German government adopts national Clean Air Programme
Clean Energy Wire
German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government cabinet has adopted the Clean Air Programme, which lays out how the country aims to improve air quality over the coming decade, the German environment ministry (BMU) said in a press release. The programme looks at percentage reductions of total national emissions of certain atmospheric pollutants, including sulphur dioxide, nitrogen oxides (NOx), ammonia and particulates. It is not directly related to local NO2 limits or possible inner city driving bans, and does not deal with climate-harmful greenhouse gas emissions. However, many climate change mitigation efforts also have an effect on clean air, such as phasing out coal power. Burning coal not only releases CO₂, but also a number of airborne toxins and pollutants, such as NOx and particulates. “Climate action and clean air go well together. The more climate-friendly we produce energy, the cleaner the air becomes as well,” said environment minister Svenja Schulze.
Under the EU Clean Air Programme, member states regularly have to submit national clean air programmes. The current German one indicates that the country will be able to meet the targets for 2020 without taking any additional measures, says the government. As of 2025, however, the measures already adopted will not be sufficient to meet the nitrogen oxide and ammonia targets. As of 2030, additional action will also be needed to meet the particulate and sulphur dioxide targets. Planned measures by the German government to improve air quality include the coal exit, and a package for the transport sector: environmental incentives for the purchase of cleaner cars and software updates for private cars, and hardware retrofitting for buses.