Why should Volkswagen be investigated for emission deception, but not government agencies?

Guest essay Paul Driessen

The heat is on! Not the unusual winter warmth in much of the United States – but the unrelenting heat generated by propaganda and pressure campaigns that the White House, EPA, Big Green and news media are unleashing in the wake of the Paris climate agreement … and as a prelude to the 2016 elections.

A recent Washington Post editorial laid out the strategy. The long-term warming trend is “concerning.” Maybe we can’t blame this year’s strong El Niño “squarely on climate change,” but “one paper” says the number of strong El Niño years could double. Obama’s “landmark” carbon dioxide regulations “played a key role” in securing an “unprecedented” international climate deal that could eventually compel all nations to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, to “avoid serious risks” of climate catastrophes.

Above all, we must “build on 2015’s climate progress.” There must be no backpedalling on the Paris accord, EPA regulations, or replacing fossil fuels with renewable energy. Above all, no “fishing expeditions designed to personally discredit scientists and undermine peer-reviewed research” that supports the elimination of carbon-based fuels. Republican claims are mere “bluster” and “buffoonery.”

Never mind that White House and EPA events, the Paris climate conference, the Vatican climate summit and even Science magazine have offered virtually no forum for numerous scientists who contest claims that humans are causing “dangerous manmade climate change” to present their case or debate alarmist witnesses and officials. Never mind that climate chaos claims look increasingly flimsy.

A fundamental principle is at stake here: policies and rules that affect our lives, livelihoods and living standards must be based on honesty, accountability and verifiable scientific evidence.

The Justice Department has sued Volkswagen on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency. They want up to $18 billion dollars in penalties, because VW installed special software that caused its diesel cars to emit fewer pollutants during tests used to ensure compliance with emission regulations. The falsified tests allegedly duped American consumers into purchasing 580,000 diesel-powered vehicles.

Federal prosecutors are also conducting criminal probes of Volkswagen and its executives. Countless other civil and criminal investigations and prosecutions have companies and citizens in their crosshairs. Such actions are often warranted, even if the draconian incarceration and monetary penalties are not.

No one should be victimized by fraud or other criminal activities, by private companies – or by government agencies and bureaucrats, or third parties they hire and use to validate their policies.

Equally important, no one forces us to buy a VW or any other car. But when it comes to laws and regulations, we have no choice. Submit, or else. If those rules are based on dishonesty – on emission deception at massive, unprecedented levels in the case of climate – we pay a huge, unacceptable price:

Our taxes support science that may be manipulated and fabricated. More taxes fund regulatory behemoths that target energy producers and energy-dependent industries, while giving billions in subsidies to crony-corporatist allies. Still more tax money is transferred to alarmists like Michael Mann and Jagedish Shukla, who launch vicious attacks on skeptics. And the resulting regulations inflict soaring energy costs that kill jobs and hammer families, companies, hospitals, schools and communities, for few or no benefits.

Congress has every right to investigate this. Indeed, legislators are duty-bound to ferret out fraud and abuse. These are not “fishing expeditions.” They seek to determine the reliability and integrity of data and studies presented to support enormously expensive policies, and ascertain the veracity of government officials and tax-supported scientists who want more power and too often refuse to answer questions.

EPA and Justice Department investigators demand full disclosure and tolerate no obstruction, obfuscation or misleading information. This is fitting and proper. But why should we and our elected representatives have to tolerate such actions by heavy-handed regulators who want to control every aspect of our lives, but routinely hide their data and methodologies, and refuse to be held accountable?

There are good reasons to doubt their climate chaos assertions, and even their integrity. What little warming our planet has experienced in the past 19 years is measured in hundredths of a degree, especially when adjusted for the El Niño effect that transfers warm surface Pacific Ocean temperatures to the atmosphere. The warming that has the Post, Mr. Obama and EPA in a tizzy began around 1850, as Earth emerged from a 500-year-long Little Ice Age – which by happy coincidence for climate alarmists also marks the beginning of the Industrial Revolution that they blame for most warming in recent decades.

Hurricanes and tornadoes, storms, droughts, polar ice and sea levels are all within the realm of historic experience. There is nothing “unprecedented” about them, and certainly nothing to justify shutting down our carbon-based energy system, restructuring our economy, or redistributing our hard-earned wealth to countries that are not bound by any energy and emission reductions agreed to in Paris.

The fracking revolution proves we are not running out of oil or natural gas. That means we have a century or more to develop affordable, reliable replacement energy technologies. It means environmental radicals now have only climate cataclysm hysteria to justify demands that we abandon hydrocarbons. It explains why they’ve concocted the fairytale that CO2 is “acidifying” oceans that are and will remain firmly alkaline, and why they have been in regulatory hyperdrive during Obama’s final years in office.

