Uh, oh. More car manufacturers caught cheating on emissions tests

Just like Volkswagen’s scandal, diesel cars perform to standards in lab testing, but not on the road. Real-word driving produces up to 16 times more emissions according to MIT study.

In September 2015, the German automaker Volkswagen was found to have illegally cheated federal emissions tests in the United States, by intentionally programming emissions control devices to turn on only during laboratory testing. The devices enabled more than 11 million passenger vehicles to meet U.S. emissions standards in the laboratory despite producing emissions up to 40 times higher than the legal limit in real-world driving conditions.

Now a new MIT study reports that Volkswagen is not the only auto manufacturer to make diesel cars that produce vastly more emissions on the road than in laboratory tests. The study, published this month in Atmospheric Environment, finds that in Europe, 10 major auto manufacturers produced diesel cars, sold between 2000 and 2015, that generate up to 16 times more emissions on the road than in regulatory tests — a level that exceeds European limits but does not violate any EU laws.

What’s more, the researchers predict these excess emissions will have a significant health impact, causing approximately 2,700 premature deaths per year across Europe. These health effects, they found, are “transboundary,” meaning that diesel emissions produced in one country can adversely affect populations in other countries, thousands of kilometers away.

“You might imagine that where the excess emissions occur is where people might die early,” says study author Steven Barrett, the Raymond L. Bisplinghoff Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT. “But instead we find that 70 percent of the total [health] impacts are transboundary. It suggests coordination is needed not at the country, but at the continental scale, to try to solve this problem of excess emissions.”

The 10 manufacturers’ excess emissions may not be a result of unlawful violations, as was the case with Volkswagen. Instead, the team writes that “permissive testing procedures at the EU level and defective emissions control strategies” may be to blame.

The researchers report a silver lining: If all 10 auto manufacturers were to improve their emissions control technologies to perform at the same level as the best manufacturer in the group, this would prevent up to 1,900 premature deaths per year.

“That’s pretty significant in terms of the number of premature mortalities that would be avoided,” Barrett says.

Barrett’s co-authors at MIT are Guillaume Chossière, Robert Malina (now at Hasselt University), Florian Allroggen, Sebastian Eastham, and Raymond Speth.

Tuning the knobs

The study focuses on emissions of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, a type of gas that is produced in diesel exhaust. When the gas gets oxidized and reacts with ammonia in the atmosphere, it forms fine particles and can travel for long distances before settling. When these particles are inhaled, they can lodge deep in the lungs, causing respiratory disease, asthma, and other pulmonary and cardiac conditions. Additionally NOx emissions cause the formation of ozone, a pollutant long associated with adverse health outcomes.

“There are many times the number of diesel cars in Europe compared to the U.S., partly because the EU started pushing diesel for environmental reasons, as it produces less carbon dioxide emissions compared with [gasoline],” Barrett says. “It’s a case where diesel has probably been beneficial in terms of climate impacts, but it’s come at the cost of human health.”

Recently, the EU started tightening its standards for diesel exhaust to reduce NOx emissions and their associated health effects. However, independent investigations have found that most diesel cars on the road do not meet the new emissions standards in real driving conditions.

“Initially manufacturers were able to genuinely meet regulations, but more recently it seems they’ve almost tweaked knobs to meet the regulations on paper, even if in reality that’s not reproduced on the road,” Barrett says. “And that’s not been illegal in Europe.”

Life exposure

In this study, Barrett and his colleagues quantified the health impacts in Europe of excess NOx emissions — emissions that were not accounted for in standard vehicle testing but are produced in actual driving conditions. They also estimated specific manufacturers’ contributions to the total health impacts related to the excess emissions.

The researchers considered 10 major auto manufacturers of diesel cars sold in Europe, for which lab and on-road emissions data were available: Volkswagen, Renault, Peugeot-Citroën, Fiat, Ford, General Motors, BMW, Daimler, Toyota, and Hyundai. Together, these groups represent more than 90 percent of the total number of diesel cars sold between 2000 and 2015, in 28 member states of the EU, along with Norway and Switzerland.

For each manufacturer, the team calculated the total amount of excess emissions produced by that manufacturer’s diesel car models, based on available emissions data from laboratory testing and independent on-road tests. They found that overall, diesel cars produce up to 16 times more NOx emissions on the road than in lab tests.

They then calculated the excess emissions associated with each manufacturer’s diesel car, by accounting for the number of those cars that were sold between 2000 and 2015, for each country in which those cars were sold.

The team used GEOS-Chem, a chemistry transport model that simulates the circulation of chemicals and particles through the atmosphere, to track where each manufacturer’s excess NOx emissions traveled over time. They then overlaid a population map of the EU onto the atmospheric model to identify specific populations that were most at risk of exposure to the excess NOx emissions.

Finally, the team consulted epidemiological work to relate various populations’ NOx exposure to their estimated health risk. The researchers considered four main populations in these calculations: adults with ischemic heart disease, stroke, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and lung cancer.

Overall, they estimated that, each year, 2,700 people within these populations will lose at least a decade of their life due to exposure to excess NOx emissions from passenger cars. They broke this number down by manufacturer and found a wide spread of health impact contributions: Volkswagen, Renault, and General Motors produced diesel cars associated with the most yearly premature deaths, each numbering in the hundreds, while Toyota, Hyundai, and BMW were associated with fewer early deaths.

“The variation across manufacturers was more than a factor of five, which was much bigger than we expected,” Barrett says.

“There’s no safe level”

For each country, the team also compared the excess emissions that it produced itself, versus the number of premature deaths that its population incurred, and found virtually no relationship. That is, some countries, such as Poland and Switzerland, produced very little NOx emissions and yet experienced a disproportionate number of premature deaths from excess emissions originating in other countries.

Barrett says this transboundary effect may be due to the nature of NOx emissions. Unlike particulate matter spewed from smokestacks, such as soot, which mostly settles out in the local area, NOx is first emitted as a gas, which can be carried easily by the wind across thousands of kilometers, before reacting with ammonia to form particulates, a form of the chemical that can ultimately cause respiratory and cardiac problems.

“There’s almost no correlation between who drives [diesel cars] and who incurs the health disbenefits, because the impacts are so diffuse through all of Europe,” Barrett says.

The study ends with a final result: If all 10 manufacturers were to meet the on-road emissions performance of the best manufacturer in the group, this would avoid 1,900 premature deaths due to NOx exposure. But Barrett says ultimately, regulators and manufacturers will have to go even further to prevent emissions-associated mortalities.

“The solution is to eliminate NOx altogether,” Barrett says. “We know there are human health impacts right down to pre-industrial levels, so there’s no safe level. At this point in time, it’s not that we have to go back to [gasoline]. It’s more that electricification is the answer, and ultimately we do have to have zero emissions in cities.”

###

THE PAPER: “Country- and manufacturer-level attribution of air quality impacts due to excess NOx emissions from diesel passenger vehicles in Europe.” https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1352231018304382

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130 thoughts on “Uh, oh. More car manufacturers caught cheating on emissions tests

  1. ” There is no safe level ”

    I call BS. It’s just like, to me, when they came up with “safe” levels of radiation. It’s so low it is silly, but whatever. The premise must be challenged: There are tradeoffs in living. There is safe and then there is crazy. The ” safe ” puritans have continuously driven acceptable risk and exposure to levels below the natural order or what humans can handle. Of course, women and children hardest hit.. etc.

      • Statistics show that strategies to reduce the rate of adverse events in the European Union alone would lead to the prevention of more than 750 000 harm-inflicting medical errors per year, leading in turn to over 3.2 million fewer days of hospitalization, 260 000 fewer incidents of permanent disability, and 95 000 fewer deaths per year.

        WHO Regional Office for Europe

    • Absolutely correct. The idea of “no safe level” is the linear-no threshold model of toxicity which has NO scientific basis, but which is highly useful as an excuse to impose expensive arbitrary regulation and to control the lives of averyone but the bureaucrats themselves who seem to think their rules don’t apply to them. This study was a complete waste of time and money (Ican’t bring myself to add “talent”) – models for total fleet emissions, models for emissions dispersion, invalid linear-no threshold model for toxicity – I suggest they be paid in model (Monopoly) money.

      • I agree with Andy and all the above.

