BREAKING: SFO Chronicle says "Faulty science behind state's landmark diesel law" – an error of 340%

I wouldn’t have believed it if it were in any other newspaper but the very liberal San Francisco Chronicle – h/t to WUWT reader “crosspatch” who writes:

Was AB32 based on any data provided by the Air Resources Board?

According to various articles:

CARB had a lot of input in this legislation. They have a history if politics interfering with science and I have no confidence that this law is based on sound findings.

Here’s the story from the Chron:

(10-07) 16:36 PDT Sacramento –

California grossly miscalculated pollution levels in a scientific analysis used to toughen the state’s clean air standards, and scientists have spent the past several months revising data and planning a significant weakening of the landmark regulation, The Chronicle has found.

The pollution estimate in question was too high – by 340 percent, according to the California Air Resources Board, the state agency charged with researching and adopting air quality standards. The estimate was a key part in the creation of a regulation adopted by the Air Resources Board in 2007, a rule that forces businesses to cut diesel emissions by replacing or making costly upgrades to heavy-duty, diesel-fueled off-road vehicles used in construction and other industries.

The staff of the powerful and widely respected Air Resources Board said the overestimate is largely due to the board calculating emissions before the economy slumped, which halted the use of many of the 150,000 diesel-exhaust spewing vehicles in California. Independent researchers, however, found huge overestimates in the Air Board’s work on diesel emissions and attributed the flawed work to a faulty method of calculation – not the economic downturn.

The overestimate, which comes after another bad calculation by the Air Board on diesel-related deaths that made headlines in 2009, prompted the board to suspend the regulation earlier this year while officials decided whether to weaken the rule.

Today, after months of work, the Air Board and construction industry officials announced they agreed on a major scale-back of the rule – a proposal that includes delaying the start of the requirements until 2014 and exempting more vehicles from the rule. The announcement was made as The Chronicle was preparing to publish this report, which had been in the works for several weeks.

The setbacks in the Air Board’s research – and the proposed softening of a landmark regulation – raise questions about the performance of the agency as it is in the midst of implementing the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 – or AB32 as it is commonly called, one of the state’s and nation’s most ambitious environmental policies to date.

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spangled drongo

D’you think we might get more accuracy if we [snip ah, ah, none of that – Anthony]

Ian Mc Vindicated

Why am I not surprised. I guess the only surprise is that they actually admit it, before they get called out on it.
Is it just me, or does it seem like the entire “man-made” global warming scam seems to be falling faster than I could have imagined.


The real problem is that CARB is part of a larger philosophy to extract the elected government from the business of governing and handing more of that to unelected bureaucrats. CARB approves its own regulations and does not require the governor or the legislature to sign off on them.
CARB does not stand before the voters. They are beholden to nobody but themselves. No other state that I am aware of has an “Air Resources Board” and they get along just fine. They are a waste of the taxpayer’s money and they are what amounts to regulatory bullies. If you wish to appeal a regulation’s impact on you, you take your appeal back to them. We must eliminate this agency.


I see on the internet that California has a Professional Engineers Act. Could not some of these people who are making recommendations on emissions etc be charged under the PE act for a) not being registered and b) being incompetent? It is time that legal action was taken against those who are aiming to destroy the well being of all people.

Leon Brozyna

I’m sure that the backpedaling has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that people will be voting in a month.

Gary Hladik

Breaking news: the California Air Resources Board based its air pollution regulations on flawed science.
In other news, the sun rose in the east this morning.

Douglas Dc

What is it an regulators and faulty data. It’s the “Harry Read Me ” thing all over again.
“This is crap,my maiden Aunt! I hope we don’t get audited!” Harry, the hapless
programmer of the Hadley/CRU mess…


This is an agency that has HUNDREDS of people making around $100k or more a year. They have nearly a thousand employees. WHY do we need 1000 people working for this agency for a single state?
Look at how many of these employees saw their salaries increase substantially between 2007 and 2009:
Were private sector employees seeing their salaries increase like this between 2007 and 2009? Why the great variance in salaries from year to year? Are they getting “overtime”? For what purpose would a regulatory agency ever need to pay overtime? They are not a vital service. It isn’t like they are a fire department.
Again, this agency needs to go.

