4 thoughts on “Volkswagen pollution stopped by Greenpeace

  1. While I appreciate what Greenpeace does I feel that no organization that doesn’t promote an end to the livestock industry can be considered a viable environmental organization. Since this industry is not only guilty of insidious animal torture, exploitation of workers and disruptive to the democratic process in many countries, but is also the NUMBER ONE contributor to climate crisis, it makes no sense to put effort into environmental work without addressing the main factor in environmental destruction.

  2. Friday 22nd September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Editorial

    DIRECT action against the import of Volkswagen diesel cars by Greenpeace activists yesterday showed a decisiveness that has been entirely lacking from the British government — both in relation to VW’s cheating of emissions tests and its handing of Britain’s air pollution generally.

    VW is notorious for deliberately setting its cars to meet nitrous oxide emissions standards while under test conditions, and then spewing out 40 times as much when driven in real-world conditions.

    VW manipulated these tests for years but it is not alone, with many other car-makers having been caught cheating.

    The behaviour of the auto manufacturers will go down in history alongside the tobacco industry — which knew its products caused cancer but spent decades denying it — and the oil giants, which to this day fight to block the struggle against planet-destroying climate change despite having known the facts about it since the late 1970s.

    Britain may be free of the “pea soupers” but the air we breath is deadly. Policies to promote diesel use over petrol — believing, falsely as we now know, that diesels emit less carbon dioxide and so were better for the environment — have made it more so.

    Car manufacturers such as VW which deliberately lied about the emissions — and so lying about the number of lives their cars would damage — deserve much blame, but ultimate responsibility lies with the government.

    The extent of air pollution and the health damage it causes have been known for years. The action we must take to reduce the harm is equally clear.

    Yet the government has had to be dragged into the courts repeatedly because its air quality plans were so bad as to be illegal.

    Its revised plans — which dump responsibility onto local councils — have been branded “a shabby rewrite” that puts off urgent action.

    Researchers say 40,000 deaths a year can be blamed on air pollution, which plays a role in a whole host of health problems, including heart disease and dementia. The total cost of the resulting ill health and death is estimated at £20 billion a year.

    Motor vehicles play a major part in this pollution — both through exhaust fumes and tiny particles from brake and tyre dust that can penetrate the lungs.

    The worst pollution is concentrated in the poorest areas; the people least able to afford cars are the ones who suffer most from their use.

    Some, particularly the auto industry, are keen on scrappage schemes, where car owners get money off a new vehicle for turning in their old, polluting one. This is a dead end. Even the cleanest, electric vehicles, emit substantial amounts of particulate matter.

    The dirtiest vehicles should be banned from our town centres — plans known as clean air zones — as we work towards overhauling our transport system to reduce the need for private motors.

    That means a properly funded, publicly owned and rationally planned public transport system that provides a top-quality service to every community.

    But even more so it means redesigning our streets to allow for walking and cycling in comfort and safety. These transport modes will not only help reduce toxic air pollution but avoid the looming public health crisis of inactivity and obesity — a “slow-motion car crash … of avoidable illness and rising healthcare costs.” They are also dirt cheap to provide for — especially compared to the Tories’ £15bn-plus of roadbuilding projects.

    More waffling and more delays mean more deaths, more ill health and more costs to our society as a whole. The solutions are clear — they must be seized upon.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-84f7-We-must-act-now-on-our-toxic-air#.WcVfSsZpEdU

  3. Friday 22nd September 2017

    posted by Morning Star in Features

    PETER FROST, who once went for a spin in the electric Sinclair C5, shares his nostalgia for the trolleybus and belief that the electric car is a sensible answer to air pollution

    COME back with me to January 1985. Did you know that in those days the Morning Star had a motoring correspondent who reviewed cars and motoring issues for a regular page in the paper?

    These were exciting times at the paper but this particular day I met up with Bill Brooks, the motoring journalist in question, at the press launch of Clive Sinclair’s groundbreaking C5 three-wheeled electric vehicle.

    Brooks was quite cynical about the tiny one-seater buggy while I argued it was a brave stab at a new kind of sustainable transport. We agreed to differ and we both enjoyed racing along in the unique tiny vehicle.

    Brooks died aged 87 in 1998 but that heated debate, which we started over three decades ago, is only now coming to some sort of decisive conclusion as every major car manufacturer in the world is announcing how they plan to convert to making only electric passenger vehicles in the coming few years.

