Climate experts urge Germans to ‘give up cars’ for Lent 

Posted: March 1, 2017 by oldbrew in alarmism, climate, News, pollution, Travel

s-bahn
Hard to see bus and train operators giving 40 days of discounts to ‘help the climate’ as so-called climate experts fondly imagine. Pollution, congestion and climate fears all get rolled into one issue.

For years German cities have suffered under the effects of polluted air, mainly caused by diesel cars. But now that it’s nearly the Christian season of abstaining before Easter, experts have a novel solution, as The Local explains.

The Federal Environmental Agency (UBA) and other climate protectionists are encouraging Germans to go on a ‘car fast’ for the season of Lent leading up to Easter.

Katrin Dziekan of the UBA suggested special discounts on Deutsche Bahn and regional train services could be offered to those who abstain from cars for the 40 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter.

The Minister for Environment and Nature Conservation, Barbara Hendricks, also supported the concept, explaining that it doesn’t mean all car-driving has to stop. “But we could change our perspectives if we are totally aware and at least during the fasting season switch to other forms of transportation,” Hendricks said.

Green party transportation expert Stephan Kühn explained that fewer cars on the roads helps to fight the amount of pollution in the air. He also noted that, in his experience, travelling to work by bus or train is a much more relaxed way to commute as one isn’t tormented by daily traffic jams.

Earlier this year the UBA released a report showing that the air in German cities during 2016 was too polluted with nitrogen dioxide – the main culprit being old diesel cars. The levels measured on over half of busy streets exceeded safe recommendations.

Three in four German households have at least one car. And for a population of more than 80 million, there are 45 million cars in total.

The proposal to give up driving for Lent is actually nothing new – some churches have been encouraging “car fasts” for decades. “During the fasting period, we Christians are challenged to reconsider and review our living habits,” said Mainz diocese environmental officer Franz Hock.

The General German Automobile Club (ADAC) said it had no fundamental objections to the idea. Spokesman Andreas Hölzel noted that voluntarily not driving a car should also not be limited to fasting periods, and travelling short distances is better suited to walking or bike-riding.

Hölzel also pointed to a survey conducted by ADAC that showed people were more willing to switch to using the bus or train if prices were cheaper, the connections were quicker and more reliable, and if the ticket variety was easier to understand.

Stefan Küper of environment group Germanwatch argued against the notion that cars are the most affordable option. “Right now including the fixed costs like the depreciation of cars, taxes, insurance… and more, you can generally travel with the bus or train for significantly less,” Küper said, adding that there’s also the option of using car-sharing services. But he conceded that “of course there are places, in particular in the countryside, where it’s very difficult to travel without a car.”

Ulrich Lange of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU party said he had a realistic perspective when it comes to not using a car. “I come from an area with a lot of open land. In practice, not driving a car and using other transportation has its limits for people there and for me,” Lange said.

Source: Climate experts urge Germans to ‘give up cars’ for Lent – The Local

Comments
  1. Ken Mitchell says:

    One more example of how “environmentalism” is the new religion, supplanting the old.

  2. “Green party transportation expert Stephan Kühn explained that fewer cars on the roads helps to fight the amount of pollution in the air.”

    Am I the only one who is stunned and amazed by the genius that is Stephan Kühn?

  3. oldbrew says:

    What they really want is for Germans to give up internal combustion engines forever. Starting 2030…

    http://www.roadandtrack.com/new-cars/future-cars/news/a31097/german-government-votes-to-ban-internal-combustion-engines-by-2030/

    First electric Roller – it’s a bit small though 😎

    http://www.ibtimes.co.uk/rolls-royce-builds-electric-car-cheer-children-hospital-1609153

  4. Tim Hammond says:

    Actually why wouldn’t train operators give discounts? Their costs are pretty much entirely fixed, and so every incremental passenger is incremental revenue, whatever they pay.

    Provided you can limit the discounts to new passengers. it’s money straight to the bottom line.

  5. oldbrew says:

    Tim H – ‘Provided you can limit the discounts to new passengers’.

    Admin cost.

  6. oldbrew says:

    Excess use of land for bio-energy a mistake – German minister

    Energy crops take up 17.5 per cent of German arable land.

    We therefore need a radical rethink in this area, so that we can finally have success in the protection of species” added Hendricks, who plans to provide more funding to farmers who use their lands for nature conservation services, at the expense of agriculture-related subsidies. –[bold added]

    http://www.powerengineeringint.com/articles/2017/03/excess-bioenergy-use-a-mistake-german-environment-minister.html

  7. Stephen Richards says:

    Remember, these people run the EU. There’s the thought for the day.

  8. oldbrew says:

    They could close down the EU for Lent – give its victims a break :/
    – – –
    ‘“Right now including the fixed costs like the depreciation of cars, taxes, insurance… and more, you can generally travel with the bus or train for significantly less,” Küper said’

    But owning a car means you have the fixed costs anyway, whether you use it or not. That’s what fixed costs are.

  9. oldbrew says:

    BBC: Is there a way to tackle air pollution?

    Scientists at the University of Leicester are trialling a portable air monitor to gather precise data at a personal scale.

    We watched as volunteer, Logan Eddy, 14, carried the device in a specially adapted backpack that recorded details of the air he was exposed to.

    Exactly where he walked was then displayed as lines on an electronic map, the colour of those lines conveying how unhealthy the air was at different points.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-39132679

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