It's always Marcia, Marcia

was too high – by 340 percent
Here they are showing care for accuracy after the fact.
Many claims of the IPCC have been exposed as inaccurate after the fact. Al Gore’s movie was found to be innaccurate after the fact.
Now let’s examine the climate models in public to reveal their inaccuracies to the public after the fact. Better late than never.

Pat Moffitt

Its too late. Once you are able to scare on page one it does not matter what is said at a later time on page 30. Some see these things as mistakes— I see them as strategy.

David Davidovics

I don’t know if CARB ever served a useful purpose but its very nature as an unelected and unaccountable regulatory body makes it very dangerous in my view. The idea here is that its supposed to regulate according to what the “science says”. But as always, the science is only as good as those who carry it out so the problem of accountability still remains. You can see their snide attitude oozing through with statements like:
“In politics people can fudge; in science you can’t. The great benefit of science is it is peer reviewed.”
Peer review has a nice ring to it, but as we can plainly see, its not enough and is merely a way to get around any form of transparent oversight when it comes to the POLITICS of regulating the planet.
After owning a diesel for several years, I will not drive anything else for a work vehicle and they are not pollutive when properly maintained. Thankfully in my part of BC, there is no smog check of any sort……..for now at least.

Gordon Ford

Only 340%?

I am surprised that the SF Chronicle ran the story. I haven’t seen or heard of this story anywhere else.
The so-called landmark California legislation is notable for its egregious errors and conclusions. Here is an excellent chance for the Governator to cut some of the unnecessary expenses in the state budget.


I am always amazed how the public in any country allows laws to be bought into operation under a democratic process, but enable the teeth of legislative control and coercion be later bought into operation by executive regulations designed to circumvent the very democratic process of review.
It is control by stealth and I agree with crosspatch those laws need to be repealed as the next step is to bring in punitive penalties that automatically rise each year, and reversal of the onus of proof where the burden falls on the individual to prove they are innocent of the by regulation introduced “devil in the detail” nature of the legislation.
Totality of control, inability to fight the state, total submission. Thank goodness that the internet allows sceptics the open communications to both examine, question, and probe. If it wasn’t for that precious freedom, we would have long been, bundled down the path of irretrievable return on this Global warming scam, where similarly distorted and hyped “science” (facts??) are used for social control and promotion of hidden agenda.

R. de Haan

Only one measure possible.
Cut off their funding and shut them down or claim the hell out of them for economic losses. But don’t let them get away with this blunder.


Maybe, just maybe they’ve discovered reality. With the economy still in a recession & with so many people (i.e. breadwinners) out of work they decided to, shall we say, take a pause. Then maybe this has something to do with the Obama November elections stimulus.


This act, if I recall an article correctly written in the WSJ, would have required freight trucks to be upgraded with new pollution controls or be scrapped. Many truck drivers got into the business by buying 20 yr old trucks, and riding them until they could get financing to buy newer models. And this law would have put many of those truck drivers out of business. Now, everyone is in favor of newer and less polluting trucks (some inject urea into the exhaust system to reduce NOx emissions), but if not done right, the implementation can cause more economic harm than good. This law was way over the top based on my judgement. I’m glad that it is being re-considered for economic impact (i.e., less aggressive implementation).

Bill H

crosspatch says:
October 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm
The real problem is that CARB is part of a larger philosophy to extract the elected government from the business of governing and handing more of that to unelected bureaucrats. CARB approves its own regulations and does not require the governor or the legislature to sign off on them.
CARB does not stand before the voters. They are beholden to nobody but themselves. No other state that I am aware of has an “Air Resources Board” and they get along just fine. They are a waste of the taxpayer’s money and they are what amounts to regulatory bullies. If you wish to appeal a regulation’s impact on you, you take your appeal back to them. We must eliminate this agency.
I guess when you model the state agency after the federal agency which has the same unfettered powers to regulate without legislation and no ability to counter it you are doomed to dictatorship…
I say that California and the US government have agencies which should be abolished or severely limited in scope.