        The idea that diesel cars cause ‘deaths’ at all by emitting NO and that this can be quantified is BS. Any claim to have ‘identified’ a contribution to premature deaths (not ’caused deaths’ – be careful) is false because these numbers come from an “attribution” process, not a medical diagnosis. It comes from the GBD process which means the global burden of disease. Look it up. This attributes to more than 70 ‘contributing causes’ the shortening of lives of people who died before reaching the age of 86. The different ‘contributions’ are attributed to all early deaths. For example everyone died a little bit by suicide and a little bit by murder and a little bit by smoking weed. It is not a ’cause of death’ investigation. It is useful for national health planning, not coroner’s reports.

        But there is much, much more! Here they jump the shark, and make a careful note of this issue:

        “If all 10 auto manufacturers were to improve their emissions control technologies to perform at the same level as the best manufacturer in the group, this would prevent up to 1,900 premature deaths per year.”

        It would not ‘prevent’ a damn thing! This is outrageous.

        “Attributable” in no way means “avoidable”. Just because you claim that someone’s life was shortened by 15 weeks by a lifetime exposure to an NO level 2 ppb above what it otherwise might have been doesn’t mean that taking someone now living, say a newborn baby, and ensuring they do not experience that 2 ppb will have any effect on their lifespan. You just can’t say that. It’s rubbish.

        This fact is elementary for public health studies! Good heavens, this sentence proves they do not understand epidemiology, relative risk, or that attribution does not constitute correlation OR causation. It is an assigned risk, not a true cause.

        You cannot prove that the new baby will have a similar diet, inoculations, genetic endowment, education, gender, or economic empowerment as the cohort that supposedly experienced the attributed exposure and assigned consequence.

        Further, just to nitpick because they richly deserve it, asthma is not caused by NO. No one knows what causes asthma. As the EPA cleaned up the air in the USA since 1970, asthma has increased by 50% per decade. This is an indication that cleaner air causes Asthma, right? And that exposure to NO aggravates it.

        The fault, as noted in the article, lies in the test methods, not the manufacturers. The cars meet the standard when tested according to the drive cycle simulated. They do not simulate real driving in an unmodified car. End of short, silly story. They are all complicit.

        • Some people say that swimming pools cause asthma.

          My opinion is that all these exploding children diseases are caused by too many vaccines. Also “shaken baby syndrome”.

          And because vaccines are sanctified and worshiped in the modern medical sect, nobody will ever seriously investigate them.

          • My opinion is that all these exploding children diseases are caused by redefining the diagnostic range and increasing the reporting frequency…….

          • all that and then add all the frangranced homecare itms and those insane auto operating airfreshener aerosol cans in so many homes and businesses
            what the hell is it with people that everythig has to smell of fruit or flowers 24/7?

            if they just found that antidepressants enable antibiotic resistace to build in the users
            what the hell else does the same?
            or combos of a slew of newage crud we imbibe or inhale by choice not default create problems too.

            glad Im out in the sticks in an old wooden home with few mod cons;-) and none of the smelly stuff in use.

          • Some diseases are clearly the fault of Big Medicine. For example, the effects of the radio-iodine in “Chernobyl” cloud in France on the thyroid is actually the effect of chasing down thyroid “anomalies”. (I’m also wondering whether the nuclear catastrophe had a protective effect on thyroid on the people in the narrow area of the east of France where most of the “cloud” rained down.)

            The number of French people on thyroid hormonal therapy is absolutely ridiculous. I wished the mainstream would discuss that.

            I can rewrite my conclusive remark to: “because high tech medical imagery is sanctified and worshiped in the modern medical sect, few people will ever seriously investigate them.”

            (High tech medical imagery is a priori considered extremely objective.)

        • Crispin in Waterloo = September 21, 2018 at 8:30 pm

          Further, just to nitpick because they richly deserve it, asthma is not caused by NO. No one knows what causes asthma. As the EPA cleaned up the air in the USA since 1970, asthma has increased by 50% per decade.

          Great post, Crispin,

          Now I don’t know about the increase in asthmatic diagnoses, ….. but my guess is that the newly discovered disease referred to as COPD has been increasing like 150% per year since it was first diagnosed in the 1990’s.

          And what caused COPD, ……… well, they won’t or can‘t tell you.

          My learned opinion (verified via an in-home room air filter) is that COPD is the result of inhaling “synthetic fiber particulate” being created as a result of the “wear and tear” of all the home and office products that are made with or covered by “synthetic fibers”.

          If one thinks the ”asbestos law suites” involving breathing problems is a “big deal”, …… think how “big of a deal” it would be if the Trial Lawyers figure out that “synthetic fiber particulate” is the direct cause of COPD.

        • My conjecture. Eighty some years ago in the West, very few newborns were delivered in hospitals, and asthma was almost unheard of. Now, almost all newborns in the West are delivered in hospitals, sequestered in sterile climate-controlled maternity wards for much of their first few days of life, and asthma is everywhere. The correlation is strong with this one.

          For the first few days after birth, we still have our mothers’ antibodies in our blood. A valuable window of time for our immune systems to start sorting out the friend-or-foe list. Something they can’t do in a sterile environment, because there’s nothing to sort out. And an unsorted immune system is much more likely to give a disproportionate immune response to an innocuous irritant, ie. an allergy. And what is an asthma attack but an acute respiratory allergy?

    • who decides to fund some of this crap ? the air has never been cleaner in european cities since the dawn of the industrial revolution. the air in peoples homes is of far poorer quality than outside these days. this bunch certainly read drawing meaningless conclusions from spurious data from the climate science 101 manual.

    • exactly Max. I have been investigating the Diesel Scandal, as it is called here in Germany, and its background for 3 years now. The global warming issue including all of its catastrophic implications are far more complex to dismantle than the dangers, political bullying and real consequences of NO2 concentrations. Meanwhile I have gathered a lot of insights and data on the NO2 issue and I would like to present some arguments and conclusions to paint an entirely different picture of the real world and this topic in the 5 following posts.

      When writing c = 100 it will mean the concentration of NO2 in the ambient air = 100 microgramms/m^3. c = 100 is also the official limit that the EPA established in the USA. The limit in the EU is c = 40 because this is the WHO recommendation. Note, even the EPA is not following the WHO because it is not convinced.

    • The car companies should have come clean (pun not intended) and admitted the standards were impossible. How will governments ever be realistic if nobody tells them they’re in fantasy land?

      • Ah, TinyCO2, you obviously haven’t “played” with government regulators. Government regulators know more than everyone else. Though I imagine the car companies did try to lobby for different standards. I will bet however the regulators were “living” by the “precautionary principle” so the companies just threw up their hands and tried different tacts. I will even bet some people blame VW not for cheating but for getting caught. If VW hadn’t been caught no one of have come after the other companies.

      • Clearly the governmental requirements were arrived at on an inadequate knowledge of the science. It is they that should now be revised.

    • “Real-word driving produces up to 16 times more emissions according to MIT study.”

      It was well known that the standards were unobtainable when they were written in order to kowtow to the “ecology” vote. Manufacturers were given a nod and a wink that they were not really expected to achieve the impossible. It was all PR.

      The law required the vehicles to conform of certain levels under specified test conditions and this is what they designed their vehicles to do.

      There is not “cheating” going on, They were designed to specification as defined in the legislation.

      • and what does making cars run slower do?
        in sth aus theyre talking speed liits of 40 in urban areas now
        already at 50k from 60
        fuel here is at 1.57c a litre and in sa its over 1.65(9litres to 2gallons)
        highway cycle cars use less and emit less
        go slow fuel use soars and so do emissions

      • I used to work at Caterpillar in the 90s. Cat and their competitors did the same thing that the automakers are doing now. Cat was hit with big fines.

        The basic problem with a diesel is that curbing NOX is very easy, you just recirculate more exhaust gases into the combustion chamber. With the current standards, to achieve the NOX limits, you have to recirculate a lot of exhaust. We were looking at about 40%. The performance is terrible. The extra heat in your combustion air just kills your fuel economy or power.

        Yes, there are the SCR units which inject Urea, but you still recirculate some exhaust.

        Unlike a petrol engine, with a simple line of code, you can dramatically increase performance at the expense of emissions.

        The emissions standards are obtainable, but the product just sucks. At some point your efficiency drops below petrol engines.

        There is a whole cottage industry out there to ‘upgrade’ old diesel engines mostly to farmers. They sell urea injection kit and software. Most farmers never fill the urea tank. Some don’t even install the tank. They just want the increased performance provided by the software.

