NGOs’ plan to slash German transport emissions 95%

A radical plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from Germany’s transport sector by 95% by 2050 has been worked out by a coalition of five German NGOs, among them T&E’s German member VCD.
The plan is based on a mix of technological solutions, traffic reduction and shifting transport onto more environmentally friendly modes. The scenario envisages passenger traffic falling by 15% while freight transport will stabilise at current levels over the long term. This, together with other measures, will reduce energy demand by 70% between 1990 and 2050 and will bring a reduction in greenhouse gases of 64%.
To close the remaining gap of around 30% and deliver the 95% reduction in transport’s greenhouse emissions, the five NGOs envisage the use of electricity from renewable sources, as well as ‘regenerative gaseous and liquid fuels’. But they admit that how such energy and fuels will be made available is still uncertain.
Germany is committed to a 80-95% reduction in warming emissions, but if the world is to limit warming to 2 celsius by 2100, Germany will need to achieve a reduction of around 95%, with the transport sector playing a major part. Yet the five NGOs say the German government does not have a transport policy aligned with climate objectives, hence this concept for ‘climate-friendly transport in Germany’.
Among the land-based features of the system are an effective rail and long-distance bus network, half the number of private cars compared with today, expanded cycle infrastructure, distance- and emissions-based tolls for private cars, and limiting CO2 emissions from new cars to 50 grams per km by 2030. For aviation, the five want an effective emissions trading scheme plus taxes on kerosene. However, aviation represents a bigger problem in terms of achieving climate targets because of the greater climate impact of its emissions in the upper layers of the atmosphere.
The five organisations behind the plan are VCD, WWF, BUND, Germanwatch and NABU.