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ENVIRONMENT

BMW expands green venture with Toyota

Germany's BMW is expanding a tie-up with Toyota Motor on hybrid and fuel-cell vehicle technology as the global automakers push further into the "green" market, a report said Monday.

BMW expands green venture with Toyota
Photo: DPA

The two firms’ top executives will announce in Germany this week that they are boosting a previously announced agreement involving joint research on next-generation lithium ion batteries, the Nikkei business daily said.

The initial tie-up involved technology for electric cars, and the broadened deal will focus on batteries for hybrid gasoline-electric and fuel-cell vehicles, it said.

It marks the first time that Japan’s top automaker will supply its fuel-cell technology, which relies on hydrogen to supply a vehicle’s battery, to a rival, it said.

Toyota did not immediately respond to requests to confirm the report.

BMW, meanwhile, will provide its expertise on light car bodies made from carbon fibre to Toyota, as cutting a car’s weight leads to better fuel efficiency, the Nikkei said.

Under the earlier deal announced last year, the German automaker also agreed to provide diesel engines for Toyota as the Japanese firm looks to boost sales in Europe, where more than half of passenger cars are diesel powered.

Demand for lower-emission diesel vehicles is forecast to grow, with further technological advances in the field seen as crucial due to toughening vehicle emissions standards.

AFP/jcw

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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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