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Germany Seeing Little Improvement In Air Pollution, Despite Lockdown

May 12, 2020

By Paul Homewood

h/t In The Real World

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Comparison of Nitrogen Dioxide tropospheric column – Mid Feb v End March

https://www.bbc.co.uk/weather/features/52503882

If you watched the BBC Climate Check video the other day, you will have seen the above map of NO2 concentrations over Europe through lockdown. Ben Rich made a point of highlighting the drastic drop over Northern Italy, but was strangely silent about the lack of change elsewhere as lockdown progressed.

One of our readers found an article in the German news website, Online Focus, dated April 20th. The headline translates:

Limit exceeded despite lockdown – State Secretary: "Diesel driving bans are now off the table"

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https://web.archive.org/web/20200420094412/https://www.focus.de/auto/news/focus-17-2020-stickoxid-belastung-trotz-verkehrsrueckgangs-weiter-hoch-staatssekretaer-bilger-diesel-fahrverbote-sind-damit-vom-tisch_id_11891310.html

The article, which was originally linked here, has mysteriously disappeared, but can still be found on Wayback.

The article translates:

Proponents of the controversial diesel driving bans are getting a damper: Despite massive reductions in car traffic, nitrogen oxide levels remain high, which virtually refutes the basis of the diesel bans. A clear statement now comes from the Ministry of Transport.
Despite the lower volume of traffic due to the corona crisis, nitrogen dioxide levels in German city centers are still comparatively high. According to a random evaluation of the news magazine FOCUS by air quality data from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) over the past ten weeks, the nitrogen oxide values ​​at Stuttgart’s Neckartor and Landshuter Allee in Munich initially decreased gradually after the corona shutdown on March 23, but then increased back to.
Limit exceeded despite lockdown
On sunny Maundy Thursday (April 9), according to UBA data, the load on Neckartor was 60 and on Landshuter Allee with 90 micrograms almost six or three times as high as on a windy day in February. In comparison to the previous year, some of the values ​​have risen, as the FOCUS reports. The Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Transport, Steffen Bilger (CDU), told FOCUS: “In my view, the issue of diesel driving bans is now finally off the table. Why the nitrogen oxide values ​​do not decrease despite the rapid decline in traffic raises questions that the responsible environmental authorities have to clarify. "
"The responsible environmental authorities must clarify this"
The environmental policy spokeswoman for the FDP, Judith Skudelny, also criticized driving bans: "What is interesting about the measured values ​​is that less traffic is not a guarantee of clean air." According to FOCUS, the UBA pointed out that wind, temperatures and precipitation also had an impact on air quality. The period was also too short to assess the effects of the shutdown. A decline in emissions due to less traffic and industrial production naturally affects air quality.

This assessment backs up what I found in Sheffield, little change in either NO2 or PMs.

Finally, Adrian Kerton has also been expanding his studies on air pollution in Europe, and keeps coming to the same conclusions too – see here.

With German manufacturers already in revolt against climate policies, one wonders whether the their car manufacturers will pluck up courage and challenge Merkel on this.

23 Comments
  1. Jonathan Scott permalink
    May 12, 2020 11:45 am

    It is indicative of the shear disingenuous and now out of control nature of the BBC and their unacceptable political stance that in a program they created to clearly promote a socialist agenda (by any means) using the non existent climate melt down that they desperately pull in anything they can and indeed do everything they can to widen the net to fall under the woolly nonsense of “Cwimate Changth. The BBC were instrumental in the invention of the meme that man’s guilt goes all the way back to the beginning of the industrial revolution by broadcasting incessantly the nonsensical and science free notion that warming began when someone in the Midlands lit a fire using coal to smelted associated black band iron ore. The sociology and politics graduates ignorance misses the fact that the warming actually started 100 years earlier). Even the political tool the IPCC did not dare try that one on! Pay attention to the “since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution” mantra they tag on at the end of almost every climate horror story. They keep repeating this totally unsubstantiated claim following the methods of their marxist political mentors. Given the image that the BBC project why should them using the well tried marxist method of inventing your own truth and reality be a surprise to anyone? When is the serious and unacceptable hijacking of the national broadcaster by left wingers for the sole purpose of promoting a dangerous political agenda going to be dealt with correctly in Parliament? Come on Boris! You have a hell of a majority… USE IT to drain this swamp!

  2. Mack permalink
    May 12, 2020 12:12 pm

    Another torpedo amidships of the listing hulk of the SS ‘Settled Science’.

