Who is the greatest climate criminal?
Beginning in the mid-1990s, mindful of their commitments to cut carbon emissions, Europe’s governments embarked on a prolonged drive to convert their car fleets from gasoline to diesel. With generous use of tax preferences, they succeeded. In the European Union as a whole, diesel vehicles now account for more than half of the market. In France, the first country to cross that threshold, diesel now accounts for roughly 80 percent of motor-fuel consumption. But the switch to diesel probably didn’t cut greenhouse gases. VW may have perpetrated one of the biggest frauds in corporate history. Europe’s clean-diesel strategy, which set the scene for that fraud, may be the most expensive mistake in the history of environmental policy. —Clive Crook, Bloomberg, 23 September 2015