Archive for the ‘pollution’ Category


There goes the notion of a zero-emission vehicle. The chief suspect is vanadium, which ‘was the only metal that interacted with the macrophages and was also present in both brake dust and diesel exhaust particles’.

The harmful impact of air pollution caused by diesel exhaust fumes on our health is well known, says The Conversation.

It’s responsible for causing everything from respiratory problems to dementia and even certain types of cancers.

But what most people don’t realise is that exhaust fumes aren’t the only cause of air pollution.

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Cardiff trolleybus, 1969 [image credit: David Stowell @ Wikipedia]


They’re certainly quick off the mark and quiet. As with trams the initial costs would be significant, but they do have their advantages.

They were the original electric buses but 50 years ago today saw the plug pulled on the last trolleybus in Wales, says BBC News.

Environmentally friendly and cheap, they finally succumbed to car ownership and fossil fuel on 11 January 1970.

Yet half a century later – almost to the day – local councils now see electric public transport as an answer to congestion and air pollution.

Some experts and enthusiasts even believe that shift could spark a revival for the forgotten trolleybus.

Known as the “trackless trolleys” when they first appeared on UK streets in 1911, trolleybuses became the workhorses of the public transport network.

Freed from the restrictions of tracks, taking their power from overhead cables, they provided clean, affordable and quick transport for the masses.

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Electric SUV concept car [image credit: motorauthority.com]


The report headline also claims this ‘is terrible news for the planet’, because they are obsessing about harmless trace gases in the atmosphere. But the motoring public don’t seem to share their misplaced concerns, as ever-popular SUVs outnumber electric vehicles by about 40 to 1 worldwide.

Sales of hefty and heavily-polluting SUVs have doubled in the last decade – outweighing the progress made from electric vehicles, says WIRED. Can cleaner SUVs offer a way out?

The phenomenal rise of the SUV all started with a squabble over chicken.

It was 1963 – the height of the Cold War – and US president Lyndon Johnson was fuming over a tax that France and West Germany had imposed on cheap, intensively-farmed US chicken flooding European supermarkets.

In December 1963, after months of failed negotiations, Johnson retaliated.

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Bristol’s urban area population of 724,000 is the 8th-largest in the UK, says Wikipedia. Diesel owners don’t have long to get rid of their cars, convert them to another fuel or find another method of transport if they need to get into town to work, shop or anything else during the day, after March 2021 – unless the next government decides to step in and save them.

Under the plan, all privately-owned diesel vehicles will be banned from entering it every day between 7am and 3pm by March 2021
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Bristol is set to become the first city in the UK to ban diesel cars as part of its efforts to improve air quality, reports Energy Live News.

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‘You first’ might be one response. Once again the BBC, like a lot of the media, tries to frame ‘greenhouses gases’ and ‘pollution’ as the same thing, which confuses the reporting even more. Note the capital letters: ‘Zero Carbon’. All part of the make-believe future they are trying to sell to the public, but now exposed as unrealistic.

MPs say people will have to stop driving if the UK is to meet its Zero Carbon goals by 2050, reports BBC News.

The Science and Technology Select Committee says technology alone cannot solve the problem of greenhouse gas emissions from transport.

It says the government cannot achieve sufficient emissions cuts by swapping existing vehicles for cleaner versions.

The government said it would consider the committee’s findings.

In its report, the committee said: “In the long-term, widespread personal vehicle ownership does not appear to be compatible with significant decarbonisation.”

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It seems switching to an EV can only scratch the surface of the clean air problems due to motor transport. Since their batteries make them heavier than fuel-burning cars they should have greater tyre wear, creating more road debris. Of course the parallel claim is that there will/would be some noticeable (presumed beneficial) effect on the climate in the long term due to lower CO2 emissions, but as we’re also told there’s little time left and sales of EVs are minimal, that doesn’t look good for climate alarmists either.

A new report released by the Air Quality Expert Group (AQEG) in the UK recommends as an immediate priority that non-exhaust emissions (NEE) are recognized as a source of ambient concentrations of airborne PM, even for vehicles with zero exhaust emissions of particles, reports Green Car Congress.

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Image credit: autocarbrands.com


More damage on the way for the reputations and finances of underhand German car makers, it seems. It’s reportedly not related to previous charges over ‘cheat devices’, although the intentions look much the same.

BMW, and Volkswagen face possible hefty fines after EU antitrust regulators on Friday charged them and whistleblower Daimler with colluding to block the rollout of clean emissions technology, reports Yahoo! News.

In the latest pollution scandal to hit the auto industry, the European Commission said it had sent statements of objections to the German carmakers setting out the charges, nearly two years after carrying out dawn raids at their premises.

It said the collusion occurred between 2006 to 2014 and took place during technical meetings held by the “circle of five”, namely BMW, Daimler and Volkswagen Group’s VW, Audi and Porsche.

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So much for trains replacing planes in line with current US ‘green’ ideology? The UK equivalent is the HS2 project which is also under pressure from various quarters. Both eye-wateringly expensive.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that he was abandoning plans to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, citing the high cost and the time it would take, reports Phys.org.

California Governor Gavin Newsom announced on Tuesday that he was abandoning plans to build a high-speed rail line between Los Angeles and San Francisco, citing the high cost and the time it would take.

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Here we’re quoting the most relevant part of a longer article discussing this issue, also including particulates. Has the German public and the world been fed a scare story that gives diesels an unfair image, to some extent at least?

Several German pulmonary physicians question the current nitrogen oxide and particulate matter limits, says DW.com.

These are inadequate and mainly based on questionable epidemiological studies, they say.
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Many victims of smoking, but where are the NOx deaths?

