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Discussion > Drs against Diesel : A subsidy mafia Front

NO₂ – not as bad as we thought?
August 30, 2017 11.15am BST

Air pollution has been found to cause hundreds of thousands of deaths every year around the world. As a result, there has been growing public concern about the health impacts of roadside air pollution – especially in the wake of the 2016 Volkswagen scandal, when investigations found that almost a million tonnes of excess pollution had been pumped into the atmosphere in the US alone.

Governments came under increasing pressure to act – and many drew up plans to reduce harmful pollutants below legal limits. In late July, the UK government published its own national plan for bringing down roadside nitrogen dioxide (NO₂) concentrations. The plan was met by considerable criticism, on the basis that it lacked urgency and effectively dumped the problem on the worst affected local authorities, which would be required to implement Clean Air Zones (CAZ).

But what was perhaps even more remarkable about the publication, was that it revised the estimated value of minimising the damage to public health through these measures downward by 80%.


Sep 4, 2017 at 1:27 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

If "they" wanted to get on with "minimising the damage to public health" - with me defining "public health" as the bureaucracy and vested interest groups that crowd into the topic - then just maybe they should take a more considered and evidenced approach to shrieking about made up worst case prognostications that they seem to be addicted to.

Pretty much every time I see public health mentioned at the moment on closer inspection it's some folk out to justify their existence by fair means or foul - and mostly foul.

Sep 4, 2017 at 1:39 PM | Registered Commentertomo

Sep 4, 2017 at 1:39 PM | tomo

Anyone can become an "expert" in Public Health. No qualifications required, if you have a product or message to sell.

Sep 4, 2017 at 4:45 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

@NBY thanks for that
One of the things that got me about the campaign against diesels DieselsRPaedos campaign was the rush compared to qualiy of the evidence.
The standard rule is you go with validated science
One report is NOT science needs to be independently replicated multiple times.

So not surprising that the campaigns figures have proven ifffy.

Sep 6, 2017 at 8:49 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Over in a talk abouta focus on insulation ending up with buildings being over insulated

Sep 6, 2017 at 3:36 PM golf charlie
Many "damp and mould" problems are caused by condensation from within the building, not penetrating from outside, or rising from beneath. Damp and mould are correctly associated with many ailments.
Landlords are required to inspect things like boilers, and part of that inspection should include the provision of adequate ventilation. A landlord cannot be expected to return daily to ensure the vents have not been taped over again.

Have we seen an increase in asthma and other breathing complaints? Yes! And it all gets blamed on combustion engines and Global Warming.

Sep 6, 2017 at 5:59 PM @Tomo said
I've seen wood stove using eejits with rooms you could easily smoke kippers in.... Shower rooms covered in black mould without operational vent / fans etc. etc.

For all the bleating we've seen over air quality from public sector - very little quantitative evidence on the "problems" has been offered and even less evidence for any effective mitigation strategy.

Exactly ..I was immeditely suspicios about Doctor Griggs Doctors Against diesels campaign cos it smelt fishy
..and @Tomo highlights one thing that in proper action you look at the problem HOLISTICALLY
ie respiratory problems may well be caused by vehicles, but we have to think bout bad ventitilation, indoor fires, pets, mould inn showers etc.

Still looks to me the campaign was designed with the MAGIC solution of pushing Electric Cars ..and then afterwards the problem and justification were thought up.

Sep 6, 2017 at 8:55 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Sep 6, 2017 at 8:55 PM | stewgreen

Google Food Prices and Biodiesel

The Green Blob supported diesel because it could be grown. Then food shortages happened, and there was no US surplus of food for the UN to donate.

Sep 6, 2017 at 10:54 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

stewgreen - re:MAGIC

All new Jaguar Land Rover cars to have electric option from 2020

UK needs to do more for electric car future - Jaguar Land Rover CEO

etc etc etc...

Sep 7, 2017 at 9:46 AM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

@NBY I think it means "Most new JLR cars will still be internal combustion engine focused but we'll set the drive train so it can drive off an electric motor as well".

Wonder if people will work out they can get better performance by taking out the large heavy factory installed battery ?

