for a new traffic and energy culture



CO2 - Reduction in Traffic

Technological solutions exist - the political framework is lacking

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In Berlin from March 27 to April 7, 1995, the 1st UN Treaty States Conference on the Climate Framework Convention is being held at the invitation of the Federal Republic of Germany. The AOSIS states, a group of 35 island nations from the Pacific, the Atlantic, and the Indian Oceans, are threatened with annihilation by the rising level of the seas caused by the continuing warming of the earth's atmosphere. Of the 166 signatory states of the RIO Convention, they are the only ones to present a draft for a decision calling upon the industrial nations to reduce their CO2 emissions by 20 percent from the 1990 level over the next ten years.

The industrial nations have the responsibility to set an example and take a pioneering role in reducing their consumption of energy. We would like to point out the particular responsibility of a car designer, whose "simple line on the drawing board" will continue to influence CO2 emissions for more than twenty-seven years not only on a national level, but, because the car is an export item, also on an international level.

In Germany, motor traffic has a 31.5 % share of all CO2 emissions, 22 % of it due to fuel. If the current transportation policy is continued, i.e. if the Federal Transport Route Plan (BVWP) is rapidly implemented, by the year 2005, carbon dioxide emissions caused by transportation are expected to increase by 43 %. But the German government has obligated itself to reduce CO2 emissions by 25-30 % by that time – and not only in the area of traffic. Within Europe, Germany is the largest emittor of CO2. This holds for total emissions as well as for emissions caused by transportation. The energy and environmental results of mobility based on fossil energy sources prove that the dramatic increase in traffic undermines all technological successes in reducing emissions from vehicles. A 56 percent increase in traffic is predicted by the year 2005. The German automobile industry has "voluntarily" committed itself to produce a car consuming only five liters of fuel per hundred kilometers by the year 2005. But the most recent expertise (1995) of Germany's Environment Ministry clearly indicates that, even if the five-liter car is introduced in 1996, this will neither stabilize nor reduce the amount of CO2 emitted. Today's internal combustion vehicles – perhaps better termed "poison gas vehicles" – always require fossil energy.


In the economical and ecological long-term, renewable energies such as solar energy, wind energy, biomass, and small hydroelectric plants are the only acceptable alternatives to fossil energies and nuclear energy.

long, long

...electricmobiles of the day
before yesterday

Elektro-Eiswagen der 20er Jahre Electric-Icetruck of the 20th (jpeg 32 KB)  
20er Jahre Elektrowagen der BEWAG German Post-Electrictruck of the 20th  (jpeg 24 KB)

A New Culture of Energy and Traffic

Zero-Emissions-Mobiles Solar-mobiles and solar cells cause no emissions, except in their manufacture. Every owner of a solar-mobile or solar facility purchases his fuel for the next twenty-five years in advance, so to speak. Owners of solar-mobiles drive autonomously past every increase in petroleum prices. They make their environmental contribution today and invest in a technology of the future that creates no follow-up costs. Lightweight solar-mobiles require an average of 10 kilowatt hours per 100 kilometers. That is the energy equivalent of about 1 liter of gasoline per 100 kilometers.

A New Culture of Energy and Traffic. All current ecological balances demonstrate the necessity to restructure the energy supply. The "invisible" or "external" costs caused by the consumer must be reflected in the price of energy. These are costs that the taxpayer must bear as a result of traffic accidents, air pollution with resulting diseases, noise protection facilities, water contamination, etc. For the first time, the Federal Office of the Environment in Berlin has calculated the "external effects of traffic in Germany" – and arrived at the conclusion that every liter of fuel should actually cost DM 1.10 more. In this context, using solar energy in the transportation sector is already cost-effective today.

The goal of all measures toward a transportation policy that does not harm the climate is the "consciously" mobile person who eschews a private vehicle and instead chooses what he needs at the moment from a "mobility mix": walking, bicycle, public and transportation, car-sharing or rental car. Decisive for success is the quality and price at which such a mobility selection is presented. In the long term, solar/electric-mobiles and the multiple use of vehicles (car-sharing) can make a marked contribution toward reducing and preventing emissions in the transportation sector.

Text: Bettina Kosub


Energy Policy on a Collision Course

Fossil energy consumption will cost US 910 Trillion Dollars by the year 2030

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The industrialised nations and the developing countries are facing a hefty bill for ignoring the menacing effects of global warming.

Dr. Olav Hohmeyer of the Fraunhofer Systems Engineering and Innovation Research Institute ISI in Karlsruhe warns: "If we don´t finally start achieving dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions now, we will not only be facing financial desaster, but will eventually be condemning hundreds of millions of people to death - particularly in the poor countries of the Third World".

