Greenpeace is taking VW to court.
After a number of major emissions scandals, it would seem as though Volkswagen would get its act together, and it has to a certain degree. The German auto manufacturer has been hard at work electrifying its fleet of cars and has launched some exciting new models, including the ID.4 and the sexy ID.5. The company now aims to take the fight directly to Tesla and is serious about zero emissions, but the brand is still being haunted by its dirty past. The latest legal trouble for VW comes from the eco-warriors at Greenpeace, which is now suing the company over its carbon emissions targets.
The environmentalist organization Greenpeace and eco-warrior Clara Mayer are taking VW to court over its inaction on climate change. This is a rather lofty accusation, but the demands set out by the group are even more so: Greenpeace is demanding that Volkswagen end its production of internal combustion engines by 2030 (something Mercedes-Benz is already doing) and reduce carbon emissions by at least 65% from 2018 levels. It comes as no surprise that Volkswagen has rejected the demands.
"Volkswagen stands for climate protection and decarbonizing the transport sector, but it cannot tackle this challenge alone," a spokesperson said in a comment to Reuters. "The task of designing appropriate measures belongs to Parliament. Civil court disputes through lawsuits against singled-out companies are not the place or way to do justice to this task of great responsibility."
Greenpeace recently filed cases against fellow auto giants BMW and Mercedes-Benz, as well as gas and oil firm Wintershall Dea with similar demands of emissions reductions. These cases will be modeled around one successfully fought in the Netherlands against Royal Dutch Shell, which argued that the company's reluctance to lower its emissions was a "failure in its duty of care to citizens". That court case led to a mandate forcing the company to reduce its CO2 emissions by 45% from 2019 levels by 2030. If this case goes the way Greenpeace hopes it will, then we're looking at an unprecedented scale of government involvement in private industry. This might be bad news for free-market capitalism, but good for the survival of the human race. Place your bets.