Friday, September 24

“Wind in favor” for the environmental struggle in the courts: now it is the turn of the German automobile industry


The big German groups in the automobile industry can be taken for granted. Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW are now more than ever in the crosshairs of the environmental organizations Greenpeace and German Environmental Action (DUH).

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In fact, these organizations want builders to change their industrial orientations now. Greenpeace has initiated legal proceedings for “violation of the protection of property, health and civil rights.” A few days ago, Greenpeace and DUH made public their intention to take the big names in the Teutonic car industry to court, which they want to see, among other things, abandoning combustion engines by 2030.

Both organizations see Volkswagen, Daimler and BMW in “contradiction with the climate objectives of Paris”, according to the statement they issued in DUH last week.

“Despite the increase in extreme weather events and contrary to scientific findings, the German automotive industry continues to sell millions of climate-damaging diesel and gasoline cars globally, thus causing a carbon dioxide footprint greater than that of the whole of Germany in 2019, ”the statement reads.

“Delaying protection against climate change is illegal”

For Greenpeace and DUH, German companies in the automotive industry are not taking sufficient protective measures against climate change. Hence, they are reported to the courts. “Whoever delays protection against climate change is harming others and behaves in an illegal way,” as Greenpeace’s lawyer in Germany, Roda Verheyen, has explained these days.

Both his organization and DUH are supported in Germany after the decision of the country’s Constitutional Court by Chancellor Angela Merkel last April in which the magistrates considered that the climate protection law that the ‘grand coalition’ approved in 2019 was insufficient. Specifically, the judges considered that, as of 2031, the country had not provided itself with sufficient objectives to fight against climate change.

Declared “unconstitutional” for that reason, the German law had to be redone. The new version of the coalition of conservatives and social democrats led by Merkel was approved last June in the Bundestag. This new law is also criticized by the environmentalist party Los Verdes and activists in defense of the environment.

The decision of the Constitutional Court provides, for Greenpeace and the DUH, a good basis on which to demand changes to the automotive industry. These environmental organizations are also inspired by the recent court decision against the British-Dutch energy consortium Shell, forced in court last May to reduce its carbon dioxide emissions by 2030 up to 45% compared to 2019.

Thus, Martin Kaiser, one of the leaders of Greenpeace in Germany, has referred to the “historic” decision of the Dutch justice against Shell as “headwind” for the latest campaign of his organization and DUH.

Also the oil companies

In the initiative of Greenpeace and DUH, the energy firm Wintershall, the largest producer of crude oil and natural gas in Germany, is also threatened with being denounced for its lack of commitment to the fight against climate change. Environmental defense organizations want to see this company stop opening new oil and natural gas operations, at the latest, as of 2026.

Wintershall has climate neutrality in its plans in 2030, something that does not seem to deter in any way in Greenpeace and DUH. The big names in the automotive industry are also presenting, especially these days when the Frankfurt Motor Show takes place in Munich, their own climate targets.

Faced with the demands of Greenpeace and DUH, Daimler and BMW defend themselves by noting that they want to help achieve the goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees as proposed in the Paris Agreement. “The BMW Group is at the forefront in the battle against climate change”, they defend themselves in the firm based in Munich, capital these days of the automotive world. The Motor Show is one of the great fairs in the sector.

Let’s finish with him lobby of the automotive industry. No to the IAA “

This year, said fair, here better known by its acronym IAA, has been renamed “IAA Mobility”. The sector wants to present in it especially its commitment to other forms of mobility. That is why there is also space for bicycles and other vehicles, for example. Electric mobility is presented at the fair as one of the great priorities.

These efforts, however, are seen as “eco-posting” by the auto industry on environmental organizations. This week – the IAA opened its doors on Tuesday – numerous protest actions by activists are making their mark in Munich.

In different actions, roads and access points to the fair have been cut, something for which at the end of this week a dozen environmental activists had been placed in preventive detention. In one of the actions with the greatest media impact, the activists had placed a sign on the Munich highway A9, as if it were another indication of traffic. It read: “Let’s finish with the lobby of the automotive industry. No to the IAA ”.



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