Sep 7, 2017 at 4:13 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Sep 7, 2017 at 4:13 PM | stewgreen

The "Floor Pans" of modern cars are designed to accept various different bodies, engines etc. No significant modification of the metal structure/chassis of a modern car should be required to provide a battery or hybrid version off the same production line.

Sep 7, 2017 at 4:25 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The Times dieselRpaedos PR team are back from their holidays
Pg 6 as usual
+ main Editorial : "Dirty Dinosaurs"
First thing that leaps out "40,000 premature deaths in the UK alone"
Major canard , cos that's misrepresentation of the research which says life days lost to air pollution is theoretically equivalent to 40K actual deaths.
Yet their pg 6 article claims Diesel salesman are misleading public by saying diesels are getting cleaner.
Title : Car dealers 'mislead' diesel buyers over cleaner fumes "
Blah blah blah
But what leaps out there is the Fact Box

Claim : Diesel cars emit less CO2 than their diesel equivalents.
Fact : The higher weight and engine power of the average diesel car cancels out most of the efficiency advantage.
Average CO2 emissions of new diesel and petrol cars are nearly identical
(119 g/km against 123 g/km, respectively)

They mean Km

well a 4% difference is still a difference, so don't call the claim a lie

Grigg supplies the quotes

The other article : new Green Petrol E10 will Create confusion at pump
(EU standard 10% biofuel)

Sep 15, 2017 at 4:03 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Link to sales leaflet PDF that Times claims to be debunking.

Sep 15, 2017 at 5:08 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

The Times Scotland @thetimesscot
Sturgeon’s plans to phase out all new petrol and diesel cars by 2033 branded 'unaffordable & unachievable'

Sep 15, 2017 at 5:17 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

London Underground air quality ...

will the doctors speak out?

will the mayor do owt?

Sep 20, 2017 at 9:04 PM | Registered Commentertomo

A hyped up newspaper report that basically says germs are everywhere
but qualified thoughout like "While it's not generally a threat to healthy people, it can cause infections in those whose immune systems are weakened or compromised in some way."

Since the report doesn't contain proper quantification off won't be commented on.

Although it does have a connection with air pollution.
Pollution itself doesn't cause respiratory harm..
It's thought that the pollution causes internal abrasions which bacteria latch onto, so yes it could that kind of bacteria that you find in the London Underground.

It does seem interesting that Drs against Diesel are only interested in looking at half of the equation.

Sep 20, 2017 at 10:57 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

"It does seem interesting that Drs against Diesel are only interested in looking at half of the equation."

Granted - the Daily Mail didn't manage to juxtapose it with something diametrically opposite - as is their forte.

That said - the narrowness of the campaign riding mostly it seems on leveraging emissions testing nonsense hints at a local ideological rather than a scientific motivation for the campaign. Political hobgoblin stuff.

Sep 21, 2017 at 9:20 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Re : Sep 15, 2017 at 4:03 PM
I had a look at the leaflet they claim to be debunking
The newspaper article says, the thing is diesels are not tested in real road conditions

One box says "New diesel cars are cleaner than ever.
By September 2018, all new cars will have passed a strict emission test carried out under real driving conditions, before being sold"

The leaflet is hardly dramatic, cos its only 2 pages long.

Sep 21, 2017 at 10:33 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen


The Mayor of London's Office responded to a bit of Twitter sarc

See: Tube Air Quality

Sep 22, 2017 at 10:47 AM | Registered Commentertomo

Seems the normal PR not science
'Oh we are going to do a survey
but now we are going to get on with a range of measure to improve the air'
Doh if you want to improve something you have to do the survey.

You can't tell what needs doing and what works unless you take the baseline first.

Note how in the middle it says "Expanding the use of a replacement fuel for diesel generators that are used to power tools used in maintenance and upgrade work underground."

Then they repeat that at the end : saying
.."Reduced diesel fumes:
Alternative tools to diesel are used wherever possible.
A replacement fuel for diesel generators is under trial with the aim of significantly reducing CO, NO and NOx emissions".

That seems to me the deliberate PR trick of putting the "take" at the very end
ie their main message is that it is diesel that is evil.

