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Michael Gove’s new Clean Air Strategy

May 22, 2018

By Paul Homewood


DEFRA have launched their new Clean Air Strategy, as the Telegraph reports:



Under a new Government clean air strategy, some types of wood burners, car tyres, brakes, cleaning solvents, fertilisers and solid fuels will be banned from sale.

It is part of a new push to cut air pollution, which causes thousands of premature deaths in the UK every year.

Last year, air pollution levels in London were worse than those in Beijing for brief periods – with the capital’s pollutants frequently breaking international limits.

Pollution is a greater global threat than diseases such as Ebola and HIV, according to warnings by the World Health Organisation, and so the Government is seeking to clamp down on its causes…..

At a national level, the average concentration of the worst pollutants – Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) and Particulate Matter (PM10) – have halved in the last two decades.

Average levels of NO2 stood at 34μg/m3 at the roadside in 2017, down from 60 in 1997, while PM10 stood at 17 μg/m3, down from 37 in 1997.

Green campaigners, however, argue that this average level is still too high – and that localised pockets of pollution exceed health guidelines on a regular basis. The latest research shows that high air pollution levels result in some 40,000 early deaths a year in the UK.

Of course, we all want to breathe clean air, but please can we have a bit of proportion here?

For instance, as the Telegraph itself shows, air pollutant levels have fallen in leaps and bounds since the 1990s.



Clearly we must be getting something right.


The Telegraph also states that:

WHO guidelines state that cities should aim to have an annual average of no more than 10 micrograms of PM2.5 (very fine particulate matter) for every cubic metre of air. London had an annual PM2.5 average of 12 μg/m3 in 2016 – higher than the international recommendation, but still far lower than other megacities (Beijing’s average stood at 73μg/m3).

 There is in fact no scientific basis for WHO’s limit. The EU’s safety limit, for instance, is 25 μg/m of PM2.5.

Furthermore, to claim that air pollution levels in London were worse than those in Beijing for brief periods – with the capital’s pollutants frequently breaking international limits is grossly misleading. Both the WHO and EU limits are annual ones. It is quite common for weather conditions to cause spikes at times during the year, but this does not mean the capital’s pollutants are frequently breaking international limits, as the Telegraph claims.

And anybody who might be gullible enough to believe that London’s pollution is nearly as bad as Beijing’s should look at this table in the Telegraph:



This claim in the Telegraph piece is also grossly misleading:

Pollution is a greater global threat than diseases such as Ebola and HIV, according to warnings by the World Health Organisation, and so the Government is seeking to clamp down on its causes.

Air pollution most certainly is a huge problem for health globally, not least because of indoor fires for cooking. But to conflate pollution in Asia and elsewhere with that in the UK is not only ludicrous, but a wicked thing to do.

As is the Telegraph’s repetition of the incessant claims that tens of thousands are dying because of air pollution:


There is no evidence that 9.3% of deaths in Kensington are due to air pollution. At best, the research only suggests that it lead to premature deaths. This may just mean that people, who are already dying, die a few weeks earlier than otherwise.

Anybody who read this nonsense in the Telegraph would be entitled to think that we have a major crisis on our hands. Indeed, the Mail report Gove’s claim that “air pollution is contributing to a national health crisis”.

This really is the most abject drivel. What national health crisis? We all know about the obesity problem, and of course the biggest burden on the NHS is the simple fact that, on average, we are all living much longer than we used to.

But this is a funding problem, and is actually the opposite of a health crisis

One reason why I suggested that this demonization of air pollution is wicked is that it must make people neurotic, afraid to even go outdoors. One of the biggest threats to human health is obesity and lack of exercise. How many people will be scared to go out and ride a bike, or let their kids out to play, because of the ridiculous scaremongering?

Even DEFRA’s Daily Air Quality Index says that most of us should carry on as normal, even when air quality is only “moderate”.


Even today, with high pressure sitting over the country, air pollution has only reached Level 4:


It is also worth bearing in mind what DEFRA themselves say about PMs:

8.1 Particulate matter (PM or PM2.5)

Particulate matter is everything in the air that isn’t gas. This includes natural sources like pollen, sea spray and desert dust. It also includes human made sources like smoke and dust from exhausts, brakes and tyres. PM can travel large distances with up to 33% of PM2.5 originating from non-UK sources and around 15% from natural sources. PM is classified according to size. PM2.5 is less than 2.5um (micrometers) across, and is the main type of PM which is regulated.

