The current Chancellor of Germany, Angela Merkel, was recently quoted during a pre-election town hall event as saying that diesel cars remain a necessity for the time being if the Paris climate change conference goals are to be achieved.
“We need diesel if we are to achieve our climate protection goals,” Merkel stated.
Interestingly, the comments can be read as a sort of warning against an overly quick shift away from diesel cars — this is interesting because of Merkel’s willingness to vastly accelerate the country’s plans to close its nuclear power plants following the Fukushima disaster.
The situations are of course not truly comparable, though, as diesel cars are an immediate health risk to the public whereas the nuclear power plants in question were just a potential liability. I’m not pro-nuclear, but there was seemingly no good reason to fast-track the plans for plant closures in Germany following Fukushima … other than politics. These rapid closures of course increased the country’s dependency on coal, thereby working against the goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The situation with diesel cars again seems to be dictated by politics and money, rather than by a desire to achieve its climate change goals (as Merkel claims) — the German auto industry is seemingly just seen as a “too big to fail” part of the country’s economy.
Reuters provides more: “She told one car owner that the more modest compensation received by German car owners compared with their US counterparts was the result of very different legal systems in the two countries.
“Nonetheless, Germany’s carmakers needed to compensate owners whose cars were less valuable as a result of the scandal as best as possible, she said, otherwise ‘the German car industry, which is admired the world over, could suffer substantial harm’.
“The future of the auto sector, Germany’s biggest exporter and provider of 800,000 jobs, has become a hot election issue as politicians blame executives and each other for the sector’s battered reputation after Volkswagen’s admission almost two years ago that it had cheated US emissions tests.”
Ah, politics … money, corruption, scapegoating, and lying through the teeth. And, more importantly, no genuine regard for those that are ruled by those that are ruling.
Naturally, Merkel’s true interests and plans for the auto industry — government policies related to it, that is — are a little hazy as she jumps from one general point of view to another. In recent weeks, here are a few of our related articles:
Image by Armin Linnartz (some rights reserved)