tv DW News PBS February 27, 2018 6:00pm-6:31pm PST
♪ host: this is dw news live from berlin. a german court rules that cities have the right to ban diesel cars to reduce air pollution. today's ruling is a victory for environmentalists but a blow for the car industry. for the millions of motorists who may not be allowed to use their cars. also coming up, full-scale fighting resumes and eastern ghouta after a temporary truth. humanitarian workers say they have been unable to deliver aid and no civilians were able to leave. plus, icy air from siberia has
sent europe's temperatures plunging. extreme weather warnings and place in many countries, especially in the east. ♪ host: it is good to have you with us. we begin with a decision that threatens to slam the brakes on diesel industries. one of germany's top courts has said cities are allowed to ban diesel cars to curb pollution. environmentalists have welcomed the ruling but it is a defeat for the auto industry as manufacturers may be forced to pay to improve exhaust systems. it could also mean millions of diesel owners are no longer allowed to drive their cars. >> at the moment, most because maybe driven a german cities regardless of the engine they
have. following today's ruling, cities with high levels of air pollution could opt to outlaw all, a clear victory for the environmental group that initiated the legal action. >> today is a great day for clean air in germany. we fought for clean air for people and cities. for threshold have been surpassed in many german cities. the nitrogen oxides admitted by diesel cars are damaging to people's health. they have 6000 early deaths every year. >> wonderful. it is about time for the city center to be made car free. that would be super. >> ban the things immediately. they are dirty. >> many diesel owners now fear they will no longer be able to drive in urban areas. of the 15 million diesel cars, the ban could affect 9
million. many trucks and vehicles may be banned, as well as private cars. >> is annoying. so i have to to the train into town if i may not drive my car anymore? it is a blow to the little guy who has no money. >> the german government is keen to prevent driving bans. angela merkel tried to calm nerves and subsidies will receive help to combat air pollution. >> this applies to individual cities, were more needs to be done but this does not affect the whole of germany are all car owners in germany. it is important to make that clear. >> there is one way to prevent driving bans. auto manufacturers could retrofit their diesel engines to make them cleaner. experts say that is possible. the cost might behind the alternative could mean millions of angry customers, not an attractive option for german carmakers. host: the city of dsseldorf has
some of the most polluted air. one of the cities sued for violating pollution limits of nitrogen oxide. the mayor of duesseldorf joins me tonight. good evening to you, mr. mayor. what does today's ruling mean for you? will you ban diesel vehicles from your city? >> good evening. it does not necessarily mean we have to ban diesel cars. the court decided that a ban on diesel cars is legally possible, but it has to be implemented by maintaining what they call the proportionality principle, that means only if a ban on diesel cars is the only efficient means to reach the threshold values for nitrogen oxide, what it is in english. only then, it needs to be
implemented. if there are other means -- host: can you meet the threshold? what are they? you're some of the dirtiest air in germany someone up and diesel engines? that would be the best solution for you. >> the main problem is it is extremely difficult to administer and enforce a ban on diesel cars. first of all, there are a couple of streets affected that do not meet the threshold values. you need to ban diesel cars exactly on the streets. units also establish sort of detours -- you need to establish detours the people can get through the city. the biggest problem is it is impossible to identify cars without looking at the actual papers of the car. you have to -- you need to set up checkpoints, where you
control of each and every card if you really want to efficiently enforce a ban on diesel cars. it is virtually impossible. i would say it is an extremely inefficient means to the cost and the effect is disproportional. host: could you feel is responsible? do you feel lied to? do feel like the auto industry has been lying to people? >> absolutely. that is the worst thing, you know? the cities are affected by a ban on diesel cars. they need to administer its and the diesel drivers, they have to bear the brunt of such a thing, which has been cost and this should not be forgotten. this has been cost by the automotive industry, which has produced cars that pollute more than they claim they do. it has also been cost by the
federal government, who is responsible to set up the threshold values off the cars that are admitted to public traffic and, apparently, there failed to do their job and basically it is the city's and consumer's job to deal with it. bill the governor, deal with it. host: we know it will be expensive. you said it is something you could do now because of the ruling. do you want a diesel ban in your city? >> no, i don't want it. i think there are much more efficient means. we in the folder for emphasis on public transportation -- we in dusseldorf put emphasis on
public transportation. we do not think this should be the choice. there are much more efficient means. the bicycle is the main means of transportation. it is a mission-free -- emm-- emission free. host: we want to thank you for taking the time to talk to us. thomas giesle, the mayor of the dsseldorf. you need to write your bike even in the winter, right? you will tell us banning diesel engines is definitely nothing you. javier: it is not. other countries have started way earlier. more authorities around the world are introducing different measures to improve local and conditions.
