Archive for the ‘pollution’ Category


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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Anyone who thought switching from diesel to a petrol vehicle would be a good idea might have to think again, if they ever intended to drive into UK city centres. And that’s just the start, if the Oxford plan sets the tone.

Oxford is to become the world’s first zero-emissions zone, as it looks to ban all non-electric vehicles from its city centre by 2020, says the IB Times.

The university town will become the first city in the UK to ban all polluting vehicles from its centre. All petrol and diesel vehicles, including cars, buses and vans, will be barred from six main streets in the centre as of 2020.

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London mayor seeks curbs on wood burners 

Posted: September 29, 2017 by oldbrew in Emissions, government, pollution

Image credit: BBC


Saving money on energy and being trendy may have attracted some buyers of wood burning stoves, but now reaction to air pollution claims is threatening to knock many such sales on the head. Bad news for some who already own them.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is seeking new powers to ban wood burning in the most polluted areas of the capital, says BBC News. The mayor has written to the Environment Secretary Michael Gove asking for greater powers to tackle air pollution not caused by traffic.

Mr Khan wants to introduce a network of “zero-emission zones” where the burning of wood or coal is completely prohibited. He also wants tougher controls on the sale of wood-burning stoves.

Under the mayor’s proposals only low-emission versions of wood-burning stoves would be allowed to remain on the market. There are currently 187 areas of London where pollution regularly exceeds European limits.

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The campaign to demonise diesel cars – above all other causes of city air pollution – rumbles on, as The Local reports. The conundrum being of course that Germany makes vast sums from sales of diesel cars, trucks, buses etc. As usual climate is wrongly conflated with air quality issues.

Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday pledged a billion euros to help German cities fight air pollution caused by dirty diesel cars, as a scandal strangling the automobile industry threatened to engulf politicians at the height of the election campaign.

Merkel said she was doubling financial aid to cities from a previously announced €500 million, in a bid to stave off the threat of an all-out ban against diesel vehicles.

The public health threat posed by nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions came to the fore after Germany’s biggest carmaker Volkswagen admitted in September 2015 to fitting millions of cars worldwide with illegal devices to cheat pollution tests.

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Nobody in power wants to face the facts and backtrack, even though the unpleasant reality is staring them in the face.

NOT A LOT OF PEOPLE KNOW THAT

By Paul Homewood

h/t Conrad Jones

image

https://uk-air.defra.gov.uk/assets/documents/reports/cat11/1708081027_170807_AQEG_Biomass_report.pdf

Earlier this year, DEFRA published a report by the Air Quality Expert Group into the impacts of biomass on air quality. The results make for startling reading.

Among the findings are:

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Diesel car engine


Diesels are in need of some good news after all the recent negative press. The researchers believe their findings are of ‘major environmental importance’.

Researchers have discovered a new reaction mechanism that could be used to improve catalyst designs for pollution control systems to further reduce emissions of smog-causing nitrogen oxides in diesel exhaust, as Phys.org reports.

The research focuses on a type of catalyst called zeolites, workhorses in petroleum and chemical refineries and in emission-control systems for diesel engines.

New catalyst designs are needed to reduce the emission of nitrogen oxides, or NOx, because current technologies only work well at relatively high temperatures.

“The key challenge in reducing emissions is that they can occur over a very broad range of operating conditions, and especially exhaust temperatures,” said Rajamani Gounder, the Larry and Virginia Faith Assistant Professor of Chemical Engineering in Purdue University’s Davidson School of Chemical Engineering.

“Perhaps the biggest challenge is related to reducing NOx at low exhaust temperatures, for example during cold start or in congested urban driving.”

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Goldman Sachs, the merchant bank, calls cobalt ‘the new gasoline’ but there are no signs of new wealth in the DRC, where the children haul the rocks brought up from tunnels dug by hand.

Adult miners dig up to 600ft below the surface using basic tools, without protective clothing or modern machinery. Sometimes the children are sent down into the narrow makeshift chambers where there is constant danger of collapse.

Cobalt is such a health hazard that it has a respiratory disease named after it – cobalt lung, a form of pneumonia which causes coughing and leads to permanent incapacity and even death.

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Even electric cars can’t cut the mustard in polluted cities, according to this BBC report at least.

Plans to promote electric vehicles in the UK do not go far enough to tackle air pollution, according to a leading government adviser. Writing in the Guardian, Prof Frank Kelly said fewer cars, not just cleaner ones, were the key to cleaner air.

Electric cars produce particulates from their tyres and brakes which are linked to serious health problems. Prof Kelly said that London should lead the way in promoting non-polluting transport policies.

Just last week the government unveiled its strategy for tackling illegal levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air. The key element was a promise to end the sale of all new diesel and petrol cars from 2040.

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