The head of the prominent German environmental advocacy group DUH, Juergen Resch, was recently quoted as saying that German Chancellor Angela Merkel was being “remotely controlled” by the country’s auto industry.
Is there truth to that statement? Is the German Chancellor at this point nothing but a mouthpiece and face for those with the most money in Germany (as is the case throughout much of the world)?
Those are questions without definite answers for those of us out of the internationalists’ billionaire club where all of the important decisions seem to get made nowadays (behind closed doors). Circumstances, though, certainly do seem to imply just such a reality — the interests of the German auto industry supersede those of the general German public.
The criticism from the head of DUH followed a number of interesting comments from Angela Merkel, which effectively communicated the goals of her administration to avoid regional or city-level diesel car bans in the country, and also to avoid forcing auto manufacturers to do physical retrofits of diesel cars that are responsible for higher levels of pollutant emissions than the official testing process promised.
Reuters provides a bit more on that (we didn’t report this bit in our earlier article on the subject): “After a cabinet retreat outside Berlin, Merkel made clear she had reservations about carmakers being made to introduce hardware modifications, such as changing filters in exhaust systems.”
The exact comments from Merkel read: “The benefits and costs must be proportionate. Hardware refits are relatively cost-intensive.”
Oh my. Yes, never put any of the costs of immoral behavior on those perpetrating such behavior … that would never lead to good societal outcomes.
As many have noted in earlier discussions, though, the reality is that the German auto industry employs a substantial portion of the country’s total skilled workforce, and the country’s economic prospects are closely tied to the success of the industry abroad. That being the case, government protection isn’t surprising. Something similar has of course happened before in the US (and many other countries as well), with the government (one way or another) bailing out major auto manufacturers.
That observation isn’t going to help those breathing diesel fumes, though. Nor will it help those who work in the German auto industry when many of their jobs evaporate due to a lack of competitive plug-in electric vehicles.
As it stands, all that the German government wants the diesel car sellers there to do is to issue software upgrades for affected cars. On that note, see: Volkswagen Diesel Cars Use Up To 14% More Fuel After Software “Fix,” With NOx Emissions Still 400% Higher Than Lab Figures, Study Shows.