- Jul 11, 2019 3:31 am GMT
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Herbert Diess is no stranger to controversy, some of it inexcusable. With a strongly-worded critique of German climate policy, the Volkswagen AG boss has provoked yet another row. This time, though, he is spot on.
“If we’re really serious about climate protection, the nuclear power plants should run for longer,” Diess told Tagesspiegel last week when asked about chancellor Angela Merkel’s decision after the Fukushima disaster to shut down her country’s nuclear fleet by 2022. Closing Germany’s last coal-fired power plant in 2038 – as decided in January by a government-appointed commission – is “far too late,” Diess said. We “should have quit coal first and then nuclear.”
It takes some nerve for VW to lecture the German government about environmental policy. The carmaker’s cheating on diesel emissions exposed millions of city dwellers to toxic fumes. By promoting gas-guzzling sports utility vehicles instead of smaller models, VW has also made the carbon pollution problem worse. Its cars and trucks are responsible for a staggering 2% of the world’s total carbon dioxide emissions, the company concedes.