PM can get into the lungs and blood and be transported around the body, lodging in the heart, brain and other organs.

PM emissions have reduced significantly in recent decades, but have recently stabilised. This is partly due to an increase in wood burning in homes.

The UK already meets the 2020 concentration limit of 20ug/m3. We have made legally binding commitments to further reduce the amount of PM2.5 that we emit into our air by 2020 and 2030.

Sources of PM

Particulate emissions in the UK come from:

  • 38% from burning wood and coal in domestic open fires and solid fuel stoves
  • 12% from road transport
  • 13% from solvent use and industrial processes
  • 16% from industrial combustion (non-domestic burning)


So maybe a third of air pollution actually comes from outside the UK, and 15% could come from natural sources.

As for UK emissions, road transport actually accounts for very little.


The strategy in recent years of gradually tightening up emission standards, for instance in cars, has clearly been the correct one, and it is one that we should be continuing to follow.

By contrast, the government’s new Clean Air Strategy appears to be an ill thought out, panicky reaction to what is really no more than an isolated and local problem, which could be solved with a little bit of initiative.

  1. Soon to be unemployed permalink
    May 22, 2018 7:32 pm

    A lot of this nonsense is from kings college London who have a very great desire for funding and a very small interest in the truth.

    Can’t say anymore I’ll get sacked.

    • HotScot permalink
      May 22, 2018 9:57 pm

      Valuable insight.

    • May 23, 2018 1:43 pm

      I understand that James Cook University in Queensland, Australia had a recent slot open up.

  2. Richard permalink
    May 22, 2018 7:34 pm

    Another attempt at headline grabbing by Gove. The man has no shame about misleading the public.

    • HotScot permalink
      May 22, 2018 10:00 pm

      Weasle he is.

      Odious little character. Can’t understand why governments continue to fall for fakiers like him.

    • Keith permalink
      May 23, 2018 9:39 am

      You would expect this rubbish put out by Gove to come from a socialist party but not the Tory’s, or have they now become the Labour party and the Labour party become the Communist Party?
      Good article by Booker in the Mail today.

  3. Richard Woollaston permalink
    May 22, 2018 8:12 pm

    Gove has form. Based only on some ‘research’ results from a very small school in Clackmannanshire, he mandated the blanket teaching of phonics to primary age schoolchildren in the UK, irrespective of their level of attainment, ability and literacy. He spun this into a major political achievement.

    • Mike Jackson permalink
      May 22, 2018 9:10 pm

      On that one he was right. The replacement of phonics by “look and say” was a fad of the 60s, like so many others introduced because existn

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        May 22, 2018 9:15 pm

        Why do I hate my iPad??? To continue …

        … existing methods were old, ergo outdated, ergo to be replaced. The change did more damage to primary language learning than anything else.

        Clackmannan was one of the few places that resisted this great leap forward.

        With three primary school teachers across two generations in the family, I know whereof I speak!

      • HotScot permalink
        May 22, 2018 10:39 pm


        Perhaps it’s the justification in question here, not the motivation.

        A bit like the Mann hockey stick being held up as evidence for AGW.

      • rjwooll permalink
        May 22, 2018 10:40 pm

        I’m afraid we must disagree on this. I similarly have primary teachers including English specialists in the family who have seen the damage that can be done to children’s motivation to learn and enjoy language by the imposition of phonics. Fortunately most enlightened teachers can mitigate this impact. Kids do best with language when it is used in its proper context, not reduced to the level of phonics. Phonics does of course have a place used as a tactic to develop some kids’ language if they are having specific difficulties. It’s the mark of a good teacher to differentiate between students and use the right approach for each, not have Gove March in with his blunderbuss.

        Sorry this is getting a bit off topic!

      • dave permalink
        May 23, 2018 7:21 am

        English spelling is a bugger! As is French spelling, which is its base.
        English maps 1,120 graphemes to its 40 phonemes; Italian maps 33 to its 25. It is no wonder that the damage from dyslexia in Italy is half that in the UK, even though the actual brain quirk is equally common.

        “Phonics” or “look-say” – either way, both good and bad readers will waste much time – and sometimes curdle their souls * – in pursuit of “the right way to do things.”

        * We hope our children will not entirely “fade into the light of common day.”