    Concerns about pollution levels mean we need to do something about it soon. Major manufacturers used cheat devices to manipulate pollution tests but in the end accurate figures came out and made the case against fossil fuels a no-brainer — except among the likes of Donald Trump and Nigel Lawson, who of course are really no-brainers.

    Now China has announced it will only produce electric cars “in a short while” and last year the Dutch parliament voted to end all LPG gas, petrol and diesel car sales by 2025. In June, India announced that it would end such sales by 2030.

    Norway, which already heads the world table for ownership of electric cars, agreed to end sales of these cars by 2025 — presently 40 per cent of Norway’s cars are already hydrocarbon fuel free.

    France announced it would end sales of fossil fuel cars by 2040 and in August German Chancellor Angela Merkel hinted that her country would do the same.

    The Scottish government has said it would phase out petrol and diesel cars by 2032 and, of course Britain said, earlier this summer, it would end sales of such cars by 2040.

    Many of these international promises are vague or lack detailed plans and all could, of course, be reversed by subsequent governments. But the message comes over loud and clear — electric cars are the way of the future.

    With diesel and petrol coming under such pressure — not just from the demand for electric and hybrid cars bur also from governments looking to reduce harmful emissions — electric cars are increasingly looking like the future of private motoring, at least until something better comes along.

    Hybrid engines may well feature heavily over the next couple of decades, but further down the line it’s hard see to how electric vehicles won’t eventually take over completely.

    Electric cars actually have a long history. A three-wheel electric car was tested in Paris in 1881 and electric cars held the land speed record until 1900.

    Then petrol became almost ubiquitous for small cars and vans. The only real exception were milk floats, which offered silent operation for early morning rounds. Harrods, famously, used electric delivery vans.

    Most other electric vehicles were just amusing experiments with limited range, poor performance and impractical. They never really caught the public imagination or indeed made any impression with sales.

    Even the best electric cars were no match for conventionally powered machines. But today, some electric cars can surpass 300 miles of range , 100mph, 0-60mph times to rival supercars and even offer seven seats.

    Now everything from a small fun convertible run-about to huge luxury limousines are available as a pure electric cars for those who can afford them. Hybrids too are taking a very large slice of the green motor car market pie.

    Nissan, Ford, Hyundai, Kia, Peugeot, Citroen, Renault, Volkswagen and BMW have all developed and sell their own electric vehicles. One company, Tesla, was founded specifically to develop and sell electric cars.

    Of course, electric cars have their advantages and disadvantages. Two major issues are driving range and electric charging time. Another issue is life and cost of increasingly exotic batteries.

    Unless you go for the £75,000 Tesla, you won’t be going any further than about 100 miles nor over 70mph on a full charge.

    The Renault Zoe is the cheapest real electric car you can buy in Britain at £13,995, when the £4,500 government grant has been deducted.

    Plugging in an electric car to charge is a mess-free affair — like charging any device and that’s it. A good memory is essential as forgetting to put the family jalopy on charge could spell a disaster.

    Electric cars deliver no local tailpipe pollution, improving air quality in built-up areas. The pollution is still there though — it’s just back at the power station.

    Indeed China has confessed that the move to electric cars will cause an increase in coal-fired power station emissions at least until more nuclear, wind and solar generators come online.

    Modern batteries with their rare metals will also need to be recycled or disposed of responsibly.

    The benefits include near-silent cruising, which can make for a very relaxed drive, as long as you’re confident that you have the battery range to complete your journey. Instant torque means decent acceleration away from the traffic lights.

    Electric traction of course is also changing public transport. Trams are coming to more and more British streets and electric buses becoming more common but still very rare.

    Once, every major British town and city had a network of trolleybuses drawing clean electric power from overhead wires but that all ended in the 1960s; the last system closed in Bradford in 1972.

    Convincing argument from the oil lobby persuaded us that diesel fuel would last forever and always be cheap.

    There are around 350 trolleybus systems still running world-wide and the majority of them are in the former socialist countries.

    Major cities with these include Vancouver, San Francisco, Geneva and Moscow, while new networks are being constructed or proposed all the time — Rome, for example, introduced them in recent years.

    Some British cities have looked at bringing back this clean transport which is far more flexible than trams. But without any encouragement or support from government I don’t imagine there will be a clean green trolleybus along any time soon.

    http://morningstaronline.co.uk/a-e368-The-future-is-electric#.WcVfv8ZpEdU

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s