In Germany, Tesla is faced with bureaucracy that is significantly slowing the company's efforts to get its electric car factory up and running as quickly as possible. Tesla issued a statement to the Supreme Administrative Court of Berlin-Brandenburg criticizing the German approval system for industrial projects, explaining that its process impedes on the goal of urgently combating climate change.
More than one year ago, Tesla began the construction of its first European factory that will produce electric vehicles for the region. During this time, the company has achieved great success and has just about completed the construction of its huge factory in Germany. However, throughout the entire construction process, Tesla hit headwinds in the form of a bureaucratic apparatus in Germany, which has a very slow approval processes. Thus, after more than one year, the factory has not received the final environmental approval, which would allow it to complete construction and start production.
Such delays are fraught with large monetary losses for Tesla, and also slow down the start of production of electric vehicles, which directly impacts the improvement of the climate situation. That is why the company went to the local court with a statement, which was published on April 8.
The company indicated that, 16 months after filing the application with the relevant authorities, they still had not received a timeline for final approval. The problem lies in the fact that, in the current procedures and laws, all projects, regardless of what interests they pursue, are treated equally. That is, regardless of whether the production is aimed at improving the environmental situation or, on the contrary, worsening it, projects will go through the same approval process. This approval process is unfair and incorrect.
“The German approval framework for industrial and infrastructure projects as well as spatial planning directly contradicts the urgency to plan and realize such projects that are necessary to battle climate change,” Tesla wrote.
Tesla's statement also indicated that a delay in approval by just one month would result in more than a million tonnes of additional CO2 emissions. Thus, eliminating unnecessary delays and speeding up the final approval is beneficial for Germany to achieve its goals set out in the Federal Climate Protection Act.
In a statement, Tesla proposed ten steps to improve approval processes. These include fast-track procedures for sustainable projects, as well as accounting for indirect environmental impacts. According to Tesla, at present, signs of relatively minor local impacts may prevent the implementation of larger projects on a larger scale.
Changes to the approval procedure will be targeted for all climate protection projects, not only Tesla. Amendments to the building permit law will make things much easier for these companies, especially since lengthy approval processes waste valuable time in the fight against climate change.
Director of the Deutschen Wirtschaft Institute Michael Hüther also supports Tesla's criticism of the approval process in Germany. “Tesla is right in its criticism,” Hüther told Handelsblatt. “In particular, to decarbonize production and mobility, we need procedures that are fast enough in which the balance of interests cannot be exploited through irrelevant arguments or groups that are not affected.” At the federal and state levels, this has been debated for some time, but progress is manageable. "It hinders the achievement of climate policy goals," said Hüther.
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