Aw, nobody REALLY sounds irritated 😉
Let’s try this:
…or maybe this:
So, all you diesel lovers get to put in a Diesel Exhaust Fluid or AUS32 (Aqueous Urea Solution 32.5%) or your car/truck will run like it is going to die.
Amazing that they got the “piss” concentration to be the assembly bill number…


“They have a history if [sic] politics interfering with science…”

Bill H

“One of the major recent problems was an Air Board estimate of premature deaths caused by particulate matter spewing from diesel engines. The first calculation found 18,000 deaths a year in the state had links to particulate matter. That has been revised down by nearly half.
The revision was ordered after the board scientist who oversaw that study was outed as having faked his scientific credentials.”
From the article. the last line is the one that caught my eye.. a continuation of climategate anyone? are we short qualified scientists or just short ones who will fake data for a desired outcome?


DCC, that is my typo in the original comment on another thread. The comment was copied as I typ(o)ed it.


crosspatch says:
October 7, 2010 at 5:48 pm
The real problem is that CARB is part of a larger philosophy to extract the elected government from the business of governing and handing more of that to unelected bureaucrats. CARB approves its own regulations and does not require the governor or the legislature to sign off on them.
This is exactly how socialism functions. Look at the health care bill. It is so complex. It requires government to make decisions on an individual basis on what health care is doled out. There is no way the elected representatives can do this, so it gets handed off to an ever larger bureaucracy. The people in it are not elected representatives, yet they make life and death decisions for us. The EPA is another example. This is why only a small government can function under the rule of law and allow individual freedom, where all laws apply equally to everyone and people aren’t under the thumb of government. I highly recommend “The Road to Serfdom.” It is a great book written in the forties. It applies to our government now.

Steve Oregon

Oh my, Thank God they didn’t make a bad calculation that was 340% too low.
Half the state would be dead?
Are their ever any honest mistakes which underestimate anything enviro-loons want higher?


I agree with most everything said in previous comments. But just for the sake of clarification, the Chronicle article is about the CARB Diesel regulation, which is about reducing particulate emissions, and NOx to a lesser extent, but not CO2. As a regulation, this is not a legislated law, but passed by CARB by them own selves. The diesel regulation is not to be confused with the draconian Global Warming Solutions Act, or AB32 – Arnie’s legacy. The connection is that the diesel article wonders, at the end, how CARB is doing on implementing AB32 when they screwed up on their justification for the diesel regulation. If you are a California voter, be sure to vote Yes on Prop 23, which would postpone AB32 until unemployment is down to 5.5%, which won’t be anytime soon.


Yet another error by the warmists that overstates the problem vs understates it. So far in my score book, 100% of the errors have worked in favor of the environmentalists.
What are the chances that these errors are all random?

Olaf Koenders

Only 340%? That’s not as bad as the IPCC’s somewhat 500-600% CO2 forcing error. Now, if only we could have another overblown regulatory agency that regulates the regulators. Reminds me of the extreme Vogon bureaucracy in Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy..

Given that the state is bankrupt, how about we just eliminate CARB.
The Federal laws seem to give just dandy air to the rest of the country. So since it’s a duplication of effort and generally only managing to drive folks and businesses out of the state, I see no reason for it to get ongoing funding at all. Axe it.

Adam Gallon

One thought comes to mind.
Starting at an artificially high level, means that when you take measurents after your legislation has been in force for a period of time, it’s easier to say “Look how much pollution has decreased due to our legislation”!

Peter Miller

CARB sounds like one of the hundreds of pointless, expensive NGOs we have in the UK.
They are a law unto themselves, totally unaccountable and usually run by ridiculously overpaid political cronies.
Their continued existence – just like climate ‘scientists’ – is often totally dependent on their ability to generate scare stories. Not surprisingly, these types of organisations are much loved by left leaning politicians, socialists and liberals.
They are a cancer – all they do is grow, becoming ever more bureaucratically complex and creating inconvenience and/or economic damage for the taxpayers in the name of what was once some trendy social or political issue.


