Farmer Battles VW Over Climate

Wed 25th May 2022

Motoring giants Volkswagen are being sued by a farmer who claims the company’s car emissions are responsible for the climate change which is threatening his livelihood.

Ulf Allhoff-Cramer is the latest plaintiff to be backed by environmental behemoth Greenpeace in a series of legal cases which are reaching the courtroom in Germany. Speaking outside the court last week, Allhof-Cramer told reporters that ‘Farmers are already being hit harder and faster by climate change than expected.’

The German farmer will be buoyed by a recent high court decision in his country which ruled that the government must do more to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a judgement which has made implications across Europe.

The latest case, which is being held in the regional court of Detmold in Western Germany, focuses on Allhoff-Cramer’s request for the production of combustion engine vehicles to end by 2030. Some government’s, including the UK, have already made this pledge, but VW and other German brands have rejected this demand after similar cases last year.

Auto manufacturers and oil companies are facing many similar case across Europe in the last two years, but VW remains steadfast, saying in a statement that it is already making major concessions on emissions and aims to be net-zero by 2050.

“Volkswagen stands for climate protection and rapid decarbonization 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 buyer behavior,” the statement said.

“Disputes in civil courts through lawsuits against individual companies singled out for this purpose, on the other hand, are not the place or the means to do justice to this responsible task,” VW said. “We will defend this position and ask for the lawsuit to be dismissed.”

VW’s commitment to a green future may be questioned by some, who will point to the company previously using software to let diesel cars pass emissions tests, but then reversed these controls when been driven on roads. The German company was forced to pay billions of pounds in compensation.