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No More ‘Fun Fun Fun on the Autobahn’ Under Proposed German Laws (bloomberg.com)
25 points by pseudolus 59 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 59 comments

Very next article on my version of the page: "Europe’s Most Important River Is Running Dry" (because of climate change)

Grow up, could there maybe be an upside to limiting emissions? One this writer with his childlike and provincial worldview can't appreciate? (Provincial because it's FAHREN auf der Autobahn, and childlike because the chosen substitute-word is "fun.") This isn't about your shallow "fun fun fun," it's about everybody's "death death death." And I hate to break it to you, but driving 100MPH on a German highway (which I'm pretty sure he's never done, or else he might've seen one or two signs with the words Fahren or Fahrt on them somewhere) might not be the only thing he'll have to say goodbye to. You actually should probably STOP ALTOGETHER hauling 2 tons of dead weight around with you everywhere, and do it TODAY, or be overrun with migrant refugees of drought, war, famine, and fascism tomorrow. (Or maybe your place succeeds in keeping them out, in which case you're probably in the fascist place from which you'll be the refugee.) Gauge how likely that future is, by the number of shallow and petulant downvotes this comment gets. I've pretty much accepted it as a near-certainty. It will precede the much-needed, massive die-off of homo sapiens back to a more sustainable population size.

"the much-needed, massive die-off of homo sapiens back to a more sustainable population size."

Ah yes the Anti-human environmental movement! lets put those guys in charge!

I fail to understand this human-hating stance. It's very confusing to me especially seems it seems to be cheering the suffering and death of many people but the feeling seems to be prompted by the suffering and death of many people. It's simply confusing to me.

You guys are all missing the point. It doesn't matter who cheers, who "hates humans" (which is a ridiculous oversimplification) or who's "in charge" (since no one is). It doesn't matter if you like it or hate it. Is it "anti-rain" or "pro-rain" to notice a heavy rain cloud? I dunno but the rain absolutely doesn't care what you think. It doesn't even mind if you disingenuously reduce the issue to the same old simplistic pro/anti binary.

If you have the basic powers of observation of natural laws, and aren't so vain as to believe humans are exempt from them, you can see this coming. I've already gone through my 5 stages of grief about it, that's what you're picking up on. It's not anti-human; driving your car is anti-human. To the tune of 35,000 Americans killed every year by it, and that's just from crashes. Don't blame me for how you feel when you hear the bad news for what I'm pretty sure is not the first time. The pro-human approach would be to see this coming ahead of time and actually manage the transition.

EDIT: ...like Germany is trying to do (a step in the right direction, but probably not enough and not fast enough)

Most European style countries are doing just fine (including japan and korea). Small populations and moderate to negative birthrates. Great environmental laws and various forms of recycling and waste management. Various technological developments reduce overall resource consumption. In many of these countries there even internalized personal beliefs that reduce urban pollution.

Do you think nature can even hold a candle to these organized peoples? You think these people are afraid of water? https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flood_control_in_the_Netherlan...

I'm not sure what you mean with the fear of water. I brought up rain as an analogy for something that happens no matter what your opinion of it. And if anything the people along the Rhein may soon have to fear a relative absence of water. But anyway yes, most of the European countries deserve compliments for actually taking action on the climate issue. I fear it won't be enough, but there's a chance it will be, and anyway at least it's something. The USA where I am, can't even satisfy the prerequisites. To implement a solution, you have to first reach a consensus about what reality is. Then you have to decide what actions to take based on that consensus. Then you have to put some adults in charge of implementing those measures. Then they implement them. The USA can't even get past step 1 ("What is reality?") because a kind of psychosis seems to rule the land.

The facts are irrelevant at this stage this is purely politics. The poor and middle class do not want to be penalized for climate change (French yellow jacket protests are most visible example of this). This is just bluffing between economic groups.

I would guess that while logically inconsistent this stance actually fulfills a deep rooted biological program which is activated by the apparent scarcity of resources.

It's unfortunate that US will have to deal with its 'legacy' infrastructure built for 2 ton chunks of metal flying at 70mph.

If cities were built up with appropriate density, we could all get by in compact 400-500kg battery vehicles limited to 35mph. And not have to deal with ridiculous landscape upkeep overhead as a bonus (I'd venture to say at least 60% of people in suburbia never really use their lawn).

No worries, this isn‘t the first and also not the last time for such a proposal by a minority oppositional party. Politically this is not going to happen with most Germans relationship to their cars.

While you are right with the conclusion that it's not going to happen, you are wrong about who made the proposal. I suppose by "minority oppositional party" you mean the german green party (btw: more than 20% in recent polls) had nothing to do with it. The proposal actually came from the "Verkehrskommission" (English: transport commission), which is a commission of the federal government.

Good, it really honestly needs to happen. Unlimited speed increases pollution massively, and other countries do fine with 110-130kph limits on motorways.

