Greenpeace has had no success with another climate lawsuit against Volkswagen. The district court of Detmold rejected on Friday the complaint of an organic farmer, who was supported by the environmental organization. The 1st Civil Chamber justified its judgment with the fact that there was no legal basis for prescribing a complete phase-out of combustion engine technology for the car manufacturer. VW must also have other ways to reduce CO2 emissions, as there are other seriously considered alternatives in addition to battery-powered electric motors, such as the hydrogen-powered combustion engine or fuel cells.
Volkswagen welcomed the ruling. "The dismissal of the lawsuit confirms our view: climate lawsuits against individual singled out companies are the wrong way and without basis in law," the company said.
Ban on combustion engines demanded by 2030
The organic farmer holds the world's second-largest car company jointly responsible for making a significant contribution to climate change with its diesel and gasoline cars and called for no more cars and light commercial vehicles with combustion engines to be put on the roads by the end of 2029. In the proceedings, he claimed that he had suffered considerable damage as a result of climate change and that the future of his farm and the associated forest was in danger.
As in similar lawsuits, Volkswagen sees the courtroom as the wrong place to enforce climate protection. That is the task of the legislature. "On the other hand, disputes before civil courts through lawsuits against individual companies singled out for this purpose are not the place and the means to fulfil this responsible task." Regardless of this, the Group will drive the transition to climate-friendly mobility.
So argued the car manufacturer also in a procedure before the district court of Braunschweig. In mid-February, the company dismissed a lawsuit by Greenpeace to prohibit the carmaker from selling vehicles with internal combustion engines from 2030. The plaintiffs, including climate activist Clara Mayer, claimed that Volkswagen was violating their fundamental rights through the effects on climate change. After the rejection in Braunschweig, Greenpeace had announced further legal steps to persuade Volkswagen to do more climate protection by legal means.