German transport sector must reduce emissions immediately: audit report

  • World
  • Tuesday, 16 Apr 2024

BERLIN, April 15 (Xinhua) -- Germany's transport sector exceeded its emissions targets for 2023 and must launch an immediate emissions reduction program, according to the audit report published on Monday by the Council of Experts on Climate Change.

Despite a slight decrease compared to the previous year, the audit report states that the country's transport sector "fell well short" of its target by 12.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide equivalents.

Hans-Martin Henning, chairman of the expert council, said that Germany's "repeated failure to meet the annual target" confirms its need to implement immediate action, as ordered by a court ruling last November.

The German government's response to the situation is still being determined. However, reports suggest that Transport Minister Volker Wissing is seeking to push through an amendment to the law to abolish sector-specific targets in favor of broader goals.

Wissing warned last week that immediate action would require "restrictive measures that are difficult to communicate to the population, such as comprehensive and indefinite driving bans on Saturdays and Sundays."

Germany's Green Party, however, dismissed the warning, accusing Wissing of disinformation. Julia Verlinden, deputy leader of the Green parliamentary group, claimed there are other options to reduce carbon dioxide, such as speed limits.

Germany is one of the few countries in the world that do not have a general speed limit on highways. However, according to Environmental Action Germany (DUH), if the highway speed is limited to 100 km/h, it would cut more than 11 million tonnes of carbon dioxide annually.

DUH managing director Barbara Metz said on Monday that the speed limit and the elimination of climate-damaging subsidies such as the company car privilege would be a significant step in the right direction for the transport sector.

As Europe's largest economy, Germany is crucial for fighting climate change. It seeks to achieve climate neutrality by 2045, five years ahead of the European Union target. By 2030, Germany aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 65 percent compared to 1990.

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