14 Feb 2022, 13:31
Sören Amelang

German transport ministry opposes raising ambition in EU fleet emission target proposal – media report

Spiegel Online

The German transport ministry wants to prevent attempts to step up the climate ambitions of the EU's future car fleet emission targets, reports Der Spiegel. According to documents seen by the magazine, the transport and environment ministries had originally agreed to tell the EU in their position on the new emission limits that "more ambition is needed before 2030" and that new interim targets should be introduced "to exploit CO2 reduction potentials." Both passages have now been deleted by the transport ministry, and the draft position merely indicates support for the new targets proposed by the European Commission for the post-2030 period, according to the article. The ministry added that in addition to zero-emission vehicles, it should be possible to register "vehicles that can demonstrably only be fuelled with e-fuels" from 2035 onwards, the magazine reports. Germany's position on the European Commission's plans still requires inter-ministerial agreement, and negotiations are ongoing.

Environmental NGO Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) last week called on the government to push for more ambitious car fleet emission limits as this offered the "opportunity for a clear government commitment" to climate protection. "In order for the German government to reach its target of 15 million fully electric passenger cars in 2030, it must now lobby Brussels to tighten up the European Commission's proposal for CO2 limits for passenger cars," BUND transport expert Jens Hilgenberg said. But contrary to earlier statements, transport minister Volker Wissing plans to weaken the government target of 15 million electric cars on German roads by 2030 by including plug-in hybrids, the Spiegel article says.

Many climate activists and transport experts reject hybrid electric cars and e-fuels as tools for emissions reduction, but the German car industry hopes that these technologies can throw a lifeline to companies specialising in combustion engines. In recent weeks, there has been confusion over whether Wissing sees a role for combustion engines and e-fuels in passenger cars and whether the government target of at least 15 million e-cars on German roads by 2030 includes hybrids. The coalition treaty mentions the 15 million target twice, but the exact definition of what constitutes an electric car remains unclear.

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