IG Metall presents paper on decarbonizing transport
The German economy is right in the middle of a shift in mobility. The digital transformation and the controlled switch to renewable energies are changing the value chains fundamentally and re-organizing them. The automotive industry is consistently moving “away from oil” – every year German manufacturers and suppliers invest 30 billion euros in research and development. The future will bring more and more optimizations in internal combustion engines and alternative powertrains and fuels. The German automotive industry is one of the world’s leading providers of electric mobility.
Currently, however, in Germany not even one percent of all new cars sold runs on electricity. This indicates that in the coming years we will see conventional and alternative powertrains in use side by side. There is no economic, ecological or social sense in playing one type of powertrain off against another.
Automotive value creation and the technological leadership in Germany are closely linked to combustion engines and long-term investment decisions in this field. An early, politically motivated end to combustion engines would eliminate the automotive industry’s financial basis for investing in new technologies and could also affect employment. For example, a recent study by the Institute for Policy Evaluation showed that disproportionate climate protection targets pose huge challenges for the automotive companies, and that by 2030 up to 130,000 jobs could be put at risk if Europe applies too much regulatory pressure.
The trade union IG Metall also points out in its position paper published today, entitled “Using new exhaust standards as opportunities” (“Neue Abgasnormen als Chance nutzen”), that the structural change in the vehicle industry towards alternative powertrains can be successful only if we keep our eyes not only on the environmental-policy targets but also the goals of industrial and employment policy. In a “five point proposal” the trade union presents its solutions to questions about CO2 and nitrogen oxide emissions, and better market penetration of environmentally friendly powertrains. The paper indicates the relevance of emission regulations to Germany as a location for innovation and the millions of jobs at manufacturers and suppliers, thus providing an important and differentiated contribution to the debate on the decarbonization of transport. IG Metall calls for ambitious targets and much faster action when it comes to introducing alternative powertrains, and underscores the importance of internal combustion engines, including diesels.
The transport sector in Germany and Europe already makes a considerable contribution to reducing CO2, which will increase in the years to come. With the 95 gram target the EU is setting for new passenger car registrations in 2020/2021, it is pursuing the most demanding climate protection strategy in the world. Decarbonization of transport is a Herculean task that everyone needs to tackle – the industry just as much as the politicians who have to establish the right guidelines. Combining a wide range of different components such as clean and efficient vehicles, decarbonization through biofuels, and renewable fuels, infrastructural measures, utilizing the efficiency potential of digitization, and other measures, is the only way to tangibly reduce CO2 emissions from transport. An effective political strategy must pay attention to all of that.