German railway greenlights expansion to protect the climate
German railway operator Deutsche Bahn has agreed to a massive increase in passenger and freight capacities in order to boost climate action efforts, reports Anja Krüger in tageszeitung. "Germany will only meet its climate targets if we succeed in shifting traffic to rail on a massive scale over the next decade," CEO Richard Lutz said in a press release. Deutsche Bahn decided to use 100 percent renewable power by 2038, the date of Germany's proposed coal exit, rather than by 2050 as previously planned. The company wants to hire 100,000 new employees in order to double long-distance passenger capacity, and increase freight volumes at subsidiary DB Cargo. “DB Cargo will raise its rail traffic volumes in Gemrany by 70 percent,” the company said. “DB plans to add over one billion regional and local rail passengers by strengthening its local rail services and integrating new forms of mobility.”
Railroad traffic is seen as a vital component for reducing the climate impact of Germany’s transport sector emissions, but the share of rail in the German market’s freight transport sector is stagnant, while the use of less climate-friendly modes of transportation like trucks and airplanes is on the rise. In a bid to encourage more train use, transport minister Andreas Scheuer recently mulled cutting the value added tax on long-distance train tickets from 19 to 7 percent.