  2. “…approximately 2,700 premature deaths per year across Europe..”

    Sort of like excess deaths from a hurricane — it is a statistical number, no identifiable bodies.

    Extrapolation of numbers out beyond sampled boundaries is an enterprise commonly used in social social sciences that should be outlawed. Or least recognized for what it is, subjective and/or easily manipulated by hidden untested/unwarranted assumptions.

    • 2,700 premature deaths, 0.00045% of the European population.
      How premature?
      How do they arrive at that figure?
      How does it compare to premature deaths from fuel poverty?

      • Yes, it sounds a lot and is designed to sound a lot, but note it is not 2,700 EXTRA deaths, just premature. Like if statistically ( lies, danmed lies, et al ) these people expected to live a few seconds less on average, does it really amount to a hilll of bean?

        I would rather have a car which works better now, saves me a few hours of my time when I’m young enough for it be worth something than have a few more minutes crapping bed sheets in a badly run retirement home while waiting to die.

        This unqualified term “premature deaths” stinks of damned lies rather than public health concerns.

        • There lies, damned lies, statistics and attributions, the latter not even qualifying as statistics.

          You think climate models are wonky, you should see the way these ‘premature deaths are cooked up.

          “Volkswagen, Renault, and General Motors produced diesel cars associated with the most yearly premature deaths”

          Rubbish. They use the word ‘associate’ because they have no path to ‘causation’. Yearly?? Bwa-ha-ha-ha! The prematurity of these deaths is determined by committee and to assign particular numbers of premature deaths to a company is bogglingly unscientific. It doesn’t pass a sniff test.

          I will tell you where this comes from. There is a Gates Foundation initiative called IHME that no one respects where they assign to each premature death a single cause, not 74 contributions according to the GDB attribution exercise. The total number of people who died is then compared with the % of the GBD contribution, and multiplied by the total deaths to get ‘the number due to a single attributed cause’. This is the horse puckey you read about in the press saying 12345 people in the US were killed by coal fired power plant emissions. And further, you will read, as you can above, that these attributed deaths with their assigned percentage causes “can be prevented by” [fill in the blank with your pet project].

          First, imagine how dishonest these car emission tests are. Next, imagine how defective the causal attribution chain is. Finally, imagine how ridiculous it is to say that you can avoid something in a future population cohort that has been attributed by committee to a cohort already dead, born after 1932.

          This is what passes for air quality management strategy in 2018?

      • Yes. This is an incredible amount of intricate modelling to produce a vague, tiny, supposed consequence.

        Somewhere in all this, precise measurement and statistical analysis Hansen thrown out the window.

      • “How premature?”

        Read the small print. Typically it turns out to mean ‘sick people who die a couple of weeks earlier than they otherwise would have’.

    • … also since it is a statistical model extraoplated number it most assuredly should be presented an error range estimate.

      It properly should have been stated like, “We estimate an additional 2,700 (+/- 3,000) pre-mature deaths from excess emissions.”

      That’s right, the statistical noise in what they were estimated could make the number a (minus)300 premature deaths. That’s how statistics works when you deal with such very low effect on a large heterogeneous, dispersed population.

      • I do hope they come up for a shot or something to prevent all these statistical death.
        Last thing I want is to die of statistics.

        🙂

      • The confidence level of ANY number represented to be premature deaths (whatever that is) is VERY VERY small. In other words, not to be believed. ‘WAY to many other uncontrolled factors impact whatever counts as a premature death – including whether or not it was premature or God intended it to be exactly what occurred.

        • NW sage

          I want to give you an idea of how empty this pot is. I could ‘attribute’ your presence and commenting on this list to the presence of a black squirrel on my bird feeder. I could show some statistical value for the correlation between the two.

          Then I could claim that moving my bird feeder and raising it to keep the squirrel off will prevent you coming to this list and making comments, and further, claim that is is worth me being paid to do so by attributing to your comments a strongly negative social influence.

          The whole thing sounds sciency, but is 100% ±0% made up. Literally.

          The GBD exercise is defensible for public health planning. The IHME exercise would require necromancy: interviewing the dead to ask them what they died from – all causes, all contributing percentages, and choosing one by committee vote. Even the Catholic Church priests in the Middle Ages could identify that level of BS.

          And what about post-mature deaths? Were their lives extended by exposure to NO? How much?

    • If they only kill people in Europe, what are we worried about? This sounds about as accurate as most climate science.

  3. Where’s the cost-benefit analysis? Talking about “eliminating all NOx emissions” without discussing the cost of doing so is just propaganda. There are diminishing returns to be dealt with.

    Would you pay $1 per avoided “premature” death due to secondary particulate from NOx? I hope so. Would you pay $1M? Of course not. There are much better uses for that $1M that would avoid many more premature deaths from other causes.

  4. “a significant health impact, causing approximately 2,700 premature deaths per year across Europe”…

    ..that’s about .0002 %

    • France alone kills more than that EVERY YEAR in road deaths. Most of those a seriously “premature” not like you statistically lost a few minutes of life expectancy.

  5. The EU is much more sophisticated and experienced in large scale cheating. Only mortgage backed securities from the U.S. rivaled the German and Japanese cheating on cars. We need to export opioids covered by health insurance to even out the differences between regions.

  6. I bet that, without any exception whatsoever, each and every car manufacturer subject to “EU” rules fiddled the exhaust systems to meet these ridiculously sophisticated targets set by Brussels bureauc-rats.

  7. I think VW stopped all diesel production – they have lots full of diesel cars turned in for refunds which they cannot or will not re-sell. VW is headed for all electric vehicles – their ID chassis, which can be configured as sedan, SUV, etc, appears in 2020. CAn recharge at 125KW rate (same as Tesla Supercharger rate). The Volkswgon group consists of Audi, VW, SKODA, Porsche, Bentley… Porsche is building their first electric on a chassis that will also be used by Bentley. One really good thing about electrics is that an automaker can use one chassis to produce a whole bunch of different vehicle types. VW is building out a public recharging network for the CCS charging protocol, the one used by all automakers except Tesla and Nissan. Its called Electrify America,the first of many CCS networks, which can recharge at 350KW rate (as opposed to Tesla’s 120KW rate). Right now the immediate competition for Tesla is against their higher priced Model S and Model X vehicles, by Jaguar (I Pace SUV) and Audi e-tron SUV, and soon Porsche Taycan. That will change. By 2020 expect an avalanche of electric cars – over 250 models are currently being developed.

    • An “avalanche of electric cars” by 2020? That’s less than two years.

      My guess: not much of an avalanche, more like a small pile of snow falling from the roof.

    • Kent,

      That is to be classified as VW propaganda. The only reason that the diesel car sales plummeted is that in several countries they installed an extra tax on diesel cars and increased the price per liter of diesel at the pump. Even with a lot more mileage, you need to drive at least 20,000 km/year to break even.
      Electric cars are forced to the market by EU and local laws, but if that will help to increase the current sales from below 1% of all new cars is a good question, as a lot of people don’t trust the governments on that point:

      First they promoted diesel cars and solar panels with lots of subsidies or tax reductions.
      When a lot were baught/installed the subsidies were reduced or zeroed and new tax forms introduced: for solar panels now they have to pay a tax for using the network bidirectional. That is of course right, but was never mentioned before the installations…

      Anyway, when there is more choice in electric cars, the price may go down and when charging and range improve, that may sell more of them. The main bad news will be for Tesla, which will have a lot of problems to stay ahead of the new models…

    • In all these forecasts for “an avalanche” of electric cars, I have never seen anything about the need for a major ramp up of electricity power generation that WILL be necessary to recharge this avalanche. In the UK every winter we are on the edge of “brownouts” ‘cos we are so near the limit of our generating capacity. Have the green not realised this fact yet or is it all too real world for them to understand

      • These watermelons all have their diesel generators in the garage, on standby in winter. Of course not these virtually poor in money and spirit. The well-to-do golden greenies don’t give a darn …

    • Every time I read about the rapid march to all electric cars I never see any awareness from the writers about the urgent need for a major ramp up in electricity power generation in order to be able to recharge all those new cars. Is this a typical green “I haven’t got the intelligence to be able to think things through” or do they actually know the problem but are just being duplicitous in not mentioing it. I reckon the first option.

