Monday, June 23, 2014

London Leads the EU in Car Pollution; Diesel Fuel Blamed

"London has a dirty secret: Levels of the air pollutant nitrogen dioxide (NO2), as measured by a monitoring station in the central city, are the highest in Europe. Concentrations of the compound are greater even than in Beijing, where smog alerts are common.

The European Union’s fight against climate change has favored diesel over gasoline, because diesel engines burn fuel more efficiently and emit less carbon dioxide (CO2), the leading cause of global warming. But a byproduct of burning diesel is NO2. “Successive governments knew more than 10 years ago that diesel was producing all these harmful pollutants, but they myopically plowed on with their anti-CO2 agenda,” says Simon Birkett, founder of Clean Air in London, a nonprofit. “It’s been a catastrophe for air pollution, and that’s not too strong a word.”

The World Health Organization says NO2 is linked to asthma and can inflame respiratory passages and aggravate bronchitis in children. In addition to NO2, diesel combustion also generates easily inhaled fine particulate matter, which probably killed 3,389 people in London in 2010, the government agency Public Health England said in April. Because the fine particles and NO2 commingle, it’s hard to distinguish deaths caused only by NO2, says Jeremy Langrish, a clinical lecturer in cardiology at the University of Edinburgh. But researchers think NO2has harmful effects independent of particulate matter, says Frank Kelly, a professor of environmental health at King’s College London. (---)

Switch to diesel engines is significantly to blame for poor air quality in UK cities, experts say

PS. and here is the article: 

Critical evaluation of the European diesel car boom – a global comparison, environmental effects and various national strategies. by Michel Cames and Eckhard Helmers.
Results: "Expected greenhouse gas savings initiated by the shift to diesel cars have been overestimated" and
"We conclude that the European diesel car boom did not cool down the atmosphere."
"Moreover, toxic NOx emissions of diesel cars have been undestimated up to 20-fold in officially announced date."

PS II. and here Clean Air in London (CAL) calls out Mayor Boris Johnson for his bad track record
Stop hiding air pollution and ban diesel exhaust in two stages to 2020 as coal was banned 60 years ago  CAL regrets that the Mayor’s track record on similar schemes has been very poor. For example: i. delaying Phase 3 of Mayor Livingstone’s low emission zone from October 2010 to January 2012; ii. scrapping the western extension of the congestion charging zone despite adverse air pollution impacts expected; iii. 100% discount for diesel vehicles entering the CCCZ i.e. Greener Vehicle Discount that was recently scrapped because of the problems it created;- See more at:

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