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25 Aug 2022, 13:44
Sören Amelang

Government advisors slam Germany’s plans to reduce transport emissions

Clean Energy Wire

Germany’s plans to cut transport emission to get the sector on track for the country’s climate targets are “lacking in sufficient ambition even at the outset”, government advisors said. The Council of Experts on Climate Change, which assesses government programmes to tackle missed climate targets, even refused to check the transport ministry’s emission-cutting plans in detail, because they were blatantly insufficient to reach the sector's climate targets by 2030. The ministry’s emergency climate programme “only saves 14 megatonnes of greenhouse gas emissions, so that a compliance gap of 261 megatonnes remains by 2030”, said Brigitte Knopf, the council’s vice chair. She added the government’s overarching climate emergency programme, which ministries are currently working on, will have to go well beyond the transport ministry’s plans. “Otherwise, the sectoral climate target for 2030 could be missed significantly. This could also result in critical challenges with regard to the European targets.”

Because emissions in transport and buildings last year exceeded Germany’s climate plans, the responsible ministries were obliged to present immediate action programmes in July, which were now assessed by the Council. The experts said the measures proposed by the building ministry would significantly cut emissions, but it remained “questionable” whether the sector could reach its climate target with the outlined steps.

Economy minister Robert Habeck said the government must adopt the overarching climate action programme "before the end of September. All sectors must make their contribution, otherwise we will not achieve the climate targets." His ministry said the government aimed to have "a political agreement on the measures" of this programme by the end of September.

NGOs called the council’s transport sector assessment a “disgrace” for the government. Greenpeace said transport minister Volker Wissing, of the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP), “refuses to work on one of the government’s central tasks, the protection of the climate.” In a best-case scenario, the ministry’s plans would add up to emission cuts equalling 5 percent of the amount necessary. Friends of the Earth Germany (BUND) said the council’s “lousy report card” showed that the government must urgently take more drastic steps to cut emissions.

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