In the name of climate protection, Federal Transport Minister Wissing issues a radical threat. Which would bring up the idea of ​​him.

An empty road in 1973

A huge gap: due to the oil crisis, in November 1973 the ban on driving on Sunday was imposed for the first time Photo: dpa

“22 million tons of CO2 “We can only save money by banning traffic,” said Federal Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) in Deutschlandfunk on Friday. With this he wants to put pressure on the coalition partners to move forward with the planned reform of the Climate Protection Law, which would eliminate binding targets for the various ministries. Is right?

Under the current legal situation, some ministries are obliged to develop an immediate climate program: that is, those whose areas of responsibility were more climate-damaging last year than permitted by the Federal Climate Protection Act. The Wissing transport system is certainly also part of this: the minister is right. According to the Climate Protection Law, it is intended to implement an immediate program to guarantee that CO2-The limit values ​​for subsequent years may no longer be exceeded.

But the transport sector has so far predicted 22 million tonnes of CO in 2024.2 There is a lot to look forward to, according to a forecast from the Federal Environment Agency. Wissing refers to this figure in his statement. One could argue that it should actually also add up the excess tons emitted last year. Ultimately, the gap in climate protection is getting bigger every year: because the targets gradually become stricter and the recent annual failures accumulate.

In fact, the greatest savings potential in the transportation sector is found on roads. Next year the transport sector will probably produce around 145 million tons of CO2 to emit. Road traffic generates around 140 million tons. Even if national air, sea and rail traffic were hypothetically completely paralyzed, the transport system would still be too damaging to the climate.

There is a lack of mobility alternatives

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So is it really better to ban driving on weekends? “There will be no measures that will work quickly, apart from speed limits and driving bans of some kind,” says Jens Hilgenberg of the Federation for the Environment and Nature Conservation. But it does not ask for traffic bans. The problem: there are no mobility alternatives. “To change traffic you need infrastructure that we don't currently have.”

More and better local and long-distance public transport connections, higher frequency rates, more connected places. The fact that it does not exist is because Wissing, like previous Union governments, did hardly anything about it for years: “It is a dilemma that comes with an announcement,” criticizes Hilgenberg.

None of the experts surveyed by the taz are aware of studies on the amount of CO2 Wissing's threatened driving ban would save money. In any case, a speed limit alone would not be enough to reduce the 22 million tons of CO2 save. But you'd go pretty far. According to a study by the Federal Environment Agency last year, a maximum speed limit of 120 kilometers per hour would produce 6.7 million tons of CO per year.2 save per year.

If, in addition to the speed limit of 120 on motorways, a speed limit of 80 kilometers per hour were established on rural roads, the reduction potential would increase again: up to a total of 8 million tons of CO2 annual. With a speed limit of 100 on motorways, 80 outside cities and 30 in cities, the German Environment Fund (DUH) achieves savings of 11 million tons.

Wiebke Zimmer of the Agora Verkehrswende think tank recommends a longer-term view. “There are studies that calculate how the climate objectives of the transport sector can be achieved for 2030 and beyond,” says the expert.

“None of them are based on traffic bans, but on the contrary on measures that make them unnecessary: ​​increasing electromobility, promoting public transport, increasing cycling and walking.”