    • Do you have a 350kW supply at home? And you neighbours? Say 10 of them, and we’re looking at 3.5MW. What’s the rating on your local distribution transformer?

    • kent beuchert

      Car manufacturers have been researching every imaginable source of motive power for generations. The current ‘drive’ for EV’s is yet another flash in the pan, motivated by government mandate. The car companies are ‘playing the game’ and know full well the lights will go out on EV’s in the very near future otherwise they would be turning out all their vehicles as EV’s.

      Instead, they are churning out one Litre, turbocharged, 130 BHP, three cylinder family saloons capable of 50 – 60 MPG whilst cruising at 56 MPH and achieving 400 – 500 miles between refuelling.

      Why would they do that if EV’s were the sensible personal transport path?

      • We live on the Southern California coastal plain, surrounded by well-meaning SJWs who virtue signal by having Pius’s, plug-in Pius’s, Teslas, and whatever hybrid or electric car needed to save the world. Lots of them Can’t go driving with being in a flock of electric cars. Have been for years.

        I can’t recollect seeing a hybrid, plug-in hybrid or electric car on the roads of Europe during may travels.

        I guess diesels were going to save the world for them. Now that the US has shown the way, there will be a rush to hybrids, plug-in hybrids and electrics. An avalanche, I guess. Not sure, however, how your basic European will be able to afford them, other than by not having to pay $US 8 per US gallon for gas.

      • Family saloons? You can’t drink alcohol and drive here. Maybe that will be the push that makes driverless cars successful.

    • Kent mentioned;

      “One really good thing about electrics is that an automaker can use one chassis to produce a whole bunch of different vehicle types.”

      Sorry Kent, do you have an engineering and/or manufacturing background? Speaking as someone who does I find that claim very broad, sweeping and questionable. Are you suggesting that electrics are somehow more magical than non-electrics? That non electrics are somehow prevented from using common components? Sorry, not remotely buying that without some more supporting information.

      Also you try and build a FOV on a common chassis then you are trying to make a product that is all things to all variants. Yes it is doable, but a FOV common will never be as good as a purpose built design.

      If you are on a budget trying to push out economy vehicles to the masses then maybe. If you are trying high end market – which names like Bentley suggest – then re-using an existing design makes little sense… unless of course these manufacturers are not really prepared to fully invest in high end quality manufacture.

      Sorry Kent, but I find your post very broad and sweeping and are not currently convinced by your arguments.

    • The “EU” phased out the good old incandescend bulb, they restricted vacs to 1700 Watt and will soon find out that automobile fatalities can be reduced considerably when automobile traffic itself is restricted to a complete standstill. Europe is a fine place for morons, idiots and other bureauc-rats.

      • “they restricted vacs to 1700 Watt” – 1600W from 2014, and last year the limit went to 900W and 80dB. My current vacuum cleaner will have a long and glorious life )) Until the EU dies.

  8. Lots of comments can be given here:

    – NOx is not solely from diesel cars, if power is made by burning fossil fuels, that produces a lot of NOx too: the higher the burning temperature, the higher the NOx, as always a (small) surplus of air/oxygen is needed (more for diesel in low load conditions). Of course, it is easier to clean up the smoke stack of a central unit than of 1,000 moving vehicles, but the new “ad blue” technique removes near all NOx from vehicles by injecting a urea solution in the exhaust gases.
    – particulate of the new generation of gasoline cares may be 100’s of times higher than of diesel cars as in the latter particulate filters are obliged, not in gasoline cars. New generation gasoline cars also use fuel injection to increase the compression ratio and the yield of the motor (thus its fuel use). If the injection is directly in the cylinder, the same problem of soot building may happen as with diesel fuel injection.

  9. This is kind of like second hand smoke, it was supposed to kill 50,000 people a year but somehow you could never seem to find one. How you could identify 2,000 “excess” deaths in a population of some 300,000,000 is beyond me. Europeans should have been dropping like flies back in the 70’s when half the cars were diesel and there were no catalytic convertors.

    • Not only that, gasoline was formulated with tetraethyl lead and it precipitated close to where it was emitted. Diesel fuel was full of sulfur for the same purpose of lubricity. Nobody wanted to follow a diesel bus because it was nauseating after a while.

      I expect most of the right-hand drive offending vehicles to somehow find their way to Jamaica an other Caribbean destinations.

  10. Bosch, (the leading manufacturer of fuel injection and after treatment systems) recently claimed to have solved vexing NOx emissions through better EGR management and in cylinder combination temperatures.

  11. “…approximately 2,700 premature deaths per year across Europe..”

    give me names and death certificates, otherwise it’s just a meaningless artifact of statistical manipulation.

  12. At http://bit.ly/2I1MRC1 26 April 2018:

    Bosch says it has solved diesel NOx problem; as low as 13 mg NOx/km even under RDE; refining existing technologies

    Bosch says that its engineers have refined existing diesel technologies to reduce emissions of nitrogen oxides (NOx) so significantly that they already comply with future limits. Even in RDE (real driving emissions) testing, emissions from vehicles equipped with the newly premiered Bosch diesel technology are not only significantly below current limits but also those scheduled to come into force from 2020 (Euro 6d).

    Because the solution leverages existing technology, there is no need for additional components, which would drive up costs.

    There’s a future for diesel. Today, we want to put a stop, once and for all, to the debate about the demise of diesel technology. Bosch is pushing the boundaries of what is technically feasible. Equipped with the latest Bosch technology, diesel vehicles will be classed as low-emission vehicles and yet remain affordable.

    —Bosch CEO Dr. Volkmar Denner

    Since 2017, European legislation has required that new passenger car models tested according to an RDE-compliant mix of urban, extra-urban, and freeway cycles emit no more than 168 milligrams of NOx per kilometer. As of 2020, this limit will be cut to 120 mg. But even today, vehicles equipped with Bosch diesel technology can achieve as little as 13 milligrams of NOx in standard legally-compliant RDE cycles. That is approximately one-tenth of the prescribed limit that will apply after 2020.

    Even when driving in particularly challenging urban conditions, where test parameters are well in excess of legal requirements, the average emissions of the Bosch test vehicles are as low as 40 milligrams per kilometer.

    Bosch engineers have achieved this decisive breakthrough over the past few months. A combination of advanced fuel-injection technology, a newly developed air management system, and intelligent temperature management has made such low readings possible, Bosch says.

    Bosch
    Overview of temperature management measures for the exhaust system. From the Bosch paper presented at the Vienna Motor Symposium this year. Click to enlarge.
    To date, two factors have hindered the reduction of real-world NOx emissions in diesel vehicles, according to Bosch. The first of these is driving style.

    The technological solution developed by Bosch is a highly responsive air-flow management system for the engine. A dynamic driving style demands an equally dynamic recirculation of exhaust gases. This can be achieved with the use of a RDE-optimized turbocharger that reacts more quickly than conventional turbochargers.

    With a combination of high- and low-pressure exhaust-gas recirculation, the air-flow management system becomes even more flexible. This means drivers can drive off at speed without a spike in emissions.

    Equally important is the influence of temperature. To ensure optimum NOx conversion, the exhaust gases must be hotter than 200 degrees Celsius. In urban driving, vehicles frequently fail to reach this temperature. Bosch has therefore opted for a sophisticated thermal management system for the diesel engine.

    This actively regulates the exhaust-gas temperature, thereby ensuring that the exhaust system stays hot enough to function within a stable temperature range and that emissions remain at a low level.

    NOx emissions can now remain below the legally permitted level in all driving situations, irrespective of whether the vehicle is driven dynamically or slowly, in freezing conditions or in summer temperatures, on the freeway or in congested city traffic.

    Bosch’s new diesel system is based on components that are already available in the market. It is available to customers effective immediately and can be incorporated into production projects.

    At a press event in Stuttgart Bosch had dozens of journalists, from both Germany and abroad, drive test vehicles equipped with mobile measuring equipment in heavy city traffic, under especially challenging conditions. The results, shown in the chart below, show the performance of the Bosch technology against current and 2020 regulations.

    2018-04-24_bpk-rde-results_final

    AI can further boost performance. Even with the reported technological advance, the diesel engine has not yet reached its full development potential, Bosch said. Bosch now aims to use artificial intelligence to build on these latest advances.

    This will mark another step toward a major landmark: the development of a combustion engine that—with the exception of CO2—has virtually no impact on the ambient air.

