Dear Mrs Merkel, please help - I’m afraid of commitment

Posted by Elena Polisano — 24 May 2013 at 4:36pm - Comments
by-nc-nd. Credit: European Union

Of all the shoulders to cry on, it might seem strange to pick the German Chancellor’s. But that’s what the German car association (VDA) did this week when its president Matthias Wissman wrote to her to moan that long-term targets for cleaner cars could strangle the car industry. He asked her to take a strong position against the regulations which are currently being debated in Brussels.

What upset him so much? Over half a million Greenpeace supporters got Europe’s biggest carmaker, Volkswagen, to commit to meet those same targets. This commitment broke with the position of the rest of the German car industry and Germany’s government - and gave a new hope to people worldwide hoping for a way to cut CO2 emissions and our thirst for oil. And now Greenpeace supporters are using a major petition to call on European politicians to vote for strong regulations.

This cosy coupling of the German car association (VDA) and the German government is a huge threat to the safe passage of sensible laws that could move Europe towards cutting emissions from cars in half by 2025. But gas-guzzler manufacturers BMW and Daimler are feeling the heat, with BMW sulking that the standards would be “impossible to meet.” They’re meeting with governments across Europe right now to try to make our countries vote for weak targets.

If politicians believe car bosses’ claims, Europe’s cars would stay on a fast track to a polluting, oil-dependent future. Moreover, the car industry seems to suffer from memory loss. In 2008 when the EU adopted CO2 emission limits for cars, the car industry claimed that longer-term targets would break them. In reality most manufacturers are set to reach those targets ahead of time.

With 78,000 people having joined our petition, we can still get our governments to stop listening to the German car industry, and block the German government’s influence. Sign the petition here to make sure we get cleaner cars.

Let’s show the German car industry that crying to governments won’t work. A CO2 target for 2025 is the best way to clean up cars and use less fossil fuels. For the sake of a cleaner car future for the whole of Europe, Merkel and our government should ignore the car industry recommendations and provide certainty with clear targets.

Go to to demand a cleaner future for our cars.

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