    • Jonathan Scott permalink
      May 12, 2020 12:25 pm

      It is indicative of the shear disingenuous and now out of control nature of the BBC and their unacceptable political posturing that in a program created to clearly promote a socialist agenda (by any means) using the non existent climate melt down is now desperately pulling in anything they can to widen the net to fall under the woolly nonsense of “Cwimate Changth. Douglas Murray has exposed this subterfuge of the rabid left on several occasions. The BBC were instrumental in the invention of the meme that man’s guilt goes all the way back to the beginning of the industrial revolution by broadcasting incessantly the nonsensical and science free notion that warming began when someone in the Midlands lit a fire using coal to smelted associated black band iron ore (The sociology and politics graduates ignorance misses the fact that the warming actually started 100 years earlier). Even the political tool the IPCC did not dare try that one on! Pay attention to the “since the beginning of the Industrial Revolution” mantra they tag on at the end of almost every climate horror story. They keep repeating this totally unsubstantiated claim following the methods of their marxist political mentors. Given the image that the BBC project why should them using well tried marxist method of inventing your own truth and reality be a surprise to anyone? When is the serious and unacceptable hijacking of the national broadcaster by left wingers for the sole purpose of promoting a dangerous political agenda going to be dealt with correctly in Parliament? Come on Boris! You have a hell of a majority… USE IT to drain this swamp!

      • Adam Gallon permalink
        May 12, 2020 2:08 pm

        Won’t happen.
        Billions in taxes, worldwide, rely on the spectre of climate change. Billions in investments rely on it too.
        Car manufacturers will be in a permanent state of arousal over the thought of all those electric car sales.
        Hundreds of politicians, have built their careers on it too.
        Seen any evidence of climate scepticism from Borisconi?

      • Gerry, England permalink
        May 12, 2020 2:48 pm

        I doubt the car manufacturers relish the battery cars given that nobody actually wants them but it costs them big time to develop with so far very little payback. I note that most car ads now are at least about hybrids (scheduled to be caught by the ban in the UK) as well as full battery only.

  3. Steve permalink
    May 12, 2020 12:12 pm

    In London central zone the original % for diesel cars and vans was around 5% each. Lorries have already changed to adblue with zero NO2. It’s not surprising that there is little change.
    In Germany the idiotic dumping of nuclear with ridiculous amounts of solar and wind has resulted in expansion of lignite. Plenty of NO2 there to make up for the lack of traffic. That’s just what our UK transport minister and others thinks is the ticket.

    • Jonathan Scott permalink
      May 12, 2020 12:32 pm

      The technology exists to make all diesel engines effectively emissions free in respect of noxious gasses and particulates. Given this fact then why not use the tech unless of course they need diesels to continue to be not as clean as they can be. This is just one more of many Trojan Horses to achieve another agenda which is to impose the rabid extreme of socialism on us all.

  4. Bloke down the pub permalink
    May 12, 2020 12:39 pm

    The mayor of Bristol made big claims for how much their air quality had improved but I wouldn’t rely on anything he says.

    • Mack permalink
      May 12, 2020 11:32 pm

      Must’ve put his fag out before he said it!

  5. Geoff B permalink
    May 12, 2020 12:42 pm

    Apart from the northern Italy improvement which looks to be south of the Alps and I can pick out Turin and Milan, lot of heavy Industry around there, Madrid sticks out in Spain, UK seems to have got worse in March the east west conurbations Liverpool. Manchester, Sheffield, Leeds and Hull stand out more . What could be causing it? More people at home all day, wood burning stoves, old gas boilers (My friends boiler 30 years old broke down and the engineer condemned it on the spot it would have never, even when new, met modern standards). Can we get Aprils readings?

    • bobn permalink
      May 12, 2020 2:17 pm

      The quality of the air is 99% due to the weather! Calm / windy, inversion, humidity, cloud cover etc etc. But climate alarmists dont know what weather is.

  6. Athelstan. permalink
    May 12, 2020 1:04 pm

    It’s a fact!

    A fact, that, private vehicular transport isn’t a national health hazard.

    But the facts and the truth won’t stop the green fanatics, they’ve already decided! The green menace, made up their minds, human beings and their private cars are the enemy and note, even if the statistics don’t prove it emissions pm they can see it and you will be made to bend to it and after all, you voted for it, liblavcon=ecomentalism.

