Join the rebellion and turn VW away from the dark side

Posted by jamie — 28 June 2011 at 6:18am - Comments
VW The Dark Side
All rights reserved. Credit: Greenpeace
VW has joined the Dark Side. Join the rebellion to bring the company back

It’s not every day you’re called to step up in defence of your planet – but today is one of those days. A few moments ago we launched a new global campaign to change Volkswagen by turning them away from the Dark Side, and we need your help.

Despite the green image it likes to portray, VW is at the heart of a group of companies lobbying against new laws which we need to cut CO2 emissions, reduce our oil use and protect places like the Arctic from climate change.

Only a rebellion can stop them – a mass of people from all across the globe –demanding that they change. We need you to be part of that rebellion.

So sign the rebel manifesto to turn VW away from the Dark Side.

On the streets across Europe our activists are busy  showing Volkswagen for what it really is: a regressive company using its influence to prevent us getting the laws we need to protect our planet and boost our economy.

And VW's political lobbying has dire consequences for fragile environments like the Arctic, where sea ice is already melting fasting than predicted. Our best chance of stopping climate change and saving the Arctic is to reduce the CO2 emissions that heat up our planet and threaten everything from biodiversity to agriculture.

We know how dangerous the situation is getting. Greenpeace activists have only just returned from the Arctic, where they were putting their bodies in the way of the new oil rush, where companies like Cairn Energy are drilling in the deep seas under the newly-melted ice.

But VW doesn’t just spend money on lobbyists.

Volkswagen has been running an ad campaign showing a cute kid in a Darth Vader costume turning on one of their cars. It's been a big hit but for a company that’s essentially threatening the future of all of our children, we thought it was ripe for a remake.

The symbolism of Star Wars is far better suited to the kind of destruction Volkswagen’s policies threaten to wreak on our planet, than to a fluffy advert to sell more of their cars.

Which – incidentally – are not as efficient as you might think. For every ‘greener’ vehicle VW sells, it shifts around 15 others which emit much more C02. Volkswagen adds a huge price mark-up for its greener vehicles - way above the cost of the technology – as it tries to cash in on your green conscience.

Right now, politicians across Europe are debating whether to raise our target for CO2 cuts from 20 to 30 per cent (based on 1990 levels) by 2020. It’s such a necessary increase that many people and organisations - from the UK government to Google, from Ikea to Unilever - agree that we should do it.

But not Volkswagen - and it gets worse.

Along with spending millions on groups lobbying against the 30 per cent target, VW is also opposing new fuel efficiency targets. These would cut CO2 emissions, save drivers money and reduce our dependence on oil.

It’s that dependence that drives oil drillers to the Arctic, where companies routinely use giant water cannons to break up icebergs in the way of their operations.

But all is not lost. We feel the good in Volkswagen. They have the engineers and the technology to make some of the most efficient vehicles on Earth.

But their bosses have been seduced by the Dark Side and are employing henchmen to lobby against the strong emissions cuts that we need. The time has come when we have no choice but to raise a rebellion to confront them.

>Sign up to join the international rebellion to turn VW away from the dark side.

There are films to watch, lightsabers to build and Ewoks to adopt.

But – most importantly – there’s a planet to protect.

Join us. You’re our only hope.

I think there's better targets than VW to go after.  What about Kia Hyundai who build in Asian countries, ship their products across the world, offer no economy models and make products that dont last creating end of life waste mountains.  Don't all you treehuggers turn up in VW campers and beetles anyway? Hypocrites.

This is just the start! A company like VW strikes a cord with people, they're seen as good, strong realiable. We all know that there are many, many car companies doing the same and worse but this 'Rebellion' catches peoples imagination and lights the fire! Bring it on!

It's a shame!. Have you read the comments below the video on youtube?! Most of the bloggers think it's a waste of time and money to start a campain like this. Especially because it's a bad copy and nothing own and the target is one of the worst chooseable off. It is blaming yourself!

what about 15-2o liter cars produced and used in the US? a market of 250 million over-consumers. my vw polo uses 5.5 liter/100km a chrysler uses 15 or more liter/100 km

@Bad move

Not so. Kia has a factory in Zilinia, Slovakia and Hyundai has a facility in the Czech republic. VW Group manufacture in eastern Europe and Spain, so no different – except Kia/Hyundai don't trade on low environmental impact.

