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Volkswagen Ups Its EV Production, Aims to Be Carbon Neutral by 2050

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A Volkswagen e-Golf electric car in production. Jens Schlueter / Getty Images

Volkswagen plans to go carbon neutral by 2050, the word's current largest vehicle maker announced at a news conference Tuesday where CEO Herbert Diess acknowledged that the company's cars caused one percent of global carbon dioxide emissions, The New York Times reported.

"We aim to reduce this to zero," he said.


As part of its efforts to decarbonize, the company is supercharging its production of electric vehicles. The company will produce almost 70 new electric models by 2028, up from the 50 previously planned, bringing total projected electric vehicle production by that date up from 15 to 22 million, the car-maker announced in a press release.

Volkswagen sold a record 10.8 million vehicles in 2018, but only 40,000 were electric and 60,000 were hybrids, CNN reported.

"Carmakers around the world regard the demise of the internal combustion engine as only a matter of time, and many have set ambitious targets for sales of electrics and hybrids. Yet they are starting from a very small base," CNN's Charles Riley wrote.

One thing carmakers are trying to do to ease the transition is to work together to research and develop electric cars. To this end, Volkswagen said it would share its Modular Electric Toolkit (MEB) with other automakers.

In addition to increasing its electric fleet, the company's decarbonization plans also include powering factories with renewable energy, compensating for unavoidable emissions and working on reducing the emissions of the entire production cycle, from supplies to recycling.

In a company webpage on decarbonization, Volkswagen acknowledged that an electric vehicle was only as sustainable as the energy that powers it. The site pointed to the need to address factors such as the current energy intensity of cell production and the use of coal-powered energy to charge electric cars.

"The strategic goal of becoming the leading worldwide provider of e-mobility can make the focus on consistent decarbonization a strong competitive edge," Volkswagen's independent sustainability advisory board spokesman Georg Kell said. "In any case, it offers the best way for setting a common course for a secure and economically successful future on a planet worth living on."

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By Jake Johnson

As a growing number of states move to pass laws that would criminalize pipeline protests and hit demonstrators with years in prison, an audio recording obtained by The Intercept showed a representative of a powerful oil and gas lobbying group bragging about the industry's success in crafting anti-protest legislation behind closed doors.


Speaking during a conference in Washington, DC in June, Derrick Morgan, senior vice president for federal and regulatory affairs at the American Fuel & Petrochemical Manufacturers (AFPM), touted "model legislation" that states across the nation have passed in recent months.

AFPM represents a number of major fossil fuel giants, including Chevron, Koch Industries and ExxonMobil.

"We've seen a lot of success at the state level, particularly starting with Oklahoma in 2017," said Morgan, citing Dakota Access Pipeline protests as the motivation behind the aggressive lobbying effort. "We're up to nine states that have passed laws that are substantially close to the model policy that you have in your packet."


The audio recording comes just months after Texas Gov. Greg Abbott signed into law legislation that would punish anti-pipeline demonstrators with up to 10 years in prison, a move environmentalists condemned as a flagrant attack on free expression.

"Big Oil is hijacking our legislative system," Dallas Goldtooth of the Indigenous Environmental Network said after the Texas Senate passed the bill in May.

As The Intercept's Lee Fang reported Monday, the model legislation Morgan cited in his remarks "has been introduced in various forms in 22 states and passed in ... Texas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Missouri, Indiana, Iowa, South Dakota, and North Dakota."

"The AFPM lobbyist also boasted that the template legislation has enjoyed bipartisan support," according to Fang. "In Louisiana, Democratic Gov. John Bel Edwards signed the version of the bill there, which is being challenged by the Center for Constitutional Rights. Even in Illinois, Morgan noted, 'We almost got that across the finish line in a very Democratic-dominated legislature.' The bill did not pass as it got pushed aside over time constraints at the end of the legislative session."

Reposted with permission from our media associate Common Dreams.

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