This morning, two activists in Germany climbed the towering VW office building, dropped a banner reading “CO2 - Das Problem”, demonstrating that VW’s boss needs to show more responsibility when it comes to climate change. The climbers were removed, but another Greenpeace activist has since managed to paraglide around the tower - sending the message that the rebellion will continue until VW commits to real climate protection.
We had been hoping Volkswagen was starting to feel the force. Over the past few weeks, the company has announced some improvements to new cars that will reduce emissions by enough to beat existing European targets, and has even claimed that Volkswagen will be the greenest car maker in the world by 2018.
But despite the rhetoric, VW’s dark side is still strong. In fact its new car fleet has the largest total CO2 footprint of any of Europe's car makers. And the car industry as a whole has been busy trying to build loopholes into the European Union legislation setting new limits for CO2 emissions for 2020.
If it wants to keep its promises, VW needs to prove itself by being bold in its ambitions, and committing to not just meeting but beating the future European targets currently being discussed.
The company has the technology - and the skills - to do this. By rolling out full BlueMotion across its Volkswagen fleet, by making its best efficiency technologies a standard across all its brands (without extra charge), and by committing to making significant year-on-year reductions so that its average fleet emissions would be no more than 95g CO2/km by 2020*, the company could genuinely become the world leader that it claims it wants to be.
Until then though, the rebellion against VW's dark side continues. Join the rebellion, here!
* Update: Of course, to keep on track towards zero emissions VW should go even better than the proposed EU target of 95g by 2020 and make it 80g.