31 May 2024, 12:52
Carolina Kyllmann

Alliance calls for better funding of Germany's transport sector transition by ending harmful subsidies

Clean Energy Wire

An alliance of environmental NGOs, a motorist club, trade unions and various labour unions and associations has called on Germany's finance minister Christian Lindner to slash funding for climate-damaging subsidies and new road construction, and instead use the money to secure sustainable investments in the transport sector's decarbonisation. The move is particularly pertinent in view of the country's budget plans for next year, they said. Germany's budgeting plans were confounded by a court ruling in 2023 that declared large parts of the government's earmarked funding for climate and transformation projects as booked unlawfully. "The current mobility planning of the Federal Government, and in particular the transport ministry, continues to promote fossil mobility in Germany, which is not compatible with the goals of social justice, climate protection and nature conservation," the signatories, which included environmental organisations BUND, DUH, labour union Verdi as well as the Auto Club Europa, stated.

The alliance argued that subsides including the commuter allowance and company car privileges would be better spent on the socio-ecological transformation of the country's transport sector. They called on Lindner to commit the billions of euros these subsidies take up in the 2025 budget to instead expand investments in rail infrastructure and public transport, as well as to secure the long-term financing of the Germany-wide 49-euro local public transport ticket. Additionally, the government should focus on promoting affordable electric vehicle models, they said.

Germany pledged to tackle climate-damaging subsidies in the aftermath of a constitutional court ruling in November which threw the government's funding plans into disarray. Transport emissions in the country have not gone down noticeably since the 1990s, and the sector is often referred to as the "problem child" in Germany's transition to climate neutrality.

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