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ENVIRONMENT

‘Germany rocks’: Elon Musk makes first visit to Berlin Tesla construction site

Tesla founder Elon Musk paid his first visit to the new Giga factory on Thursday, praising the site and Deutschland.

'Germany rocks': Elon Musk makes first visit to Berlin Tesla construction site
Elon Musk signing autographs at the new factory site. Photo: DPA

The billionaire technology entrepreneur signed autographs and joked around as he visited the Tesla gigafactory in Grünheide, Brandenburg, just outside Berlin.

“We want to make this a real fun place to work,” he said, adding that construction at the site near the A10 was moving very quickly. 

“You can see how fast the progress is,” Musk added. The tech expert said he wanted to produce “cool cars” there and said it would become “the most important car factory in the world”.

READ ALSO: Tesla founder Elon Musk reveals new Giga Berlin factory design

Musk also joked with journalists, referring to a Twitter post from earlier this year where he brought up the idea of building a club at the factory.

“When do we get the rave cave here? It's going to be great,” said Musk. He also praised the new location. “Germany rocks,” he said.

Musk later tweeted to thank the Giga Berlin team for their “excellent work”

In response to a question from a reporter, Musk said on his next visit to Germany, he could imagine bringing his son, named “X Æ A-Xii”, with him.

“Maybe I'll come back in a few months and bring him with me,” he said.  Musk laughed when the name of his son was mentioned in the question. “Oh, you mean my child? That sounds like a password.” Musk and his partner, the musician Grimes, became parents in May.

From summer 2021, around 500,000 electric cars per year are to roll off the assembly line of the factory located in the otherwise sleepy district of Grünheide.

The factory is set to create around 12,000 jobs. The plans do not yet have full approval as the environmental permit from Brandenburg is still pending, Tesla is building at its own risk with provisional permits.

It comes as a new report showed how the German car market has been hit hard by the Covid pandemic. However, Tesla continued its growth in the Bundesrepublik, with more than five times as many cars sold in August as in the same month last year, and is the only brand to have increased sales in 2020.

READ ALSO: New Tesla factory near Berlin to create thousands of jobs

Musk on tour

Musk is currently on the road in Germany. On Tuesday, he visited the headquarters of the biotech company Curevac in Tübingen. The firm is in the advanced stages of developing a potential Covid-19 vaccine.

And on Wednesday he held talks with federal Economics Minister Peter Altmaier, representatives of Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats faction in the Bundestag and Brandenburg's state premier Dietmar Woidke.

According to insider information, Musk spoke with Altmaier for about an hour. They reportedly discussed investments in the car industry.

Other topics were Musk's plans in the areas of space travel and self-driving cars. Curevac was also discussed.

“Musk and Altmaier agreed that Curevac, which is working on new vaccine concepts and is cooperating with Tesla, is one of the most innovative companies in the world,” the insider told the news agency Reuters.

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ENVIRONMENT

Sweden to set world’s first consumption-based emissions target

Sweden political parties have unanimously backed the world's first consumption-based emissions target, with the country aiming to hit net zero by 2045.

Sweden to set world's first consumption-based emissions target

The committee responsible for setting Sweden’s environmental goals on Thursday presented its proposals for what goals Sweden should set for greenhouse has emissions linked to the country’s consumption. 

“No other country in the world has done what we have done,” Emma Nohrén, chair of the climate goals committee, said at a press conference announcing the goals. “There has been a pioneering sprit.” 

About 60 percent of the emissions caused by people living in Sweden are released in other countries producing goods to be consumed in Sweden, meaning Sweden’s production-based emissions goals, like those of other countries, arguably misrepresent Sweden’s impact.  

In a press statement, the government said that as well as the 2045 consumption emissions target, the committee has suggested setting targets for the climate impact of its exports, include emissions from flights and cargo ships in its long-term national climate goals, and aim to include emissions from internal flights in its target for domestic transport by 2030.  

The committee also proposes that emissions from goods and services ordered by the public sector should decline at a faster rate than those of the rest of the country. 

Amanda Palmstierna, an MP for the Green Party who sits on the committee, said it was positive that the new goals had the backing of all seven of Sweden’s parliamentary parties. 

“It’s important that all the parties are backing this proposal so that it can become implemented,” she said. “Significant action is required now. We have so little time, as we saw in the IPCC report which came out on Monday.”  

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