It's a carefully crafted campaign to raise awareness in a demographic that will pay attention

@european - VW is lobbying against critical EU laws - one on emissions reduction targets and another on vehicle efficiency - which could help cut our CO2 emissions. No doubt Chrysler does have its own influence in the European parliament, but as a EU company with supposedly green intentions, we think VW shouldn't be trying to hobble such climate change legislation.

how am i supposed to get 1500 clicks on my jedi page? i only got 8 right now... ):

Going take forever to get 1500 clicks

Really, no portuguese translation to the rebel site?

Wow, really suprised that Greenpeace has sunk to such lows that they feel the need to take cheap shots at VW, or what they see as 'The Man'. Of all the things they could be doing for the good of the environment this has to be the lamest profile grab I have seen. Try saving the planet by all means, but leave the cheap PR stunts to X Factor.

Vw?  Really guys?  Come on.  Not all of VW's products are highly efficient but their bluemotion and clean diesel options are THE most green options out there.  Why not go after Toyota for the metal mining involved in manufacturing prius batteries?  Get your act together and quit wasting everyones time. 

Now there's an interesting topic of debate. Should Greenpeace campaign against the most polluting cars on the market, the big 4x4's and SUV's or should it campaign against the most influential companies who are using there influence to block the political process necessary to get legislation through to change the behaviour of all companies.

The former feels right, as it is a simpler interpretation of the world. One campaigns against the bad guys, and hopes that by so doing one stops bad stuff happening. Equally as a small organisation, the big bad guys like Exxon Mobil (income 2000 x that of Greenpeace), have a track record of ignoring Greenpeace.

The latter is more complex, and grey. Should one campaign against a company that is doing some good stuff, but quite a lot of bad stuff too (probably more). It feels uncomftable but perhaps pragmatic. If a company has invested in a green (or progressive) image then there are more likely to yield ground to a Greenpeace campaign, so change is more likely. And if a company is saying one thing and doing another then perhaps one should point out the extent of their greenwash and spin.

Oh if only the world was a simpler place.


This is ridiculous. You've got your facts completely wrong about VW and the car industry in general. If you want to tackle CO2s, a newly released report shows that power stations and industry are the biggest polluters, not cars and aircraft. Households produce as much CO2 as cars. And if you want to pick on cars, there are many more polluting firms to pick on than VW, which has taken giant strides in its technology in recent years.

Your campaign has made Greenpeace a laughing stock. You've just reminded me why I support Friends of the Earth, not Greenpeace. They get their facts right.

I'm sure you won't publish this on your website - as shown by the VW campaign, you clearly aren't interested in publishing balanced facts. However, there are other ways of highlighting the stupidity of your campaign.

Greenpeace's own emissions for their boats *rises* from the last two available accounts (2008 to 2009). In 2009 between their boats and travel they purchased $6M of oil.

VW produces some of the most efficient low emission engines in the world.

Which one should change?

Epic fail.

Unterstütz' mich beim Jedi-Training, um gegen VWs Blockade-Haltung beim Klimaschutz zu protestieren. Klick hier: PLEASE

@Natalie - I'm sure you have read the report (, so you won't need me to tell you that no one's saying the car industry is the biggest polluter. But with VW trying to scupper EU climate laws (which will cover all emissions, not just transport) and deploying its green technologies in only a small proportion of its fleet, that makes it a valid target for this campaign. VW likes its green image - "We aim to be the most eco-friendly automaker in the world!" they say - but maybe it should walk the walk and all that.

@Daithesci - Greenpeace has three active ships. Last year, VW produced 7.2 million cars, with its most efficient technologies in only 6 per cent of its fleet. What's your point exactly?

@ Jamie

"What's your point exactly?"

