13 May 2024, 13:40
Julian Wettengel

Delayed transport transition significantly more expensive – German think tank

Clean Energy Wire

Delaying climate action in the transport sector will lead to a significantly more expensive transition to climate neutrality by 2045, said think tank Agora Verkehrswende in a new report. "Germany can become climate-neutral in the transport sector by 2045 without additional costs or losses in mobility if the government takes comprehensive additional measures without delay," it said. However, if the government only started to introduce necessary policy changes from 2030, the same emission savings would only be possible with additional costs of around 500 billion euros – a rise of 5 percent compared to the ambitious scenario with measures implemented starting today.

Today's policy plans are insufficient and mean that Germany would widely miss its transport climate targets, said Agora. "Political hesitation has a price, either measured in money or in greenhouse gases, with all the associated risks," said deputy director Wiebke Zimmer. The report compares the economic expenditure and costs for transport in Germany up to 2045 based on three scenarios: one based on current policies, and two with additional measures, either starting today or from 2030. The latter two bet on the switch from combustion engines to electric drives combined with a shift from road to rail and from private cars to buses, trains, shared vehicles, bicycles, and walking. They require higher initial investments but lead to savings compared to the current-policies scenario in the 2030s, said the think tank.

Transport remains the "problem child" of German climate action as emissions have not decreased significantly since the early 1990s. Projections for future emissions published by UBA in March showed that transport will not meet its targets, exceeding limits set by Germany's current climate law by around 200 million tonnes of CO2 equivalents in the years until 2030. The lagging progress means that reaching the country’s target of climate neutrality by 2045 is not possible without further measures in the sector, an UBA report has said.

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