17 May 2021, 12:30
Edgar Meza

Industry leaders concerned over lack of impact assessment in new climate policy

Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung

In a joint interview with Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung, the heads of the German Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA) and the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA) said that Germany’s Climate Action Law could cripple German industry if it is too hastily implemented and without necessary precautions. VDA President Hildegard Müller took issue with what she described as the German government’s “haste” and “lack of impact assessment” as it seeks to cut CO2 emissions. While describing German industry as “a driver of climate protection” that is seeking to achieve climate neutrality by 2050, Müller expressed concern “that the social dimension of change, jobs and future prospects for the workforce are being neglected”. She added that while German automakers were focusing on e-cars, they could not be expected to also build the necessary charging networks. “The automotive industry doesn't build roads and petrol stations either.” Charging possibilities, she added, have to be available at home, at work, when shopping and on public streets in the city and throughout the country. “If Berlin and Brussels want lower limit values ​​for CO2 emissions, this is only possible with more e-mobility and more e-fuels from fossil-free energy sources. If that's not there, consumer confidence collapses.”

VDMA President Karl Haeusgen added that the shift to e-mobility would mean the loss of 580,000 jobs but also the creation of 420,000 new jobs. “So on balance we have 160,000 fewer jobs, a whole lot. Many people will lose their jobs. How to manage this in a socially acceptable way is an open question.” Haeusgen also welcomed business prospects in the growing international focus on climate protection, noting for example that the U.S. government’s plans to invest more in green technologies and infrastructure offered major opportunities for German industry.

The German government decided in the beginning of May 2021 to aim for greenhouse gas neutrality by 2045 – five years earlier than previously envisaged. Following a ruling of the country's highest court, the cabinet also initiated a reform of the 2019 Climate Action Law, including higher emission reduction targets for each sector by 2030.

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