Greens increase pressure on transport minister with climate action proposals
Unhappy with the pace of climate action at the German transport ministry, the Green Party parliamentary group has drawn up a list of draft resolutions to tighten climate policy, the Süddeutsche Zeitung (SZ) reports. The Greens thus increase pressure on transport minister Volker Wissing of the business-friendly Free Democratic Party (FDP) coalition partner, writes SZ. "With a view to Germany's CO2 emissions in the transport sector, the reduction must happen 14 times faster than it has so far," states the paper with proposals. "In the federal government's joint fight against the climate crisis, the transport sector is currently bringing up the rear." Among the resolutions is the reduction of “environmentally harmful” subsidies, including an end to company car privileges. Taxpayers’ money is used to support vehicles with high fuel consumption for top earners, the paper states, adding that the government should “no longer encourage the purchase and use of cars with high fuel consumption”. The Greens are also calling for taxes on company cars to be staggered according to CO2 emissions to encourage greater sales of electric vehicles; seeking to block Wissing’s plans to accelerate construction of new motorways; and end the commuter tax allowance that benefits people who drive long distances.
Transport is often referred to as the "problem child" of Germany's landmark energy transition. Emissions have remained broadly stable for decades, as gains from more efficient car engines have been eaten up by heavier vehicles. But the country's ambitious CO2-cutting plans mean this must change rapidly: transport emissions need to fall by more than 40 percent this decade, as the country wants to become climate-neutral by 2045.
It is “rather unusual” for a parliamentary group in a coalition to publicly present a package of measures to the responsible minister of another party and call on him to act, the Süddeutsche Zeitung notes, but the group leadership seems to think that is exactly what is necessary. "The transport sector has a devastating climate balance," said Katharina Dröge, the Greens’ parliamentary group leader. "Volker Wissing has to get off the slow train to protect the climate."