VW and CO2 Obsession

How wrong-headed EU climate policy led to the VolksWagen debacle


Dominic Lawson explains it clearly in the UK Sunday Times, Sept. 27.

“Recent events have been a result of Europe’s concerted push to get its populations to abandon petrol for diesel as the fuel to power their cars. This is the real story behind the astonishing scandal of VW’s fraud upon the US Environmental Protection Agency. VW had installed software in its newer diesel cars that detected when the vehicles were being tested for noxious emissions and cut most of the smog-forming compounds caused by burning diesel.

When the cars were driven normally on the road by owners, the software “defeated” the pollution control. This greatly enhanced the vehicles’ performance. And so VW could claim — absolutely dishonestly — that it was selling high-performing diesel cars while conforming to stringent American “clean air” requirements.

Yes: America, frequently accused by Europeans of being a laggard in environmental protection, has stricter regulations governing air pollution than the eternally preachy EU. This is because of — and not despite — Europe’s obsession with climate change.

The UK government, after its signing of the Kyoto treaty, set up an incentive through vehicle excise duty to push consumers into buying diesel rather than petrol cars. The point is that diesel produces more oomph per gallon than petrol, so less of it is used for each mile’s driving and hence less CO2 is emitted in the course of any given journey.

However, it has always been known that burning diesel creates much more of the oxides of nitrogen that can cause terrible damage to the human respiratory system: more than 20 times as much of the stuff as burning petrol does. Because in America engine emission controls are related much more to overall air quality than in the EU, VW had a real problem getting its diesel cars into that market. Hence its scam.

The UK national obsession — at least in Whitehall — with CO2 means that British lives have been shortened to save future lives in Africa (the continent thought to be most vulnerable to the consequences of climate change). The developing world, meanwhile, is cracking on with fossil-fuel power generation, since its leaders understand that that is the fastest way to lift their countries out of poverty — and really save lives.”

The article appeared in in the UK Sunday Times:

H/t to http://us4.campaign-archive2.com/ who provide the full text with this comment:

The “rush for diesel” might seem an unmatchably counterproductive idiocy on the part of the EU member states, as they sought to prove themselves the saviours of the earth. In fact, it is merely one of a number of catastrophic components in the climate-change policy makers’ hall of infamy.



  1. Richard Mallett · September 28, 2015

    You only have to stand behind any lorry or bus that runs on diesel to see and smell the fumes coming out of it. That’s why I would never think of buying a diesel car. They’re not good in the ice and snow either, which is why the roads are full of broken down lorries every winter.


  2. ajrf · October 21, 2015

    Taking into account this matter, i can only say, how many NOx would have avoided if instead of diesel-powered cars, the EU had encouraged the buying of Hybrid-petrol cars, which could have saved tons of CO2 and NOx (of course, with small engines, such as the ones who power F1 cars now, or the EcoBoost, TSI,…)


  3. Pingback: Prompt 3- Truth Hunting – The World is Flat?
  4. Stan B · February 17, 2016

    You know, if the science really does matter – maybe you should look into whether or not the “diesel fumes” are really so deadly. The EPA had people inhale this stuff straight out of a truck’s exhaust pipe, and nobody “died,” nor did they even warn the study participants that death or long term health effects was even a possibility. They said participants “might” experience short term discomfort. And they were right – nobody died, and none of them have fallen ill years after testing.


    • Ron Clutz · February 17, 2016

      Interesting. Can you provide a link to that study?


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