However, as Secretary of State John Kerry admitted in Paris, even if all the industrialized nations’ CO2 emissions declined to zero, “it wouldn’t be enough [to prevent alleged climate disaster], not when more than 65% of the world’s carbon pollution comes from the developing world.” Even assuming that carbon dioxide does drive climate change, all the costly, job-killing regulations that EPA is imposing would prevent an undetectable 0.018 degrees Celsius (0.032 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century.

Earth’s climate fluctuates regularly. What actual evidence do climate alarmists have that recent changes are dangerous, unprecedented, and due to fossil fuel use? That any warming above 1.5 degrees C (2.7 F) would be catastrophic? (A cooler planet would be much worse for wildlife, people and agriculture.)

What actual evidence do they have that government can control climate and weather by limiting the amount of plant-fertilizing carbon dioxide that humans emit into the atmosphere? That justifies letting anti-energy activists and bureaucrats “fundamentally transform” our entire energy and economic system?

Why do they refuse to present their asserted evidence for all to see – amid robust debate and cross-examination – and try to defend their “97% consensus” science? Why do some of them think “climate deniers” are mentally ill for questioning the manmade climate Armageddon mantra?

President Obama insists that climate change is the biggest problem facing America. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seem to agree. They all think Bigger Government is the answer.

The citizenry fundamentally disagrees. One recent Gallup poll found that Americans view our already huge government, the economy, jobs and terrorism as the biggest threats facing our nation. Pollution came in at #23; global warming didn’t even register among 48 listed issues. Another Gallup study found that 69% of all Americans (88% of Republicans) say Big Government is the most serious threat we face.

That is what this year’s elections are all about.

How much bigger (or smaller) will our government become? Who gets to rule your lives: We the People, or another dictatorial president and her army of faceless, unelected, unaccountable bureaucrats? What will the future hold for our lives, liberties, livelihoods and living standards?

Get informed. Get involved. Get to the polls. Better yet, take a page out of the Democrats’ playbook: get to the polls early, vote often, and make sure your dead friends and relatives vote too.

Paul Driessen is senior policy analyst for the Committee For A Constructive Tomorrow (www.CFACT.org) and author of Eco-Imperialism: Green power – Black death.

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January 10, 2016 2:18 pm

Their actual evidence is as follows: “We’re in power and you’re not.” That’s really all it boils down to.

Gunga Din
Reply to  Notanist
January 10, 2016 2:29 pm

“We’re in power and you’re not.”
……….”if you want energy, bow to our will. After you do, we’ll think about it.”

Reply to  Notanist
January 10, 2016 3:02 pm

” Elections have consequences” is one of their favorite !

January 10, 2016 2:37 pm

Highlights the importance of elections.
Look at House elections – then Senate, and only then Presidential.
Your Representative can be sensitive, especially as she/he will, most likely, seek re-election in 2018 – 33 months [ish] away!

Reply to  Auto
January 10, 2016 2:58 pm

“she/he”? Please use the time honored word “they.” You denegrate your comments by bowing to the “sensitivities” of the “fragile few,” otherwise I concur wholeheartedly.
Most of us only have 15 opportunities in our lifetimes to vote for president. It should be taken quite seriously.

Reply to  Bruce
January 10, 2016 3:09 pm

Bruce – noted – and disagreed with.
No point in winding the b#gger5 up unnecessarily.
It wound you up. Noted.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  Auto
January 11, 2016 1:38 am

In the USA you are lucky to be able to vote at every level of your government (OK, you can’t vote the EPA, but they’re not supposed to be part of Government…); while here in the EU we cannot vote for the European Commision which is appointed above the European Parliament and is the sole source of laws that the Parliament votes on – and usually passes.
That said, it is noted that you are unfortunate to have as a President a man who has allowed power to go to his head.

January 10, 2016 2:53 pm

Because the government has guns to backup their deception. VW only has cars to sell.

Tom Halla
January 10, 2016 2:56 pm

They are the government, which tends towards “le estat ce moi”. We do have a problem with the establishment of both parties, which tend to be governed by Pournelle’s law–being good at the internal politics of an organization tends to overcome any constraint at being good at performing the purported purpose of that organization. We seem to need some sort of radical change, but anarchy is not very attractive, either. Somalia, anyone?

Reply to  Tom Halla
January 10, 2016 11:44 pm

L’Etat, c’est moi.

Harry Passfield
Reply to  kalya22
January 11, 2016 1:41 am

The corollary being: “Après moi le déluge!”

michael hart
Reply to  kalya22
January 11, 2016 6:03 am

Yes. Or, put another way:

January 10, 2016 2:58 pm

“A” for effort in drawing parallels. After watching the current American Congressional GOP extend alternative energy rebates another 5 years in the all on the bus (omni) bill, what makes you think they are a better alternative ? Do you think Trump or Cruz will wave a magic wand and make that go away ?
America is witnessing an explosion of the intrusion of government that as best as I can tell dates back to the infrastructure that was created during the prohibition era (my weakly researched opinion).