    We firmly believe that the diesel engine will continue to play an important role in the options for future mobility. Until electromobility breaks through to the mass market, we will still need these highly efficient combustion engines.

    —Volkmar Denner

    Denner’s target for Bosch engineers is the development of a new generation of diesel and gasoline engines that produce no significant particulate or NOx emissions. Even at Stuttgart’s Neckartor, a notorious pollution black spot, he wants future combustion engines to be responsible for no more than one microgram of NOx per cubic meter of ambient air—the equivalent of one-fortieth, or 2.5%, of today’s limit of 40 micrograms per cubic meter.

    Bosch calls for renewed focus on CO2 and well-to-wheels evaluations. Denner also called for a renewed focus on CO2 emissions. Denner said that consumption tests should no longer be conducted in the lab but rather under real driving conditions. This would create a system comparable to the one used for measuring emissions.

    Moreover, he added, any assessment of CO2 emissions should extend significantly further than the fuel tank or the battery—a full well-to-wheels lifecycle approach.

    We need a transparent assessment of the overall CO2 emissions produced by road traffic, including not only the emissions of the vehicles themselves but also the emissions caused by the production of the fuel or electricity used to power them.

    —Volkmar Denner

    He added that a more inclusive CO2 footprint would provide drivers of electric vehicles with a more realistic picture of the impact of this form of mobility on the climate. At the same time, the use of non-fossil fuels could further improve the CO2 footprint of combustion engines.

  13. I recently spoke, off the record, to a senior statistician and asked what impact having perfectly clean air in the UK would have on longevity. The answer was a 2 week increase. What’s the problem?

  14. I want to know how many “premature deaths” are caused by excessive paperwork due to the Unaffordable Care Act. But since these sort don’t understand toxicology in the first place, it would probably be an imaginary negative exponential.

    They would not dare to calculate the numbers of “premature deaths” saved due to hydrocarbons, even leaving out more efficient ambulances. Of course, you have to correct for dumb laws and drivers.

    I learned to drive before seat belts and catalytic converters, now extinguished history. Like many back then suffering what us survivors called real pollution.

  15. I worked for a major US lubricants in product development. The biggest end market is automotive. Certification is based on mechanical testing – live engine testing. Fuels etc are all standardize ie not real word. Emissions and fuel economy is tested in the same way. There were some tests that you could run til it passes there is so much variability. The epa is very much part of the game. An aside: Europeans cure their meat with nitrites NO2. BTW nitrites lower blood pressure. Your body can reduce NO2 to NO. NO is an important relaxer of the blood vessels.

  16. Well, they said there would be climate deaths.
    Oh, wait — these are deaths resulting from public policy meant to mitigate global warming. Those are okay then.

  17. What’s a little white lie, when your up against:

    Ronald Reagan Quotes. Government’s view of the economy could be summed up in a few short phrases: If it moves, tax it. If it keeps moving, regulate it. And if it stops moving, subsidize it.

  18. ‘2700 premature deaths across Europe’ is just the scary headline derived from the statistical estimate of the reduction in life expectancy. It could be more honestly expressed as “the reduction in average life expectancy is equivalent to 2700 premature deaths per year”. So using 2700 years, life expectancy in Europe of 81 yrs and a total pop of 717 m, gives a reduction per life of 2.67 hours per person.

  19. I’m so totally struggling with the chemistry here…
    How does NH3 and NOx produce particles?
    Particles of what, its all gaseous chemistry, even before we ask where the ammonia is coming from.

    (Apart from the diapers/nappies of bottle fed babies – effectively a death sentence for their brains/minds/personalities before they even get to 3 years old and are *then* introduced to the real killer – refined sugar

    COPD – primarily comes from cigarette smoking. Bin the ciggies to cancel that junk idea.

    Lung cancer – indescribable stuff and once diagnosed you have typically 3 months. Even -ad-lib Opium/heroine can’t relieve the pain/agony of lung cancer, and again, from ciggy smoking.
    When animals are in that much grief, we show mercy and ‘put them to sleep’

    Strokes. I have (more than) just a little bit of first hand experience here so, sorry, you’re grasping at straws there. Strokes are lifestyle events coming from obesity, alcohol abuse and stress.
    In my case 15 years ago, from a genetic blood clotting disorder – I was in the 1% of the population who carry it. Strange now that 3% of people have it?????
    (Probably the cause of Deep Vein Thrombosis – a killer of even very young people esp after long-haul airplane flights)
    60% of folks who have a stroke will have another (fatal) one inside 3 years.

    Sorry sorry sorry to be Heart Hearted but, this guy is counting people who were doomed anyway. Even if we could understand his chemistry.
    Does he?

  20. “coordination is needed not at the country, but at the continental scale,”

    This is another research paper written with a political agenda. Whatever the problem the answer is always more government at a supranational level. Nation states are so 20th century.

  21. This atmospheric process being described of NOx reacting with ammonia in the air to produce particulates…

    That’s what the SCR’s in our power plants and diesel automotives with “AdBlue”/DEF injection are doing!!

    They truly believe we’re stupid. Ok, many are, but at gas turbine power plants with HRSG’s on the back end, we use aqua ammonia (if near major population centers) or more econimically we will use anhydrous ammonia injection before the rhodium catalyst “breadstack” (our techs called them bread loaves due to the superficial resemblance).

    So if it happens inside the car, its all honky-dory, but if it happens in the atmosphere we’re all gonna die (well 2700 of us anyway).

    • Speaking of tractors… noting their mention a few posts down.

      My shiny new one year old Case Farmall 110c will presently not leave “idle” no matter how I manipulate the throttle levers inside the cab….

      …because it was low on DEF (diesel exhaust fluid/adBlue) and then I refilled it from a container of DEF which had been left open for a few weeks and likely evaporated much of the ammonia/urea from the solution.

      Not only have the regulators forced us to have this rediculous equipment on agricultural equipment, its got to be so dang smart it senses the quality of the solution.

    • PRDJ,

      As far as I know, they use an urea solution as “AdBlue” in cars, no toxic fumes when spilled… But I suppose that ammonia is doing the job too and is a lot cheaper for industrial installations. In the past (or still?) they used DU (depleted uranium) as de-NOx catalyst + ammonia in garbage incinerators, which at the same time destroys almost all dioxins formed in the process…

      • Urea dissolved in water at room temperature is stable. However when exposed to the hot exhaust it breaks down into 2 ammonia and one CO2 molecule. When you mix ammonia with Nox you get water and nitrogen (N2).

        As far as I now uranium was never commercially used in car catalyst. Platinum group metals are primarily used as catalyst in cars. However Catalyst don’t work well in high carbon (soot ) levels typically found in diesel engines. The Catalyst eventually gets covered in soot and stops working.

  22. Anyone who’s ever driven behind a diesel car – even a new one – on the highway can tell you they emit more than regular cars.

    But this study is bogus. This link between emissions and premature deaths is entirely imaginary. They completely invent those numbers out of other numbers. There’s no actual ties to actual dead people as recorded by morgues or coroner’s offices.

  23. Ammonium nitrate is a fertiliser and widely used in agriculture. I’d expect particulate ‘pollution’ from that source to be much larger than from the diesel powering the tractors.

  24. “There’s almost no correlation between who drives [diesel cars] and who incurs the health disbenefits, because the impacts are so diffuse through all of Europe,” Barrett says.

    Or there is no correlation between who drives and who incurs because one is not directly the cause of the other!!! If there was “no safe level”, wouldn’t the ones exposed to it daily suffer more than the ones that get the “diffused” version when the wind blows from the offending region? How about if your prevailing wind blows in off the ocean. You should see almost no cases of “premature deaths”. Is that the case?
    Do these people understand how stupid they sound?

  25. I always suspected that VW were really the ‘Lance Armstrong’ of the industry: Cheats, for sure. But still probably just much better cheats than the rest of them.

  26. Logic behind these emission limits is dose extrapolation models and computer modeling. Sound familiar as in climate science. Here is an example from personal experience. Around 1990 in New Jersey there was a scare about radon levels in homes. The EPA recommended remediation to a max 4 picocuries . My basement tested at 11. In reading the science journals they were using eg Swedish mine workers expose to 50,000 on a daily basis as a baseline for epidemiology. They then extrapolated down to 4 as a safe level. It’s all total nonsense

  27. When you create unattainable standards of course people are going to “cheat”. They are going to buy your wife a boob job, your kids braces, your mom a condo, you viagra. That is why you create unattainable standards, to line your pockets with ill gotten gains. That is why you fuckbags are IN THE GOVERNMENT. F*ck you.

