German industry slams strict new greenhouse gas targets

German industrial leaders have expressed sharp criticism over a landmark climate bill that sets strict new targets for greenhouse gas emissions and was passed by the cabinet this week.

Speaking to the Sunday edition of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, Hildegard Mueller, head of the Association of the Automotive Industry (VDA), said that moving industry out of Germany to countries that produced less efficiently would not serve the climate.

“When industry leaves Germany, that does not take global CO2 reduction one step further,” Mueller said. She expressed irritation at “the government’s haste and the failure to take the consequences of their climate package into account.”

Speaking in the same interview, Karl Haeusgen, head of the Mechanical Engineering Industry Association (VDMA), said wherever factories run by German or EU companies were set up, “it may be assumed that the products are more energy-efficient than competing products from any other region.”

German industry’s huge contribution to cutting emissions was not being given its due, Haeusgen said. He warned that workers in the sector were beginning to take a defensive attitude at being accused of harming the climate.

“A youth movement pursuing global aims needs to be aware of the reality on this earth,” he said. Germany would only be able to convince the rest of the world to act “if we are ourselves not brought down by it.”

On Wednesday, the German Cabinet approved a new bill fixing a goal of the country becoming climate neutral by 2045.

This target is five years earlier than previously planned. The new legislation also sets in stone five-year targets on the path to climate neutrality.

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