    One more thing or so, how many of the trustafarian snowflake XR revolutionaries have parents who drive 4×4 chelsea tractors?
    Futhermore, insofar as having lots of lovelly gadgets, laptops and things processed – you need to crack eggs to make omelettes ie , prospect, mine, smelt, purify, roll, press and engineer – it’s how the world works – kids.

  7. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 12, 2020 3:11 pm

    I’m pretty sure we’d already seen/discussed that article on German/diesels via NTZ.

    I say again, it looks to me like the animation only runs to mid-March(?) and IS NOT THROUGH THE LOCKDOWN IN EUROPE, except for Italy – where the drop is.

    https://notalotofpeopleknowthat.wordpress.com/2020/05/10/bbc-climate-check-may/

    Adrian Kerton’s stuff is interesting.

    I’ve come to the conclusion that for the UK, yes the reduction in traffic has reduced daily spikes right on the roadside on the busiest enclosed roads in the biggest cities, but background urban, country wide levels, levels seen from space – nope, weather/imported air quality is the biggest driver.

    The idiots are already creating more congestion by reducing traffic to 1 lane on major roads. And you can bet this will not be temporary.

    https://new.brighton-hove.gov.uk/news/2020/new-temporary-cycle-lane-a270-old-shoreham-road

    The safest way to get to work would be to relax parking restrictions and travel in isolated boxes. Instead they want crowds of cyclists who will not respect 2m, huffing and puffing and breathing in a soup of various bodily droplets.

    • Chaswarnertoo permalink
      May 13, 2020 8:33 am

      30m for cyclists, trail of virus behind them.

  8. May 12, 2020 3:54 pm

    This is an interesting chart which shows the reductions after lockdown, though given the reductions in traffic one might have expected lower reductions.
    https://ee.ricardo.com/news/analysis-of-covid-19-lockdown-on-uk-local-air-pollution
    A quick calculation for Bristol’s ban on private cars will hardly reduce the Nox emissions, perhaps by 4% though I suspect it will have dire consequences for traders in Bristol. I’ve updated my website with the figures.
    https://adriankerton.wordpress.com/070-bristol-temple-way-emissions/

    • MrGrimNasty permalink
      May 12, 2020 6:42 pm

      Interesting, very thorough. Probably better than going by eye/gut feeling!

    • Gamecock permalink
      May 12, 2020 10:31 pm

      Sir, your linked article quotes wikipedia concerning PM:

      ‘Particulates are the most harmful form of air pollution due to their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and blood streams unfiltered, causing heart attacks, respiratory disease, and premature death. – wikepedia”

      Steve Milloy, junkscience.com, has completely debunked this nonsense. They hurt no one.

  9. May 12, 2020 3:56 pm

    Try re-posting that a article on Facebook. I tried with an earlier article from gwpf and found that I had been fact-checked by Farcebook and my post taken down.

    • Curious George permalink
      May 12, 2020 6:08 pm

      “The article, which was originally linked here, has mysteriously disappeared..”
      The Ministry of Truth at work. George Orwell was a genius.

  10. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 12, 2020 4:41 pm

    Certain elements do not want to let us have our cars back easily, and will spout fake assertions to get their way (there may be some link in grossly polluting countries, but not at the levels we get here).

    https://www.theargus.co.uk/news/18442119.lloyd-russell-moyle-says-lockdown-update-worsen-air-quality/

    As if the weeks after the 23rd March are so much better than the 2 weeks before!

    Every significant dip in NO2 is from the weather(wind shear), the final punch down was during the 10th May and through the 11th when a very strong clean NE set in.

  11. MrGrimNasty permalink
    May 12, 2020 5:07 pm

    I see that the N. of Italy suffers from the same problems as that large area of China – enclosing topography, inversions, Po valley is one of the least windy areas in the world. So just like China the pollution is trapped and can build and build – just like China, any sudden reduction in pollution levels is therefore just as likely to be due to weather. As ever, it seems the propagandists are shining a light on very specific cases, and maybe being careless with their attribution to the lockdown.

  12. Deroover marc permalink
    May 12, 2020 8:44 pm

    In france in and around Paris they even found that based on official figures pollution was higher during the crisis, depending on the pollutant considered.

    Report is here. Look pages 47 and 48 of the report. Unfortunately it is in French.

    https://www.climato-realistes.fr/communique-de-association-des-climato-realistes-apres-covid-19/

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