glastonbury, a city and/or replace a one-day ban on most diesel cars. traffic was down 30%, although there were many exceptions. it is not the only european city . if you take a look at paris in france, they have already bans most diesel -- banned most diesel cars maybe four 2000. in 2020, all diesel cars will be banned from the streets in paris. the mayor of london also said he will ban diesel cars in 2020 and is been joined by other cities like madrid, athens, or even mexico city. they also want to ban diesel motors in mexico city, and they will do it in five years later to curb nitrogen oxides and other toxins in their cities. as you can imagine, sing all of this, it is not the best time to buy a diesel car right now. germany. while some celebrate -- right
now here in germany. while some celebrate this ban, others worry about that consequences to their cities. here are two sides of the discussion. >> the idea of smog conjures up notions of bustling capitals. berlin is one of 17 german cities notorious for breaking legal air pollution limits. could city centers soon be no-go areas for millions of cars? over in frankfurt, the used car dealer marcel del arbol is too aware of the problem. the main difference between them, one type of car sells well, the other does not. >> for the last year, prices have been falling dramatically along with demand. in some cases, demand has fallen 90%. the prices have plummeted. i reckon about 25% per vehicle.
what has happened means prices will go down again. we have to see how things develop. i think sales will come to a standstill. >> carmakers marketed diesels as the environmentally friendly choice. they burn less fuel per mile and a minute less carbon dioxide. no wonder one in three cars on german roads is a diesel. car owners rely on them to get to work. manufacturers are confidence a general ban on diesel cars will never materialize. the car diesel lobbying group vda says even partial measures will be damaging. >> the decisions problem is different cities could have differing regulations. this concerns us because a patchwork of different r egulations would confuse drivers. that is why we hope for a
reasonable, nationwide regulation. >> diesels will stay on german streets for now. whether they will be restricted in some fashion is another matter. diesel bands could be seen as another useful tool for cities and their fight against out of control air pollution, but how to implement them without disrupting business or harming economic growth? is it enough to exempt certain streets or vehicles vital to business? cities across germany will be asking themselves these questions. >> let us take a little deeper into the subject, which is a complex one. i'm joined by jamelle dumalaon. we have been covering the topic for many months. let us start with the point of view of the consumer. as we see the concision, i do wonder do consumers in germany really want to get rid of diesel
cars? jamelle: i think things like air quality and maintaining respiratory health are very important. at the end of the day, we all have to breathe. how that is to be achieved is where you see a detergent and opinion. a ban will affect the lives of lots of people. we have about 2 million tracks. small businesses are worried about the supply chain. we will have to create exceptions for ambulances and fire trucks. if it is any comfort, this will be a relatively long-winded process. this will take months. cities have to update their air quality regulations and then come up with a plan. nobody will start pulling off diesel cars off the roads immediately, but it could happen. host: let's talk the other side of the industry. we saw it. diesel cars in germany are
extremely popular. no coins and the carmakers have pushed the -- no coincidence. the carmakers behind them have pushed the product. jamelle: the reality would be what you would expect as far. they cannot comprehend the decision and it creates a lot of uncertainty. what they can try to do is offset some uncertainty until the motorists how they plan on making their lives easier. for example, they will have to respond to renewed calls for hardware fits. carmakers have refused to do this in the past because of the cost. upwards of 1300 euros for cars. we're looking at 15 billion euros for the cost. now, they will probably also have to offer more models that bridge the gap from here to mass electric big lots option by offering more hybrids with more
electrical components. more importantly, they can offer to pay for the fixes. but they will doing is still -- what they will be doing is still up in the air. host: let us see if they really surprised. we're talking that the fact that people will have to change their car some way or another eventually. what does the ruling mean for all of the confused diesel drivers? jamelle: i'm surprised they're not more angry and not marching the streets are driving their diesels on the streets. depends on how a ban would be enforced if they are indeed an post. it also depends on what sort of zocor you drive. if you bought your car after september 2015 when the latest euro standards came into enforcement, you can probably keep driving your car. you may receive a logo or seal to identify it as a less pollution the ago. if it has a lower standard, hopefully we'll get a retro for it hopefully for free or a trade and at the worst case.
in th-- and the worst case, you will be sent with a lemon you cannot resell. host: a complicated story for consumers for sure. thank you very much. ♪ host: tonight, the war in syria rages on. a top u.s. general accusing russia of "behaving like an arsonist and firefighter in syria." washington is convinced moscow was playing at the stabilizing role in the conflict. the u.s. army general lash out in russia today after a temporary truce collapsed, a truce ordered by vladimir putin in the rebel-held enclave of eastern ghouta, near damascus as you see right there. moscow accuses the rebels of being the first to launch attacks. >> today's the skies over eastern ghouta were supposed to fall silent.
a five-hour humanitarian pause brought little relief to residents in the enclave. strikes were reported during the pause and the war planes resumes bombing as it ended. >> we pray to god for help. what kind of cease-fire is this with attacks? >> corridor set up to allowed residents to leave went largely unused. rebels claims people were refusing to leave on buses out of fear of being captured by government forces. >> we are meant to pick up the winded from eastern ghouta and take them to damascus on humanitarian groves. >> syria's ally, russia, accused the rebels of preventing people from leaving and failing top of the true spite by mere putin. >> the militants are -- truce by vladimir putin.
