Greenpeace is suing Volkswagen for failing to decarbonise the company in line with the 1.5°C goal set in the Paris Agreement.
Greenpeace Germany is enforcing the landmark Karlsruhe constitutional court ruling of April 2021, when judges ruled that future generations have a fundamental right to climate protection.
In its letter to Volkswagen preceding the filing with the court, Greenpeace Germany claims that the company’s current and planned measures contravene the Paris climate goals, fuel the climate crisis and thus violate applicable law.
The letter states that the company must rapidly phase out the use of internal combustion engines in order to stay below 1.5°C.
The plaintiffs, including Fridays for Future activist Clara Mayer, are asserting civil liability claims for the protection of their personal liberties, health and property rights, based on the May 2021 Dutch Court case against Shell, which ruled that large corporations have their own climate responsibility and ordered Shell and all its subsidiaries to do more to protect the climate.
Martin Kaiser, executive director of Greenpeace Germany, said: ‘While people suffer from floods and droughts triggered by the climate crisis, the car industry, despite its enormous contribution to global warming, seems unaffected.
‘The ruling of the Constitutional Court represents a mandate to quickly and effectively enforce the legal protection of our common livelihoods. We need all hands on deck to protect our common future.’
Clara Mayer, plaintiff against Volkswagen and climate protection activist, added: ‘Climate protection is a constitutional right. It is not acceptable that a company should so significantly prevent us from reaching our climate targets.
‘At the moment, Volkswagen is making huge profits by producing climate-damaging cars, which we will have to pay dearly for in the form of climate consequences. The basic rights of future generations are in danger, as we are already seeing the effects of the climate crisis. The begging and pleading has come to an end, it is time to hold Volkswagen legally responsible.’
Photo by Tingey Injury Law Firm