German chancellor holds conference on the future of diesel as UN climate talks continue

German chancellor holds conference on the future of diesel as UN climate talks continue

As international negotiators meet in Katowice, Poland, for the COP24 climate change summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a

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Photo: Reuters

As international negotiators meet in Katowice, Poland, for the COP24 climate change summit, German Chancellor Angela Merkel will host a conference on the future of diesel today.

Thanks to emissions from diesel cars, nitrogen levels have been pushed beyond the legal limit of 50 milligrams per cubic metre in cities throughout the country. Though German courts have already issued bans on highly-polluting, older diesel vehicles, Merkel’s government has pushed back on said measures. Indeed, the chancellor’s government is wary of losing the support of automotive manufacturers, which make up the largest industry in the country, and has argued that bans or mandatory retrofitting would disproportionately harm consumers.

Merkel will likely continue to oppose said bans by introducing legislation to protect older models of diesel-fueled cars–– a must if she wishes to maintain support from a large portion of her political base. Regardless, a shift away from older, diesel-burning automobiles is one of the only realistic ways for Germany to reign in its nitrogen emissions levels. As regional courts continue ruling against auto manufacturers, expect the industry to scramble to put out new, more fuel-efficient engines. In the short to medium term, stock prices of major manufacturers, like Volkswagen, may take a hit.

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