German car industry makes stand against new EU Commission's climate ambitions
Clean Energy Wire
The German auto industry association VDA has warned against the new European Commission's push for stricter emissions regulation and climate targets. At the lobby group's annual conference in Berlin, parting VDA head Bernhard Mattes said carmakers need planning security and no one would benefit from "superimposed burdens" resulting from ramped-up climate ambitions. "The key phrase here is the 'European Green Deal'," Mattes said. He pointed out that many companies are already struggling to minimise job losses and manage the impact of several simultaneous challenges, ranging from dropping sales to the shift to electric vehicles. "Brussels must not jeopardize the competitiveness of the industrial location of Europe by formulating even stricter climate goals," Matthes said. Germany’s car industry is struggling with weaker foreign demand, tariff disputes driven by the US and stricter regulation following the dieselgate emissions fraud scandal as well as with managing the broader shift from combustion engines to e-cars. "We have to expect a decrease in the size of the core workforce" of currently roughly 830,00 employees, Matthes said, adding that the current trend towards job cuts will be "more pronounced" in 2020. The current EU climate targets stipulate an emissions reduction of 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030 and the car sector is expected to play a key role in this effort. The new EU Commission leader, Ursula von der Leyen, announced at the COP25 UN climate summit that the goal should be increased to at least a 50 percent reduction and promised that a new 'green deal' for economic policy will help to make the climate-friendly technology a growth engine for Europe. VDA head Mattes will be succeeded by former energy lobbyist and Merkel confidante Hildegard Müller to lead the German carmaker association in January.