Unless sweeping changes are made, the IPCC expects the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to double world-wide by the year 2030. Using these figures as a basis, Dr. Hohmeyer, in his study "The Cost of Climate Change", concludes that the hidden global cost of current energy policy will be a massive 910 trillion US dollars (1,488 DM trillion) - 600 billion Deutschmarks a year in Germany alone. This figure takes into account the damage to the environment and the resultant loss of harvests, desiccation and starvation, and also includes human lives lost through lack of food, valued at one million dollars each. In other words, the true cost of heating and power supplies is eight times higher. This very straightforward calculation means that alternative energy systems such as a solar energy and wind power, formerly considered too expensive, would become vaible alternatives within the next 10 to 15 years.

The main critism put forward by this study is the lack of consideration in the gross national product for the external and social cost of energy policy. The true cost situation was portrayed using CO2 emissions as an example. By assessing all damages caused by CO2 emissions, the Fraunhofer Institute calculates consequential cost of US$ 485 (DM 793) per ton of CO2.

As a result, the damages caused by CO2 alone would amount to 300 times the gross national product of united Germany.

Resolute promotion of renewable energy sources and comprehensive avoidance strategies are the only option available to mankind. The industrial countries must reduce up to 80% of their CO2 emissions. The cost per saved ton of CO2, at US$ 200, are far lower than the cost which a continuation of the current policy would entail.

If the human race continues down its present path, the temperature of the atmosphere around the earth will increase by an average of 2 to 3 degrees Celsius in the next few decades; even by conservative estimates, the sea level will rise by at least 18 centimeters.


The climatic belts will shift; tropical storms will cause flood disasters on an unprecedented scale; entire coastal regions will fall fallow as a result of salination, while around 30 percent of the most fertile agricultur land will be lost. The world´s major providers of grain, the USA, Canada and France, will only be able to meet half the total export demand. Massive price increases will follow, making it impossible for the poorest countries to import food to make up their domestic shortages. This in turn will lead to malnourishment, starvation and a proliferation of epidemics. At the end of the cain, the likely result will be hundreds of millions of human lives lost, particularly those who are unable to emigrate to a wealthier country.

Efforts to combat climatic damage will use up all our future economic growth. The sooner politicians get to grips with the problem of reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere for over 100 years before it is absorbed into the world´s oceans.


The Cost of Climate Change, commissioned by the European Commission

Further Information:

Dr. Olav Hohmeyer, Frauenhofer-Institut für Systemtechnik und Innovationsforschung, ISI


What is Quality of Life?

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Recent urban and regional planning is distinguished by its orientation to the needs of human beings, particularly with the close spatial correlation between the central spheres of life, living, working, shopping and leisure. The following mobility concept is based on the avoidance of superfluous distances and leads to the following list of priorities:

The primary objective is the integration of all methods of transport, with their specific advantages, to form an optimum overall transport system. It is not sufficient to simply replace the current internal combustion engine vehicles with solarmobiles.


Accordingly, the top priority must be a gradual reduction of the proportion of vehicles with combustion motors in traffic as a whole (as in Zurich and Bologna). In addition, transport shifts and new transport solutions which improve the economic balance are necessary.


Development of an immission-free network of paths for


Development of a coherent cycle path network which is free from the direct emissions of internal combustion engine vehicles



Car sharing reduces the parking area of idle traffic, the number of vehicles produced, and the frequency of use of the individual vehicle. Car sharing with solar/electric cars may provide environmentally compatible vehicles for induvidial transport over short distances. In the introductory phase of solarmobiles, internal combustion engine vehicles may be used for long distances and complex transport tasks.


Supplying electric vehicles with electricity from fossil fuel and atomic power stations impairs our environment on a similar scale to the combustion vehicle. Consequently, power supply, including that for the transport section,must be converted to renewable sources of energy. Solarmobiles are low-noise and do not create exhaust fumes. As a result of the characteristically defensive style of driving in solar/electric cars, they provide an active contribution to the avoidance of traffic accidents.



Bus lanes are sealed traffic areas with low levels of utilisation. They could serve as an introductory aid for verifiably emission-free traffic. Electric vehicles which verifiably generate the main part of their consumed energy in a regenerative manner would be given a distinct badge entitling them to use the bus lane. Initially, it would be necessesary to prove a regenerative energy supply for a travel distance of approximately 5.000 kilometers a year, either as a proportion or an independent unit, depending on the specific consumption of the vehicle in question.

Per 10 KWh energy consumption over 100 kilometres, we demand a minimum installation of 500 Wp solar power or wind power capacity. Only energy-efficient vehicles may bear the name solarmobile and carry the official solar badge. Energy consumption limits would be determined depending on the state of the art.

In traffic abatement zones, only solar/electrically powered vehicles would be allowed to travel at all times, and motor vehicles with combustion motors only at restricted times.

Areas of Application


Reduction of motor vehicle traffic with combustion vehicles

Text: Bettina Kosub, Dr. Ing. Gotthard Schulte-Tigges, Arno Paulus


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