    • May 23, 2018 1:51 pm

      My late father fussed over the fact that my older brothers had learned to read by what he referred to as the “Chinese method” where every word is a character. He hit the ceiling when on the way to his family home in Crawford County, PA and my brother Bill asked if “Meadville” began with a “G” or an “F”. Bill is in his 80’s with a PhD in physics and recently retired. He still cannot spell worth a darn.

      I, however, 11 years younger, learned phonics, As a result, I read and spell very well. Today’s education “experts” know neither diddly nor squat. Come to think of it, most cited as “experts” in whatever, qualify for the “neither diddly nor squat” moniker.

      • dave permalink
        May 23, 2018 3:58 pm

        “As a result,…”

        That is unworthy of a scientist! How do you know the one was the main cause of the other?

        I also read and spell very well, but I (tend to) attribute this to an early, intense, pleasure in penmanship, and hence to paying close attention to the actual layout of letters on paper.

        Who knows what works in learning the basics EASILY? For that matter, why do some children suddenly come to a screeching halt in mathematics, after a good start?

        We do know that “hating” a particular subject – sometimes just its teacher – happens for a lot of students; and causes the education to be, somehow,
        forever lop-sided.

  4. Tony Mckenna permalink
    May 22, 2018 8:22 pm

    So transport contributes 12%. Mostly brakes and tyres. So what is all the fuss about deisel?
    Also if there was twice the pollution 20 years ago, what were the mortality figures then?

    • Phoenix44 permalink
      May 23, 2018 7:28 am

      The “research” never looks at that. It never shows the reduction in deaths caused by the reduction in PM, only the statistical deaths it claims are happening now.

      This really is the junkiest of junk science. The relative risks are absolutely tiny despite throwing every possible death at the figures and there is no evidence the people dying were ever actually exposed to high or higher PMs.

      Moreover, the basic data is very suspect – death certificates in the UK are simply not accurate as to cause of death.

    • Ian permalink
      May 23, 2018 8:22 am

      And what proportion of that problem is caused by hybrid vehicles dragging extra weight around?

  5. Jack Broughton permalink
    May 22, 2018 8:23 pm

    Great assessment of the Fear Campaign situation Paul. The UK led most of the world in pollution control using the BATNEEC approach (Best Available Technology Not Entailing Excessive Costs). This sensible and economic based approach has been thrown out in favour of another Fear Campaign. Even the Engineer today repeated the nonsensical claims by the Royal College of Surgeons that pollution is costing £20b / year and of course the usual drivel about increased mortality. Apparently, Gove is going to spend £3b of our real money to save a mythical £ 1 b by his approach: (this will never be demonstrable or enough of course).

  6. Barry Capsey permalink
    May 22, 2018 8:24 pm

    ‘Causes thousands of premature deaths’. A very few noticeably ‘early’ deaths caused by pollution, diesel is blamed for everything with or without ANY actual data. Our log burners have chimneys, not in any way comparable to the dense smoke lived in and inhaled from 3rd world cooking fires, frequently with NO smoke outlet. Gove is the latest exponent of the granny state, using the latest gweenie buzz words to ‘justify’ messing us all about yet again.

  7. bobn permalink
    May 22, 2018 8:33 pm

    No surprise these purported air pollution statistics are utter bullshit. We tried (you try) to find the evidence and data samples behind all this scaremongering, and found its all ‘estimates’ from desk-top modelling! Yep. that old chestnut. they havent sampled or surveyed actual air quality vs health at all. it appears the mythical 40,000 deaths a year is an estimate from an interpolation of modelling based on a USA survey of 7 cities in the 1970s and 80s. Thats all the science in this piece of bullshit. There are no empirical UK studies at all – just modelling and assumption. Ask for the data and surveys (not estimates and govt figures dreamt up on the toilet) to back up these claims. There isnt any!!!

    • It doesn't add up... permalink
      May 22, 2018 9:24 pm

      It’s our old favourite the COMEAP Ayres report of 2010 that they rely on:

      The current (2008) burden of anthropogenic particulate matter air pollution is,
      with some simplifying assumptions, an effect on mortality in 2008 equivalent to nearly 29,000 deaths in the UK at typical ages and an associated loss of total population life of 340,000 life-years. The burden can also be represented as a loss of life expectancy from birth of approximately six months.
      d The uncertainties in these estimates need to be recognised: they could vary
      from about a sixth to double the figures shown.

