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DAILY MAIL COMMENT: Diesel drivers pay the price of green zealotry

April 5, 2017

By Paul Homewood




The Mail comments on yesterday’s admission from Sir David King, formerly Tony Blair’s Chief Scientific Advisor, that he got it wrong about diesel cars:


As confessions of incompetence go, Sir David King’s admission that he was absolutely wrong to advocate diesel cars could hardly be more damning.

In his role as the former chief scientific adviser to the government – and until last month, special representative for climate change – this is a man on whom the public were entitled to rely for scrupulously impartial judgment, based on facts.

As confessions of incompetence go, Sir David King’s admission that he was absolutely wrong to advocate diesel cars could hardly be more damning

As confessions of incompetence go, Sir David King’s admission that he was absolutely wrong to advocate diesel cars could hardly be more damning

Yet now this fervent campaigner against carbon emissions admits he let himself be duped by carmakers who claimed they had solved the more toxic problem of nitrogen oxides spewed out by diesel engines.

His confession comes too late for millions who tried to do the environmentally friendly thing by switching from petrol after Labour cut diesel fuel duty in 2001.

Nor can it help those whose health has suffered from diesel pollutants, which are linked to dementia and childhood breathing problems and, most chilling of all, are said to contribute to thousands of deaths.

So will it be the carmakers – still fiddling emissions tests on an industry-wide scale – who are punished for their deceit? Or government advisers and politicians such as Lord Prescott, Neil Kinnock and Gordon Brown, who banged the drum for diesel?

No, with depressing predictability, those footing the bill for this huge blunder will be the families who did as they were advised.

They now face crippling charges for driving diesels in low-emission zones, while the resale value of their cars – the second-biggest purchase of their lives, after their homes – is sure to plummet. As for King, he gets a knighthood!

Listening to the likes of London mayor Sadiq Khan, anyone would think diesel owners were the villains. Yet aren’t they owed a massive apology by the politicians and advisers who misled them?

How many other crimes against the environment, health – and our wallets –have been committed in the name of green zealotry?

  1. Terbreugghen permalink
    April 5, 2017 4:58 pm

    It’s long been a part of my attack on envirosocialists that the UK and Europe clamped down on CO2, but let the far more toxic nitrous and sulphate oxides go. the US has long had much more strict limits on diesel emissions, which is why diesels are not as popular in the US. . . but you’d never know it. The propaganda machine doesn’t favor it. . .and the rest of us pay and pay and pay.

    • dave permalink
      April 5, 2017 5:26 pm

      King is still lying through his teeth. The establishment knew PERFECTLY WELL that diesel emissions were EXTREMELY harmful and yet DELIBERATELY put the goal of CO2 limitation first – because they are MAD.

      • April 6, 2017 6:54 am

        Not because they are mad but because they were single mindedly focused on meeting one specific EU emissions target at the time.

    • April 5, 2017 5:28 pm

      Diesel cars may not be as popular in the US, but what’s infinitely worse is that diesel fuels most school buses here and these spend a long time stationary with their engines running whilst the kids get on and off. This practice continues even in states with very green agendas, which also still allow the popular burning of wood fires in cities.

      • mwhite permalink
        April 5, 2017 6:01 pm

        In the UK Diesel is very popular with government agencies.
        Most police vehicles
        Fire appliances
        Refuse/recycling vehicles
        the vast majority of coucil vehices

      • Derek Buxton permalink
        April 6, 2017 10:41 am

        I have had the same problem opposite my home in Stockport with school busses. But what is going to heave the heavy loads if Diesel engines are banned. I do not believe this latest scare story, anyone below the age of 70 does not know what pollution is. They are by far the most efficient way to transport people and heavy goods. Just another scam for this “not-the-conservative” government to make money.

      • April 6, 2017 11:00 am

        Derek Buxton I agree with your comment. I am now 72 and grew up in Morgantown, WV where I now live on the original 5-acre property my late parents bought in 1937. As a child, we could not leave porch furniture out and nylon changed color. Going to Pittsburgh shopping for the day (72 mi. north) would leave us grimy from the steel mills. Around Morgantown, gob piles from the coal refuse caught fire and smoldered for years. As a child I remember going out Rte. 7 at night to see the beehive coke ovens in Dellslow. Quite a sight.

        My late parents, my brothers and I never suffered from lung diseases or other environmental-related maladies. Daddy taught analytical chemistry at WVU and was around chemicals his career. One brother was also a chemist and the other a physicist. BTW–no one in my family ever smoked which might be more important than coke ovens and diesel vehicles.