Bubba Cow
Reply to  knutesea
January 10, 2016 3:28 pm

no magic wand, but I believe that Trump and Cruz care about America and I know Cruz sees the scam …

January 10, 2016 3:40 pm

It is worth noting that the controversy with VW is not a new concept. The EPA, in one of its first major actions after being created, pursued Ford and others in 1973 for installing “defeat devices” on its vehicles specifically to bypass the legal emissions requirements. Two decades later, GM recalled half a million Cadillacs that were programmed much the same way the VWs were — to change mixtures during testing, based upon the A/C being off.
Here’s come background:
===|==============/ Keith DeHavelle

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Keith DeHavelle
January 10, 2016 11:25 pm

The cheats were nearly identical, yet the ‘test bed’ approach to rating performance continues to this day. Many regulators consider that ‘representative assessments’ can be made without performing a contextual test reflecting patterns of actual use.

Another Ian
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 1:48 am

Stated another way
“What is the difference between theory and practice?
I theory there is no difference”
Borrowed from a webber slogan and I didn’t save the source

Phil R
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 8:22 am

“In theory there is no difference between theory and practice. In practice there is.”
Attributed to Yogi Berra

January 10, 2016 5:03 pm

Governments lie as a matter of political expediency. Companies lie as a matter of economic expediency. Both are equally dishonest. It’s governments that are suppose to hold those who lie accountable. Unfortunately, they aren’t very interested in punishing themselves for lying. However, punishing companies for lying does distract people from government lies.

DD More
Reply to  ScienceABC123
January 11, 2016 1:24 pm

Like the California CARB soot requirements in 1999.
A group of scientists and economists has noted that: California’s New Diesel Regulation Is All Pain for No Gain. California is the only state with such a diesel emissions reduction program, largely because the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has never determined that diesel exhaust causes premature deaths. For example, the agency’s large, detailed study in 2002 failed to find that diesel exhaust causes premature deaths.
It a nutshell, CARB is demanding trucking companies, construction forms, supply chains, and all other businesses retrofit or replace their diesel equipment based on the unproven premise that the fine particulates (i.e., soot) from the exhaust is harmful to the public. The CARB panel cites a “causation ratio” (a public health term for numerical proof that a chemical is toxic to people; more information on the conept of the Bradford-Hill criteria can be found HERE) of approximately 1.014 for diesel soot as the “smoking gun” calling for extreme measures to control this equipment. However, legal standards require the ratio be at least 2.0 before declaring a substance harmful to humans.


January 10, 2016 5:18 pm

Government Department in Australia hides the truth of spill for 9 months from EPA (How the heck does EPA miss a toxic spill into a major river for nine months??)
EPA is till hiding the truth in US re its river spill
Anyone see a pattern here ??

Greg Cavanagh
January 10, 2016 6:42 pm

The governments invent laws in order to change behaviour of people or business. The laws thus invented could be unworkable, ill conceived, change behaviour in ways unintended, or have no basis in any original problematic behaviour.
So, the EPA is prosecuting VW for cheating while pretending to comply with the law that the EPA itself wrote. With $18 billion dollars on the table, I’ll bet half of that that VW would be looking into suing the EPA for fabricating data to support their law which can not possibly do what it supposes to achieve. Or VW could sue the government for something, I can’t think what.
This $18 billion dollars could ultimately be paid back to VW with damages on top for good measure.

Reply to  Greg Cavanagh
January 12, 2016 12:04 pm

I’ve often wondered why the motoring industry has never hired its own scientists to challenge the CO2 dogma.
In 2007, I had occasion to speak to one of Toyota’s executives and asked about this. He just shrugged his shoulders and told me that they simply had to do as they were asked by the government.
Maybe VW will do this now. Where’s the proof that VW have caused any harm to the environment?
Would I buy a VW after all the fuss about emissions?
Absolutely yes.

Greg Cavanagh
January 10, 2016 6:48 pm

I also find their hypocrisy in applying the law despicable.
They wish to fine VW for cheating on a compliance test, while giving themselves a free pass for creating the disaster named “Gold King Mine”.

