27 May 2024, 13:19
Carolina Kyllmann

German transport emissions in focus as country hosts international minister meeting

Clean Energy Wire

Germany should lead the way in making mobility more sustainable, transport and environmental association Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD) said following the conclusion of the International Transport Forum in the eastern German city of Leipzig, an annual meeting of transport ministers from dozens of participating countries. "Germany in particular must finally take action to put transport on a climate-friendly course and ensure mobility for all," the VCD wrote in a press release. However, while getting a grip on transport emissions is challenging for government's around the world, the forum's host country has a particularly hard time to change tack: "Road transport continues to take priority here," Michael Müller-Görnert, VCD's transport policy spokesperson, said. "Company cars and diesel fuel privileges or the commuter's bonus push combustion engine car sales; billions invested in road construction cement the cars' future role," while rail projects and bicycle infrastructure projects "have to fight for every euro," he argued. Moreover, a speed limit continues to be a no-go issue in Germany while being the standard internationally, Müller-Görnert addded.

The focus should be on how mobility can be made climate-neutral, safe, accessible and socially just, the NGO said, calling for a strategy with binding targets. "It is not enough to focus on switching to electric cars," Müller-Görnert added. "Meetings like the one in Leipzig show that not everything is rosy in other countries either, but there are many good examples of how transport can become more climate-friendly, inclusive and fairer." Ministers and other country representatives discussed topics such as climate neutrality in mobility, inclusive transport and resilient supply chains. "All of us here have the important task of keeping people mobile in our countries and across national borders – and doing so in the most climate and environmentally friendly way possible," Germany's transport minister Volker Wissing said. "We want to and will enable more cross-border routes within the EU, strengthen and digitalise the rail infrastructure and expand it where possible," he added.

Germany's mobility sector is often branded the “problem child” when it comes to climate protection, as the sector's emissions in the country have not gone down substantially since the 1990s. Projections for future emissions published by the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) in March showed that transport will not meet its 2030 emission reduction targets.

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