Finally, the European Commission and automakers are starting to be honest about Europe's dirty little secret.
Manufacturers won't reduce CO2 emissions to 140 grams per kilometer by their voluntary 2008 or 2009 deadline. It shouldn't be a surprise. It has been increasingly clear that target was too ambitious.
So now what? If everybody wants to play the blame game, there is plenty of ammunition.
It is easy to say automakers made bigger, more powerful cars that emit more CO2. They did.
EU legislators and regulators can be blamed for creating unrelated new rules that added weight to cars while automakers were trying to make them lighter. Some already question whether focusing on CO2 to try to slow global warming protected Europeans better than trying to reduce toxic emissions such as nitrogen oxides that poison the air in congested cities.
The public must take some heat too. Whenever carmakers gave them a choice between same fuel economy-more power and same power-better economy, car buyers almost always opted for more power. They also demanded larger and better equipped vehicles.
Blaming others is simple.
But it's better to recognize what has been accomplished since 1995:
Must someone still be at fault? Then blame automakers for making cars people actually want. Blame legislators for saving lives. Blame the public for buying cars that meet their needs.