Volkswagen Sued in Germany over Climate Change

2021-11-18 by JamesD

            Greenpeace Germany, an organization that promotes environmental sustainability, has, together with environmental activist Clara Mayer, sued automaker Volkswagen in a German court because they believe the company isn’t doing its bit to fight climate change.

            Volkwagen was issued with a list of demands by Greenpeace Germany and Mayer, who also stated that they give the company two months to consider their demands. One such demand is to end the production of cars with internal combustion engines by 2030. They also want the company to cut its carbon emissions by more than 60% from 2018 levels by 2030.

            In response, Volkswagen rejected the demands of Clara Mayer and Greenpeace Germany on October 28th. According to Reuters, this rejection fueled the claimants’ suit against the company. They were also fueled by what they said were unclear and vague climate change commitments from the company.

            The sale of ICE vehicles is expected to end by 2030 in the UK, so several automakers have pledged to only sell electric vehicles in Europe by 2030. They are also increasing production of electric vehicles ahead of. General Motors announced its plan to become a carbon neutral company by 2040.

            Volkswagen is still on track to increase its production of Electric Vehicles, as emphasized by its delivery of pure-electric vehicles in 2020, which exceed the number it delivered in 2019 three fold. After rejecting the demands, Volkwagen released a statement via a spokesperson, claiming the company cannot stand alone in the challenge of decarbonising transportation and protecting the climate.

            The company’s history isn’t very promising when it comes to issues related to environmental regulations, as in 2015 it was discovered that the company deceived regulatory authorities regarding its diesel engines. 

The engines were discovered to be programmed to adhere to pollution control measures when examined by government officials. On the road, the programming could be turned off so performance could improve while pollution increased. 

Researchers discovered in 2017 that Volkswagen used a software mechanism to deceive regulators. With it, the engines in their vehicles could release 40 times more nitrogen oxide than is allowed by regulators after testing.

Volkswagen’s chief executive Herbert Diess, former CEO Martin Winterkorn, and chairman Hans Dieter were all sued for market manipulation in light of the diesel emission scandal two years after the discovery was made.

BMW, Daimler, Audi, Volkswagen, and Porsche were all fined $1 billion in July after it was discovered that they all colluded to prohibit the development of systems used to control emissions. The companies rejected demands for them to cease production of ICE vehicles by 2030 while reducing CO2 emissions in the meantime.