head of utility association BDEW.
Working group 6: Standardisation, certification and approval; led by Roland Bent, president of the expertise centre for electrotechnical standardisation in Germany (DKE).
Working group 1 is jointly managed by the transport (BMVi) and environment ministries (BMU); working groups 2 and 3 by the transport ministry alone, and working groups 4-6 by the economics ministry (BMWi).
Meetings / Deadlines:
All working groups have had their opening sessions between October and early December.
The commission postponed the deadline for presenting its highly anticipated proposals in early December. Instead of delivering recommendations to the government by year-end as previously planned, the task force will now publish its proposals in spring 2019, it said in a press release – mirroring the delay announced by the country’s coal commission.
According to the transport ministry, the working group 1 (climate) will publish an "interim report" at the end of March.
The NPM has not published a schedule for further meetings, but says that “as an advisory body to the German government, the NPM is initially set up until 2021. The steering committee meets at least twice a year and reports regularly on current (interim) results.”
In January, an internal paper from the working group 1 (climate) with a list of ideas on how transport emissions could be cut caused a public outcry. Transport minister Andreas Scheuer swiftly dismissed proposals for a motorway speed limit and fuel tax hikes, arguing they flew "in the face of common sense". “We want to inspire the public about the opportunities of future mobility,” Scheuer said. “Demands that provoke anger, bring about burdens or endanger our prosperity will not become reality and I reject them.”
* Like Agora Energiewende and the Clean Energy Wire, Agora Verkehrswende is funded by the Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation.