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Opinion
Edward Niedermeyer

VW's Diesel Crisis Is Now a Global Threat

If scandal spreads to gas engines and carbon dioxide, the Paris climate accord is threatened.
On the road to more trouble.

On the road to more trouble.

Photographer: Miles Willis/Bloomberg

If Volkswagen was hoping that its $10 billion buyback settlement with U.S. officials would bring some closure to months of hand-wringing over diesel emissions, its timing couldn't have been worse. A flood of news over the past week showed that what was once a single company's scandal has grown into a global regulatory crisis. As world leaders gathered in New York to sign the Paris climate accord on Friday, a cloud of doubt settled over one of the most hotly debated areas of environmental regulation.

As the face of auto-emissions cheating, VW has taken the brunt of the scandal's impact: it has budgeted $18.2 billion to cover the cost of repairs and buybacks associated with its U.S. settlement and recalls in Europe. Its stock is down some 40 percent over the last year.