SHARE
COPY LINK

CLIMATE CRISIS

German farmer sues Volkswagen over CO2 emissions

A German court on Friday began hearing a case against the Volkswagen group brought by a farmer who claims the pollution caused by the automotive giant is infringing on his rights.

Organic farmer Ulf Allhoff-Cramer is challenging Volkswagen along with Greenpeace over climate damage.
Organic farmer Ulf Allhoff-Cramer is challenging Volkswagen along with Greenpeace over climate damage. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Lino Mirgeler

Ulf Allhoff-Cramer, an organic farmer from the Rhineland town of Detmold, backed by the Greenpeace campaign group, says Volkswagen’s emissions are significantly contributing to climate change and therefore damaging his business.

He claims this is interfering with his fundamental rights to property, health and freedom.

“A corporation with such gigantic CO2 emissions as VW is partly responsible for the damage caused by the climate crisis,” Roda Verheyen, Allholf-Cramer’s lawyer, was cited as saying by Greenpeace ahead of the proceedings.

If the group does not reduce its emissions much faster than currently planned, it will be harming others and therefore behaving “unlawfully”, she said.

However, a spokesman for the court in Detmold on Friday said it had expressed clear doubts about the success of the lawsuit.

The case was adjourned until September to allow time for the farmer to submit additional written evidence and to allow Volkswagen time to comment.

READ ALSO: How climate change is threatening Germany’s forests 

The automotive group has previously rejected his allegations as “unfounded”.

He is trying to claim “individual liability for general consequences of climate change” and that “in our view cannot succeed”, the carmaker said.

Allhoff-Cramer and Greenpeace want to force VW to reduce the proportion of cars it makes with combustion engines to 25 percent by 2029, and to end production of combustion engine vehicles completely by 2030.

They also want VW to reduce its CO2 emissions by 65 percent compared to 2018.

The plaintiffs accuse VW of having known about the dangers of global warming for decades.

READ ALSO: Germany chooses Greenpeace chief as first climate envoy

They say research has shown the board was warned at a meeting in 1983 of the consequences of increasing carbon dioxide emissions and the threat of climate change.

The Volkswagen group – whose 12 brands include Audi, Porsche and Skoda – is pumping 35 billion euros into the shift to electric vehicles and aims to become the world’s largest electric carmaker by 2025.

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.

CLIMATE CRISIS

Germany only has four glaciers left as climate change melts Alpine ice

Germany lost one of its few remaining glaciers this summer as exceedingly warm weather ate away Alpine ice at a faster pace than feared, a scientific report released on Monday showed.

Germany only has four glaciers left as climate change melts Alpine ice

The Bavarian Academy of Sciences said the state’s Southern Schneeferner had lost its official status as a glacier due to rapid melting of its once sprawling ice sheet.

“The Schneeferner’s ice thickness shrank significantly in large swathes and in most places no longer measures even two metres (6.5 feet),” the academy said in its latest findings.

It said even the thickest spot was now diminished to less than six metres compared to around 10 metres in 2018. The surface area of the glacier halved during the same period to about one hectare.

READ ALSO: Why it’s a bad year for Germany’s Alpine glaciers 

“That leads us to conclude that the remaining ice will completely melt away in the next one to two years,” the academy said.

It said that the dramatic shrinkage meant that the periodic measurements carried out by the academy since 1892 would now be suspended.

The loss means Germany has only four remaining glaciers: Northern Schneeferner and Hoellentalferner on its highest mountain, the Zugspitze, and Blaueis and Watzmann in the Berchtesgaden Alps.

Rapid glacier melt in the Alps and elsewhere, which experts say is being driven by climate change, has been increasingly closely monitored since the early 2000s.

Bavaria’s environment ministry said last year in a bombshell report that Germany could lose its last glaciers within the decade as climate change gathered pace.

Scientists had previously estimated the glaciers would be around until the middle of the century.

A global study released in April 2021 found nearly all the world’s glaciers are losing mass at an ever-increasing pace, contributing to more than a fifth of global sea level rise this century.

SHOW COMMENTS