      So rather a biassed estimate,

      It is not our intention to re-visit the recommendations about risk coefficients of COMEAP (2009), and other strategic conclusions reported there, e.g. about the (non-)existence of a threshold, or the role of gaseous pollutants, or the relative toxicity of PM2.5 from different sources.

      based on decade old research, with no attempt to investigate whether the assumptions about linearity of the effect are in fact correct.

      • Jack Broughton permalink
        May 23, 2018 10:48 am

        Add in to this assessment that much of our “air pollution” is from overseas: (we should be charging the French maybe), and much PM 2.5 originates in nature and the science is even worse. Measurements of PM10 even are relatively recent and conclusions are based on one generation at most.

        Junk-science = political-science, now rules.

    • roger permalink
      May 22, 2018 10:22 pm

      40000 deaths per year?
      Now where have we recently heard that figure before?
      Ah yes! It’s the number of deaths due to hypothermia reported for this winter by the Chief Medical Officer and caused by the iniquitous green levies which parliamentarians of both houses and almost all political persuasions increase massively each year by law to provide cash sums sinecures and brown envelopes for their enjoyment.
      Gove has his hand in that too.
      Look a squirrel !

    • Mack permalink
      May 22, 2018 10:39 pm

      Spot on. Steve Milloy has done a fantastic forensic job on discrediting the stats on which the US EPA based similar claims. And how many actual death certificates can they use as evidence to justify their claims of recent UK air pollution mortality rates? Let me guess, zero? Am I close? Never mind. Gove is an intelligent and, ostensibly, honourable man who seems to have recently parked his brains and his judgement in the dustbin of political opportunism and self aggrandisement. Shame. I’m all for a cleaner and healthier environment, it’s my day job, but basing public policy and regulation on phony facts neither helps the environment, nor the poorest in our society and trashes the economy in the process. A testament to the green hubris that seems to have divested most politicians of their ability to think rationally, sensibly and make decisions based on evidence as opposed to feelings and wanting to make themselves look as though they really, really care. If they really, really cared they should do their bloody homework first! As a former Education Secretary, you’d think Gove might have done his. Apparently not.

      • John Palmer permalink
        May 23, 2018 4:31 am


      • Athelstan permalink
        May 23, 2018 9:27 am

        A blinding post, absolute blinder!

    • Derek Buxton permalink
      May 23, 2018 10:39 am

      The largest problem as far as vehicles are concerned is the low speed limits and road humps, all caused by stupid Councils. And this was brought up by NICE late last year but since then none have been removed and even more are going to be laid down. In fact where I live new speed humps were put down within months of the advice from NICE.

  8. Chilli permalink
    May 22, 2018 9:00 pm

    The message the Tories took home from the 2017 GE was ‘we need to do more to attract the youth vote’. Unfortunately, due to the infestation of the education establishment by hard left environmentalist scaremongers – ‘green issues’ are one of the top concerns for brainwashed school leavers. Instead of tackling this problem at source by insisting teachers encourage scepticism and fact-based science, the Tories have instead decided to take the easy route by pandering to every fake scare dreamt up by the enviromental alarm industry – from their war on plastics, pesticides and cheap energy – to this nonsense about an air pollution crisis.

    • charles wardrop permalink
      May 23, 2018 9:30 am

      Altho “Poor air quality” exists, as in smog, it joins now the catalogue of expensive Green scares of little clinical (or other) consequence which, as Geo Orwell and Mencken warned us would be latched onto by ignorant politicos, rent-seekers and well-meaning idealists with nothing more serious to worry about.

  9. May 22, 2018 9:02 pm

    Timaru? Why ?

  10. May 22, 2018 9:03 pm

    Compared to the early years after the war and before the Clean Air Act, atmospheric pollution in major UK cities, with all the heavy industry and everybody having coal fires, was horrendous, probably like Chines and Indian cities today. Politicians still ignore the truth and pander to the Greenblob, thereby wasting billions. Just today we heard the truth about the EU ban on the use of neonics, which again is not based on scientific evidence, but on incorrect modelling and intense lobbying from the Greenblob.

    • A C Osborn permalink
      May 23, 2018 10:40 am

      Phillip, you are right about historical levels, note the cut off of the Telegraph graphs.
      Look at the UK Gov graphs which go back to the 50s, most of those items measured have reduced by around 90% since those days prior to the Clean Air Act.
      Not the paltry amount shown in the Telegraph graphs.

  11. charles wardrop permalink
    May 22, 2018 9:09 pm

    Are car exhaust gases from IC engines more toxic than those of lorry or train or road building engine origin?
    Surely politicians have more useful work to do on scientific “certainties” than on bilge like AGW, or poor air quality, as it is nowadays?

