45 billion for Deutsche Bahn in new German government climate package
This week the German government has revealed its so-called climate package, which outlines how the federal republic will meet its goal of becoming climate neutral by 2045. Here's what the new policies will mean for the environment and people living in Germany:
German government plan 45 billion for Deutsche Bahn
After long talks in the Bundestag this week, the German government has revealed details of its new “climate package”. Reconfiguring finances for transport was a central concern - the sector has been the slowest to cut emissions and in 2021 was responsible for 19 percent of the federal republic’s greenhouse gas emissions.
At the heart of the policy is Deutsche Bahn, Europe’s largest rail company. To repair and retrofit Germany’s worn and disused track network, the coalition announced it will outlay 45 billion euros for Deutsche Bahn by 2027.
Regarding services, the priority will be maintaining enough capacity for freight and passenger trains along Germany’s busiest routes. For Deutsche Bahn CEO Richard Lutz, these new policies are essential to improve the company’s less-than-satisfactory punctuality rates.
Changes will also be made to Deutsche Bahn’s pricing system, and there are longer-term plans for the 49-euro Deutschlandticket. The ticket, which will be valid on all regional trains and public transport in Germany from May 1, will also be integrated into Deutsche Bahn’s Bahncard 100. This means that Bahncard 100 subscribers can use all local public transport across Germany with their card. Holders of the Bahncard 50 or 25 however, will not benefit from this new policy.
How will the new train policies be funded?
So, where is all this money for Deutsche Bahn going to come from? One answer is the lorry toll. Currently, all lorries weighing 7,5 tonnes or more that want to use the Autobahn and federal roads pay a toll.
Come 2024 this toll will be extended to all vehicles weighing 3,5 tonnes or more. While this policy is likely to affect vans delivering post and packages, the coalition government outlined that “craft businesses will be exempt” from the new tolls.
15 million electric vehicles in Germany by 2030
The German government’s train policy stresses that it is focusing on expanding public transport services “especially in suburban and rural areas”, meaning drivers will be less inclined, or will not need to take the car.
When it comes to private vehicles, the climate package states another self-set goal for the government: 15 million fully electric vehicles by 2030. This is a huge increase when compared to current figures. In 2023, only 1 million registered cars in Germany have electric batteries.
To service an electrified convoy of 15 million vehicles, Germany needs a rapid rollout of electric charging points. To start, the plan is to have one fast-charging socket at every major petrol station within the next five years. Airports, train stations and shopping centres will also be required to have accessible charging stations.
Less concretely, the coalition said that it plans to enforce a tax on fuel which reflects “environmental and climate impact”.
Climate crisis will cost Germany 900 billion by 2050
If the German government sufficiently funds climate policy, it will be a stitch in time. A new study by Germany’s Institute for Ecological Economic Research has revealed that at the current rate of policy development, extreme weather caused by climate change could cost the federal republic as much as 900 billion euros in cumulative economic damage by 2050.
According to the study, this figure could be reduced to 280 billion euros if the policy is put in place in time to avoid climate tipping points. But critics of the government’s new climate package have pointed out that achieving German climate neutrality by 2045 won’t be fast enough to avoid these tipping points.
Less than a week ago, Berlin’s referendum to make the German city climate neutral by 2030 failed to secure enough votes to be enacted. However, supporters of the plan argue that the basis on which the campaign was initiated is still sound: Germany’s new climate package and goal of neutrality by 2045 are not in line with the Paris Agreement to limit global overheating to 1,5 degrees.
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