Lutz Görgens, Germany's consul general in Atlanta

Worldwide efforts to reduce carbon emissions can be good for international trade, Germany’s consul general in Atlanta, Lutz Görgens, said at a seminar Sept. 30, citing three German companies with operations in the Southeast U.S.

The BMW plant in Spartanburg, S.C., is partly fueled with methane gas from a local landfill, Dr. Görgens said. “This a very environmentally friendly, environmentally conscious business,” he added, speaking at a seminar in Buckhead hosted by the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany and BridgehouseLaw, a German legal firm with offices in Atlanta. The forum was held at Georgia’s State University’s Buckhead Executive Center on Peachtree Road.

Volkswagen Group of America, which is constructing a $1 billion plant near Chattanooga, Tenn., has also strongly committed to improving the environment, making energy efficient and clean-running cars the centerpiece of its product line, said Dr. Görgens. He also cited Trox USA Inc. a German company with a factory in Cumming that makes energy efficient cooling systems.

The consul general acknowledged that there is scientific disagreement on climate change. But he said that uncertainty should not be a reason for inaction. “I personally would not board an airplane if I knew the chances of the plane going down were 50-50,” he said.

Green technology is good for business both in Germany and the U.S., the consul general said.

“America has been the market leader in wind energy for a decade,” he said, adding that Germany leads the world in solar energy. “There is a big field of opportunity to cooperate.”

Dierk Müller, general manager of the American Chamber of Commerce in Germany, predicted that the German economy would not fully recover from the global economic slump until 2014. “It may take three or four years, but on the other hand, businesses that survive the crisis will be much healthier,” he said.

Currently, German business is worried about a credit crunch as banks scale back on lending to improve their balance sheets, said Dr. Müller

Private investment in Germany’s economy is the key to getting the German economy back on it feet, he said.

“Growth is not coming from the government,” he said. “Growth is coming from investment.”