The majority of people in Germany are in favor of introducing a general speed limit on the Autobahn. Apparently they trust the study, which varies from study to study, but almost always comes to the same conclusion, namely that a speed limit would only have positive effects: less CO2 emissions, less traffic jams and fewer accidents. The fact that the government, namely the FDP, still hasn’t taken up the age-old demand for a speed limit is an expression of a lack of seriousness.
The fact is: The cheapest and most efficient way to become more independent from fossil fuels (whether from Russia or Qatar) is to use less energy. This question, of all things, is regularly neglected in the current debate.
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All those for whom the energy money and the tank discount are not enough will turn down the heating or leave the car in winter. Everyone else can keep wasting.
It was telling what the parliamentary state secretary in the Ministry of Defense, Daniela Kluckert (FDP), said at an event last week: As a student, she herself voluntarily drove no faster than 130 kilometers per hour. She couldn’t afford a faster pace. The example shows that people know how to save fuel if they want to (or have to). Involuntarily, Kluckert made it clear that the wealthy part of the population produces a particularly large CO2 footprint – and stuck to her no to a state-imposed speed limit.
The problem is not only the injustice, it is also the message that comes from this lack of seriousness: that everything can go on as before as long as the personal account allows it. It can’t. Millions of people around the world are already suffering from the consequences of climate change. Of course, a speed limit would only be a drop on the overheated planet.
Thus goes the opponents’ main argument: that the benefit would not be great enough to justify the expected annoyance. But first of all, every drop counts. And secondly, precisely because of its symbolic character, the debate has the potential to bring about a rethink. Humans are adaptable, as Corona has shown not least. How many of those who thought working from home was impossible now don’t want to go back to the office at all?
The opportunity is also good: with the nine-euro ticket, there will be a cheap alternative to the car from next week. Accompanied by car-free weekends, at least in the inner cities, it could be a summer of alternatives. With cafes on the sidewalks and roller skaters on the streets.
And why not in the country? Here, too, there are innovative minds who have developed apps, for example to form a car pool. The Passenger Transport Act has already been reformed accordingly. To seize the debate, take away its prohibitive character and emphasize the opportunities – that would suit the FDP well. Recently, Christian Lindner likes to talk about energies of freedom. Energy that is not used in the first place offers the greatest freedom.