What can be done about an organisation that sets itself up to make its own laws? Who actually set it up? Is it a private company like the Fed Reserve?
Seems to me there are two ways of dealing with it directly: drumming it out of town or setting up an alternative system claiming it has authority over them.


I’m with Cheifio and crosspatch. All we really need are 800,000 signatures on a ballot measure, then we can get this ball rolling.
Wait until 2012?


Incompetence or fraud?
Can’t wait for the flood of FOI requests to start rolling in!


Studies show sodium cyclamate is not implicated as a carcinogen.
Too bad, the law banning the sweetener stands.
Studies show DDT does not weaken bird egg shells.
Too bad, the law banning the insecticide stands.
Data shows an error of 340% in Diesel emission estimates.
Too bad, the law restricting emissions stands.
An insurance company over charges it customers by 2 cents a month for a year.
This is an outrage! This money must be refunded immediately!

John Silver

Some OT Diesel info from the real world:


Every enviro loon wants to create a hockey stick.

Theo Goodwin

The 340% is just the “attention getter.” You know, you have to exaggerate a bit to get the public’s attention.


crosspatch says:
October 7, 2010 at 6:09 pm
Thanks crosspatch, seeing the salary structure of such licentinous govt organizations is crucial to understanding the crisis the state and country faces.


According to research done at the University of Cicago in the 1970’s the human being is 9 times more susceptible to rumor than it is to fact. A quote I read on a visit to my home state of NC 13 years ago sums up us Californians “Californians are like granola, what isn’t fruit or nuts are flakes”.
Factor those two equations together and we have the recent MSM reports that Proposition 23, the initiative that would delay AB32 from implementation until unemployment drops below 5.5% for several years (did I remember that right?) is in a dead heat in the polls. Anyone surprised?
Someone already mentioned the Hien Tran debacle that came to light a year or so ago. Guy didn’t have a Ph.D as he said he did when hired on at CARB. Neatly swept under the Governator’s rug.
In the 1970’s California disbanded vehicle safety inspections as discriminatory to minorities. Drive down a CA freeway and watch for the ill-maintained vehicles spewing guff all over the place. Factor in the many on-road infrared tailpipe studies that show that 90% of all “bad” vehicular emissions are due to just 5% of all the vehicles and suddenly the picture gets clearer.
AB32 is written such that if you do business in CA, you must comply with the law, so moving out of the state does not necessarily get you off the GHG hook. If you seel products or do business in the state, you are subject to compliance with AB32. Businesses have been leaving anyway, and it will be interesting to see how AB32 is dealt with in the courts vis-a-vis the interstate commerce provisions in the constitution. A test of this is already underway between Minnesota and North Dakota over coal-fired electricity generation.
To all of this one might very well ponder the end Holocene. Assume CO2 is the deadly heathen global warming gas it is progged to be. At half a precession cycle old right now, the Holocene is at the ripe old age that 5 of the last 6 interglacials were when they slid off into the next ice age. Applying the Precautionary Principle, would you scavenge your atmospheric security blanket, or beef it up?


Not to defend an agency with a long history of bad science… but… CARB regulations (specifically the regulation of auto emissions) have indeed (seemingly) cleaned up the air in Los Angeles. When I moved here in 1984, it was typical to get several stage 1,2 and even 3 alerts in some areas of LA, Orange, and San Bernadino counties each year. I can’t even recall the last smog health-alert that was issued, I think it was more than a few years ago. The air is also visibly better since then, although not nearly as much as it would have been if CARB had focused on soot, which is the real danger to human lungs.
Perversely, it might actually be climate change that affected this though. The reason LA has such a bad reputation with smog is that the prevailing winds always blew up against a “cup” of mountain ranges with only 1-2 passes, and the heat from the city creates an effective inversion layer over the city with no cross-breezes to clean it out. In short, every city the size of LA should have a cloud like LA used to have over it, but the winds usually help you out and clean up your mess, that isn’t so in Los Angeles.
Anyone know of any studies on shifts in prevailing winds over the LA area since the 1980s? (*looks at Anthony*)

All errors seem to be in the same direction. Point to the same conclusion. It’s almost like they aren’t errors at all.