  28. The rise and rise of the absolutists who can’t even pronounce tradeoff let alone spell it. Excellence in this life and perfection in the next leaving that to God chaps? Yeah yeah I know the Fearless Leader thing and Heaven on Earth again.

  29. We’re told “…the researchers predict these excess emissions will have a significant health impact, causing approximately 2,700 premature deaths per year across Europe.”

    Followed by “If all 10 manufacturers were to meet the on-road emissions performance of the best manufacturer in the group, this would avoid 1,900 premature deaths due to NOx exposure.”

    Do the unaccounted for 800 premature deaths result from the emissions performance of vehicles manufactured by the “best manufacturers” in the group not achieving the legally mandated standard?

    It would be delightful to see the prognostications on how many people would die of heart attacks, dog bites, train-crossing events, and so on and so forth, were all Europeans legally mandated to walk to work.

  30. How does an oxide of nitrogen reacting with ammonia produce a solid (and presumably insoluble) particle? Sounds improbable.

    Something the Greens seem to overlook is that hypochondria is a very real problem and causes people to literally become ill. By putting out this fearmongering stuff, how many lives are being ruined by self-induced bouts of asthma?

    • “How does an oxide of nitrogen reacting with ammonia produce a solid (and presumably insoluble) particle? Sounds improbable.”

      It doesn’t. NiOx is an oxidizer and ammonia is a fuel. When they react you get water and N2.

  31. There can be other reasons why vehicle emissions produce premature deaths. Alpha-1 antitrypsin deficiency (A1AD or AATD) is a genetic disorder that may result in lung disease or liver disease. Onset of lung problems is typically between 20 and 50 years old.This may result in shortness of breath, wheezing, or an increased risk of lung infections.

    People of Northern European and Iberian ancestry are at the highest risk for A1AD. Four percent carry the PiZ allele; between 1 in 625 and 1 in 2000 are homozygous & are PiZZ………….

    Another study detected a frequency of 1 in 1550 individuals and a gene frequency of 0.026. The highest prevalence of the PiZZ variant was recorded in the northern and western European countries with mean gene frequency of 0.0140……………I have A1AD, although at 76 & symptom free, I am 16 years above the average death rate for non-smokers. I own & drive diesel cars.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alpha_1-antitrypsin_deficiency#Epidemiology

  32. I would interpret their data another way. If there are entire countries that they think have attributable deaths yet little production of the chemical, that means their method is wrong, not that there is no safe level of NOx.

  33. It doesn’t work that way!

    Little production and a lot of people ill will be interpreted as: low exposure produces even more effect than high exposure (because endoctrine system or something).

  34. I was always bemused by this example of human hubris-
    https://www.cancer.org/latest-news/world-health-organization-outdoor-air-pollution-causes-cancer.html
    and wondered how the very clever folk ever separated out smoking related cancers from those due to general air pollution when Blind Freddy can see now that smoking was really just an intense concentrated form of air pollution for the smoker and perhaps some close passive smokers around them. Now apparently they can parse out all sorts of developed world pollution sources and sources from the developing world with their wood and dung smoke, etc. Deja Vu again with the thorny old CAGW and warming due to CO2 having to make massive leaps of faith about culpability of one particular element amongst many possibilities.

  35. “Regulatory Logic” is the new religion of regional bureaucratic governing structures. It pits one traditionally self governing area against another in order to tax them both. Then to make the case, they sacrifice logic and mathematics, to drive emotional triggers that allow the taxing body to act as a parasite on the productive elements in society, and enslave the non productive elements in a net of entitlement. Unskilled labor is sent to third world countries and the bureaucracy is entrenched by the millions of dependent people that require entitlement checks for survival.
    Man has used fire for survival for over 100,000 years, and probably several times that amount. Real logic implies that we have many systems in our bodies adapted to adjusting to survival in sheltered areas that contained fire and smoke. If you could not do that, you would not survive long enough to reproduce.
    The “NOx kills at small doses” speculation (not enough evidence to grant it higher status) is also unlikely due to the production of it naturally in the environment by lightning. We have been exposed to these compounds for thousands of generations, and the idea that it is suddenly lethal, because your neighbor is producing it instead of a thunderhead, is unlikely.
    Occam’s Razor tells us the more likely cause is a thirst for money and power by bureaucratic elements that like to disguise their motives in “public health and safety” wrappers for public consumption.

  36. “The solution is to eliminate NOx altogether,” Barrett says. “We know there are human health impacts right down to pre-industrial levels, so there’s no safe level.”
    This is the creeping influence of the LNT model ( Linear no Threshold) in all areas of environmental science. As with radiation, I suspect there is little empiric evidence to support it: The precautionary principle masquerading as science.

    • With radiation, there is overwhelming evidence that LNT is false. Even more than the huge evidence showing the hep B vaccine causes MS!

      There is simply no other medical observation of statistical nature that is more firmly established, IMNSHO.

  37. I have to wonder how many lives would be saved by making it illegal to run/jog next to a major thoroughfare. When I lived in California – and now witness here in Nevada, joggers seem to seek out major highways to jog next to. Many of them compound their risks by running with traffic with earphones plugged in. The numbers are significantly greater than 1900 people performing this activity. Only a few die from from getting hit by automobiles (that I know of), but i always wondered the wisdom of about exercising next to sources of carbon monoxide.
    Especially when at every intersection there are almost always miles and miles of low traffic streets – many with sidewalks. Of course, running on concrete is not as pleasant as running on asphalt.

  38. The pity of it is that if the Green Loony Brigade hadn’t indoctrinated and induced our politicians and other elites into a change to diesel, based on the dogma that diesel was far less pollutant than petrol – given adequate emission filters, and that CO2 was a deadly pollutant, we could have had a programme of phased change over to Liquified Natural Gas fuelled cars, lorries, trains, ships and even aircraft.

    LNG motors, which have been around for 50 years or more, very largely only emit water vapour and CO2. Not only would the air have now been cleaner and sweeter, particularly in urban areas, but crop yields would have significantly increased and the effects of droughts would have been far less severe on agriculture in arid and semi-arid areas of the world.

    The Greenies don’t wish to know that, and won’t speak of it!

  39. These diesels are still pretty clean. They are 5x cleaner than an F150 for example. Politicians simply want to get rid of diesel. It’s my preferred choice of fuel for the range, torque and freedom. I only have to fill up for 90 seconds once a month.

  40. Somebody needs to dig up the papers written during this time frame concluding regulations were a cost effective method for controlling diesel particulate pollution. Great job bureaucrats. Keep it up.

  41. “There are many times the number of diesel cars in Europe compared to the U.S., partly because the EU started pushing diesel for environmental reasons,”

    I don’t think the percentage op diesels on continental European roads increased due to the AGW scare, they were always popular because the fuel was so much cheaper than gas.

    The UK started using diesels in greater quantities though, but I would say this coincides with the massive increase in performance of diesel cars in the early 80s.

    • France promoted diesel because national car makers told the government it was clean (when it was very dirty) and France was always protectionist – and extremely hypocrite about protectionism.

      If you want protectionism, just say so. Don’t make up excuses, don’t invent “norms”, don’t favor a technology because you are specialized in that technology.

  42. I have been investigating the Diesel Scandal, as it is called here in Germany, and its background for 3 years now. The global warming issue including all of its catastrophic implications are far more complex to dismantle than the dangers, political bullying and real consequences of NO2 concentrations. Meanwhile I have gathered a lot of insights and data on the NO2 issue and I would like to present some arguments and conclusions to paint an entirely different picture of the real world and this topic in the 4 following posts.

    When writing c = 100 it will mean the concentration of NO2 in the ambient air = 100 microgramms/m^3. c = 100 is also the official limit that the EPA established in the USA. The limit in the EU is c = 40 because this is the WHO recommendation. Note, even the EPA is not following the WHO because it is not convinced.

  43. Post #1: The danger of NO2, Toxicology

    NO2 is the most dangerous part of the nitrogen oxide emissions coming from burning fossil fuels. In general there are two important sorts of nitrogen oxide emissions which are most related to our health. A: primary NO2, which is directly emitted by an ICE (internal combustion engine) and B: secondary NO2, which is formed through directly emitted NO reacting with O3 in ambient air to NO2. All other nitrogen oxides play no significant role in this matter.

