By FRANK JORDANS, Associated Press
BERLIN (AP) — A German court is set to begin hearing Friday a case brought against Volkswagen by a farmer who claims the automaker is partly responsible for the impact of global warming on his family business.
“Farmers are already being hit harder and faster than expected by climate change,” plaintiff Ulf Allhoff-Cramer told reporters this week ahead of a hearing in a regional court in the town of Detmold, Utah. west of the country.
Environmental group Greenpeace, which has backed several lawsuits in Germany aimed at holding corporations and government accountable for climate change, supports Allhoff-Cramer in its suit.
Such cases have met with mixed success: some have been thrown out, while one has gone to Germany’s highest court, which last year ordered the government to step up efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse.
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In the latter case, Allhoff-Cramer is asking VW – the world’s second-largest automaker by sales – to end production of combustion-engine vehicles by 2030.
German automakers rejected a similar request from environmental groups last year.
Volkswagen said in a statement it aims to reduce emissions “as quickly as the business allows”, but has set a 2050 deadline for reducing carbon dioxide emissions to net zero.
“Volkswagen stands for climate protection and the rapid decarbonisation of the transport sector, but cannot meet this challenge alone,” the company said, adding that the transformation also depends on government regulation, technological development and the behavior of people. buyers.
The company said lawmakers should decide on measures to combat climate change.
“Litigation in civil courts through lawsuits against individual companies appointed for this purpose, on the other hand, is not the place or the way to bring justice to this responsible task,” VW said. “We will defend this position and seek the dismissal of the lawsuit.”
In 2015, the US Environmental Protection Agency caught Volkswagen using software that allowed diesel cars to pass emissions tests and then disable pollution controls during normal driving.
The company apologized and paid tens of billions of dollars in fines, recall costs and compensation to car owners.
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