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Published on November 4th, 2017 | by James Ayre


Germany’s Greens Will Only Join Coalition Government If Auto Manufacturers Agree To Cut Emissions With Mechanical Changes To Engines & Exhaust Systems

November 4th, 2017 by  

As part of the ongoing coalition government formation talks in Germany, it has been revealed that the Greens will reportedly only join if the local auto manufacturers agree to introduce mechanical changes to their vehicles to reduce emissions.

That is to say, auto manufacturers would need to implement actual changes to their engines and exhaust systems to reduce emissions — rather than to just utilize questionable software “fixes” as has been the case in Germany to date since the Volkswagen diesel vehicle emissions testing cheating scandal.

As some background here, the Greens are currently in coalition formation talks with Chancellor Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc (Christian Democrats + Christian Social Union) and the pro-business Free Democrats (FDP). It’s very arguable that a coalition between the three is the only possible government following the last election — but it’s an open question as of yet if these parties can come to terms.

“The parties are discussing all policy areas before launching detailed negotiations. While the atmosphere has improved in recent days, there have been few actual deals, with immigration and climate change among the biggest sticking points,” Reuters reports. (We reported on this point the other day.)

“The Greens’ demand on carmakers would go further than software fixes so far agreed between politicians and German car bosses to help repair the industry’s badly damaged reputation. The future of Germany’s mighty car industry, the country’s biggest exporter and provider of some 800,000 jobs, is a tricky area as it tries to recover from the diesel emissions testing scandal which broke at Volkswagen two years ago.

“Despite public concern and planned diesel bans in countries including France and Britain in coming decades, German lawmakers have not yet dared ask the same of its carmakers, such as BMW, VW, Daimler, and Porsche who have invested heavily in diesel. In August, politicians and car bosses agreed to overhaul engine software on 5.3 million diesel cars to cut pollution and avoid bans on polluting vehicles but they stopped short of committing to more expensive hardware modifications.”

What the Greens are saying is that hardware changes (not just software changes) will have to be required if they are to take part in a coalition government.

One of the leaders of the Greens, Cem Ozdemir, noted: “We won’t meet our targets of getting cleaner air in city centers with software upgrades alone. There must also be hardware solutions.”

Ozdemir went on to state that the auto industry was now going through the largest transformation in its history, and that transportation now needed to be made emissions-free and largely automated. He also highlighted that public transit needed to be improved — a highly effective solution but one that is often ignored today.

Angela Merkel’s CDU/CSU bloc, notably, opposes the idea of banning petrol/gas and diesel vehicles.

Photo of Greens negotiator Michael Kellner by Niklas Tschöpe (some rights reserved) & Cem Ozdemir by Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung (some rights reserved)


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About the Author

James Ayre's background is predominantly in geopolitics and history, but he has an obsessive interest in pretty much everything. After an early life spent in the Imperial Free City of Dortmund, James followed the river Ruhr to Cofbuokheim, where he attended the University of Astnide. And where he also briefly considered entering the coal mining business. He currently writes for a living, on a broad variety of subjects, ranging from science, to politics, to military history, to renewable energy.

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