That you don't reduce your emissions yet expect the "little people" to reduce theirs! And then when a company like VW makes one of the best cars to do this - you criticise them also! It is gobsmacking arrogance, stupidity, and hypocrisy.

Regarding "only 6 per cent" of it's fleet being low emission: You seem to imply that it's easy engineering. Here's a quote from a clever chap who explains it better than I could:

[quote from Zamm] You are again misleading people - the high-efficiency, low-pollution diesels are truly much more expensive to manufacture than simple run-of-the-mill gasoline engines. You need:
- Turbocompressor with variable stator blades
- Ultrahigh-pressure pump and injectors
- Exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) valve
- Particle filter
- Complex DeNOx catlalytic converter
- Loads of sensors to monitor the whole thing

Most of those are very critical and therefore quite expensive components. If you want to add some energy recovery functions, you need a better alternator, better batteries, and additional power electronics, which again pushes up the price tag. At least, VW and others work while Greenpeace whines. Guess who's more useful... "[end of quote]

I got no confirmation when i signed the petition.
Maybe that was just a glitch, but you should confirm when the data has been submitted, or otherwise people will think something went wrong.

I cant understand why some people just jump on the band wagon spoiling for a fight just for the sake of it. Clearly a lot of folk on here really don't understand Volkswagen's principles, since 1998 Volkswagen has lead the way in making cars more fuel efficient.I know of no other vehicle manufacturer that has such a large recycling policy not to mention targeting it's retailler network with ever increasing recycling targets. I work in a Volkswagen retailer and i have witnessed the push from them to make cars more efficient and have a less damaging impact on our planet especially over the last 12 years or so, i wonder how many of the folk here reading this on their computers realise how much damage the IT industry and infrastructure causes our planet.

Dont think i'll be donating to Greenpeace again.    

Great campaign, but honestly 1,500 clicks????

Maybe this helps a bit ;)


@Bad Move. VW is the target because of the size of their business. Around 1 in 5 cars sold is a VW. The laws Greenpeace are campaigning to be ratified are being discussed in the European Parliament and VW are instrumental in attempts to block them. Your comment about "treehuggers" is simplistically stereotypical, however, in response the number of VW campers and Bugs in the world is minuscule in comparison to the vast numbers of vehicles the company is producing that could be made more efficient under the new laws being discussed.


You say: "the vast numbers of vehicles the company is producing that could be made more efficient under the new laws being discussed."

Oh my word. That is breathtaking stupidity. I take it you are not an engineer....

The reality is that this legislation will result in the vehicle components, or even the vehicles themselves, being made outside the EU in places that have less strict environmental rules. So the environment will lose. Europe will lose. We just export all our carbon emissions, all our heavy industry, all our jobs, to countries that don't give a flying shit about the environment. It's an amazing loose/loose situation.

Greenpeace really are dullards.

Badly done Greenpeace - misguided. I see my money has been poorly spent, economy/ecology chaps? Poncing around as Star Wars characters, or the CEO placing himself and potential resuers at risk by climbing up oil-rigs, I shall no-longer contribute.

Surely Greenpeace should know better than this!! Why are you jumping on the C02 bandwagen and targeting Volkswagen? Currently in the market, the majority of low C02 emmision cars are DIESELS, these pump out loads of more toxic gases than there petrol counterparts. Volkswagen are one of the leaders in fuel efficent small capacity petrol engines (TSI) which we should be encouraging along with efficent hybrid and hydrogen technology! There must be a more effective way than targeting companies with an average C02 at tackiling this problem!

Again, a car/oil post that a lot of people are either completely misreading or posting on behalf of the car/oil industry.

Why VW? As stated in the post above, though VW publicly push a very green image and though they do use alot of new greener technology (in 6% of their vehicles) and may be pretty hot on recycling and how they source their parts, they also invest millions into lobbying campaigns that are against reducing emissions and changing industry standards for the better.

That is the focus of the campaign, and targetting other companies who may be worse in their own green credentials may also be a good idea, but the aim of this campaign is getting car companies to support a positive change for the industry overall, which would have a bigger impact.

Why focus on the transport industry? Because it has a huge capacity to drop it's emissions in the short and long term.


