The contribution of industry states to the climate goal which was fixed and then signed at the Climate Change conferences in Copenhagen and Paris is ambitious: They want to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent in comparison to the values of 1990 by the year 2050. Traffic will have to contribute significantly to this. However, even if by 2050 all cars are electric, the target would have been missed, as the speakers at the conference in Graz said. The reason for that is the vast increase in freight transport, a sector in which fossil fuels will remain dominant according to experts.


The transport sector amassing the largest number of kilometres is shipping, which accounts for 80 percent of all kilometres covered by cargo transport. This is expected to remain the same until 2050. While on the high seas fright ships almost exclusively use heavy fuel oil. If it is up to ship owners, this will remain the same for some time.

Currently less than 1 percent out of the roughly 60.000 large maritime freighters use gas – the liquid natural gas LNG to be specific -, according to the industry expert Udo Schlemmer-Kelling. He further states, that the emission regulations do not obligate ship owners to use alternatives to heavy fuels in the upcoming years. In principle the two-fuel principle of “Dual Fuel” (heavy fuel and LNG) or a hybridization are possible alternatives to heavy fuels, which lead to great environmental damage. However Dual Fuel requires a very expensive tank system, on the other hand it minimizes the costs of exhaust gas treatment. Switching to electric drive would also bear great costs. Methanol made from hydrogen and CO2 from the air is another possible alternative currently being tested in Germany. Andreas Wimmer, large engines expert and CEO of the Large Engines Competence Center in Graz, states: “An implementation in the marine sector is probably only realistic by 2050”. The reason for that lies mainly in the extreme cost pressure in this area and the long life cycles of the ships as well as the lengthy international discussion about the tightening of emission norms.


When talking about emissions of diesel cars trucks are often used as an example. For years trucks have had to undertake non-stationary test as well as a stationary one. Nowadays they are considered cleaner than some diesel cars. Prof. Helmut Eichlseder of the Graz University of Technology sees great potential for a massive decrease of CO2 in the use of synthetic fuels, which uses surplus eco-electricity to make hydrogen which is in turn used to produce synthetic liquid petrol. However, at the moment this costs three times as much as diesel.

Railway Traffic

In this sector there are very large disparities. While trains in Europe are largely operated electrically, many big countries like the USA, Canada, Russia, China, and India still rely on diesel locomotives. Only the USA and Canada have “emission limits worth mentioning” states Christoph Kendlbacher from Bosch.

Press coverage

Klimaziele der Industriestaaten ohne Verbrennungsmotor nicht realisierbar
Kurier, Beilage , 12.10.2017