27 Mar 2019, 12:27
Sören Amelang

Commentators blame transport minister for failure of mobility commission

Clean Energy Wire

German Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer shoulders much of the blame for the failure of the country’s Transport Commission to agree on sufficient measures to cut traffic emissions, according to media commentators. Arne Meyer-Fünffinger argued on public broadcaster ARD that Scheuer “still doesn’t seem to realise that the time has come to discuss measures with a real climate impact, even if they hurt individuals.” He concluded that launching commissions was pointless if politicians and industry weren’t ready for open-minded discussions. In the Frankfurter Rundschau, Joachim Wille says the commission’s failure leaves Scheuer, who “acted as a car industry lobbyist,” empty-handed, adding that the minister was doing nothing to avoid another scandal after the German government gave up on its 2020 emissions target.

In a commentary for Berlin daily Tagesspiegel, Jens Tartler says the commission “could only agree on banalities” with no agreement on anything that might frighten voters. But he concludes that “voters aren’t just drivers,” and “many drivers are ready for a rethink.” Thomas Sigmund argues in business daily Handelsblatt that policymakers are afraid to tell voters the simple truth that cutting emissions from transport will be extremely expensive. “There is too much fear of triggering a ‘yellow vest’ movement like in France,” he writes.

During what was billed as the commission’s final, decisive meeting this week, members agreed only on steps amounting to only two-thirds of the necessary emissions savings. These included investment in public transport, railways and digitalisation, and a target of up to 10 million electric cars on German roads. But there was no consensus on a binding quota for e-cars, penalties for high-emissions vehicles or a speed limit on the Autobahn.

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