UBA: “Drastic measures” needed to reduce German transport emissions
Increase fuel prices, abolish the commuter allowance, introduce speed limits and add extra tolls: the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has proposed a series of drastic measures to help the transport sector in Germany achieve its climate targets.
UBA: Change needed to help transport reduce emissions
The transport sector is one of the few industries in Germany that has not reduced its greenhouse gas emissions compared to 1990. Confronted with this damning statistic, the UBA is calling for massive changes to be made. “When it comes to climate protection, transport is heading in the wrong direction,” said UBA president Dirk Messner to the DPA.
Arguing that more drastic measures are needed, a UBA reform paper said that the tax on CO2 emissions should be raised to double what is currently planned from 2022. That would mean significantly increasing the price of both petrol and diesel for drivers.
“From a climate and environmental point of view, it makes sense to further increase the CO2 tax,” Messner said, adding that the state could use the extra income to significantly reduce the EEG levy (a surcharge added on to the price of electricity in Germany to fund climate-friendly alternatives) and to promote climate-friendly travel technologies.
The paper also proposes other measures, including expanding alternatives to car and truck traffic, electrifying transport, and introducing socially-acceptable CO2 taxation for transportation. The UBA advocates abolishing the commuter flat rate - a good two-thirds of which is claimed by people who travel to work by car - by 2027, as well as gradually abolishing diesel tax benefits from 2023 and reducing the tax “subsidisation” of company cars from 2022.
German Environment Agency calls for car tolls and speed limits
Further measures could be introduced after 2030 to help Germany become climate neutral by 2045, the UBA stated. This could include a new toll for cars on all roads, to encourage people to minimise short car journeys or stop them entirely and switch to a more climate-friendly means of transport instead.
The UBA further proposes to massively expand public transport, cycling, walking and long-distance rail travel with billions of euros of investment. Messner also spoke out in favour of a general speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour on the autobahn, on the basis that this emissions-saving measure could be introduced immediately without additional costs and would also increase safety on the roads.
The UBA warned that, if major changes were not made, the transport sector would miss its self-imposed climate goals for 2030 by a significant margin.