Car culture up for debate at polls as Germany moves to pick Merkel successor
Germany heavily dependent on Russian gas: Climate expert
Copenhagen Consensus President Bjorn Lomborg on California mandating ride-share services go electric, some Western countries relying on gas from Russia and ‘political correctness’ in the climate change movement.
The world’s major automakers believe that electric vehicles will direct the car industry in the years ahead. But as different parts of the world adopt electric driving at different rates, will Germany get left behind? How ecologically aware and environmentally friendly will its future be?
Germany’s car culture – hovering between a past of petrolheads and a future of green zealots – is up for debate at the polls as the country moves on Sunday to pick the candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as German chancellor.
HONDA AIMS FOR 100% ELECTRIC VEHICLES BY 2040, CEO SAYS
Three candidates are hoping to succeed Merkel as chancellor: her Union bloc’s nominee Armin Laschet; current Vice Chancellor Olaf Scholz of the Social Democrats; and Green Party candidate Annalena Baerbock.
Baerbock, whose opposition party is running third in polls ahead of Sunday’s election, advocated for an earlier exit from coal as a source of electricity at a debate this past weekend, saying that the current government had not done enough to limit climate change. She said Germany needs a "new start" on the issue.
"The next government must be a climate government," she said.
Tesla, Inc. co-founder Elon Musk met with a gushing Laschet last month at the electric automaker's "Gigafactory" construction site near Berlin.
The billionaire said he hopes to begin production at the Gruenheide facility this fall.
Tesla had initially planned to begin manufacturing in July, but legal problems and permit issues led to delays.
"We’re looking forward to hopefully getting the approval to make the first cars, maybe in October if we’re fortunate," Musk told reporters.
"Giga Berlin-Brandenburg county fair & factory tour on 9 October!" the SpaceX founder later tweeted, noting that while Berlin and Brandenburg residents would get priority access, the event would be open to the general public.
Environmental campaigners pressed last week for Germany’s next chancellor to take strong action against climate change, by bringing forward the country’s scheduled coal phase-out and banning new gasoline vehicles starting in 2025.
With nine days to go before the German election, activists unfurled a three-story banner on Berlin’s main train station designed as a vacancy ad seeking a new "climate chancellor."
Polls show that climate change is the most important issue for voters going into the Sept. 26 election, but many voters are wary of the possible costs associated with the large-scale changes required for Germany to become carbon neutral.