Hamburg Gets Serious About Diesel FumesHamburg, Germany’s second-largest city, is experimenting with restricting diesel-powered vehicle access to portions of two major streets, with exemptions for new, cleaner models. Environmentalists and ecologically minded politicians celebrate the move as a breakthrough on the path to cleaner urban air. A German court ruled last February that cities have the right to prohibit dirty diesel vehicles, and local authorities in other cities are making plans to bring their roads into compliance with strict European Union emissions requirements. “Symbolically, it’s a big step,” says Manfred Braasch, a local leader of Friends of the Earth Germany. “This has been a diesel nation.”
The federal German government is considering a comprehensive strategy designed to clean up heavy polluters among the nation’s 15 million diesel cars via hardware retrofits like those mandated in the U.S.