January 10, 2016 6:50 pm

One reason why I support Ted Cruz – he seems to get it. Trump says global warming is a hoax, but I don’t really trust him. Cruz understands the science. Just sayin…

Reply to  J. Philip Peterson
January 10, 2016 7:33 pm

“I flew my plane to a certain location and they sent me a bill for $2,220—a carbon tax. I said, ‘What a scam. What kind of a scam is this?’”
Trump went after President Obama for riding on Air Force 1, which Trump says creates a large carbon footprint, while advocating for climate change policy.
“Think about it, he gets into Air Force 1, which is a very old 747 with the old really big engine and if you’re a believer in the carbon footprint, you don’t like this…He flies a 747 to Hawaii and back and then gets up and gives a speech about global warming.”
Just sayin…

January 10, 2016 6:51 pm

Reblogged this on Sierra Foothill Commentary and commented:
A really good question, that needs some really good answers.

January 10, 2016 8:09 pm

VW got caught flagrantly cheating on a NOx standard and test method that every other car manufacturer that sells cars in the US or Europe has to meet…in this case one that pertains to cleaner air and less smog in some urban areas; goals that I happen to approve of most strongly. It’s not about CO2…in fact, the cheating probably produces less CO2, paradoxically.
This isn’t a case of agency overreach, it’s a case of holding a corporation accountable for standards that they have agreed to, and test results and certificates that were false and deceptive, and which create an unfair advantage vs their competition. This is not the way any global business should operate.
Im aware that many of the commenters on this site regard EPA with a good deal of deserved suspicion, but we should not confuse regulatory enforcement in pursuit of legitimate policy objectives with cases of incompetence, pettifoggery, and misguided political initiatives, of which there are several excellent examples.

Reply to  DataTurk
January 10, 2016 8:47 pm

You will begin to convince me if/when a single head (or more) rolls for the Animas river disaster.
So far, there’s not even been a verbal reprimand.

Reply to  dbstealey
January 10, 2016 10:48 pm

DB…I think you are talking about a heady mixture of technical incompetence and typical bureaucratic crisis (non) management and conflating that with what I consider the EPAs obligation to enforce lawful regulations under the Clean Air Act, which was passed by Congress and signed by several presidents.
Logically, the argument that they shouldn’t enforce the law because they screwed up Animas River is kind of silly, except as part of an anti-government rant, I suppose.

Reply to  dbstealey
January 11, 2016 11:29 am

Are you a gov’t bureaucrat or something? I thought my point was pretty clear: there are completely different standards for the public and private sectors. Your throwaway line about “an anti-government rant” is an attempt to excuse the EPA’s criminal negligence.
Why should people be given immunity just because they happen to be in the government? Make your answer — if you have one — short and to the point.

Reply to  dbstealey
January 11, 2016 7:36 pm

Quite the charmer, you are, DB!
No, I am not a government bureaucrat….I am a freelance bureaucrat in private practice, and if my practice included answering insolent questions from the fringe, I would be happy to oblige you.
G’ night, y’all.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  DataTurk
January 10, 2016 9:18 pm

If I remember correctly, 2 or 3 other car manufacturers were also found cheating on exactly the same thing.
Also; the manufacturers didn’t agree to these standards, they were imposed upon them.
Regulatory enforcement is one thing, but a regulation that does not achieve any useful outcome, is a regulation that should not exist. And since the EPA invented the need for it, I’d very much doubt that there is any backing substance to the requirement. Just like their CO2 endangerment finding, based on someone else’s homework and which they themselves didn’t understand.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  DataTurk
January 10, 2016 11:19 pm

VW cheated. The EPA made it really easy to do so. They also allow manufacturers to claim impossible fuel economy – for which at least one manufacturer was sued (by the public – the EPA never complained, did they?)

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 5:59 am

Did you ever take an exam in college where it was impossible to cheat? Probably not…there’s always a way. More generally, the exam was set under well understood guidelines, as I distantly recall, about what resources were proscribed during the exam. If you breach those guidelines, you are punished. This is the exact analogue for what VW did.
The test cycles represent a carefully constructed version of reality. They are designed to represent an amalgam of various types of typical operation: urban, rural, freeway, etc. The principal purpose of the test is not to rigidly model reality, but rather to provide a representation of reality that can be designed-to, tested-to, and certified-to, and checked periodically by the government to assure compliance. There are very specific rules about “cycle sensing” and “defeat devices”.
The sticker numbers on the car window have never been more than a statement to the effect that if you test this vehicle according to the standard procedure, this is the fuel economy result. It’s only for comparison shopping.
I think that it is right that VW be prosecuted, and at the same time it is right for EPA to own up to its institutional and bureaucratic failings. It’s not inconsistent, and it’s not either-or.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 6:16 am

I think that it is right that VW be prosecuted, and at the same time it is right for EPA to own up to its institutional and bureaucratic failings.
Realistically, which of these two events are 97% likely to happen? You know the answer.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 8:30 am

