The VW diesel deception may seem like a storm in a teacup since PM10 particles that get deep into the lungs and damage health are already at much lower levels than they used to be. But it still adds up. Obeying the Greenpeace corporation kills people. It probably kills cute animals too.
Running scared of CO2 because it fits into the fiction of climate change gave rise to laws requiring its reduction. This led to car manufacturers having to game the system. Unrealistic targets do that. CO2 down, NOx and PM10s up; it’s how diesels work. Ask an engineer, not a politician or a climate scientist.
Maintaining the climate change dogma is more important than individual deaths. It extends the power of those who would otherwise be of less importance.
Althought the deaths caused by emissions are far from insignificant, Eric Peters explains that the pollution difference per car is relatively small:
Yes, the “affected” VWs emit more oxides of nitrogen emissions (and possibly particulates) than the federal standard dictates. But the federal standard calls for effectively zero emissions. We are talking fractions of a percent differences. Car A’s tailpipe exhaust is 98.7 percent “clean.” Car B’s is 98.4 percent “clean.” They are both very “clean.” But car B is portrayed – misleadingly – as “dirty,” a “polluter”… because its output is .4 rather than .7.
He is concerned that this fraud will be used to justify continuous wireless monitoring of emissions using the new OBD-III standard.
Legislation requiring bad targets necessitates lies.
It works the same with ISO management accreditation. You know it. They pretend not to know it.
Top-down, command-and-control management is good at counter-intuitive, counter-productive results.
Matt Ridley has recognised this. He observes that we don’t need top-down management; people sort things out all by themselves. He interprets this as evolution despite it involving the ongoing application of intelligence at every level in the market to sort out which ideas work and which don’t.
The real diesel scandal? Our obsession with emissions has killed thousands
By Conservative Peer Matt Ridley
So now we know: far from ushering in a brave new world of cleaner air, technologies adopted by European car makers, driven by policymakers in Brussels, have been killing thousands of people a year through an obsession with lowering emissions of harmless carbon dioxide, at the expense of creating higher emissions of harmful nitrogen oxides.
The Volkswagen testing scandal has exposed the rotten corruption at the core of regulation. But there is a lesson here that goes much wider than the car industry, the clean-air debate and even the regulation of business. The scandal is a symptom of the political world’s obsession with directing and commanding change.
Consider how the great European switch to diesel engines evolved. It a was a top-down decision as a direct result of exaggerated fears about climate change. Convinced that the climate was about to warm rapidly, and extreme weather was about to get much worse, European governments signed the Kyoto protocol in 1997 and committed to reducing emissions of carbon dioxide in the hope that this would help.
In the event, the global temperature stopped rising for 18 years, while droughts, floods and storms also showed no increase. But in 1998, Britain happily signed up to an EU agreement with car makers that they would cut carbon dioxide emissions by 25 per cent over ten years. This suited German car makers, specialists in Rudolf Diesel’s engine design, because diesel engines have 15 per cent lower CO2 emissions than petrol engines.
As subjects of Brussels, we in Britain obediently lowered tax on diesel cars, despite knowing that they produce four times as much nitrogen oxides as petrol, and 20 times as many particulates, both bad for human lungs.
This is becoming a repetitive story. Almost every policy adopted to fight climate change has been a disaster, doing more harm than good – all without making a significant difference to emissions.
The Volkswagen testing scandal has exposed the rotten corruption at the core of regulation. But there is a lesson here that goes much wider than the car industry, the clean-air debate and even the regulation of business
And now it is clear that giving tax breaks to diesel cars made urban air quality worse than it would otherwise have been, killing possibly 5,000 people a year in this country alone.
In my new book The Evolution of Everything, I explore and expose the pervasive myth that the world always requires top-down planning, centralised command and control. We are too ready to reach for top-down solutions, which often have perverse consequences, rather than trusting and encouraging people to evolve solutions among themselves.
Vital and sophisticated aspects of human society work beautifully without anybody being in charge. The English language has no director-general. The internet is a wholly unplanned thing, with nobody in control. The world economy has emerged through trade and innovation, with no central committee.
There is a close parallel with evolution here. The ecosystem of a rainforest, or the working of the human eye, are complex manifestations of order. But in no case is there a central commanding intelligence. The knowledge of how to make it work is decentralised, dispersed among millions of organisms or genes.
In Parliament, I regularly see how colleagues think the purpose of legislation is to command the means of change, rather than create conditions under which people work out solutions for themselves. So often, such commands do real harm.
The Paris climate conference in December will be a perfect example of this. For the umpteenth (21st) time, a swarm of politicians and green hangers-on will haggle over words designed to ‘bind’ the rest of us into a top-down commitment to cut carbon dioxide emissions – whatever the cost in money and human lives. (Emphasis added)