Berlin (dpa) - Outside there was police and bag controls, indoors was usually factually discussed: In the heated climate debate, manufacturers and critics have argued in a unprecedented public round on ways to more climate protection in traffic - but they were not unanimous.

The industry did not want to get involved in halving the number of cars in Germany. The critics still followed the argument that the profits from large cars with burners were necessary to develop cars that harm the climate less.

The traffic has so far contributed nothing to climate protection, criticized the Vice Chairman of the Federal German Environment and Nature Conservation Union (BUND), Ernst-Christoph Stolper. "We are at the level of 1990." The manufacturers replied that in the next few years numerous electric car models would come to the market again. "We are part of the solution," said Daimler board member Britta Seeger.

The whether and how the meeting of both sides a week before the auto show IAA had been controversial at first. On the podium, they were neatly separated: on the one hand the carmaker, on the other co-organizer of a bicycle rally and demonstration on 14 September in Frankfurt during the IAA under the slogan "#aussteigen".

He wanted to initiate a social dialogue, said Bernhard Mattes, President of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA). The industry will achieve the climate goals by 2030, he assured.

At the same time, however, the two sides disagreed as to the aim of the Paris Climate Agreement: to limit the increase in the average global temperature to 2 degrees compared to pre-industrial times or 1.5 degrees.

For campaign organization Campact, Luise Neumann-Cosel accused manufacturers of failing to grasp the dimension of the climate problem. The world is on a disaster course. "We're sitting in a car and racing at a speed of 250 towards an abyss." And the carmakers kept pushing the gas as they pushed more and more SUVs into the market. These sports utility vehicles are due to size and consumption in the criticism.

Daimler manager Seeger replied that customers wanted these vehicles. "If we do not, others do it." Mattes said there were small cars to choose from. In the mix, the fleets reached the specified limits. The German automakers want to bring about 7 to 10.5 million electric cars on the roads by 2030 to comply with the limits. Otherwise penalties are imminent.

For less climate-damaging traffic, the critics demanded more pressure, for example through higher fuel costs, speed limits and fewer parking spaces. The automakers spoke out instead for incentives, such as promotion and a better infrastructure such as more e-car charging stations with cheap electricity.

"We will not solve the problem if we simply switch to e-mobility and continue as usual," emphasized Kerstin Haarmann, head of the Verkehrsclub Deutschland (VCD). In the future, there should only be half as many cars nationwide as today. VDA President Mattes replied: "Are we really going to tell a quarter of people: you have to leave your car?"

Mattes announced that the meeting would not be a fluke. Further discussion with critics and citizens is planned in Frankfurt on the sidelines of the IAA. Even after the auto show, they wanted to stay in conversation, it was said at the VDA.

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