“The test cycles represent a carefully constructed version of reality. They are designed to represent an amalgam of various types of typical operation: urban, rural, freeway, etc. The principal purpose of the test is not to rigidly model reality, but rather to provide a representation of reality that can be designed-to, tested-to, and certified-to, and checked periodically by the government to assure compliance. There are very specific rules about “cycle sensing” and “defeat devices”. ”
The sentence contains a stark contradiction that runs through every EPA test I have examined.
“The test cycles represent a carefully constructed version of reality”
No they do not represent any reality – they are based on ideas that were prevalent in the 1970’s, mainly rooted in the testing needs of power stations and stationary boilers which operated under constant conditions. When the conditions were variable, they introduced a set of rules that supposedly compensated for this, but in fact sought metrics that were the functional equivalent of constant condition, fixed facilities like power stations. A major flaw for devices burning solid fuels is the idea that performance under one set of conditions informs up about performance under another set of conditions. Another is the influence of people from the ambient air quality sector who write methods for rating product performance. Often they should choose different metrics.
“The principal purpose of the test is not to rigidly model reality…”
Well, which is it – to model reality or not? This contradicts the first sentence above. It is glaringly obvious that EPA vehicle tests do not model reality because every vehicle tested under real driving of the theoretical driving circuit fails to pass the test. In short, the modelled circuit has departed so far from the actual driving of that circuit it is supposed to represent that the calculated performance is outside the bounds of acceptability. This is a fundamental failure of the test method. The test method should be reviewed by a group outside the TC that wrote it to see that it is fit for purpose. That will require a major change in the way Standards are developed – a system filled with opportunities for manipulation and bias.
Placing rules against cycle sensing and defeat devices is fair game – obviously needed, right? But for the test to be accepted as a rating method and not include detection of something as simple as cycle sensor software is a bit basic, eh? If the test required driving with a box of equipment in the trunk as a confirmation, it would have shown up the issue very quickly. I could do that for less than 3 grand.
The systemic failure of EPA tests is they (the Committees) believe that if the method is incorrect and not representative of reality, but everyone is tested using the same set of errors, that it is ‘fair to all’ and serves the public interest about as well as a real test. This is simply not so. By taking advantage of the errors both conceptual and mathematical, products get onto the market that do not deliver near their supposed performance level.
A good example of this conceptual failure is with the certification of home heating stoves that burn wood. The test methods (5G, M28, B415.10 etc) produce a number, a rating, of PM2.5 emissions based on a burn cycle and fuel moisture and fuel type and fuel preparation that everyone and his dog knows doesn’t represent reality. Everyone gets treated to the same unrepresentative, unrealistic, incorrectly calculated test. The result is the smoke filled valleys of Washington and Oregon. They persist with the method because it is already there, not because it provides care and diligence useful to the public other than in the most general sense: “better than nothing.” Is that best we can do?
No one, no one at all, builds a clean burning wood stove to work under real world conditions. They build them to pass the EPA (or WA) test when operated ‘that way’ with ‘that fuel’ for ‘that length of time’. People cheat like hell. If the test is going badly, they interfere with the operation (which is illegal) and the test run is nullified. If it is going well, they don’t. And that is legal! Imagine what they do that is not in the public interest or actually cheating.
Where is the cross-check on vehicle performance? Maybe there is a check-box on the submission beside the words, “To the best of my knowledge this vehicle does not incorporate cycle sensing software,” undersigned, “Cheatem, Soakem and Split”.
“Trust all men, but tie up your camel.”

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 9:47 am

Crispin, take a deep breath, man! This isn’t the evil empire we are discussing.
Calling the game on Monday morning is much easier than playing in it.
I submit that no regulation is bulletproof, and when you are designing them there is always a balance between fairness, comprehensiveness, intelligibility, and the ability to comply, and the costs of compliance. That’s why the burden of proof of compliance is on the manufacturer, not on the agency to prove that they thought of everything a priori.
I have played in this game, as a vehicle manufacturer, and I have been part of several major rule makings, and I can tell you that these regulations under the CAA were never done in a vacuum, in my experience. Not sure I could say that for the water and power plant rules that are talked about so much now, but I was not involved in those industries.
Look, we will probably never agree on this. I think that EPA has done well in some areas, cleaner air, less smog, cleaner water. I would like to see them return to their roots of developing science-based policies in the public interest.

