The big loophole in global emissions trading
The world needs to understand that the Volkswagen high-technology emissions fraud is not going to be an isolated incident. While this particular incident involved noxious emissions, not carbon, as my colleague Tristan Edis has highlighted, the organisation that exposed Volkswagen’s fraud has also found disturbing and systemic discrepancies between the results of regulated testing of vehicle CO2 emissions and what vehicles attain in the real world.
As the world starts to look more seriously at global emissions trading, we are opening up an opportunity for massive carbon frauds because the technology will move ahead of the regulators and testing mechanisms unless great care is taken.
Indeed, all those supporting emissions trading should realise that unless carbon emissions are very closely regulated and tested, sophisticated versions of Volkswagen affair will sweep the world. There are fortunes to be made.
Europe has an internal emissions trading scheme and my guess is that many technical people will have both known about and will have been watching what Volkswagen people were doing. Almost certainly if we start to look seriously at what has been happening in Europe, I would be surprised if more Volkswagen-style carbon emission frauds were not in existence.
China has announced an emissions trading scheme within the country, much of it directed at the materials Australia exports. China has actually taken emissions seriously, but how serious they will be in 2017 and beyond will depend on their level of unemployment. If China finds the social costs too high, it will do a ‘Volkswagen’ and use technology to make the figures look good.