Germany is postponing politically sensitive decisions on reducing greenhouse gas emissions in the transport sector until 2023 amid strong opposition from one governing party to the idea of a universal speed limit, officials said Monday.
The libertarian Free Democratic Party, which controls the Transport Ministry, has long blocked the introduction mandatory speed limits seen in most of Germany’s neighbors.
Experts say that limiting speeds on highways to 74.5 mph would save 2.6 million metric tons of carbon dioxide a year. A limit of 62 mph would more than double the savings, according to Germany’s Environment Agency.
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Those annual savings would make a significant contribution to closing the remaining emissions gap in Germany’s transport sector of 118-175 million tons by 2030.
Proposals released Monday by the Economy Ministry would close the emissions gap in all other sectors for the country to meet its climate goals. Germany wants to cut emissions by 65% from 1990 levels by 2030, but have acknowledged that this will be a “gigantic” task and the country is lagging. Europe’s biggest economy aims to have ‘net zero’ emissions by 2045.
To achieve this, Germany will have to double its current rate of emissions cuts by the middle of this decade, then triple them from 2030 onward, the ministry said.
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It noted that significant measures have already been put in place to increase renewable energy generation and to ramp up the production of hydrogen for industrial use. While Germany plans to introduce a monthly 49-euro ticket to encourage the use of public transit, the ministry said “climate policy failures of the past decades” meant further measures would need to be agreed in 2023.
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