09 Nov 2021, 12:50
Edgar Meza

Climate activists demand 2030 end to combustion engines in lawsuit against Volkswagen

Clean Energy Wire

The heads of Greenpeace Germany and an activist from climate protest group Fridays for Future activist have filed a lawsuit against Volkswagen in a German court accusing the carmaker of failing to do enough for climate protection. In the lawsuit, filed at Braunschweig Regional Court, Greenpeace Germany heads Martin Kaiser and Roland Hipp and activist Clara Mayer claim that VW’s massive CO2 emissions contribute significantly to the climate crisis and its consequences. To protect their freedom and property rights, they are calling on VW to end the global sale of climate-damaging internal combustion engines by 2030 at the latest. If the lawsuit is successful, about two gigatons less CO2 will be emitted by 2040 – more than double the annual global aviation emissions, Greenpeace said. The NGO is also supporting the identical lawsuit filed by an organic farmer in another German regional court. In their arguments, the plaintiffs are relying on the landmark ruling by Germany’s constitutional court earlier this year and a Dutch court ruling against oil company Shell. "A huge CO2 emitter like Volkswagen has to bow to international climate targets and the [constitutional court] ruling from Karlsruhe," said Kaiser, speaking at the COP26 climate conference in Glasgow. "VW can only make its contribution to limiting the global temperature increase to 1.5 degrees with a quick goodbye to the combustion engine."

Greenpeace said VW had in October rejected its legal request to reduce CO2 emissions more quickly, adding that the carmaker has still not presented a strategy based on a residual CO2 budget compatible to the 1.5 degrees target. In order to meet that budget, VW must reduce its CO2 footprint by at least 65 percent by 2030 compared to 2018, Greenpeace added. Following the Dutch ruling against Shell earlier this year, German climate protection NGOs have geared up for legal attacks on what they describe as climate offenders.

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