Transport commission meeting in German Chancellery ends with dispute over principles
Tagesspiegel Background / Clean Energy Wire
A meeting between German Chancellor Angela Merkel, ministers from her cabinet and leaders of the country’s transport commission tasked with finding ways to reduce emissions in the sector has resulted in a dispute over basic principles of climate policy, Jens Tartler writes in energy policy newsletter Tagesspiegel Background. According to the article, transport minister Andreas Scheuer, along with the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) lobby group, opposes the inclusion of detailed emission reduction concepts and even emission reduction targets for the sector in the commission’s final report, which is slated for publication by 29 March.
The pro-industry faction in the meeting only wants the report to “describe target systems”, according to the article. Proponents of a more vigorous climate policy, including environment minister Svenja Schulze, insist on including the sectoral reduction goal of 40 to 42 percent by 2030 compared to 1990 levels in the report. So far, the commission has only been able to agree on investments in public transport expansion and support of electric mobility to the tune of 160 billion euros, a sum the finance ministry has described as “unrealistic”, Tartler writes.
The Federation of German Industries (BDI) said in a statement the envisaged emission reduction in the transport sector could only be possible “under ideal conditions” and “with utmost efforts”. The BDI argues that the goal should be given up in favour of a broader emissions reduction approach that does not pin down targets for individual sectors.
Environmental NGO Greenpeace said “announcements of intentions and vague promises” had ensured that transport sector emissions had not fallen for almost 30 years. “It’s high time for a transition in the transport sector,” Greenpeace transport expert Benjamin Stephan said, adding that the country needed a fixed date to phase out combustion engines to ensure that the car industry could work towards a concrete goal.