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ENVIRONMENT

Toyota discusses green car alliance with BMW

Japanese auto giant Toyota is in discussions with Germany's BMW over a partnership in eco-friendly cars, according to report Saturday in the business daily Nikkei.

Toyota discusses green car alliance with BMW
"Photo:DPA"

Under the deal, the German automaker would provide diesel engines for Toyota vehicles, while Toyota would share its hybrid technology. It would mark Toyota’s second green-technology tie-up with a major foreign automaker, following its agreement in August to develop hybrid-vehicle systems with Ford of the United States.

A Toyota spokesman said the report was based on “speculation” and refused to comment further.

Under the proposed arrangement, BMW would provide diesel engines for Toyota’s passenger vehicles, most likely medium-sized cars of around 2,000cc to be sold in Europe, Nikkei said.

BMW, which inked a deal with France’s PSA Peugeot Citroen Group in late 2010 to jointly develop hybrid systems for subcompacts, would be able to expand its lineup, the daily said.

Toyota has struggled to use its hybrids to expand its market share in Europe in a region where roughly 60 percent of passenger cars are powered by diesel engines, the daily said. Demand for diesel vehicles is forecast to grow since such engines are seen as an effective way to cut carbon dioxide emissions, and technological advances in the field are essential as emission regulations become tougher.

With the strong yen hurting the price competitiveness of its hybrids, Toyota was aiming to improve the marketability of its diesel vehicles by procuring engines from BMW, the daily added.

AFP/mw

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ENVIRONMENT

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction

Campaigners began a legal challenge against five German regions on Monday to force them to take stronger action on climate change, emboldened by a landmark recent court ruling in favour of environmental protection.

Young activists take German states to court over climate inaction
Demonstrators from the Fridays for Future movement protest in Gießen, Hesse, with a sign saying "No wishy-washy, no climate lashing". Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Frank Rumpenhorst

The plaintiffs are basing their case on a sensational verdict by Germany’s constitutional court in April which found that Germany’s plans to curb CO2 emissions were insufficient to meet the targets of the Paris climate agreement and placed an unfair burden on future generations.

In a major win for activists, Chancellor Angela Merkel’s federal government then brought forward its date for carbon neutrality by five years to 2045, and raised its 2030 target for greenhouse gas reductions.

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On Monday, 16 children and young adults began proceedings against the regions of Hesse, Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania and Saarland, with support of environmental NGO Environmental Action Germany (DUH).

They are charging that none of the states targeted by the legal action have passed sufficiently strong climate legislation at the local level, according to DUH.

“The federal government can’t succeed on its own,” lead lawyer Remo Klinger said in a press conference, highlighting state competence in the area of transport.

DUH worked closely together with the youth climate movement Fridays For Future to find activists willing to front the challenges, the group said.

Seventeen-year-old plaintiff Alena Hochstadt said the western state of Hesse, known for its Frankfurt banking hub, had always been her home but she feared having “no future here”.

Concern about the risk of “floods, storms and droughts” led her and other campaigners to seek “a legal basis for binding climate protection”.

READ ALSO: Climate change made German floods ‘more likely and more intense’

Hesse’s ministers for climate and the economy said they were “surprised” by the announcement.

“DUH clearly has not yet understood that we in Hesse are well ahead,” Priska Hinz and Tarek Al-Wazir said in a joint statement, drawing attention to an energy future law from 2012, before the Paris climate agreement.

In July, DUH-supported activists took the states of Bavaria, North Rhine-Westphalia and Brandenburg to court on similar grounds.

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