  12. Rowland P permalink
    May 22, 2018 9:19 pm

    Can’t help repeating this quote – The fundamental art of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed, and hence clamorous to be led to safety, by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary”. H L Mencken (1880-1956)

    • dave permalink
      May 23, 2018 6:51 am

      “H.L. Mencken.”

      Exactly what Hermann Goering said:

      “The people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked and denounce the pacifists…”

  13. May 22, 2018 10:26 pm

    It’s a bit of a game , cos the shouters have a variety of variables they can cherry pick to shout about NOx, PM5, PM10 etc.
    and they can cherrypick the worst site as well
    Whereas what counts is not what a sensor says in the middle of the road in the worst part of town, but what actually enters the population’s lungs which might be much more pure, or far worse if they are in a pokey pub with an open fire etc.

  14. Athelstan permalink
    May 22, 2018 10:27 pm

    Without fire, we’d be still hanging around in the trees.

    Another chimera to beat the public up with and erm, didn’t the Government once recommend that consumers and car owners ran diesel motors and encourage wood burning stoves as the “cleaner option and thus the better, greener thingy, good for the environment too innit”, they were sold as.

    Stick another green indulgence on the UK’s funeral pyre will you?

    And put it right next to the laws of unintended consequences and on top of the other rubbish, rain shield cladding car exhaust dodgy and emissions testing equipment, CFL light bulbs, Freons and acid rain detectors, birdmincer blades, ;’wood pellet tech’, PV arrays, et bloody cetera.

    • charles wardrop permalink
      May 23, 2018 8:29 am

      Thanks for the Greenies’ rogues gallery!

      • Athelstan permalink
        May 23, 2018 11:49 am


  15. dearieme permalink
    May 22, 2018 11:03 pm

    I think he should stamp out the wood burners and leave the rest alone. Such a policy would annoy all the right people.

    • May 23, 2018 5:27 am

      Only where it is fully justified, like in cities. People in the countryside rely on wood burners where the pollution impacts are minimal since they burn seasoned timber, which otherwise would probably be burned on bonfires.

      • dearieme permalink
        May 23, 2018 12:37 pm

        Well of course only in cities.

    • Richard Woollaston permalink
      May 23, 2018 6:13 pm

      Maybe he could ban the woodburner at Drax?

  16. May 22, 2018 11:09 pm

    Middle of tonight’s BBC Look North had what amounted to an advert for US funded lobby group Client Earth, that’s who must have supplied the animated graphics for a report that said ‘government clean air law talk, Scunthorpe most polluted’
    To me that is FakeNews since Scunthorpe is so windy, away from the sensor the air is clean.

  17. Stonyground permalink
    May 23, 2018 6:50 am

    Excellent post. I do have to take issue with this bit though.

    ” We all know about the obesity problem, and of course the biggest burden on the NHS is the simple fact that, on average, we are all living much longer than we used to.”

    The obesity problem is just another invented government scare. There are people who are dangerously overweight but the vast majority are not. The supposed obesity epidemic has been fabricated using the utterly discredited BMI scale and declaring anyone who is not seriously undernourished to be overweight and people of normal weight to be obese.

    “But this is a funding problem, and is actually the opposite of a health crisis.”

    The NHS has never been short of funding, successive governments have always been obsessed with shovelling ever more cash into it. The problem is that it is disorganised and hopelessly inefficient.

    • charles wardrop permalink
      May 23, 2018 7:28 am

      As an in patient in hospital, alas not taking much exercise, may I add to your valid points
      that muscular exercise has been connvnicingly shown to be of benefit in, healthy enough people, to help disease resistance, presumably reflecting .evolution in preindustrial times.

    • dave permalink
      May 23, 2018 8:29 am

      “…discredited BMI scale…”

      • Mike Jackson permalink
        May 23, 2018 10:09 am

        I thought that the statistics indicated the “early” death rate for the supposedly ideal BMI of 25-30 is actually higher than that for 30-35.

        The obsession with numbers by our modern politicians must be a disease on its own. We have 2, 5, 14 & 21, 25-30 that come to mind immediately.

        The French are about to add 80 which will be the speed limit on single carriageway roads as from July 1. This will save between 350 and 400 lives a year “selon une étude menée par une équipe d’accidentologues indépendants en 2013”.

