German environmental group launches climate lawsuit against carmakers

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FILE PHOTO: The logo of German car manufacturer BMW is seen on the company headquarters in Munich, Germany, December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD
FILE PHOTO: The logo of German car manufacturer BMW is seen on the company headquarters in Munich, Germany, December 5, 2019. REUTERS/Andreas Gebert/File Photo GLOBAL BUSINESS WEEK AHEAD

German charity Environmental Action Germany (DUH) is aiming to force carmakers BMW and Mercedes-Benz to phase out internal combustion engines by 2030 with a new legal challenge.

The association filed its first climate lawsuits against German companies on Monday, DUH announced.

The association is demanding that BMW and the Daimler subsidiary Mercedes-Benz “drastically reduce the CO2 emissions of their vehicles in accordance with the binding regulations of the Paris Climate Agreement and the German Climate Change Act.”

On Tuesday morning, BMW sent a letter rejecting the DUH arguments in the lawsuit, and arguing that climate targets were decided by parliament.

A Mercedes-Benz spokesman said, “We long ago issued a clear declaration for our switch to climate neutrality.”

DUH said that it was preparing another lawsuit against the oil and gas company Wintershall.

The cases are based on a landmark ruling by the Federal Constitutional Court in the spring, which said that the government was not fulfilling its obligations to younger Germans.

Their future rights could be curtailed as a result of insufficient government action on greenhouse gas emissions, the judges said.

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