    This is, why most of the health studies refer to NO2 as the pollutant, no matter whether directly emitted or created through NO emissions. The most important studies on this subject are listed and referred to in the WHO air quality guidelines and the EPA health risk assessments. Those studies are on one hand side toxicologic studies which are short time exposure tests with human beings and long time exposure tests with animals (mostly rats) and on the other hand side epidemiological studies which are statistical investigations on health effects and death rates in the population.

    It is widely accepted from toxicological studies that there is no effect at all on healthy human beings below c = 1,880. The range of effect limits is quite high, with the lowest being the 1,880 and the highest c = 9,400. This indicates that c = 1,880 seems to be quite safe in terms of short time exposure of healthy human beings. The range for asthmatics is even greater. There are 2 studies reporting small effects at c = 200, then there are quite a few studies reporting effects at c = 500 and there are also some reporting no effects up to c = 9,400.

    The reported effects are also important to know: They are airways restriction and pulmonary function which basically is breathing frequency and volume. The worst effect was reported as airway inflammation in asthamtics at c = 1,880. To sum it up: Human beings react to NO2 with higher breathing frequency (healthy HB) or airway inflammation (asthmatics) from c = 1,880. Asthmatics also react on NO2 with higher breathing frequency from c = 200. The same limit was sometimes found in asthmatics for a stronger response allergenes after NO2 exposure. That means we are not talking about cancer or any severe/deadly disease but worst case of an airway inflammation at very high doses for asthmatics.

    The prejudice of toxic danger comes from early studies in the eighties and nineties when animals were exposed to diesel exhaust fume and developed cancer cells. Interestingly, a 2007 HEI study on rats, directly exposed to Diesel exhaust from a modern commercial truck engine driven by diesel without sulfur and equipped with a soot filter showed that the cancer cells could not come from NO2. The rats showed no sign of a disease at all although they were exposed to concentrations of up to c = 6,000 over 2 years.

    At the end of the day, the toxicology assessment tells us that NO2 does not seem to be dangerous at all at very low concentrations below c = 200. And even at ten to fifty times higher concentrations the health effects seem to be still far away from a deadly risk.

  44. Post #2: The danger of No2, epidemiology

    If the clinical studies show no danger, how come that NO2 is causing so many deaths in our population? It is the epidemiology, stupid! So how does it work?

    In short words: They are comparing two parts of a population (called cohorts) in terms of death rates. One cohort lives in an environment with low NO2 concentration and the other one lives in an environment with a higher concentration. To make the cohorts comparable the death rates are normalized to control for age distribution and if available for socioeconomic effects (i.e. income). That is alsready a problem of available data and uncertainties but not part of the analysis here.

    The real problems of those studies start with the measurements and how those reflect the real life of the people in the cohorts. To be statistically evident the study needs several ten Thousands of participants. It is obvious that you cannot measure the NO2 exposure of so many people over decades. So, what is being done, is measure the NO2 concentration at a central station and calculate the concentration in front of everybody’s home door by a computer model (LUR Land use regression). The deviation between the calculated and the real value is the first major problem of uncertainty, but I will come back to it later again. One of the elephants (yes, there are more) in the room is the fact that even if the calculated value were 100% correct, the concentration in front of the door would never be the value, the human being behind the door is really exposed to in his life. In fact, nobody lives in front of his door. He lives in his living room, kitchen, sleeping room, car, gym, on the road, on the shop floor, in his office etc. but not even an hour/day in front of his front door. This is important, because all those concentrations can differ several hundreds of percent from the front door concentration. So, when the epidemiologists claim the exposure to a certain concentration of NO2 is associated with such or such death rate it is simply wrong. They never measured any exposure and still they are claiming to know the consequences. This obvious discrepancy is well known and documented in epidemiology, but they simply ignore it nowadays. Famous US statistician and also AGW skeptic, William Briggs, criticized that as well in terms of particle matter (PM) which is the same scam as NO2.

    Now I will come back to the LUR computer models. To reach a high or even any effect in death rates (RR = relative risk) the epidemiologists need a small difference in NO2 concentration between the 2 cohorts. The smaller the difference the higher the effect will be. Thanks to the proliferation of computer modellers the epidemiologist can choose between tens of different LUR models. They simply pick the one that is giving them the result they wish to obtain. No wonder that there are studies out there that find no NO2 effect at all and others who claim that it is the source of so many premature deaths that the limit should be c = 10 which is the background concentration in nature without any traffic or even human settlements. There are also scientists who criticize that. For example, Panullo et al investigated a scottish study that claimed with every 5 micorgramms NO2 more one will find 5% more deaths. Simply with exchanging the LUR model and recalculating Panullo found no significant effect anymore. This was elephant #2.

    Elephant #3 is the lack of controlling the results for other, by far more deadly influences like the habits of the people in the cohorts. They mostly do not even know who is smoker, alcoholic, takes drugs etc. Since the effect of those habits is so big, just a small difference between the two cohorts in terms of one of those factors can account for all of the measured effect.
    Elephant #4 is the lack of controlling for correlated confounders. NO2 is correlated with other pollutants like CO, PM or EC (elemtary carbon) of which the effect can hardly be separated and in terms of EC and CO is not even measured everywhere.

    At the end of the day, the epidemiology isn’t even able to deliver a hint what is going on with No2. It definitely delivers no correlation between exposure and death rate and thus can never associate any health risk between NO2 and anything. The causation link between NO2 and death rate that is being reported in MSM is not even a fairy tale or science fiction, it is complete fiction. What the authors at MIT are trying to do in this study, WUWT is showing, is the trial to escape these short comings. They know that the described methodology of all these studies is crap. So they try to establish a new danger through the formation of very dangerous particles after the NO2 has travelled a long distance. Then it would no longer be dependent on measurements and calculations of concentrations. That is the point where we leave the fiction area and enter the door to future fiction, still no science at all present.

  45. Post #3, No2 and politics

    As said above, the US have c = 100 as a limit for NO2, the EU ruled c = 40. There is no limit violation in the US, firstly because there is a higher limit and secondly because there are no diesel cars on the road. In Germany we have about a third of the cars with diesel engines. Still, at the peak of the pollution, about 15-20 years ago, the average concentrations on the hot spots with high traffic load was only about c = 100, maybe slightly more. From there the concentrations fell slowly but steadily to about c = 80 at the worst case locations right now, although the penetration of the market with Diesel cars was constantly increasing.

    The limit of c = 40 is valid since 2010. It was decided by the european commission (EC) in 1998 and sent out to the member states for review until 2008 when it was supposed to be implemented. This is exactly how european politics work. There is no elected politician who would be part of this commission. The EC simply can decide whatever it wants and as long as the national goverments do not reject it it will become law. Anyways, after 2008 there was no way back, the new limit was set for 2010 and nobody in Europe knew that this was going to happen or what consequences it would have. From 2015 on the EU was entitled to punish member states with fines in case of violations. Germany violated that limit from 2010 on and nobody cared. Then 2015 came and still, nobody cared. Suddenly, in Sept. 2015 the ICCT in the US reported the cheating of Volkswagen in the US and the Diesel scandal immediately spread all over Germany, not so much over the rest of the EU.

    With the Diesel scandal politics, NGOs and media tried to blame the car makers for not fulfilling the limits. The excess emissions of the cars were said to be responsible for exceeding the limits. Now, the only chance to comply with the regulation was forbidding older cars to drive on those critical roads. This is why politicians tried to force the carmakers to pay for the violations and offer millions of after market repair kits to update older cars to lower their emissions and to prevent their customers from the disadvantage of driving restrictions. The carmakers refused and came away with it (so far). Subsequently there was outrageous crying and whining about the very bad carmakers in the media. Green politicians are now requesting to force the manufacturers to pay with a new law. How did all this happenHere is why:

    The cars were mostly according to law because the approval process of the cars was done with an outdated test cycle, which was easy to fulfill. Politics and agencies knew that since mid of the nineties because they even founded a dedicated european organization (HBEFA) to track the differences between the official emissions and the real emissions of the cars. They needed this data to be able to calculate the immissions in the future.