FerdinandAkin says:
October 8, 2010 at 3:15 am
“Studies show DDT does not weaken bird egg shells.”
It looks like it’s complicated. This article cites several studies and concludes that DDE, a metabolite of DDT, does have an effect in raptors, but not in other birds.


More Gov’t funded, possibly colluded PNS. “It’s You’re Liberty and stuff is what’s for dinner!” More “witch hunts” anyone?
Bill Wattenburg*, a brilliant practical scientist – construction company owner, proven local forest fire predictor and fighter, solver of problems at no cost which manage to stump Gov’t scientists, nuclear energy expert – who lives in Ca. and has been taking on the “econuts” there and elsewhere for years must be having a hard time containing himself. He was already making swiss cheese out of the proposed strictures on diesel exhaust and had also predicted the MBTE gas additive debacle in testimony prior to its enactment.
*He’s also got a radio show, KGO 810am from 10pm-1am Pacific time, every Sat and Sun.


I moved to CA in 1958, after 4 years in the USAF. SMOG, particularly in summer months, was so bad that on some days I couldn’t see a building a 1/2 block away. Vehicles of the 1950s were producers of huge amounts of pollutants. Certainly, something had to be done.
I worked for California Division of Highways, eventually as a professional civil engineer, and had many dealings with CARB. I won’t say here what I thought of them, other than that in my opinion, when it came to simple arithmetic, I found the people there to be incompetent. Huge miscalculations were quite common.
After I retired, the course of madness the state legislature and a series of governors were following caused me to leave the state, in 1998. It has only become worse there, and the residents, by and large, of California, seem to be intent on destroying themselves, and don’t seem to be changing in that regard.
Alas, in spite of the SMOG, So Cal was a delightful place to live in 1958. The SMOG has almost entirely been done away with, long since, but I personally could not live in a state with such political madness, and see the taxes I pay be thrown away on such foolishness.


Yes, the regulations CARB came out with did result in cleaner air. But we don’t need an agency with the powers such as CARB to recommend or enforce such regulations. That could have been done by CalTrans, for example for automobile standards and other transportation standards. Simply making CARB regulations subject to approval by an elected official and/or body (governor/legislature) would be OK.
The problem is that once you have an agency that large, they keep looking for more regulations to pass in order to justify their existence. Once all the “low hanging fruit” is picket, you then get into a situation where you have regulations that produce less and less benefit that are more and more expensive to implement.
Take an automobile, for example. There is a finite limit to the miles per gallon a car can achieve. It takes a certain amount of energy for something the size of an automobile to push through air at 65mph. A gallon of fuel contains a certain amount of energy. So if it takes X units of energy to push a car at 85 (65 + a 20mph headwind) through a mile of air and if a gallon of fuel contains Y units of energy then it will take X/Y gallons to go a mile assuming perfect efficiency, no road friction, etc. That’s it, you can’t possibly get any better than that. It is impossible by the laws of physics.
The problem is that each improvement is more expensive. It might be very easy to get half way there. It is more difficult and more expensive to get half of the remaining way there. So at that point you have expended more money and effort for half the gain you got the first time. Then to get half of the still remaining way there takes even more money and effort. At some point you begin to expend enormous amounts of money to make tiny gains in the amount of emissions generated.
The first thing CARB needs to do is justify WHY action is needed in the first place. Is the regulation mitigating an actual problem or are they doing it just for the sake of doing it? If they have to go out and fund a huge research project aimed at finding a justification to act, then they are putting the cart before the horse. They should only act to mitigate problems as directed by the legislature or other elected official. As things stand now, a good portion of CARBs budget is in doing studies justifying regulations that will cost the people huge amounts of more money.
How about they wait until the people come to them with a specific problem that they want fixed rather than forcing us to fix everything they can possibly find?