Ben of Houston
Reply to  DataTurk
January 11, 2016 7:35 am

I think you are confusing the point. It’s not holding Volkswagon to the law that people are objecting to. It’s the fact that the EPA gets away with a lot of nonsense that riles people up.
The EPA has extremely strict test methods that they proscribe to all industry. Correlation testing on flowmeters is one of the biggest, and one of the cardinal rules is that no extrapolation is allowed (if you do a test that proves you are in compliance at 1,923F and 1500CFM, they going to 1,922F or 1501 CFM is a violation). However, that goes out the window when they are writing rules or performing cleanups. The IPCC’s methodology is extremely shaky and fails pretty much every EPA requirement, but they take it as gospel.
To beat a dead horse some more. Private citizens are routinely arrested for clean water violations that amount to putting dirt into a minor stream, and private companies are routinely fined for minor hazardous waste infractions, even if they result in no pollution (such as labeling issues or holding a drum for 91 days), and operating permits are subject to huge reviews for environmental impact. However, the Colorado gold mine incident dumped millions of gallons of hazardous waste into a public river through reckless lack of planning, and no one has been disciplined, much less criminally charged.
That double standard is the real issue.

Reply to  Ben of Houston
January 11, 2016 8:11 am

I don’t think I am confused. The touch point in this discussion seems to be whether EPA has the moral authority to prosecute VW, given their own dirty laundry. That’s an argument that lots of folks seem to want to have, but the outcome is moot, unless your basic tenet is that government sucks, in which case logic may not prevail.
My point is plain. EPA has the LEGAL authority to enforce the Clean Air Act, which is a law of the land. I don’t extend that logic to agency overreach examples like “Streams and Tributaries”, or the several power plant rules under litigation, or the willful institutional obtuseness about Climate Change.
That said, I like clean air and I think they should bust VW big time.

Reply to  Ben of Houston
January 11, 2016 11:38 am

I don’t think I am confused.
Then you’re dissembling. Claiming the EPA has “moral authority” is crazy talk, because the EPA has consistently shown that it is immoral. It is a self-serving bureaucracy that prosecutes people for wanting to build on “wetlands” that are mere mud puddles for 3 months out of the year. It destroyed a river and not even a reprimand was issued, when the head of the EPA should have resigned in shame.
But the EPA has no shame. They are irresponsible, culpable, and flagrantly dedicated to harassing anyone they get in their sights. And I still don’t understand why you’re defending them.

Reply to  Ben of Houston
January 11, 2016 7:44 pm

DB, I believe my point was not that they had moral authority, but rather legal authority to enforce the law as it pertains to the Clean Air Act. Maybe a finer point that you may have missed in your reading.

January 10, 2016 9:01 pm

One problem commentators make in regard to VW’s pollution problem is why wasn’t it caught out before.
It isn’t difficult to test a vehicle for emissions.You don’t use the vehicle’s on board computer system at all.
Simply tap into the exhaust and drive or use a chassis dynometer. You never trust the manufacturers anyway as they tend to exaggerate regardless,fuel efficiency,engine power whichever.
The big question is what were the public servants up to,the simple answer is they were not testing.
This appears to be more of a false outrage and money grab exercise.

January 10, 2016 9:21 pm

Very surprised and disappointed to see this post on this fine site. Venting ones spleen and concluding with advocacy for voter fraud is neither constructive or credible.
As for VW, it is a fraud unrelated to misinformation from IPCC or our various western governments. VW committed its fraud for profit, the objective of some in government is far more complicated and diverse.

Reply to  GTL
January 11, 2016 6:38 am

Well said, GTL.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  GTL
January 11, 2016 8:47 am

There is a set of similarities between the models used to evaluate vehicle performance and the ways people use them to profit. Windmill companies make CO2 and energy cost claims that are flagrantly abusive of the rules of normal economic evaluation. “Renewable advocates” propose technologies that have no hope of giving a positive return on monetary investment, CO2 produced, or energy invested in making them.
Note that it is not just VW who is producing vehicles that do not perform as claimed. They just got caught first. Investigations continue into other mega-companies. It is a bit like stock car racing. There are rules, and half the game is cheating without getting caught.
I recall one scrutineer looking into the carburettor of a stock car engine and saw a pop rivet on the inside of the velocity stack. He failed the car. Challenged vociferously to explain why, the scrutineer said, “I don’t how you are doing it, but I think that pop rivet is dispensing Nitrous Oxide. I can’t find the tank; I don’t know how it is controlled, but that rivet should not be there.”
Him, I want on my technical committees.

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 10:25 am

i am not aware of any windmill manufacturers producing products in deliberate violation of the law. As for their overstated claims “caveat emptor”. The rubes that buy windmills deserve what they get.

Chris Hanley
January 10, 2016 9:21 pm

According to Adam Andrzejewski the EPA (US) has:
‘… purchased guns and ammo up to 300MM – the majority of these expenditures were on weapons up to 30MM … body armor, camouflage and deceptive equipment, unmanned aircraft, night vision, radar equipment, tactical sets, kits, and outfits, transport vehicles passenger and troop, and $6.6 million in joint “policing” projects with Homeland Security. EPA also purchased shotgun ammunition, Bushmaster rifles, mobile GPS units, puncture-protective gloves, amphibious assault ships, and much more …’.
It has spent more money on attorneys ‘… than on chemists, general health scientists, ecologists, chemists, microbiologists, geologists, hydrologists, toxicologists, biologists, physical scientists, and health physicists combined …’ and ‘… ranked against the largest American law firms, with 1,020 in-house lawyers, EPA would rank 14th largest private law firm in the country …’.

