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A blow to the green mission

(China Daily) Updated: 2015-09-25 07:37

A blow to the green mission

Logos of FAW-Volkswagen are seen in this photo. [Photo provided to chinadaily.com.cn]

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn's resignation over the pollution cheating scandal that has wiped off billions of dollars of the world's largest automaker's market value should be a warning for businesses that dare to put profit above the global fight against pollution.

More important, it should alert the international community to the high cost of fighting all kinds of pollution. So, when global leaders meet in Paris for the climate conference in December, they should consider the necessity of introducing an effective mechanism that allows the cost to be fairly shared among consumers and producers around the globe.

One of the key reasons the international community has had limited success in addressing the challenge of climate change is that high-sounding slogans such as "it pays to go green" have more often than not failed enterprises that have invested heavily in traditional technologies and products. As a result, such enterprises, big and small, have been reluctant to embrace technologies, products and business practices that are really green.

Volkswagen has admitted to US regulators software in the cars could sense when they were being tested for emission, and conceal their true emission levels. That up to 11 million cars sold around the globe have such software is an indication of how massive this man-made disaster is.

It is tragic, too, to see the image of one of the best carmakers take a serious beating because it resorted to pollution cheating at a time when more and more clean energy cars are hitting the market.

Global leaders should condemn such corporate cheating because it has weakened our fight against emissions. But they should also realize that they have to do more to make traditional business forces part of the solution, not the problem, to deal with climate change.

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