    Now it is getting interesting. In 2007, one year before the new european Nox regulation was supposed to be implemented, the environmental agency in Germany found out by computer modelling that the new limit will never be fulfilled, neither in 2010, nor in 2015, nor in 2020, even when every car would be according to the latest future Nox regulation. So politics not only knew that the EU regulation was never to be met, they also knew back in 2007 that there was no remedy for it. That means, even if the excess emissions of the cars related to the Diesel scandal created some extra on the immission concentration it was never a show stopper. The limit was simply to hard for this time frame and the number of diesel cars on the road. But you will never read that in any news paper. The media are government agents and they even called the carmakers serial killers. This is how media are working nowadays, political acticvism instead of unbiased investigations.

    Also note, that the official limit for workers (plants, restaurants, construction, shopfloors …) in Germany is c = 950 whereas on the roads with the highest traffic in Germany the limit is c = 40. The official reasoning for that is that there are only healthy people working on shopfloors but ambient air is affecting everybody incl. asthmetics and pregnant women. But this is not true because also asthmatics or pregnant women work on shop floors or in restaurants and many of the mentioned studies do not differentiate between asthmatics and healthy people. The real reason for the difference in limits is: different government agencies are responsible for setting those two limits and the activists who tried to fight fossil fuels and car makers simply forgot the working people because the industry in general or restaurants or construction workers are not part of their political program.

  46. Post #4, No2 and NGOs

    I already mentioned the ICCT in the US as the source where everything began in 2015. The ICCT is a NGO which is not only important because it started the Volkswagen scandal in the US (and they had every right to do so, in my eyes). It is also important because there you see all the political connections of the NGOs and the money flow behind the environmentalism in general.

    Before I continue I would like to highlight that the Volkswagen scandal in the US was entirely different from what was going on in Europe. There are different regulations and laws between the US and EU. And Volkswagen did something in the US that most of the carmakers incl. Volkswagen not even did in Europe. They really cheated, because they could not even reach the official limit in the official test cycle with the technology they had on board. Remember: The US limit for emissions is about 50 mg/km EU limit is about 80 mg/km. At the end, the ICCT tests revealed that something must be wrong with the EPA approval test results. Shortly after publishing the test results Volkswagen admitted the failure and everybody knows what happened afterwards with billions of dollars paid to US customers and the US DOJ. Some people in Germany claimed that the US is punishing German carmakers and trying to protect the US car market. I am pretty sure, this is false or at best a side benefit for some players in this game. The Volkswagen scandal in the US had not much to do with markets or whatsoever, it was mainly intended to hit the car industry in total by killing the diesel cars in Europe at first through NO2 and the gasoline cars after that through CO2 regulations.

    What is interesting is: 2015 was the year when the EU could punish member states for violating NOx regulations but as written above nothing really happened. Is it a coincidence that the scandal started exactly in this year although Volkswagen and maybe other German manufacturers approved problematic Diesel cars before that year in the US? Could be but if you take a closer look at the ICCT back then and today it seems to be plausible that the Volkswagen scandal in the US pointed to Europe from beginning on. Note that the Volkswagen scandal in the US and the Diesel scandal in Europe were initiated from the very same organizations which coordinate and finance the global environmentalism in terms of climate change.

    Let’s look who was and is sitting in the board of the ICCT and who is founding it. Back in 2015 there were two people from the Flora Hewlett Foundation, one member of the Packard Foundation and one member of the swiss Oak foundation which is closely linked to George Soros’ Open Society Foundation and Margo Oge (former EPA manager for transportation and air quality) in the board. Today the board has grown significantly with members and advisors from all over the world and many of them having a link to the EPA and other international NGOs.

    The look on the funding is telling everything. Just about 75% of it comes from the Hewlett Foundation, the Packard Foundation, the Mercator Foundation and the swiss Oak Foundation, even if it is called differently. The first two are the main pillars of Climate Works which has its financial arm mainly in Europe called European Climate Foundation (ECF). It is funny to watch how those NGOs like ICCT change their financial reporting from one year to the other. In one year the Hewlett and the Packard Foundations are donating more directly and in the next year they are doing it through ClimateWorks or the ECF. ClimateWorks is not only a pass through organization for NGO donations but also the NGO with the political control system. You will find names like Christiana Figueres (UN) or John Podesta (Democrats) or Caio Koch-Weser (former German government secretary and World Bank manager) sitting next to the people from Hewlett, Packard and Oak foundations.

    To me it seems that the ICCT has been defined by ClimateWorks as the international control center for green transportation policy. It is also telling that C. Hochfeld from the green German Thinktank AGORA is advising ICCT as well. AGORA itself is funded by the ECF, the European Commission and the German state. They are promoting and supporting all efforts to follow the green path on the energy transition to renewables and on the transition from fossil fuel to electric vehicles.

    Finally, this international network of foundations, politicians and NGOs has an international law advisory NGO called ClientEarth. They developed the plan to sue European and German cities, in order to provoke Diesel vehicle bans in those cities. Client Earth supported the German NGO that was suing German Cities, called Umwelthilfe. Both of course are itself funded by the ECF, which is ClimateWorks, which is the sum of Hewlett, Packard, Mercator and Oak Foundation. Before stopping it is also important to know that ClimateWorks is closely working with Soros’ Open Society and his Climate Policy Initiative, where he directly influences. This organization is openly sharing offices in Berlin with a German Thinktank doing politics through making economic studies for politicians.

    At the end those few foundations are not only financing and controlling nearly every green NGO in the western world that is related to climate change and “clean” air but they are also heavily linked to US and European politics as well. You want to tell me that the Diesel Scandal starting in 2015 is a coincidence when the director of the ICCT openly communicates that the death of the combustion engine cars is planned through Diesel regulation at first and CO2 regulation thereafter? Nothing, those foundations are doing, is coincidence. Everything is well planned and equipped with the right people.

  47. Post #5, conclusion

    The Diesel scandal and the allegation of cheating carmakers, who are to blame for our huge health effects we are supposed to be suffering, is the greatest scam in terms of turning reality upside down, even if it looks to be true for many at the first view. It is global political bullying at its best. Scientifically, there is very likely nothing to fear from NO2 or even PM, at least all claims from epidemiology in this matter are completely invalid. There is neither a correlation nor a causation between those pollutants and death rates or whatsoever.

    It is therefore by far more likely that not even a single person died so far earlier than he/she had to without those emissions. This is indicated by the clinical studies of the toxicology, the only results which are real and reliable.

    The self legitimating actions of politicians and the environmental activists are based upon voodoo science from epidemiology. Both create fears to promote their strange green agenda and pass new laws which are always directed against and not in favor of human beings. Needless to say that we pay for it at the end of the day. Or does anybody seriously believe that cars or electricity get cheaper and better with all those regulations?

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not saying that there should be no regulation at all, but one has to keep his head cool, there is a limit for nearly everything on earth from where on it is getting dangerous, even oxygen. The task of science and politics is to find that limit and pass relating laws that protect people and are not too costly. The promoted and unproven LNT hypothesis by science is nothing else than an applied exaggerated precaution principle due to partly missing knowledge and cannot be the golden rule for that process because it will necessarily mean zero emissions and unlimited costs at the end of the day.

    I am also not saying, that the carmakers did their very best to reduce the NO2 emissions. They clearly did not, because they preferred a compromise with higher NO2 emissions and a longer interval for refilling the adblue to reduce NO2. Still, the EU regulation was fulfilled with that strategy. This was done for several reasons, which are limited tank size due to available space or customer satisfaction for example, but not in order to earn more money, as it was reported by MSM. The cost saving argument fails for more than 90% of the newer cars, because these cars have the expensive SCR technology on board but simply do not use it enough. This is also the reason, why most of the cars reached a much better NO2 emission performance after a simple SW update. So, the carmakers clearly underestimated the NO2 danger potential in communication and the willingness of their customers to frequently refill the adblue. If they knew, what would follow, they would never have taken such a risk for this small customer satisfaction gain.

  48. I almost doesn’t matter what the emission ratings are. Diesel truck owners around where I live (rural Maryland, USA) routinely swap engine computer chips out so their trucks will accelerate more quickly. The effect is a monumental increase in unburned carbon when they floor the accelerator (which occurs every chance they get). Of course, they put the regular engine chip back in when they are required to do emission tests. Diesels have a power advantage, which is needed for people who use the trucks for legitimate businesses. But this swapping out of chips is making a joke of emissions ratings.

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