George Tetley
Reply to  Chris Hanley
January 11, 2016 5:24 am

Chris Hanley.
the way the world is governed I wouls say that the above ” is just for openers “

Mike Macray
January 10, 2016 10:31 pm

For more on VW Sins of Emission check out: HarveyHHomitz.com

David Cage
January 10, 2016 11:10 pm

Surely if you set an exam you should expect the examinee to do everything possible to pass that exam as well as possible. in the case of VW they recognised the exam and went into exam mode in exactly the same way an individual revises and makes sure they do as well as possible.
The people who set the exam should be under investigation not VW, as it is their failing that the test does not resemble normal operation sufficiently closely to be indistinguishable and therefore able to be recognisable for optimisation by special software.
The fact is the testers set a fiddled test to make life difficult but it was so overtly dishonest it was recognisable as such and able to be circumvented.

Crispin in Waterloo
January 10, 2016 11:14 pm

The EPA is not off the hook for this. At no time during the testing is the vehicle operated under normal conditions. This is an utter failure. All the vehicles tested in the UK by the Guardian failed the EPA test when driven on real roads under real conditions. This is inexcusable regulatory incompetence.
The test is so easy to cheat on because it has not been well formulated. As an author of national regulations I spend a lot of time trying to work out how to cheat, and close every loophole we in the working groups can find. It is the responsibility of the regulator to anticipate cheating and defeat it in the interests of protecting the public. Foreseeable misuse of the terms of reference is something to address, just as foreseeable misuse of a product has to be considered when making them safe.
Lawsuits against manufacturers are often based on the consequences of ‘foreseeable misuse’ and the manufacturer is held responsible for the resulting injuries. The EPA should have foreseen that something as simple as testing to see that all the wheels were not turning at the same time meant there was probably a test in progress. When the front wheels were turning and the rear wheels were not, the software limited the maximum power and torque, resulting in lower NO emissions. The vehicles passed the test, but would not if driven at full power. No one at the EPA or the other labs using the protocol drove them at full power.
The idea that ‘modelling’ driving comes anywhere close to real life performance was disproved by journalists at The Guardian – people one can hardly think of as technical experts – after they believe in CAGW! All they did to prove the vehicles (all of them, every major manufacturer) did not meet the EPA emission requirements was to *gasp* drive them!
Having vehicle emissions tested and rated without ever driving them is silly. The list of permitted ‘cheats’ like removing mirrors and over-inflating tires and taping door/window gaps when determining ‘fuel economy’ is ridiculous.
Professional malpractice. The test method just begs to be manipulated, and not just for NO emissions. The EPA should be included by the owners when seeking restitution.

George Tetley
Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 5:35 am

In the real world you do not appoint a Bus driver as President of a Country, ( Venezuela ) it used to be said that if a man was no-good at anything, in Politics, he would excel, today it is a requirement. to hold a degree in Stupid!

Reply to  Crispin in Waterloo
January 11, 2016 6:22 am

Here is a link with a pretty good description of how the cycle works and how VW cheated.
I think EPA is not off the hook, also, but for a different reason: every manufacturer has to submit software logic trees and source code (in many cases) as ancillary information in the certification process. So, it’s possible, or even likely that the Agency had information about the cheat in its possession, but unexamined.
Your argument above is basically “EPA was asking for it”. I don’t find that logic very compelling.

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  DataTurk
January 11, 2016 8:38 am

Yes DataTurk, the EPA was ‘asking for it’. But remember I am not saying they are the offender, VW cheated. VW offended, but there was an enabler. If the EPA had the software in their possession and didn’t examine it, that is a failure of the examiner, which is a separate issue again.
I am not arguing that VW is ‘not to blame’ but when it comes down to it, the correction is multi-pronged.
If you take a programmable calculator into an exam, they do not ask you at the door if it contains preprogrammed solutions, they take it from you, erase the memory, and give it back, just to be sure. They don’t even give you an opportunity to lie and they tell you before the exam they are going to do that. When someone gets caught lying, they get punished, but the parents of the kid can reasonably ask what due diligence steps are taken to keep this from being possible in the first place.
If high schools invigilator can do it, so can the EPA. An unrealistic test cycle is too easy to manipulate and when there are billions at stake, this ‘cleverness’ must stop. Drive the car!

Harry Passfield
January 11, 2016 1:31 am

What actual evidence do they have that government can control climate and weather[?]