  2. Athelstan permalink
    April 5, 2017 5:15 pm

    What has Dave King ever got right – is more the question.

  3. April 5, 2017 5:58 pm

    Reblogged this on Wolsten.

  4. BLACK PEARL permalink
    April 5, 2017 6:28 pm

    Whats the difference between being miss sold PPI by banks and being miss sold & miss led with ever increasing expense such as this, related to Ed ‘s 2008 climate change act
    Do these so-called scientists & politicians carry insurance ?

    Dont ALL engines produce NOX anyway, its a unavoidable by product of a compression engine so I’ve read.
    Dont most particulates thrown out on roads come from brake & tyre dust therefore unavoidable?

    Surely some enterprising lawyers can get stuck into this one big time
    ‘Have you been miss sold your diesel vehicle’ ?
    ‘Have you been miss sold CO2 based VED charge’ ?
    ‘Have you been miss sold your emission charge on your new double glassing ?

    Would make the PPI payments made by banks to date, look like pocket money!

    • dave permalink
      April 5, 2017 6:35 pm

      “Crown Immunity” covers their sorry asses in matters which are public policy decisions.

      • dave permalink
        April 5, 2017 6:39 pm

        P.S. I do not necessarily assert that Nox IS particularly dangerous. I was pointing out that that was the official view from way-back, and therefore the decision to push diesel was contrary to conscience.

  5. April 5, 2017 6:39 pm

    King was interviewed on Channel 4 News yesterday evening. What a sorry apologist for a scientist he is. He failed to do his job as chief scientific adviser. He should be stripped of his knighthood, his house and his pension and sent to spend time at Her Majesty’s Pleasure. He should be joined there by all those other politicians who forced this policy onto a trusting/gullible public. If I didn’t have better things to do, I would go out and drive my petrol car, light a massive bonfire and light the woodburner.

    • April 5, 2017 10:59 pm

      You are too kind, Phillip. To King, and to all the others.

      But if May really wanted to sort this, she would re-open the whole debate about CO2. Including judicial review of the Russell and Oxburgh enquiries. Ain’t going to happen.

      We’ve been sold down the Rio – again. And I’m even worse off than you. I drive a diesel – not through choice, but because I couldn’t find a petrol version of the car I wanted.

  6. Old Guy With Opinions permalink
    April 5, 2017 6:41 pm

    Climate change clerics require tithes in the form of taxes to support their theology.

    • Derek Buxton permalink
      April 6, 2017 10:46 am

      That sounds like the real reason. Just how many new costs will this “not-the-conservative” impose, shame on the neo socialists that occupy the shabby Houses of Westminster.”

  7. Stonyground permalink
    April 5, 2017 7:03 pm

    Are diesel emissions really as dangerous as is now being claimed? Or are diesel vehicles just in line to be the next cash cow now that the general public are starting to realise that CO2 isn’t that big a deal?

    • BLACK PEARL permalink
      April 5, 2017 7:22 pm

      It appears everything we are told to believe in… is BS
      Are scientists becoming the new order of priesthood to use to guide the flock ?

    • Athelstan permalink
      April 5, 2017 7:42 pm

      Diesels are out, they don’t like fossil fueled transport – end.

      I caught a TV news article I can’t claim to be listening properly – it was just on.

      I did pick up some lasses voice averring that ‘electric are the cars of the future’ and I thought oh **** and Lordy, bleedin’ hell – and no joined up thinking [wot again?]………. someone ask her, is there no one at Sky…………..who could possibly think that idiot idea through – no one?

      i. where is all that lecky going to come from, the massive outlay on stuff like bonkers policy initiatives……street chargers [FFS] – it’s just another policy from the Bedlam.Brussels/westminsterarm – and the wing nuts in the eco madhouse.

      ii we the ‘proles’ how are us – going to be able to afford an electric car [mind you] would TPTB care – either way?

      iii. are we NOT according to the W-anchors; Westminster, in particular the CCC, tim yeo, Ed Milipeed, lord deben, stern, Merkel, Leo dicaprio, george moonbat, gates, potatoEd, lucas, call me dave and her indoors cameron, greenpus, Brussels et bloody cetera…….supposed to be living in the age of ‘sustainable’, then, how effin sustainable are massive car batteries? Plus two, binning millions of diesel auto vehicle transport – how green is that?

      iv. why do the media give the politicians, scientists and more, the corporate blob such an easy ride, why aren’t they interviewing and pillorying Mercedes, Beamers, Audi and whoever else produces these vehicles and didn’t they all cheat the emissions tests and on the imprimatur of the EU: at the back of all this disaster and enforcement of policy – limitations of emissions guff.