Sep 22, 2017 at 9:43 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Yesterday's Greenpeace stunt
where they boarded a VW ship and seized the keys of 200 cars

Is that the best thing for improving health ?
Cos it seems bizarre ..first the gov comes up with an electrification plan, VW is busy on the way to developing EVs ..yet now Greenpeace turn up to protest.

Couple that with the fact that in SE Asia the driver of airpollution 1000 times worse is farmers burning land for palm oil
which is driven by the demand for biofuel, which people like Greenpeace pushed.

When I left Borneo last year the Indonesian government was after 20 years getting on top of the help from Greenpeace

news The last 2 protesters were removed at lunchtime after sitting on a gantry all night.

Sep 22, 2017 at 9:56 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Worth a read:
Andreas Mayer: Open letter on NO2 health effects
22 September 2017

This is an open letter, addressed to the authors of the paper:

Impact of excess NOx emissions from diesel cars on air quality, public health and eutrophication in Europe
J.E. Jonson et al.
IOP Publishing, Environ. Res. Lett. 12 (2017) 094017

and the responsible staff of the journal.

I am writing because I am upset about the missing professionality of your study, the low scientific level, the falsified facts and the absolutely insufficient justifications of your conclusions and I feel this paper must be recalled and the authors must publish an apology in the journal.

I am proud to be a mechanical engineer based on solid science and received my first award on scientific engineering, the famous Ferdinand Redtenbacher Medal from the University of Karlsruhe, today KTI over 50 year ago. I became an R&D engine engineer in supercharging and from the early 1970s also in emission reduction. With BBC and ETH we developed emission reduction technologies for Diesel-LDV and HDV which made those engines already in 1985 nearly as clean as they can be today and we worked with SCR for large engines reducing NOx by > 98% since 1992. In the very early nineties, then independent, I became responsible for the introduction of particle filters (DPF) in Swiss Tunneling with the unique requirement that efficiency for alveoli-penetration solid particles < 500 nm must be > 97% by particle number (PN) and no secondary emissions are permitted. With an outstanding team of experts, we called it the VERT network, this was finally extended to all other Diesel vehicles in Switzerland and became the basis for the introduction of DPF, the SDPF and GPF in Europe following the BAT philosophy. Even retrofitted DPF-engines are now super-clean and we, the emission engineers, who teamed up with scientists from chemistry, physics, biology and medicine to start the ETH Nanoparticle conference in 1997—the incubator for this new technology—we are proud on what we have achieved with this worldwide expert network to clean the breathing air and rescue millions of lives. We also do this for Chinese, Iranian and Latin American megacities. You can find our names on many technical and research papers. The professional society honored me for my engineering work with the Fellowship of the SAE, the Society of Automotive Engineers, where my peer was John J. Mooney, an inventor of the three way catalyst which cleans petrol engines, and for my contribution to public health I received a Dr. med. h.c. from the University of Berne.

With this background you may understand that nobody was more upset than me to hear about the criminal things VW and others did with emission control electronics which produce low emissions during legal test cycles but emit 10-30 times more NOx on the road. I was an expert-member of the VW scandal hearing of the German Bundestag in Berlin in September 2016 and used very clear language in my testimony. I would like to see these responsible managers all in prison for murder and their money given to children’s hospitals.

But listen: from the point of science ethics what you did is on a similar level of fake. I will explain you why.

You don’t seem to know much about the complex phenomena of engine combustion, the formation of emission compounds, their modification in atmosphere nor the health effect science, the “bone-breaking” work of occupational medicine, toxicology and epidemiology to come up with limit concentrations for air toxics.

You neither know that the petrol engine, which you regard to be cleaner than Diesel, emits more NOx than the Diesel, which is needed for the three-way catalyst process and the endpipe is only clean from NOx, HC and CO if this process is working perfect, which is not necessarily the case and can fail for many reasons.

You neither seem to know that many of these petrol engines emit nearly as many ultrafine particles as the old Diesels did (some even more)—even smaller and therefore more dangerous, nor that the metal oxide content, which might be the most toxic part in these vehicle emissions, tends to be higher than with Diesels, since petrol engines use higher RPM.