The car industry has managed to turn it into a national pride issue, and will fight tooth and nail to preserve the unlimited sections of the autobahn, because it lets them sell more expensive more powerful cars, and market them as "tested on the Autobahn".

In general, German driving culture needs a bit of a kick in the pants. While they're generally quite courteous on normal streets, and very good at making room for emergency vehicles, they still have some issues to deal with.

First of all, they drive way too close at high speeds on the motorways, and they brake very late when coming up on slower traffic, for instance a Porsche going 200+kph coming up on an Opel at ~120kph overtaking slow traffic. The guy in the Porsche will brake hard at the last possible moment. This often leads to huge pileups in foggy or otherwise inclement weather.

Secondly, there is a very definite sense of entitlement based on the size and price of your car. The bigger and more expensive your car is, the more you expect people to just get out of your way, because they drive a "lesser" vehicle. It's extremely obvious to compare reactions when you're driving a small Citroën compared to even just a BMW 1-series. People will pull right out in front of you if they deem your car "lesser" than theirs.

Abolishing unlimited speed will reduce the number of accidents, reduce pollution and somewhat even the playing field on the roads.

E: For clarification, my girlfriend is from Baden-Württemberg and we spend a lot of time on the roads when we visit her family, 2-3 times a year.


(Which means driving. So I'm going to have to dock the title a few points for accuracy.)

Why not limit just fossil fuel vehicles then? That would encourage adoption of electric vehicles while keeping the freedom of the autobahn and reducing emissions just as much.

Can you imagine the traffic hazard when electrics going 200 come up on ICEs at 120? That’ll not be fun to see in action.

> 200 come up on ICEs at 120?

This happens to me regularly, and I'm not even living in Germany and driving on the Autobahn, I'm just living a little further to the East where the police is less rigorous in pursuing this type of traffic infractions. As long as you use the passing lane only when needed you're fine, nothing bad happens.

It can happen on the Autobahn today. Stay out of the passing lane.

If only 2% of autos sold are electric, that’s a lot of cars in the slow lane.

You can bet that 2% will go up fast after a law like this would be passed. It makes a lot of sense actually.

Which in future will be called the "rich men lane".

It is rich men lane. A car matter now.

What does gender have to do with wealth? And if we're talking cars going 200, aren't we already talking wealthy people even today?

No, cars going more than 200km/h are widely available, even small or mid-range models.

Most modern middle class cars can go faster than 200. And you do not see many women going faster than 160km/h on the Autobahn (my personal observation).

Approximately 90% of billionaires are male. It seems to have quite a lot to do with gender.

Have you driven the Autobahn before? This is quite normal Delta in speeds. Everyone is generally aware and slow vehicles promptly move to the right.

If 98% of cars today are ICE and this is implemented, it's going to create a hazardous condition.

Again, it's normal for the unrestricted part of the Autobahn. Unlike the US, German drivers are very serious about Rechtsfahren -- "Keep right".

You’re implying 98% of cars are going to occupy one lane and then 2% will use the passing lane and that’ll be just fine? That’s not very efficient.

When there's a 80 km/hr speed difference (or even 200 km/hr) between the lanes, it's the only way to be safe.


Again, this is normal for the Autobahn. All the bad behaviors you see on US roads (left-lane hogging, passing on the right) will get you an expensive ticket there.

This is exactly how the Autobahn works today and it is indeed fine.

Going 200 in an electric car will be a great learning experience for the relationship of drag and speed.

It up to faster car to not hit slower one.

I think for this to work, non-electric vehicles would need to be banned from the Autobahn completely.

That's not something I'd necessarily be opposed to in the future, but we need to get WAY more electric cars into use first.

Maybe that will create different classes of vehicles traveling at vastly different speeds sharing the same road. The benefit to the electric car driver may not outweigh the additional cognitive load and risk of collision from the presence of slower vehicles.

Which will be next? Gerexit or Frexit?

Yet another fun ruined by a aristocratic bigots who want to reeducate and control the unwashed masses while using jets and energy wasting hyper capitalism without shame.

It's not fun it's utility.

For context, imagine if the US gov said 'no more 55mph' on the highway, instead, everyone has to go 45 mph max.

Imagine how people would react.

Having roads with no speed limit is one of the reasons why to make cars with high maximum speed. Without that next generation cars can have 300hp and 90mph maximum speed.

Tax carbon more. Then, if people want to pay more for the externalities of their adventures, they can still have them rather than sucking all of the cool out of the world with a "Culture of No."

"Anything fun in life is illegal, immoral or fattening." - Anonymous

I agree; it is not the goverment's role, much less is it actually possible for them, to decide whether the needed cuts in carbon emission come from cars going slower on the roadways, from car buyers favoring hybrid cars or public transportation, from less goods being bought that require carbon to be made, or any of literally a million other options for carbon reduction. They should impose a pigovian tax on carbon, steadily increasing until they have achieved the level of carbon reduction desired, and let the free market sort out the particulars of where the carbon reduction happens.

