From: Yale Environment 360
Published November 14, 2017 08:38 AM

In Drive to Cut Emissions, Germany Confronts Its Car Culture

Germans like to think of themselves as the most environmentally friendly people on earth. They see their sophisticated recycling programs, their love of forests, and, most recently, the country’s drive to replace both nuclear and coal-fired power production with renewable sources — the so-called Energiewende, or “energy turn” — as evidence of their strong environmental consciousness, especially compared to top polluters like the United States and China.

But the green self-image of Europe’s largest economy and most populous country doesn’t square with another important aspect of Germany’s national identity: its longstanding love affair with fast, gas-guzzling automobiles produced by the country’s iconic carmakers — BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Volkswagen. Now, with new studies showing that Germany may well miss its 2020 CO2 emissions-reduction targets, and with the nation’s automakers rocked by scandals over falsifying emissions data, Germans are beginning to question the sustainability of their automobile culture.

This debate is being joined at a time when the country’s once-highly regarded auto industry, which produced 5.75 million new cars in Germany in 2016 and an additional 11 million cars in factories all over the world, is going through its deepest crisis of public confidence in decades.

Read more at Yale Environment 360

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