But, listen: now all 120 million of LD and HD Diesels in Europe have filters with > 99% efficiency and Petrol Engines have not. Today’s petrol engines must therefore be regarded the high polluter and not the Diesel. And this is the big problem of many polluted megacitites.

You did not know that?

And more in detail:

You mention that you have no solid base for premature mortality of NO2 in form of confirmed dose/effect factors. As an honest scientist at this point you should have stopped writing a patchwork of assumptions since if you have no information on toxicity, even less on mortality of a substance, how can you expect to evaluate solid results on premature mortality due to this substance?
But even this statement is not fully correct, because if you would dig a bit more diligently into the literature including occupational health you would indeed find information. You know what I believe: you did and you realized that the concentration levels of NO2 where health effects are observed are outside of what would be useful for your purpose and so you decided to suppress this information. And this, Sir, is unforgivable.
And than you “elegantly circumvented” the problem—as Prof. Künzli expressed it when citing you work during 21st ETH-NPC—by stating that NO2 is forming particles (precursor of particles, in the atmosphere, which is basically true. There are different processes, ending up with nitrate and ammonia particles, which have been thoroughly investigated. Even NO2 from Diesels can form nitrates during SOA process but this does not happen anymore with modern Diesels having BAT catalyzed DPF—didn’t you know?
Formation of nitrates does not happen in street canions, it needs time—you mentioned this somewhere in a remark but then you cannot use it for your argumentation.
So you simply estimated a certain amount of nitrate particles. But did you find dose-effect factors for nitrate particles? No, you did not because this does not exist, even less than for NO2, unless at the working place MAK at high levels.
But by far the most severe and upsetting fake is that you simply assumed that the toxicity of these “by NO2 somehow generated” particles is equal to the well established dose/effect factors for solid combustion generated particles. This cannot be an error, it is intentional fake! Have you never given a thought to the chemical/morphological difference of these and other substances contained in PM? Nitrate particles are larger than combustion aerosols, are hydrophilic and soluble in the lung surface liquids. They disappear before they even reach the alveoli, see HEQ systematics below, following M. Kasper on
All this does not mean, that adverse health effects by NO and NO2 from vehicle exhaust gas can be neglected. Absolutey not. There might be strong effects at some concentration and in some combination with other toxics but Sir, we must honestly admit that we do not know—and replacing knowledge by wishful estimations is the opposite of science, unforgivable third time. What must be done in such cases is to establish precautionary limits and this has been done by the governments based on serious observations and these limits are legal boundaries and must be respected. Science however must continue research to come up with well proven dose/effect information on whatever endpoints and avoid any wishful thinking.
And after all you come up with conclusions of thousands of death to draw the attention of the press to a paper which in its essence is nothing but fake.

So once again, this paper is a shame for you and your co-authors and the journal which printed it. And I strongly recommend to recall it and publish an apology in the journal.

Yours Sincerely,

Andreas C.R. Mayer
Dipl. Ing., SAE Fellow
Dr. med. h.c.,
0041 56 4966414

PS: We invite you to the next ETH-NPC to see how much brainwork is needed to develop these air cleaning technologies and which large and highly committed community is devoted to this.

Sep 25, 2017 at 4:16 PM | Unregistered Commenternot banned yet

@Rhoda @Tomo I had a look at that BBC item /how_toxic_is_your_car_exhaust
Typical art student crap

"Across the UK, **vehicle pollution** in the form of particulates and nitrogen oxides was killing 40,000 people per year, according to government figures."
** #1 he confuses vehicle/transport/all pollution
#2 Not 40K dead, We all lose few end life days

Air is not super dangerous
What counts is not emmns but what you inhale +LUCK
UK air on average is 75% better than 40 years ago

#Greenblob are looking for a problem so to sell EVs
Electric vehicles are NOT a magic solution
Buying things to make you Green is bad practice

He didn't know what Adblue is, and so doesn't understand that that large diesels have it and that is the reason why they do better in real world conditions.

