12 Sep 2019, 14:08
Sören Amelang

Merkel: Cutting transport emissions will be “herculean task” for govt and industry

Clean Energy Wire

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said reaching the country's climate targets in the transport sector will be a great challenge for the car industry and the government. Reducing the sector's CO2 output by 40 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels will be "a herculean task for both you and us”, Merkel told the auto industry during her opening speech at the International Motor Show (IAA) in Frankfurt. She said electric vehicles will only become really climate friendly when powered entirely by renewable electricity, and not Germany's current power mix with only around 40 percent renewables. "I wonder whether we'll manage a renewable share of 65 percent [in power consumption] by 2030," she added with references to public resistance against onshore wind turbines, and slow progress in the necessary power grid update.

Merkel added that the government should take a neutral stance regarding future propulsion technologies and keep an open mind on fuel cell technology and other alternative fuels. She also cautioned, however, that it would be difficult to roll out both large-scale power charging and hydrogen infrastructures. A price on CO2 emissions is the right way forward to set the right incentives, especially if it is predictable over the longer term, she added. "We're facing fundamental decisions in a few days," Merkel said with reference to the crucial meeting of her climate cabinet on 20 September.

Facing an unprecedented wave of climate protests, Germany's trio of car groups, BMW, Daimler and VW, put their sustainability ambitions at the centre of their presentations at the IAA. Yet demonstrators at the event plan to highlight the fact that Germany’s world famous carmakers are betting heavily on their polluting SUVs in order to finance tomorrow's clean alternatives.

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