12 Apr 2019, 13:45
Julian Wettengel

Wide alliance calls for general speed limit on German autobahn for safety and climate

Clean Energy Wire

A broad alliance of environmental NGOs, police unions and traffic accident victim organisations has called for the swift introduction of a general speed limit on the German autobahn. “According to German Basic Law [Grundgesetz], the federal government is obliged to protect life and the climate as a natural basis for life,” say the organisations in a statement. “Not to act and to leave the obvious potential of a general speed limit unused is negligent and contradicts common sense.” While the North Rhine-Westphalia police union focuses on preventing accidents, environmental NGOs highlight the potential to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from transport.

Long controversial in Germany, the idea of an autobahn speed limit  sparked public outcry at the beginning of the year, when an internal working paper drafted by the National Platform Future of Mobility – the mobility commission – mentioned it as a possible measure to protect the climate. German transport minister Andreas Scheuer, whose own ministry had appointed the commission, swiftly dismissed a motorway speed limit, as well as fuel tax hikes. The mobility commission follows the same procedure as Germany’s coal exit commission and was set up to suggest ways to reduce emissions that can become part of a climate action law package later this year. Germany’s transport sector is the only area that has not reduced its greenhouse gas emissions at all since 1990.

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