This is the question I always put to alarmists and green advocates – those who think that if I stopped driving/flying/heating the amount of CO2 thus saved would save the planet. I also ask them if they would rather be cold in a de-industrialsed world, or warm in a technology-enhanced world.

Keith Willshaw
January 11, 2016 2:22 am

VW definitely SHOULD be prosecuted. They are guilty of stunning malpractice knowingly selling cars they knew would have the emission control systems turned off except during standardised tests. This is plainly wrong and was done to avoid the commercial hit they would take to do it properly.
That said the adoption of these standard tests has produced claimed mpg and emission levels that are completely unrepresentative of actual driving patterns. Without these standard tests VW could not have used the cheat they did
Taking the EU Standard as an example it mandates the following.
“Urban cycle
The urban test cycle is carried out in a laboratory at an ambient temperature of 20°C to 30°C on a rolling road from a cold start where the engine has not run for several hours. The cycle consists of a series of accelerations, steady speeds, decelerations and idling. The maximum speed is 31 mph (50 km/h). The average speed 12 mph (19 km/h) and the distance covered is 2.5 miles (4 km). ”
This is very poor. In Northern Europe most of the year we are driving at much lower temperatures, the speeds vary from slow walking pace to 40 mph and the distance covered is higher.
Extra-urban cycle
“The cycle is conducted immediately following the urban cycle and consists of roughly half steady-speed driving with the remainder being accelerations, decelerations, and some idling. The maximum speed is 75 mph (120 km/h). The average speed is 39 mph (63 km/h) and the distance covered is 4.3 miles”
Once again this is totally unrepresentative of actual highway driving where one may be doing 200+ miles with an average speed in excess of 60 mph.
The old way of testing where motoring journalists actually borrowed a car for a few days and reported the mpg achieved was actually far more useful.

Patrick MJD
Reply to  Keith Willshaw
January 11, 2016 4:07 am

Really? For emissions on defective measuring criteria imposed by the EPA? Might I draw your attention to the VW “transaxle” provable manufacturing defect that VW IGNORED for 20 years. Google the VW Golf Mk4 transaxle issue with cases stamped with the prefix “DUU” and how VW disregarded warranty claims.

General P. Malaise
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 11, 2016 5:17 am

you do see that you are arguing on behalf of the EPA, they tend to be criminals themselves.
VW like all the companies try to avoid recalls and such warranty work.
I am not impressed with VW’s complete disaster of a rework (which is really a de-volution) of the Jetta. I think they should be slapped about the head over that.

Keith Willshaw
Reply to  Patrick MJD
January 11, 2016 7:11 am

Yes Really
I stated that VW SHOULD be prosecuted AND that the regulatory authorities are also guilty of mandating tests that are not fit for purpose.

January 11, 2016 2:39 am

If I were VW, I could invest $1b in exposing the whole scam and counter claim against the EPA etc

Crispin in Waterloo
Reply to  MangoChutney
January 11, 2016 8:49 am

That is like shouting, “Polar bear!” and doesn’t help. VW cheated and it was too easy to do so.

General P. Malaise
January 11, 2016 5:12 am

the obama administration is shaking down industry. the fines are how they get money to fund their basically illegal activity. jesse jackson style.
make rules so onerous that they can not be met then fine the companies after.

Reply to  General P. Malaise
January 11, 2016 7:40 am

That is in between the EU shaking down American companies also and on a larger scale.

Greg Cavanagh
Reply to  General P. Malaise
January 11, 2016 1:17 pm

A mob racket you’re saying. Pay up or we’ll beat you up.

Tom in Florida
January 11, 2016 6:36 am

“President Obama insists that climate change is the biggest problem facing America. Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders seem to agree. They all think Bigger Government is the answer.”
Bigger government is always their answer. Identifying climate change as the biggest problem is just the latest ploy to trick people into believing bigger government is what they need.

January 11, 2016 6:41 am

Don’t forget that VW under reported deaths by accidents in that other voluntary reporting system that amounts to paper stacking. It shows VW as the safest cars as a brand on the road over the past 10 years, and higher than Volvo. Who knows, since the rules are simply to turn in the papers to the agency. The lesson here is that you lose twice with this government system. You lose by over paying for appearance of a functioning system and you lose even more when your false perception of regulatory oversight blows up in your face, e.g. financial meltdown in a supposedly regulated market.

January 11, 2016 6:45 am

The title to the article describes the fact that the FBI only pursues crimes “against” the federal government, not crimes committed “by” the federal government.

January 11, 2016 8:24 am

The central premise of the question has to be entirely valid. ‘Climate science’ has been – allegedly, shot through with corruption, exaggeration and data manipulation for years. Why couldn’t there be a case against any parties guilty of malpractice, and if so, is this a case for RICO?

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