Greenpeace Blackmail Continues

Bertel Schmitt
by Bertel Schmitt

Greenpeace is continuing its shakedown campaign against a surprising target: Volkswagen. The manufacturer of some of the world’s most fuel efficient cars finds itself in the cross-hairs of Greenpeace, an organization that changed from greening the planet to blackmailing deep-pocketed companies.

Greenpeace proudly disrupted a worldwide dealer launch of the Up! in Ibiza. Here is a car that produces only 79 to 108 grams of CO2 per kilometer (depending on motorization), and consumes only 4.2 liter gasoline per 100 km (56 mpg – non EPA), and Greenpeace deems it necessary to invade the launch event as if there is another BP disaster in the Gulf of Mexico. One would think that there are other car companies worthy of Greenpeace attention – could it be that makers of gas guzzling SUVs have donated to buy peace from Greenpeace?

Along with the blackmail come lies. “The 13-year-old VW Lupo has lower emissions than the Up!,” says Greenpeace. Utter baloney. According to my files, a Lupo from 2001 consumed between 5.2 and 6.8 liters gasoline per 100km. The diesel version consumed around 4.4 liters. The only version that bested the Up! was the Lupo 3L, which used 2.99 liter diesel. That miracle was performed by using space-age materials. They reduced the weight of the car, but increased the price to obscene levels. “The price is the darkest chapter of the 3 Liter Lupo,” wrote Focus. In 2003, only 886 Lupo 3L were sold in Germany. In early 2005, it was discontinued. A car that nobody buys does nothing for the environment.

Five of the Ibiza activists were detained by Spanish authorities. They got the wrong ones.

Bertel Schmitt
Bertel Schmitt

Bertel Schmitt comes back to journalism after taking a 35 year break in advertising and marketing. He ran and owned advertising agencies in Duesseldorf, Germany, and New York City. Volkswagen A.G. was Bertel's most important corporate account. Schmitt's advertising and marketing career touched many corners of the industry with a special focus on automotive products and services. Since 2004, he lives in Japan and China with his wife <a href=""> Tomoko </a>. Bertel Schmitt is a founding board member of the <a href=""> Offshore Super Series </a>, an American offshore powerboat racing organization. He is co-owner of the racing team Typhoon.

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  • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Oct 31, 2011

    It's funny to see a thread full of a number of people pointing out how allegedly hypocritical Greenpeace is because it conveniently deflects attention away from their own lifestyle. Expect me to have no sympathy for similar hypocrisies from the darlings of the Right. Now, I've actually worked for and with Greenpeace, and I'll admit they're ideological hard-cases and that they do themselves no favours in both being a) pretty unreasonable, b) having to reconcile a relatively paltry operating budget with those ideals (what, you think boats are cheap to buy? The cost an a perfectly-clean ocean-worthy ship is not trivial, hence the scows they use), and c) yeah, they do pick and choose targets. So what? It's not like their opponents have a history of pillorying the tens of billions wasted on Exxon or Lockheed-Martin and instead choosing to wax hysteric on a few million on the likes of Solyndra. On balance, yes, they do more harm than good. Personally, I'm glad to see that they make so many posters here (including the editor) so uncomfortable that they're reduced to ad-hominems and editorialization.

    • TrailerTrash TrailerTrash on Oct 31, 2011

      well, ya..a lot of replies seem anger filled. but make no mistake about the issue. the fact that you can't point out the wrongs...dead wrongs and hypocrisies...of a group without then being called angry is wrong. the so called left is very similar, if not more mean, in its bashing of opponents. even today's headline about Herman Cain's being accused of sexual harassment from unnamed sources takes this whole innuendo thing a bit far. when did you stop beating your wife?

  • Budda-Boom Budda-Boom on Oct 31, 2011

    The founder of Greenpeace quit awhile back and IIRC wrote a book exposing how radicalized the entire environmental movement has become. I don't think anyone contributing here is really in favor of dirty air and water but that's how the debate is framed anytime somebody brings up the slightest hint of opposition to the latest crusade by the likes of Greenpeace, Earth First!, NRDC and now even more mainstream organizations like the Sierra Club and World Wildlife Fund. Such opposition usually centers around legitimate concerns as cost to consumers and jobs lost as a cost of compliance. Back when the Copenhagen conference took place, I read a draft of the treaty the environmental groups all wanted us to sign...the one that was going to "save the planet". I found the draft on the US Greenpeace website, to be sure I wasn't reading someone's spin or a filtered copy. The proposal called for the creation of a new trans-national organization to regulate the carbon emissions of the developed world. The developed countries would pay a hefty sum to the new organization, based on the amount of CO2 they emit. Those monies would then be distributed to poorer developing countries. Developing countries that would be exempt from compliance, including China and India. Toward the end of the treaty it's acknowledged that the provisions of the Copenhagen treaty would, at best, lower global temperatures 1/2 a degree in 50 years, IIRC. Today's cars (at least those complying with US emissions standards) are some 99 1/2 percent cleaner than they were 50 years ago. The fules we use today are cleaner than 50 years ago too...even factoring out the use of tetraethyl lead...yet you never hear this. If you want to see a REAL environmental catastrophe, google "Donora PA 1948 Smog" or "Love Canal". At least in the US (and I'm sure throughout much of the developed world), we've long had laws preventing such dangers from happening again. In addition, public opinion, over the past 50 years, has become wary of corporations - a good way of holding corporations accountable. Volkswagen knows there's a market for cleaner cars and builds cars to satisfy that market. You'd think they'd be lauded by the likes of Greenpeace. But that's not enough...and nothing will ever be enough until we're all riding bicycles, living in caves and eating veggies. Except then we won't be able to afford to clean up our waste...and we will have an environmental catastrophe on our hands. I await the ad hominem replies. :)

  • SCE to AUX SCE to AUX on Oct 31, 2011

    Greenpeace has been irrelevant for decades. Nobody is making a car-buying decision based upon the alleged 'greenness' of the manufacturer itself.

    • See 1 previous
    • Psarhjinian Psarhjinian on Oct 31, 2011

      Toyota would disagree with you on this, and considering the Prius alone outsells several non-green brands (Buick, Volkswagen, Volvo, among others) there's something to be said. Now, green marketing is not easy (in the way that, say, luxury marketing is) in that you cannot actually proclaim the virtue and not expect a darts coming back your own way vis a vis greenwashing. This is why Toyota doesn't actually work the green angle all that hard with the Prius (at least, not at the national level). Greenpeace is less relevant now than they used to be, this is true. On the other hand, the environment isn't used a colossal toilet as readily, so they've managed something. The problem is that they cannot let up, not when their ideological opposites are constantly lobbying to weaken regulation. Or would you rather they say "Yep, we've done all we can reasonably do and we can totally trust Exxon, PG&E, Dow or the like to run with it and not, you know, try to save a few bucks at the expense of human health. We'll disband now, thanks!"

  • Obruni Obruni on Oct 31, 2011

    Greenpeace makes an absurd claim about emissions, and TTAC counters with fuel economy figures? Mr. Schmitt needs more coffee i guess. tsk tsk tsk