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VW’s recklessness has hardened the resolve of regulators

In a year when the auto-industry was rocked by the #dieselgate scandal we also learned Volkswagen distorted tests for fuel economy and CO2 emissions as well. It was not surprising; contrary to industry claims of progress on efficiency there had been no real-world progress for a third successive year.

America’s can-do spirit eclipses Europe on cleaning up trucks

In between sending off the last e-mails, cleaning my desk and trying to recover from the T&E Christmas party, I was asked what I’ll remember from 2015. Lots of things obviously but professionally there’s only one thing that really stands out: the new US truck fuel efficiency regulation.

Emissions scandal showed that tests must shift out of lab and onto the road

T&E’s contribution to exposing the failed system of EU car testing has been one of its key campaigns in 2015. The discrepancy between lab tests for dangerous nitrogen oxide (NOx) emissions and those produced on the road was shown to be on average a whopping 500% – and more for some models. But the year was memorable for the unravelling of the biggest emissions scandal in auto-industry history.

Trade negotiators won’t face the truth: investors don’t need special treatment

It was a long year for EU trade negotiators who, when posed with the question of why deals with Canada, the US and others needed risky investment protection, pointed to thousands of outdated and abuse-prone precedents. Who would have thought that the negotiators would try to get away with a half-hearted reform exercise, instead of facing up the truth that investors don’t need special treatment?

Citizens gave the high-carbon oil sector its toughest year

Who could have imagined that over the last year the oil industry would be facing so many radical changes and high-carbon tar sands would be having such a tough time? The year 2015 told us that these kinds of positive changes can happen rapidly when economics, citizen mobilisation and political leadership converge in the same direction.

Shipping sector in a state of confusion

Over the course of the year the extent of the shipping industry’s confusion – some would say delusion – on how to clean up its emissions became clear. Sitting in meeting rooms in London and Paris, we heard officials from the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and industry profess their opposition to regional measures to reduce CO2 and then fail to address the problem at the global forum, the Paris climate conference.

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