A German court has begun hearing a farmer’s lawsuit against Volkswagen, claiming that the car manufacturer was partly complicit in the effects of global warming on its family business.

“Farmers are already being hit harder and faster by climate change than expected,” plaintiff Ulf Allhoff-Cramer said this week prior to hearing at the Detmold District Court.

Environmentalist organization Greenpeace, which supported several lawsuits in Germany with the aim of holding companies and states responsibility for climate change, supports Allhoff-Cramer.

Such cases have been successful in the past: some were rejected, while one has made it to the German Supreme Court, which last year ordered the government to accelerate efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

The latest case brings a call to end VW’s production of combustion cars by 2030, the second biggest carmaker in the world by sales.

Last year, German automakers rejected a similar request from ecological groups.

Volkswagen said in a statement that it intended to reduce its emissions “as quickly as the business allows” setting a deadline of 2050 for bringing carbon dioxide emissions down to zero.

“Volkswagen stands for climate protection and rapid decarbonization of the transport sector, but cannot meet this challenge alone,” declared the company, adding that the transformation also depends on state regulation, technological development and purchasing habits.

Greenpeace

Greenpeace is an independent global campaigning network. The network comprises 26 independent national/regional organisations in over 55 countries across Europe, the Americas, Africa, (wikipedia)

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