The study indicates that transport is responsible for 18 percent of Germany's emissions, but the level of particulates and nitrogen is down. While there's no doubt that engines are getting cleaner, the problem stems in part from more vehicles on the roads emitting greenhouse gases. Plus, Germans are reportedly favoring larger, more powerful models, which further cuts into any potential gains. "We've noticed that many technical improvements and the trend toward more fuel-efficient vehicles have made little difference," Federal Environment Agency President Maria Krautzberger said, according to Deutsche Welle. "The volume of traffic is growing."
With a one-third increase from 2000 to 2013, freight transport is especially an issue on the country's roads. Krautzberger wants to start fighting things by putting emissions limits on semis, forcing tolls on them, and hauling more goods by ship or trains.
"We're moving in the wrong direction," Krautzberger said, according to Deutsche Welle. She's not the only one that feels that way, though. Whether through largely symbolic means like Stockholm's one-day car ban or more serious moves like in France, Europe appears to be getting much more serious about handling its emissions.