To make the punishment fit the crime

VW should be made to undo the excess NOx emisions it caused.

A wrinkle on the VW scandal. How does criminal justice achieve this goal? It’s often very difficult, but not here. VW’s environmental crime (forgetting about the deception of regulators and fraud of customers for a moment) was to cause the emission of a large volume of toxic NOx gas: 237,000 to 949,000 tonnes worldwide, estimated the Guardian. The number can be firmed up, and should be.

Reparation for this part of the misdeeds (and only this) is fairly simple:

require VW to secure at its own expense an equal reduction of the same emissions from vehicles, over the same timeframe as its offence, and on a permanent basis.

It’s not necessary to go into much detail on how. VW employs excellent engine emissions engineers: some of them are crooks to be sure, but they all know their stuff. (At risk of a Godwin violation, I can’t resist a reminder of  this guy.) The most efficient method is very probably not to take VW’s own modern car diesels off the road, but ancient trucks, buses and vans. The “permanent” condition means that the replacements wil have to be full or hybrid evs. If necessary the implication could be made explicit.

This should be only part of the sanctions. It would surely pay the VW board to offer it at once.


Author: James Wimberley

James Wimberley (b. 1946, an Englishman raised in the Channel Islands. three adult children) is a former career international bureaucrat with the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. His main achievements there were the Lisbon Convention on recognition of qualifications and the Kosovo law on school education. He retired in 2006 to a little white house in Andalucia, His first wife Patricia Morris died in 2009 after a long illness. He remarried in 2011. to the former Brazilian TV actress Lu Mendonça. The cat overlords are now three. I suppose I've been invited to join real scholars on the list because my skills, acquired in a decade of technical assistance work in eastern Europe, include being able to ask faux-naïf questions like the exotic Persians and Chinese of eighteenth-century philosophical fiction. So I'm quite comfortable in the role of country-cousin blogger with a European perspective. The other specialised skill I learnt was making toasts with a moral in the course of drunken Caucasian banquets. I'm open to expenses-paid offers to retell Noah the great Armenian and Columbus, the orange, and university reform in Georgia. James Wimberley's occasional publications on the web

One thought on “To make the punishment fit the crime”

  1. They're welcome to come and put a hybrid or full electric motor in my extremely old American-made. It passes the smog test but no doubt it could do better. Also, I'll need 2 charging stations.

    Is it wrong to get emotionally attached to a car?

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