Mobility and transport

The German transport sector is far from climate-friendly. It has made no contribution so far to reducing greenhouse gas emissions; indeed, transport sector emissions reached 170.6 million tonnes of CO2 equivalent in 2017, exceeding 1990 levels. The German Government’s target of reducing transport sector emissions by at least 40 per cent to 2030 seems increasingly hard to reach. The reasons include further increases in the number of vehicles on the road, more road freight transport, and the continued predominance of fossil fuels. But it is not only the sector’s greenhouse gas emissions which have an adverse impact on human health and the environment; there are also the high numbers of road traffic accidents and fatalities, noise and air pollution to consider.

Towards a transformation of the transport sector

The volume of traffic is projected to increase further in future. That being the case, a sustainability-based approach to manage this trend is essential – for example, with alternative propulsion systems and a phase-out of the internal combustion engine, and with integrated mobility, joint use schemes such as car-sharing, more attractive public transport services, and an improved walking and cycling infrastructure. E-mobility – provided that it is powered by renewables – can make a key contribution to a more climate-friendly transport system. But here too, car-loving Germany lags behind other countries such as Norway, the Netherlands and Austria.

Freight is a major contributor to the transport sector’s poor climate performance; others are international aviation and shipping. These two industries lack effective mechanisms to curb their greenhouse gas emissions.

Climate action in the transport sector: scenarios and policy measures

The Oeko-Institut conducts research on various aspects of mobility and transport. Its scientists focus particularly on developing scenarios for climate action and on assessing climate policy measures, but they also look at alternative mobility strategies and propulsion systems, as well as local public transport.