Life would be better if people lived near their jobs instead of this crazy London thing of living at one side of the city and working in the the other

Oct 18, 2017 at 11:01 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

@NBY Thanks for that
At a quick glance it seems very sound

There are 2 updates
On Oct 6th the papers authors came back
On Oct 7th he rebutted their points

Seems to me that many scientists get so stuck in their ivory towers they don't step far enough back to understand the topics they are working on, so con themselves.

This guy seems to be arguing that diesels are cleaner than petrol.
To me the tailpipe is one thing, what counts is what enters your lungs and what damage it does.
eg in a village worker perhaps the families petrol and diesel are making no difference , it's their wood fire
but all the fresh air activity they get might counter that anyway.

Still thing for all engines its the 1 in 100 dirty engine that could be doing most of the pollution.

Oct 18, 2017 at 11:04 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

1:40pm Radio4
Lesley Curwen Report about her agonising about her 20 year old Renault Scenic diesel
See how her LOGIC LEAPS turn her diesel car into an evil demon.
That’s strange cos it causes close to zero pollution harm in an average village .
I try to quote her words from the prog

"Diesel is a dirty word"
"They not petrol output NOx imflames lungs"* "little children"
And They particles contain toxic which damages **
* Logic leap #1 : London diesels will be a source of NOx, but they are NOT the biggest, (have to take account of rest of vehicles+ sources like gas cookers/boilers, agriculture)
** Logic leap #2 She made out it's only diesels that output particles. Nope lots of sources, even electric car will emit it through tyre wear particles, tube and rail wear, wood fires, trees create particulates

"New Central London T-charge means pre Euro-4 pay extra £10/day on top of the C-charge of £11.50"
"I bought this diesel many years ago, cos then government encouraged diesel"

"There are schools*** 150m from roads which breach NOx limits**** "
*** Logic leap #3 What counts is not hat your car outputs, but what inputs into the kids lungs
& car pollution dissipates over short distance
That kid might well be getting more pollution from own home gas appliances and neighbours wood stove.
**** Logic leap #4 The legal limits are arbitrary, it doesn't mean that that level is dangerous or not.

"Charge made me think
Option - could sell ...but who will buy ?
(well mostly you'd only expect £500 for such a 20 year old car, £2000 tops)
- "Manufacturer scrappage ? ..I don't really need a new car
..and what about future rule changes for a new car I buy ?"
.."My car has family sentimental value"
\\I'm convinced diesel is dirty
..should I leave it with a sign "free to good home"//
***** Logic leap #5 The word dirty is a boo-word a little used diesel might create less pollution than a well used electric.

As ever pollution is a bad planning issue : too much centralisation.
- Getting people to live near their job is best solution
- Buying something new to make yourself green is almost always UNgreen.

Oct 22, 2017 at 8:35 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Shoe horning propaganda into news
6pm ITV Calendar
Second item : Electric cars "First in our series of Fuel-Free-Future"
There is no Yorks/Linc's news on pollution
i. Intro vox pop "do you think we should have a T-charge in our area"
- Every person said "no poor people can't afford it"
ii Prepackaged item from ITV HQ
iii Clip from local electric car enthusiast
iv Interview with Electric car woman from London claiming a journey costing £12 only costs £2 in an electric car.
I don't believe that.
That tweet confirms it is part of a PR campaign organised by ITV national HQ
Will benefit subsidy/political mafia.

Oct 23, 2017 at 6:33 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

BUT Aha Daily Politics did Toxicity charge with a PROPER MATHS expert
"So you won't see any tangible change from this T-charge. "
was the money quote
from Professor Anthony Frew: Respiratory medicine specialist, Royal Sussex County Hospital

All the amount of rubbish that media have aired TODAY about diesels and the T-charge
We worried about Andrew Neil retiring and the Daily Politics declining
but no here we have proper journalism.
Instead of letting the Dramagreens have a free platform or letting then run away from questions
The DP used the proper technique of putting the proponent on against a proper expert.
Here the DramaGreen was Simon Alcock Head of UK Public Affairs, ClientEarth

Alex Cull supplies the full transcript

Oct 23, 2017 at 10:53 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen