German court rejects climate suit against Mercedes-Benz

A German court on Sept. 13 rejected a lawsuit filed by environmental group Deutsche Umwelthilfe (Environmental Action Germany) seeking to bar Mercedes-Benz from selling cars with combustion engines that emit greenhouse gases after 2030. Deutsche Umwelthilfe asserted that Mercedes-Benz must comply with the Paris Climate Protection Agreement and the German Climate Protection Act regarding reduction in its vehicles' CO2 emissions. Deutsche Umwelthilfe charged that the "new vehicles from Mercedes have the highest CO2 emissions of all manufacturers in Europe," and "German car manufacturers have been preventing effective climate protection laws for decades."

In response to the ruling, Deutsche Umwelthilfe stated their intent to appeal, saying they continue to "demand a drastic reduction in CO2 emissions from vehicles and the end of combustion engines for new cars by 2030 at the latest." Deutsche Umwelthilfe has additional pending climate change lawsuits against corporations including BMW and Wintershall Dea, an oil and natural gas company.

In July, the UN General Assembly adopted a resolution stating that access to a clean, healthy environment is a universal human right.

From Jurist, Dec. 13. Used with permission.

See our last reports on the Paris Agreement and climate-related litigation. International cases brought by small island nations against corporate polluters are also pending.