Diesel crisis: New German transport minister pledges “no panic, no bans”
Germany’s new transport minister, Andreas Scheuer, has signalled that he does not plan a sharp departure from the previous government’s approach to reducing diesel engine pollution in cities, which had been sharply criticised by environmentalists as being too slow. “My motto: no panic, no bans, but incentives and concrete measures instead,” Scheuer told parliament in his first address to the new legislature, adding that he wanted to “energetically continue” his predecessor’s policies. He said that Germany should find innovative solutions for improving air quality that could also be applied in other countries. “Our goal has to be to make clean air an export hit.”
Scheuer said the government was on track to speedily implement the measures agreed at last year’s diesel summits, and thereby to avoid looming driving bans, which many consider the only option to prevent hefty EU fines for excessive pollution levels. Scheuer said German cities should push nitrogen oxide pollution below EU limits by 2020. He praised the effectiveness of software updates for older diesel cars, considered insufficient by many experts, and said the government would provide 107 million euros to make inner city diesel buses cleaner.
Scheuer’s predecessor, Alexander Dobrindt, was under constant fire from clean mobility proponents for his inaction over the ‘dieselgate’ scandal, and also for his one-sided defence of the car industry.
Find background on Andreas Scheuer and the tasks ahead for him in the article Germany’s car-loving transport minister faces clean mobility challenge and the factsheet Diesel driving bans in Germany – The Q&A.