As pressure continues to mount on the German government to reconsider the politically sensitive issue of CO2 emission, a new study has found that Germany could save almost three times more CO2 emissions than previously thought by introducing a speed limit on its highways.
Imposing a speed limit of 120 kilometres per hour (75 miles per hour) on motorways in Germany, where there are currently no speed restrictions, could cut total CO2 emissions from passenger cars and light commercial vehicles by about 6.7 million tonnes a year, Data from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) published on Thursday have showed.
In an earlier study that was done using a different methodology, the agency expected such limit to result in 2.6 million CO2 cuts.
However, the transport ministry said the study also showed that a general speed limit would lead to a shift in traffic from the motorways to secondary roads, leading to more traffic jams and more accidents in cities and on rural roads with more noise and environmental pollutants for their residents.
The new results add to mounting pressure on the transport ministry that is being headed by the liberal FDP party, to ramp up its CO2 cutting programme for the sector that has been the slowest to cut emissions as Germany aims to become carbon neutral by 2045.
To meet its 2022 greenhouse reduction target, the sector’s emissions should have not exceeded 138.7 million tonnes of CO2-equivalents.
UBA will announce in March whether the sector met that target but had cautioned in November that there were no indications it had managed to do so.
In 2021, transport in Germany emitted some 148 million tonnes of CO2, missing its target by around 3 million tonnes, but the transport ministry have said its programme will cut some 13 million tonnes in the coming years as it aims to compensate for the 2021 missed target.
Environmentalists have also urged the government to introduce speed limits on its motorways, and some activists are supergluing themselves to roads in Berlin and other German cities demanding such limit as they maintain the current programme does not go far enough.
Germany’s ruling coalition has failed to agree on a speed limit due to opposition from the FDP.
UBA’s results coincided with Germany’s constitutional court announcing on Thursday that it had rejected a constitutional complaint against the government for not introducing a general speed limit on the country’s motorways.
Story was adapted from Reuters.