Wouldn't it be nice if we could just leave oil-drilling and car emissions as they are and not have to worry about global warming or massive environmental disasters? Have any suggestions on how to change these things or are you one the "well I won't be around so it don't affect me" daily-mailers?

Also, if 6% of these cars are using these new greener measures, that's great but obviously should be rolled out asap to the rest of the fleet. Remember scale of economy will make this viable.

Greeenpeace are improving their fuel emissions when possible, see the new Rainbow Warrior - the most enviornmentally-friendly boat of it's kind ever made. Stop going on about this point, Greenpeace are trying to change, you obviously aren't.


Hopefully this campaign will be successful and car companies will start taking their part in protecting the planet seriously. Like Honda.

Hi Anon,

Yeah sure it would be nice if global warming wasn't real. But it is. However as Freinds of the Earth have pointed out transport is a small proportion of world CO2 emissions. The biggie of course is power production. With Greenpeace effectively blocking the only viable solution - by spreading lies and FUD about Nuclear - then Greenpeace really are the ones to blame when the ice-cap melts.Yet again with this campaign GP goes after the wrong target.

The irony is; at least VW, BP, Exxon, Shell, make a contribution in terms of finding real CO2 savings: by investing money into R&D, and finding solutions that work in the real world. Greenpeace's own emissions for their boats actually goes up! (at least from their last two years' accounts.) To suggest that VW are somehow brushing a wonder-engine under the carpet as some above (not you) have suggested is incredible niavety. It's hard engineering. FYI regarding economies of scale; two of the key elements of a catalytic converter are palladium or platinum. I don't see any of those two precious metals selling at bargain basement prices. Nor the lithium required for high charge batteries.... Face it you are never going to get a cheap car using platinum as a component.

VW have done their sums. The effect of increasing the target from 20% to 30% would mean they'd have to outsource the production of those components outside the EU - to places that have no CO2 limits. To places that don't give a flying fuck about the environment. The environment loses and Europe loses. Good job Greenpeace. Muppets. please please please click on this link xD

Please don't feed the local troll Daithesci, he remains as hateful and out of place as ever.

To folk interested in a real debate, rather than bashing Greenpeace, I think there is an interesting discussion to be had here. Should Greenpeace go after the worst pollutors, or the companies that tell us they're doing the right thing, while continuing to produce a vast amount of gas guzzling monsters.

If VW have the technology to make 6% of their production line is low emssions, than why can't they sort do similar for the other 94%. If cost is the issue, then why aren't they lobbying for more progressive EU emission standards, so that they have the differential advantage over their competitors when it comes to producing cars that meet the new standards.

They have the technology and the power to do the right thing, and to take the market lead. Or are they simply another big bad fossil fuel dinosaur hiding behind a bit of greenwash

"Daithesci, he remains as hateful and out of place as ever"

But, sadly for you candleflame, also correct.

"6% of their production line is low emssions, than why can't they sort do similar for the other 94%"

That's a real Palm/Face moment there candleflame! So VW have this really efficient engine, with a huge commercial advantage, and they don't roll it out because... they haven't considered it. It just slipped their mind. They need some engineering illiterates at Greenpeace to point it out to them. How stupid they are.

Back in the real world platinum remains $1,700 an ounce, and palladium $700 an ounce. Lithium is getting harder to find. Components made with these things are just *never* going to be cheap. And the more they are used, the higher the price will go. It is the opposite of economies of scale.

One of these days Greenpeace will actually get their facts straight for a campaign. One of these days they may support a viable alternative, rather than just point out the problems with existing technology that everybody has known about for a century or so.. , but I'm not holding my breath.

This so damn bad, I am a great fan of you, but you took the wrong Target: VW! Cath the american car producers. AMERICANS ARE THE POLLUTERS!

well no matter what i admire gp's actions most of the time this is one of them. besides i do like to get that shirt ;p 
I might need a little(actually a lot of) help o:-)

About Jamie

I'm a forests campaigner working mainly on Indonesia. My personal mumblings can be found @shrinkydinky.

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