Volkswagen cars emit more carbon dioxide than all of Australia

FILE - In this Sept. 23, 2015 file photo the silhouette of visitor pictured next to the logo of German car manufacturer Volkswagen AG at the International Motor Show IAA in Frankfurt, Germany. Volkswagen said Wednesday, Dec. 9, 2015, that a problem with carbon dioxide emissions is far smaller than initially suspected, with further checks finding "slight discrepancies" in only a few models and no evidence of illegal changes to fuel consumption and emissions figures. (Boris Roessler/dpa via AP, File)

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Nearly a tenth of global greenhouse gas emissions are responsible for the automotive industry, writes Greenpeace’s press release. The environmental organization produced a report titled Climate Killer Car Industry, which looked at the impact of 12 leading car manufacturers around the world on our climate.

Within the automotive industry, the Volkswagen Group, which also owns the domestic Audi factory, has the highest emissions. They are followed by Renault Nissan, Toyota, General Motors and then Hyundai-Kia.

In 2018, the combined emissions of the three German automotive companies (Volkswagen, Daimler, BMW) were more than total German annual emissions. Volkswagen alone has a greater carbon footprint than Australia.

Benjamin Stephan, Greenpeace Germany’s transport and climate campaigner, said “increasing the efficiency of internal combustion vehicles and spreading hybrids is just a wrinkle in a climate emergency.”

We expect a much more responsible attitude from the automotive industry. Their task would be to give people the opportunity to choose truly greener, cleaner and climate-friendly modes of transport.

The report points out that the number of SUVs in use (on-road off-road vehicles) is constantly rising, despite the fact that they emit more carbon dioxide than other passenger vehicles. In Europe, the market share of these cars increased from 8 percent in 2008 to 32 percent in 2018, up from nearly 70 percent in the US last year.

To achieve the goals of the Paris Climate Convention, to keep global warming below 1.5 ° C, Greenpeace said, among other things, automotive companies should:

lead to diesel, gasoline and conventional hybrid engines by 2028;
publish a roadmap showing how they will switch to the production of smaller, more energy efficient electric vehicles as soon as possible;
increase R&D spending on electric vehicles (EVs) to ensure that battery production is socially and environmentally sound.

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