Head Of German Environment Agency Calls For EV Quotas

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Auto manufacturers should be held to a minimum electric vehicle sales quota, the head of Germany’s Federal Environment Agency, Maria Krautzenberger, recently argued in an interview with the German paper Die Zeit.

Without such an electric vehicle (EV) quota, the country won’t achieve its climate agreement targets, according to Krautzenberger.

The interview apparently also included comments from Krautzenberger that were “highly critical of the car industry and German government subsidies for diesel cars.”

Referring to the goals that she would prefer, the head of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) stated that she wanted 12 million or so of the country’s 46 million registered cars to be electric by 2030. The figure currently rests at around 25,000.

“Germany has consciously set climate protection goals,” she stated, “which we have to achieve because of global warming. A target of 12 million electric vehicles is an ambitious goal, which we won’t reach if we rely solely on the car industry. That’s why we need to give carmakers a quota.”

Going on, Krautzenberger highlights two of the three hottest EV markets in the world: “I know this is controversial, but it’s been successful in California, and they’re now introducing such quotas in China. Quotas give the makers security of planning. We’ve done the maths: if we want to hit the CO2 reduction target for traffic for 2030, we need 3-12% of the fleet to be electric by 2020, 30-32% by 2025, and 60-70% by 2030.”

Transport & Environment provides more: “The Federal Environment Agency has already set Germany’s cities a non-binding target of 150 cars (electric or fossil fuel) per 1,000 inhabitants. Hamburg currently has the highest with 426, while Berlin has 335. It says hitting the 150 mark would mean there would be virtually no need for public parking, so space would be freed up for bus lanes and cycle paths.

“Krautzenberger, who became president of the UBA in 2014 after working in urban development for the Berlin Senate, was highly critical of the car industry and the German government for their attitude to diesel.”

When asked whether she had sympathy for those that have bought diesel vehicles because of the claims that they are “green,” she stated: “I understand the anger completely. I find it intolerable that the carmakers are not putting money aside to tackle exhaust problems in inner cities, because the makers have caused the problem.”

Going on, she highlighted another more subtle and less acknowledged scam related to diesel: “The boom in SUVs shows that current subsidies for diesels are simply wrong. The average CO2 emissions of the newly approved diesels are higher than for petrol cars. The car industry is using diesel to keep high-powered cars on the market. That has completely wiped out the CO2 advantage that diesels used to enjoy over petrol. The subsidies for diesel are simply making oversized cars with high consumption more attractive. The environment hasn’t gained at all.”

That’s of course assuming that the “CO2 advantage” thing was real to begin with, which isn’t a cut and dry matter. That said, growing automobile use — whether petrol, electric, or diesel — is itself a problem if greenhouse gas emissions are going to be curtailed quickly. It’s not simply a matter of people switching to electric cars — a transition away from reliance on personal vehicle use would have to occur.

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James Ayre

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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