“Environmentally harmful subsidies should be abolished”

Fukushima Reactor 1. Image: Tepco

The energy and climate newsreel: Of growing diesel consumption, nuclear power plant operators failing to meet their responsibilities, and terror alerts at German nuclear power plants

Now the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has also presented its figures for greenhouse gas emissions for the past year. The result: a slight increase of slightly less than 0.5 percent. We recently reported that German emissions have been stagnating for years and that the official climate protection targets for 2020 can only be achieved with drastic reductions.

What is remarkable about the UBA data are the detailed trends hidden in the rough picture. Statisticians at the Dessau office attribute the increase primarily to increased greenhouse gas emissions from the transport sector. CO2 emissions increased by 5.4 million metric tons, or 3.4 percent, in 2016. This is a result of increased diesel consumption and the increase in road freight traffic. Increases in vehicle efficiency have been offset by an increase in traffic.

The transport of goods by rail, on the other hand, which has a significantly lower impact on the climate, declined in 2016. There has therefore been a shift to the Strabe. The UBA sees the reason in the too low tolls for trucks. The performance of air traffic, on the other hand, has increased significantly in both passenger and freight traffic.

For a traffic turnaround, the toll should be extended to the entire road network and to all classes of trucks. In this way, we can better charge the polluters for the environmental damage caused by greenhouse gases and noise. (…) As long as we continue to burden the transport sector in Germany with 28.6 billion euros in environmentally damaging emissions, we will not be able to achieve a change in transport policy. If we continue to subsidize the use of the Internet to the tune of. (…) The diesel tax privilege as well as other privileges should therefore be gradually abolished.

UBA President Maria Krautzberger

Meanwhile, emissions from road transport, with the latest increase of two million tons, were slightly above the 1990 level. In other words, despite all the declarations of commitment by the automotive industry, absolutely nothing has been done in this area. Since the mid-1990s, their representatives had pushed through massive lobbying efforts to ensure that the respective governing parties refrained from legal requirements and relied on declarations of intent by industry associations.

In Brussels, too, the various federal governments had been able to enforce this position for a long time and to prevent stricter requirements of the EU. When that didn’t help either, automakers across the board apparently turned to creative methods of calculation. Last week there were again extensive house searches in this connection. This time VW and its subsidiary Audi were affected. More than 100 police officers raided the headquarters of the luxury brand in Ingolstadt. The public prosecutor’s office is investigating fraud.

Behind the scenes, the VW-owning families Porsche and Piech are now engaged in a bickering match, which must be seen as a clear sign of crisis. The former VW-uberfather Ferdinand Piech, a grandson of the company’s founder Ferdinand Porsche, is sharply attacking the current VW boss Martin Winterkorn and now wants to sell his share package in the VW-controlling holding company. Some already see a growing Chinese influence looming on the horizon, as Focus claims to have learned.

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