        Computer study, I understand. There’s a surprise! I suspect the concept of an “independent” accidentologist is unknown to humanity. It is virtually impossible to conceive of a situation where such an animal would do other than recommend speed reductions since, like so many of their colleagues in other fields, they only see one small part of a much larger canvas.

      • dave permalink
        May 23, 2018 4:04 pm

        “…obsession with numbers…”


  18. Grimwig permalink
    May 23, 2018 7:57 am

    I noticed the captions on the charts behind Gove ended with “…..from PCM model”. Now where have I seen models before?

  19. Dave Ward permalink
    May 23, 2018 8:14 am

    “PM can travel large distances with up to 33% of PM2.5 originating from non-UK sources”

    Which (looking at “”) suggests that much of the PM I’m currently inhaling originated in Norway…

    • May 23, 2018 9:06 am

      Yes, it’s interesting Dave

      I’ve been looking at the map for the last few days, and the area with most “pollution” (still only Level 4) is the South West, which you would normally associate with being fairly rural and clean. Suggests their pollution is coming from the East of England or Midlands (with the NE airflow)

      • jasg permalink
        May 24, 2018 12:00 pm

        A great deal of such pollution is due to rural muckspreading and much of that turns out to be from the continent.

  20. Pat permalink
    May 23, 2018 11:07 am

    We have known since Paracelsus that the poison is in the dose. Hence once the concentration of any given pollutant falls low enough to make it harmless, further reduction is pointless and diverts resources from solving other problems.
    I therefore disagree that allowable levels should be continuously revised downward- though doubtless those charged with enforcement would disagree.
    As to Give, he spent some years in opposition researching education and therefore started as education secretary with his own program, not one supplied by civil servants.
    He did no such research before taking over as environment minister, and hence is now effectively captured by the civil service.

    • Athelstan permalink
      May 23, 2018 12:00 pm

      The former Education secretary fought the UK education blob with some titanic effort of counter force, he was ultimately shived by his own side – dave.

      For him, now, to so gullibly fall in with the green monsters and worse utter such egregious claptrap, i cannot help but feel that Mr. greenboy has been ‘got to’ and that he is now a stooge of the corporate green blob, thoroughly compromised.

      Some might muse on, that, if, he’s got a new offshore ‘warm weather burny, burny weather’ bank account and lots of hedge funders yachts to loll around on, out in the bay.

    • charles wardrop permalink
      May 23, 2018 12:05 pm

      People from Aberdeen and ‘shire have always and can think and act independently for themselves, but he must have been hypnotised by the Greenblob, despite Oxford Univ., and thus he favours electric cars, awfully ignorantly, despite his VG University education.
      What a rake’s progress: almost unbelievable, but all he needs is common sense to discard the blob’s teaching, as he did, evidently successfully, with the Educationblob.

      • Richard Woollaston permalink
        May 23, 2018 6:24 pm

        One more comment about Gove and education then I’ll shut up: Gove never either identified (other than as people who disagreed with him) or produced a rational argument against the so-called Education Blob. He merely arrived with his own ideas and implemented them by diktat. Yet here we take issue with those in power who arrive with their own green ideas and implement them by diktat, without rational argument. The two are the same thing from a logical point of view. Reason is always the enemy of belief and whatever the issue (education or environment) it should be possible to conduct a rational debate that exposes prejudice and challenges beliefs.

  21. May 23, 2018 1:54 pm

    With all of the caring folks wanting more people to die in order to “save the planet” I cannot help but wonder why they talk about the number of premature deaths as a bad thing. Certainly, were it the case, they would be throwing parties.

  22. jasg permalink
    May 24, 2018 12:07 pm

    The fact that we are living longer has been used as an excuse to increase the retirement age. So any putative life reduction (albeit of a few weeks) is obviously only a reduction of an original increase. There is no limit to such fantastical reasoning. Perhaps we are dying early because we are not living in a plastic oxygen tent in a padded cell.

  23. May 24, 2018 4:06 pm

    There were 525,048 deaths registered in England and Wales in 2016

  24. Mike H permalink
    May 25, 2018 2:08 pm

    As that slogan said: “Where’s the beef?” or, in this case, Where’s the evidence?
    France went massively over to diesel in the 1970s and ’80s when those engines were many times more polluting than the modern versions.
    The supposed health impacts are cumulative so, after 40+ years, we could expect to see some hard figures in health reports, especially in dense conurbations. The total absence of any media alarm indicates that there is nothing to report.

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