Spotlight Activity: Urban Diesel Ban
A court case in Leipzig originally filed by German environmental aid and ClientEarth resulted in a diesel ban across cities in Germany becoming legal. The ClientEarth Ugo Taddei referred to the court decision “as a remarkable outcome for the citizen’s health”. The restriction on the use of most polluting vehicles across cities in Germany is meant to prevent air pollution. However, thousands of commuters in the cities eg. Stuttgart, use diesel cars because they are cost-effective given the fuel subsidy from the German state.
Yet, the use of diesel leads to the release of nitrogen oxide which is a greenhouse gas. Nitrogen oxide causes respiratory complications that lead to untimely deaths. Poor quality air has so far been blamed for about 400,000 untimely deaths per year in Europe. Thus, the EU standards require all member countries to ensure exhaust gas remain way below 40 micrograms per cubic meter of air. Some cities in Germany have exceeded this limit. For instance, the city of Stuttgart missed the target set for 2010 by allowing the figure to be double the set limit, a situation that can be avoided. The Minister of Environment Barbara Hendricks called for “the enforcement of the court ruling, as it is a legal clarification of the law”. This means that, if there are no plans put in place the court ruling will only be theoretical and nothing will change regarding the use of diesel cars.
Status: Right Direction
The court ruling on the diesel ban opens a door for clean air and better health across German cities. Although this is a major setback to German car manufacturers who make their sales from diesel cars, it is a win to environmentalists who advocate for the meeting of Paris agreement goals. Based on the diesel ban, Germany is moving in the right direction because the court ruling gave a legal basis upon which EU clean air standards can be enforced.
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Dr. Barbara Hendricks – Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety
Tel: 030 183050
Mail: Stresemannstraße 128 – 130
You can also contact:
Christian Schmidt – Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture / Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure
Web: Leave message (you can send the message anonymously)
Tel: +49 (0) 30 18300 – 3060
Mail: Invalidenstraße 44, 10115 Berlin