Germany’s Decarbonization Plan for Transportation: Agora Verkehrswende

Agora Verkehrswende

A successful clean energy transition requires an environmentally friendly transport  system.  By 2050 Germany has committed to cut its greenhouse gas emissions by between 80% and 95% compared to 1990.  In 2015, the international community set itself ambitious climate protection targets for the first time in the form of the Paris Agreement on Climate Protection.

Ambitious climate protection targets can only be reached if greenhouse gas emissions from transport can be cut significantly and effectively. Our transport system must therefore be restructured in such a way that oil consumption is drastically reduced.

This transformation is a complex task and a political, economic and societal challenge. In partnership with the key players in society, Agora Verkehrswende is looking for ways to transform the transport system and make it environmentally friendly. Agora Verkehrswende focuses on the land-based traffic of passengers and goods in Germany in a European context.

What are we aiming for?

In partnership with key players in the fields of politics, economics, science and civil society, Agora Verkehrswende aims to lay the necessary foundations for a comprehensive climate protection strategy for the German transport sector, with the ultimate goal of complete decarbonisation.

This climate protection strategy revolves around the transition of the entire traffic system from fossil fuels to electricity and fuel generated by renewable energy. The necessary transition includes increasing the efficiency of the entire transport system by avoiding unnecessary traffic, transitioning to environmentally friendly modes of transport and increasing the efficiency of individual modes of transport. The environmentally friendly development of urban traffic is a key component of the necessary revolution.

Stimuli for the transport transformation are required on all levels, from the international/European level to the national level and even states and municipalities. The work of Agora Verkehrswende will reflect the necessary interaction between these levels.

Agora Verkehrswende analyses and discusses the ecological, economic and societal aspects of the indications, consequences and reciprocal effects of a transport transformation. It focuses on the complex reciprocal effects between the political framework, technical innovations,

infrastructure and land use planning, changing mobility requirements and transport preferences.

It is striving to develop a shared understanding between the key players on promising ways to transition to a decarbonised transport system.

Building on this, Agora Verkehrswende will prepare recommendations for the relevant decision – makers on various levels that will lay the foundations for climate protection in the transport sector.

What does the transition look like?

Agora Verkehrswende is focusing on societal discourse. The highly decorated Council of Agora Verkehrswende provides a forum for constructive, controversial discussions on ways to develop the transport sector along environmentally friendly, sustainable lines with selected representatives from the fields of politics, economics, science and civil society. The discussions of the Council of Agora Verkehrswende  are complemented by public workshops  and conferences.

The interdisciplinary team of Agora Verkehrswende and its academic network lay the necessary academic foundations for the discourse and strategic development in the form of diverse analyses and studies. Agora Verkehrswende has a significant research budget for this purpose.

How is the project organised?

Agora Verkehrswende is a division of the non-profit organisation Smart Energy for Europe Platform (SEFEP) gGmbH. Its shareholders are Stiftung Mercator and the European Climate Foundation. The Agora Verkehrswende team which manages the implementation of the initiative is based in Berlin and led by the Managing Director Christian Hochfeld, who will present on Agora Verkehrswende and how it is functioning as a transition platform for transportation, at the January 2017 Annual Meeting of the (US) National Academies of Science & Engineering Transportation Research Board (TRB) with sponsorship from the International Activities Committee and TRB AF0003: Climate Change, Energy, and Sustainability, chaired by Marie Venner.  Neil Pedersen, Executive Director of TRB, will chair the session exploring the ability of TRB to serve as such a transition platform in the US.