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Chinese electric car [image credit: scmp.com]


China already has 250 million electric scooters and around 3 million electric cars, most of which face battery replacements in the next decade or so. But high costs have opened the door to ‘cowboy’ operators.

Researchers estimate it will cost nearly US$3 million to reverse the damage caused by just one illegal plant, says the South China Morning Post.

Authorities in eastern China are turning to the courts to raise the millions of yuan needed to rehabilitate water and land polluted by dumping from an illegal lead-acid battery recycling plant.

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Where does this leave people who were encouraged to buy wood burning stoves?

The UK government is consulting on proposals to ban wood and coal burning in households, reports Energy Live News.

The sale of the most-polluting fuels used in UK households are to get the chop as part of government plans to reduce emissions.

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Typical electric car set-up


As the worldwide ideological push to establish electric vehicles continues, all is not well in the world of lithium extraction and usage.

As the world scrambles to replace fossil fuels with clean energy, the environmental impact of finding all the lithium required could become a major issue in its own right, says Wired UK.

Here’s a thoroughly modern riddle: what links the battery in your smartphone with a dead yak floating down a Tibetan river?

The answer is lithium – the reactive alkali metal that powers our phones, tablets, laptops and electric cars.

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Nairobi traffic


It’s debatable whether air quality was top class in many African cities before the arrival of these old diesels, but they aren’t doing much to improve it.

As emission regulations become stronger for new vehicles in industrialized countries, cars as old as 25 years no longer able to meet emission standards are being exported to Africa.

Air quality is suffering as a result, reports DW.com.

Any child playing at the Uhuru garden — a recreation park in the middle of the Kenyan capital Nairobi — is oblivious to the health dangers in the air around him or her. But that air is laden with toxic pollutants, which have become a leading cause of respiratory disease in Kenyan cities.

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Credit: carsdirect.com


One of the sub-headings to this BBC News story is ‘Push and go faster’. That really would be a fuel saver if it worked 😉

The government’s ambition to clean up motor vehicles by 2040 is not ambitious enough, a leading energy expert says.

Professor Jim Watson, head of the prestigious UK Energy Research Centre, said the target should be at least five years earlier, as in Scotland.

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Credit: Coal India Limited


A big vote of no confidence in the Paris climate agreement, by the world’s second most populous country. Political reality comes first: coal is much cheaper than nuclear.

India has decided to cut its planned nuclear power plant construction by two-thirds, says The GWPF. This will further expand the country’s use of coal for electrical power generation.

The Financial Express, one of India’s major newspapers, reports that the Narendra Modi government, which had set an ambitious 63,000 MW nuclear power capacity addition target by the year 2031-32, has cut it to 22,480 MW, or by roughly two-thirds.

The decision has enormous implications for expanding use of coal for electrical power generation and for release of CO2, other greenhouse gases, and for adding to India’s dire air pollution problems in its major cities.

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The writing is on the wall for German diesel car makers after this ruling. If bans or other rules are imposed on diesels in German cities, sales are bound to take another hit – on top of the recent VW ‘dieselgate’ fiasco.

Germany’s top administrative court has ruled that it is legal for cities to ban diesel cars, reports DW.com.

The government opposes the bans, but is under pressure from the EU to do more to combat air pollution.

Germany’s Federal Administrative Court in Leipzig ruled on Tuesday that cities may be permitted to put driving bans in place for diesel vehicles.

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Some Fiat-Chrysler models


Negative publicity and tighter air quality rules look to be strangling the production of diesel-engined private cars, whereas hefty subsidies are on offer for electric vehicles.

Collapse in demand and rising costs lie behind decision, says The Week.

The car-maker Fiat Chrysler has announced it will stop producing diesel passenger vehicles by 2022, as costs spiral and demand falters.

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Image credit: carspart.net


Free handy hints here from the BBC, including: forget about face masks, avoid busy roads, and – wait for it – ‘stand back’ after pressing the crossing button at traffic lights.

Campaigners win a third High Court victory over the UK government’s plans to tackle air pollution – BBC News.

The judge in the case said the government plan was “unlawful” and that more action was needed in 45 English local authority areas.

He said ministers had to ensure that in each of the areas, steps were taken to comply with the law as soon as possible.

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New Sentinel satellite tracks dirty air

Posted: December 2, 2017 by oldbrew in atmosphere, Emissions, News, pollution

Sentinel-5 Precursor satellite [image credit: ESA]


This looks like a big advance in monitoring the contents of the Earth’s atmosphere, whether ‘dirty’ or not.

It’s been working less than a month but already the UK-Dutch-built Sentinel-5P satellite is returning spectacular new views of Earth’s atmosphere, says BBC News.

The spacecraft was designed to make daily global maps of the gases and particles that pollute the air.

The first sample images released by mission scientists show plumes of nitrogen dioxide flowing away from power plants and traffic-choked cities.

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This must cast doubt on some of the more alarmist claims about numbers of deaths attributable at least partly to emissions from vehicle engines, diesels in particular. It seems recent improvements in technology weren’t fully accounted for.

A team of researchers at the University of York in the U.K. has found that the proportion of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in nitrogen oxides in European traffic emissions is smaller than has been thought, reports Phy.org.

In their paper published in the journal Nature Geoscience, the group describes analyzing data from roadside monitors over the course of many years and what they found by doing so.

Drew Gentner and Fulizi Xiong with Yale University offer a News and Views perspective on the work done by the team in the same journal issue and suggest that the team’s findings could have implications for air pollution standards organizations in many more places than just Europe.

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