      Suspension by piano wire is much too good for ’em.

      • HotScot permalink
        April 5, 2017 9:27 pm

        Will you marry me? 🙂

    • HotScot permalink
      April 5, 2017 9:42 pm

      Of course they are.

      Diesel engines are 25% more efficient than petrol engines. 25% less fuel is delivered by tankers (ships and lorries) cars carry 25% less fuel than petrol engines.

      Diesel is considerably less energy intensive to refine and sustains a ‘dwindling’ resource.

      Diesel emissions are only perceived a problem in cities, yet 12,000 deaths a year, across the UK are suddenly attributed to them, directly, yet most would probably have occurred anyway from chronic respiratory conditions.

      Diesel is not a problem in rural areas, yet the rural community are yet again to be punished for the benefit of, primarily, London.

      This is yet another example of the tail wagging the dog. The city dwellers (and I am one) holding sway over the rest of the country. I chose to live in a city, I know it’s dirty, I don’t have to stay here.

      The vilification of diesel is outrageous and unacceptable. Nor should we believe it. The petrol engine was vilified in the same way, will the petrol engine be next, again, unscientifically and incorrectly, again?

      Who is condemning the diesel engine. Not Lord King, but perhaps another governmental ‘scientific expert’. Whey should we believe them this time round?

      Scientific political failure isn’t an option these days, it’s an imperative.

      • Athelstan permalink
        April 5, 2017 11:34 pm

        Agreed with all of that, car owners……….they are not incarnate devils, diesel ain’t the enemy unless, you are looking for a new target.

  8. Myron Mesecke permalink
    April 5, 2017 8:54 pm

    Latest study refutes the health hazard claims from PM 2.5.

    As for nitrogen oxides the newer GDI (gasoline direct injection) engines put out about as much as diesel engines.

    • tempestnut permalink
      April 5, 2017 10:41 pm

      Myron you are correct on the particulates. What is never emphasized is that diesels are not the primary source of particulates, and are in fact just a bit player. If they were so dangerous they would not exclusively use diesel engines in underground mines. If they were provably so dangerous then Lawyers would have class actions going all over the place. The reality is this was made up, based on nothing, and in a court of law there would be no evidence. In fact particulates, and in particular PM2.5 are higher in doors than out.

      The Subject of NOx is just as fraught. In the old days NOx was the major contributor to smog due to the photochemical effect along with smoke from fires, SO2 and other chemicals. NOX again has all but been reduced to insignificant levels, yet it is becoming the new bogie man. Once more when you look at any of the published science none of it is based on rear people or real illness, but on statistics. In fact the statistics relate to a different formulation of Nitrogen and Oxygen to the one coming out of exhausts. Government relies on the fact that no one checks up on their poor science.

      The new direct injection petrol engines are not doing the promised fuel mileage, and I can back this up with my own experience of running two identical small cars, Fiat 500’s one with a 1.3 litre diesel and the other with a direct injection petrol of 865cc. One does 70mpg when motoring down the M/W flat out and the other 45 if I’m careful, and has been as low as 42 on a trip. My old 7 seat Chrysler Grand Voyager going from Bayonne to Caen 6 up and packed to the gunnels did 41.5 mpg a couple of years back. It would have been at the very least twice the weight of the Fiat 500 referred to above. Its not that our engineers are making no progress, its that our politian’s are thick as two short planks, illiterate, and wilfully corrupt. Its time to stop being polite to them in the hope that we can point out the error of their ways and start being blunt and very rude. I don’t think anything else is going to work.

      And by the way, these new direct injection engines are not being forced on us because they are better, but because in the process of ruining formula1 as a sport the major manufacturers want to recover their in vestment in this technology. Its the battle of Britain all over again where the popular myth is the DB601 in the ME109 was better because the engine didn’t cut out under negative G like a Merlin. The reality is RR solved the negative G issue and redesigned the carburettor so the fuel was injected directly into the supercharger rather than being drawn through a venturi, which enabled the Merlin to run higher boost and produce more power with a lean mixture. Lessons from the past often have to be learned over and over

      For anyone genuinely interested in NOx its all here

  9. Graeme No.3 permalink
    April 5, 2017 10:02 pm

    Given the ‘choice’ between meeting a ‘Standard’ or going out of business the automotive companies chose to meet the Standard. Now the regulators want to change the Standard because they left loopholes and failed to concentrate on the real pollutants. To deflect blame they are using diesel car owners as scapegoats.
    It all smacks of political reaction to some transient scare – “quick do something about X” – so the bureaucracy hastily drew up a “solution” and David King failed to think, and probably failed to consult any experts, because he too was fixated on the wrong problem.