>> moscow's plan fall short of the 30-day cease-fire, passed by the united nations but has yet to take effect. there are still waiting to deliver desperately-needed supplies. >> imagine now, four months passed without aid being able to reach the people. it is getting catastrophic for the people. >> the residents of eastern ghouta can do little to clear the rubble, and hope tomorrow's cause brings relief. host: we want to bring and ralph el hage, spokesman for the red cross in the middle east. he joins us from beirut. good to have you on the show. your organization released a statement today saying "it is impossible to bring in a humanitarian convoy in only five hours." what framework needs to be in place if you are able to do your job in eastern ghouta?
ralph: absolutely. five hours is definitely not enough to bring in humanitarian aid for over 400,000 people who have been living ther ewith very little, access to medicine food, water, and basic necessities. what is needed is the government of syria and armed groups, that all the parties fighting come to an agreement to allow humanitarian organizations the safe and repeated access into eastern ghouta, first so we are able to assess humanitarian needs and devise our plan accordingly. even if we're allowed once into eastern ghouta, that would definitely not be enough, and we would have to enter again to distribute to the thousands of people who are in need. host: what are you going to do?
as it looks right now, the un's cease-fire is not taking place, and the only thing that oculd or ma yhappen is -- that could or may happen is this five-hour pause tomorrow. what will you do? ralph: unfortunately, we are unable to do anything at the moment but to keep on calling for all the parties to respect international, humanitarian law. we have a responsibility to respect the international humanitarian law. not to target civilians, and to allow convoys to enter. what is happening today is hospitals and medical staff are being targeted inside eastern ghouta and that is absolutely unacceptable. if the parties respect the laws
of war, we will be able to ease the suffering of the people. we hope that the resolutions or agreements that happened with the parties are respected so that we are able to play our role as a humanitarian aid organization and deliver humanitarian necessities are basic necessities to the people inside. unfortunately, as things are now, we are just waiting and waiting hopelessly in order to do our job. the fact is that we are unable to do our job at the very moment. host: we can only imagine how frustrating it is for your organization. and when you consider there are potentially 400,000 people t here who need help, based on your experience, what is the best course of action for these people? if they have time to get out, should they do that?
or should they stay and witait r aide to be delivered? it is a 50-50 chance either way. would you recommend? -- what would you recommend? ralph: we would never recommend anything. people have the right to determine their own fate and an armed conflict. people wait t wish to stay and e in their own homes, that is their decision. people want to leave, that is also the decision. there are a lot of people in the corridors who want to remind you that no one should be enforced to leave their homes. they have the right to stay in their homes, regardless of the consequences. that said, we as the red cross, we cannot really recommend to people what to do with their lives. some people will tell you i would rather die in my house and
some people would rather escape. people who want to escape, they should be allowed a safe exit. if they want to stay, they should be not targeted. host: spokesman for the international committee of the red cross joining us from beirut. thank you very much. ralph: thank you. host: curacao of the other stories now that are making headlines around the world. -- here are some of the other stories now that are making headlines around the world. people were rewarded with success when a church's tax plan was suspended today. the church where people believe jesus christ was crucified and buried was closed and will reopen wednesday. the suite outside the russian embassy has been renamed after the russian politician and critic of president vladimir putin, who was gunned down three years ago. at the same time in moscow, supporters placed lowers at the
place where he was shot. a former security guard was jailed for the murder. greece's economy and development minister has resigned. he stepped down a day after his wife left the government. this followed a public outcry when it was revealed to the wealthy couple has been receiving a substantial government rent subsidy for their apartment. this while greeks continue to deal with strict austerity measures. the rare -- [no audio] from the east continues to wreak havoc from europe. it sent temperatures plunging again today. a headache for a doll going to work and delights for children who got a day off of school. >> freezing rivers, blocking
roads, and causing disruption across the continent. in britain, snowfall in parts of the country caused schools to close and issues of travel warnings. in italy, snow paralyzed train services. school was closed in naples so youngsters could enjoy a rare snowball fights. in western croatia, record snowball of 182 centimeters caused huge snowdrifts, bearing houses and roads. for them, it has been quite a shock. >> there has been nothing like this in living memory. i have been living here a long time, but i do not remember it ever snowing like this. it has always been within the average of half a meter, maybe a meter. >> further east, sophia was resplendent and white, but
flights in and out of the old. capital was canceled when people were left without power. that led to schools being closed, perfect for the city's young sledding enthusiasts. host: here's a reminder of the top stories we are following. germany's top administrative court ruled in favor of allowing cities to ban heavily-polluting diesel vehicles. environment talists say thousands of people die prematurely from nitrogen oxide. a truce meant to relieve the suffering and eastern ghouta has collapsed. both sides are plumbing the other for the fighting. do not forget, you can always get dw news on the go with our app.
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