In an ideal world, I'd be in favor of increased carbon taxes instead of blanket bans. The tax would need to be both high and broadly enforced, and should preferably offer some sort of subsidy to lower-income individuals to ensure they aren't decimated by the changes.

In practice, I'm so desperate for countries to do anything about climate change that I'm disinclined to complain about implementation. Climate change is an existential threat to humanity, and we need to actually treat it as such.

It's really not about ideal vs. non-ideal, it's about how to get the largest reduction in the fastest way, for the same public effort, political cost etc.

CO2 in automobile fuel is already heavily taxed in EU. Fuel used for aviation - guzzled by definition by the rich - is not taxed at all: https://www.greenaironline.com/news.php?viewStory=2453

The massive industrial CO2 outputs of cement or steel factories is taxed at negligible levels compared to fuel, EU could easily reduce emissions by increasing the tax while applying a similar levy on imported products. The revenue these taxes could generates could be reinvested in electric transport infrastructure to benefit all, or industrial and technological upgrades for housing, manufacturing etc.

These crap policies like speed limits have a single purpose, to avoid tackling the real issues of carbon emissions in the context of international trade, with the largest emitters getting a massive subsidy by destroying the planet.

Carbon taxes do seem regressive and problematic. On the other hand if we wait for an ideal world, it will only be ideal for plants, insects, rodents, and pathogens. Truthfully though, taxing consumers seems half-asses in the extreme. Of course what we need is something the average person is terrified of, which is to say we need nuclear power en masse, and we needed it yesterday. That can give us some breathing room to push hard on solar as wind, as well as using nuclear power to produce hydrogen through electrolysis.

It’s not perfect, it’s expensive, it produces waste we need to deal with, but the alternative is going to be waiting for too-slow progress on the renewable end, only to realize it’s too late. That’s when the desperate geoengineering attempts will be made, likely kicking off some very unintended consequences.

Well, carbon taxes are the way to get there by letting the market decide what is preferable technology as opposed to some rando on an internet forum decreeing that we need nukes (not that I disagree).

Poor people are actually the most price sensitive and lowest consumers of services and manufactured goods, they would end up paying a smaller portion of the tax. There is nothing stopping the government from reducing other taxes in compensation or using the revenue to provide, say, a minimum level of free health insurance for all.

Just to be clear, I am 100% in favor of carbon taxes. We can use subsidies, largely from the revenue generated, to soften the more regressive properties of the tax.

I'm just not going to complain when countries implement alternative measures. At least it's something.

Yeah, I wish this was the approach for more things. There is something in between "free for all" and "no one is allowed to do it".

Towards the end of the article they mention the possibility of increasing petrol taxes, but that the government is wary of the political impact (hardly surprising, seeing all those riotous Frenchmen).

Unsurprising, the unions favour speed limits over taxes (I doubt many trucks are travelling at 80mph).

This proposed law is bullshit. Just like the US, Germany should withdraw from the Paris agreement.

Don't leaving us hanging! If you want to comment about something, could you please give us some information? That's what we're here for.

What Germans should withdraw from is coal.

A pity they withdrew from nuclear instead.

People already got washed in radioactive rain in 1986. Nuclear waste is leaking from barrels in an old salt mine. In France, the sea in front of La Hague is contaminated with plutonium. No thanks.

How many people died from that vs co2+particulates+radiation from burning coal?

The lobby for nuclear power on HN always surprises me. In Germany these points are pretty undisputed - the question is not an OR, of course one needs to leave coal as well [1]. Which is why there is all the investment in renewables [2]. Nuclear power, however, has the potential for devastation of a whole region for many thousands of years (ask people in Pripyat), and these costs for future generations need to be internalized as well. We have no room to spare in Europe. If you internalize the costs of disasters of nuclear power they don‘t make sense anyway.

[1] Current status: exit has been underway for at least a decade, although not as quickly as some would have hoped. https://medium.com/thebeammagazine/germanys-lignite-exit-str...

[2] wind and solar have been growing consistently for the past 15 years and have surpassed coal two years back. See https://twitter.com/dave0dave0/status/1081101220159414273?s=...

Can renewables power everything though? Seems unlikely, we'd need 50% renewables + all the batteries we can make forever, and 50% nuclear to replace coal, gas, and oil.

Average EU human uses 4kW of energy 24/7, including everything they eat, buy, heat, move etc. Assuming we move all use of engines to electricity and generate renewable power so don't waste 50% heating water in power stations, and get it down to 2kW, to store that power for just a day would be an electric car sized battery for every human.

You’re really just spreading fud. Not that it matters, even the most extreme exaggerations of the dangers of nuclear are a drop in the bucket compared to carbon emissions. Getting cancer from carbon pollution isn’t any better than getting it from nuclear radiation, only it is far more common.

If you’re against carbon emissions, and emission free clean energy at the same time, I don’t know how you’d expect to be taken seriously.

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