Germany’s Transport Sector on the Path to Zero Greenhouse Gas Emissions in 2045

On 3rd December 2022, the Sino-German Sustainable Forum of the 2022 World Transport Conference was successfully held, with the theme of “Shaping Zero Carbon and Sustainable Future Mobility”. At the forum, Mr. Messner, Director General of the German Federal Environment Agency (UBA), delivered an online keynote speech, which included in-depth discussions on international cooperation on climate and transport.

Mr. Messner pointed out that as important players in the global automotive industry and transportation system, as well as major promoters of climate protection, China and Germany influence global thinking on carbon-neutral transportation systems and bear responsibility to work towards the goal of climate neutrality of the global transportation system. However, according to the available carbon emissions data in Germany, the transport sector is not yet on track to reduce emissions and achieve the climate neutrality goal. Therefore, there is a clear need for more advanced emission reduction measures and a more systematic approach.

It is important to note that climate goals in transportation will not be achieved solely through the electrification of current vehicles and mobility systems. According to Mr. Messner, the overall decarbonization of the transportation system has three priorities: to make public and rail transportation more attractive; to make green travel in cities more attractive; and to integrate all elements of the transportation system, with a focus on intelligence and connectivity. There is no one-size-fits-all panacea; instead, an organic combination of packages, large-scale infrastructure investment, national macro subsidy regulation, renewable fuel transformation, and the fairness principle must be used.

Mr. Messner concluded by expressing hope that by building on the existing cooperation between Germany and China, the importance of improving transport systems for achieving climate goals will continue to be discussed in depth.