Here is a good DDT primer:
Jump to point 39 and go from there. I did double check the studies my own, most, if your google-fu is good, can be found and reviewed.
Which I did, quite a bit. After reviewing the findings of the first couple dozen your brain might get numb. The conclusions I grabbed from them showed many other variables that affect egg thickness, and the correlation has several interesting points. Such as empirical data collected from natural areas showed egg thinning on several studies that came from lower DDT areas, where as some areas that had extremely high DDT levels had thick eggs.
DDT might affect to some point, but the reason we use it here often is because it is similar to CO2. It is claimed as the main reason for egg thinning, but often it is such a small factor in the process of building an egg the justification for removing it from our lives, and hence the large number of deaths from malaria, doesn’t seem to make sense.


Long time talk radio commentator Bill Wattenburg (KGO 810 in the SF Bay Area) has been talking about this issue and other CARB mischief for a long time now.
Some of the research that was used to enact these laws was ‘conducted’ by a scientist who, it was found out, faked his credentials. That researcher was released but they still maintained the accuracy of research.
Odd to say the least.


Ha! Diesel fuel has higher energy density than gasoline –> better mileage, use less petroleum, less dependence on foreign oil, petro supplies last longer, less overall pollutant… Diesel engines tend to last longer… Leave it to Cali to be consistent and foobar this one along w/many others.
The Euros subsidize diesel, in part for those reasons.
W/dangerous clowns like the CARB and EPA, who needs external competitors and enemies.
(must read more of Bill Wattenburg)

CARB is out of control and needs to be eliminated.
In the distant past there was a reason for CARB. As cars changed to closed-loop
fuel injection, the reasoning for CARB mostly disappeared. The CARB-ites decided
they needed something else to do, so they decided to add MTBE to gasoline. The
MTBE both lowered the energy density and raised the cost of the fuel stream, which
had the effect of raising both the sales tax revenue and raising the per-gallon revenue.
Plus, MTBE destroyed something like a million fuel systems in cars and particularly
in boats. Yeah, and MTBE is a nasty, nasty pollutant.
Meanwhile, the natural turnover of the auto fleet meant the air got cleaner and
cleaner as more cars had better and better fuel injection and catalytic systems.
MTBE was defined to be a nasty pollutant, so CARB switched to ethyl alcohol.
This required an army of new people working, as the raw alcohol must be created
and transported and blended into the fuel stream under the watch of ATF agents!
Cost went up again, and so did the tax stream.
CARB should be pushing for the adoption of higher energy density fuels and
blending additives. These blending agents are fully burnt by current EFI systems,
and reduce overall cost of the fuel stream. But that might reduce the tax take.
CARB also attacks some diesel installations. I own 2 new very clean diesels.
The newest one, in particular, is so clean you can use the exhaust to dry your
There are plenty of diesel buses from the 1950s still running around. They are
school buses! Every day school buses belch giant clouds of partially burnt diesel
right at the school children. Somehow CARB cannot be bothered to deal with the
buses that pollute the most in the most sensitive areas.
The single largest point source of pollution in SoCal remains LAX. Lots of jets
taking off. But LAX is also the largest single point tax source in SoCal. Getting
rid of LAX would improve air quality quite a bit, but somehow CARB does not
want to deal with the single largest polluter in SoCal.
CARB also ignores the single largest source of pollution — ships coming into
the ports of Long Beach and Los Angels. Ship exhaust, until a recent treaty was
signed, was largely unregulated, and really, really dirty. Outside the 3 mile
limit it is still quite dirty. (This problem is going away. The port of LB/LA
will collapse in a few years when the new Panama Canal is finished. While
Panama works on the new canal, the US eastern ports and rail systems are being
upgraded. When the new canal opens, ships will go directly to the east and
supply the mid-west. The California longshorman’s union has responded to
this issue by going on strike and raising the cost of doing business in SoCal.
Any idiot can predict what is going to happen. But at least the unemployed
longshoremen will have cleaner air. )
Like more than 400 other departments, divisions, boards, or commissions in the
state, CARB does need to be disbanded.