    I remember many years ago, for some reason the local politicians wanted fire retardant seats in public transport. We supplied our fibreglass resin to a contractor who promptly complained; it was too expensive and faulty. The fault was that when he put the unwanted offcuts and trimmings into a drum with paper and kindling they wouldn’t burn. He switched back to a competitor offering something cheaper and offcuts that burnt readily. He claimed that it met ‘The Standard’. When we made enquiries it turned out that some public servant (and probably his sisters, cousins and aunts) had ignored Australian Standards (and overseas ones) for fire ratings and had devised his own. It involved the front section of the Saturday edition of the local broadsheet placed on top of a finished seat and a match applied. It the test seat didn’t burst into flames then all was well. Incidentally standard resin passed this test.

    Those who drew up, along with those who approved the Standard should be asked to explain, but it will probably turn out that those names were loss in the great flood of ’67 or whenever. But no-one should use Sir David King anymore as a source of scientific advice.

  10. April 5, 2017 11:44 pm

    Over on BH Unthreaded @Pcar just explained all the engine warming issues etc.
    See Apr 5, 2017 at 11:03 PM

  11. April 6, 2017 12:26 am

    Just take his money! They all worship money and the millisecond they realise that they can lose their money for taking ours everything will change. That is Scientists, Civil Servants and politicians. How? Put a levy on all pensions these people get and then let’s enjoy the squealing of the pigs.

    • Derek Buxton permalink
      April 6, 2017 10:53 am

      And how many of our zany politicians know how either a petrol or diesel engine works?

  12. Rowland H permalink
    April 6, 2017 9:45 am

    There was a terrific programme the other day on “Yesterday” eulogising the diesel engine from its inception. It was the engine of choice for the submarine quite simply because diesel fuel is far less volatile than petrol (particularly unleaded) and therefore far safer. But also because of its efficiency in providing far greater range. Diesel is the natural choice for virtually all transportation.

    I’ve chosen diesel cars for over 30 years now because of their far greater fuel economy and their longer life – my last Citroen Picasso went to over 220,000 miles before I sold it still running as good as new. It consistently gave me around 55 mpg. No similar petrol car would have given the same service or economy.

    So, yet again, I feel as though I’m under attack from government and also the media who cannot resist backing the latest witch-hunt without due diligence to the real facts.

    Our Kia diesel is now 7 years old and is thankfully not beset with the latest efforts to reduce emissions with what are becoming horrendously complicated electronic devices which are more prone to malfunction and expensive to put right. Yet this car records extremely low emissions at its annual MOT. So why would we want to change it?

    Some motoring correspondents are now advising against buying diesel cars because of their quite fiendishly complicated engine management systems as opposed to their emissions which are being hyped out of all proportion.

    • April 6, 2017 11:06 am

      Well said, but I would add their has never been nor is their anything as complicated as the turbo changed and charge cooled spark ignited engine, whether fuelled by petrol or gas. All the new direct injection petrol engines are turbocharged and charge cooled. A common rail diesel yes needs a CPU to run, and yes needs solenoid activated injectors, and a plethora of sensors are added in. But it is compression ignited, and so it always going to be more efficient, and less complicated. Most of the complication on todays cars is completely unnecessary and not necessarily due to the engine, but the manufacturers build in this complication to cause you to have to take the car to their main dealers. And as long as our brain dead Politian’s continue on their path of stupidity and allow “experts” to make all the rules things will get worse.

  13. April 6, 2017 11:14 am

    As if on queue another article from esteemed commentators about the poor state of science. Those in the know now don’t trust science, most of the public have a simmering disquiet about science even if they don’t know why. Politian’s need to get a grip because the worst that could happy is that trust in science evaporates just at a time when everything we know today about the universe, our solar system and our own earth is about to be cast into the bin of history and we embark on a new age of discovery.

    Science has stalled for a hundred years as it was diverted from discovery and understanding to weapon development. Technology and discovery over the last 10 years is set to overturn everything you think you know. Even electricity itself is totally misunderstood and misused by us.

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