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« Quote of the day, goofy edition | Main | The fading dream of CCS »

Fiddle me this - Josh 346

Volkswagen has been found cheating on US emissions tests. But with the Green Blob fiddling everything from Renewables to Global Temperatures, it's no wonder they thought this was ok. Some like Stephen Glover blame green zealots directly.

Cartoons by Josh

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Reader Comments (42)

Yes. The Green Blob have given the impression that it's the thought that counts. Turns out that the road to Hell is paved with green PR.

Sep 25, 2015 at 12:05 PM | Unregistered CommenterTinyCO2

The howls of protest from VW owners, will show a close correlation with their rising expectations of compensation.

Not a single polar bear has been saved, or will be saved, in proving this point.

Sep 25, 2015 at 12:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie


"the road to Hell is paved with green PR."


Sep 25, 2015 at 12:30 PM | Registered Commenterjamesp

Revisionism! The development of smaller diesels had nothing to do with greens. It came about with the ever-increasing fuel taxes demanded by every European government combined with an utterly barmy fashion trend for driving butt-ugly Chelsea tractors and rising oil prices (primarily it seems due to speculation). The greens mostly hate cars of all types and have spent their energies trying to prevent us using them at all.

I bought a diesel purely to save money because trains & buses are expensive, slow and inconvenient and its too far and too dangerous to cycle to work. The fact that I get 70mpg (tested by myself) saved me a packet with these ever-rising pump prices. Zero fuel tax was just icing on the cake. To hell with CO2 or Nox emissions neither of which present anywhere near as much danger as the act of driving in the first place. Particulates, I admit is a problem but the biggest offenders are the increasing number of stinky lorries on our roads thanks to globalisation: If they are tested at all I'd be amazed.

So the root causes of diesel engine increase imo are swingeing fuel taxes (ie legal extortion), capitalism (car fashions), capitalism (globalisation), capitalism (oil speculators) & capitalism (driving ever further to get enough money to pay the sodding mortgage for an overpriced house).

Sep 25, 2015 at 1:06 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Josh, that is positively EVIL...I love it!


Sep 25, 2015 at 1:11 PM | Unregistered CommenterPeter Walsh

Zero road tax I meant.

Sep 25, 2015 at 1:24 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

No doubt there will now be much diesel-bashing, but let's remember diesel is much less explosive than petrol and hence safer in an accident - remember the dreadful deaths of 14 children from Hagley school when their petrol fuelled minibus exploded after a collision.
It would be deplorable if a kneejerk reaction against diesel led to more people dying in car fires.

Sep 25, 2015 at 1:33 PM | Unregistered CommenterIan Wilson

JamesG, you chose a diesel because it made financial sense and matched your lifestyle better than other available methods of transportation. You made a decision, because you were able to choose, and had the money to choose, but you despise capitalism.

40 years ago, 100bhp from a 2litre car was a dream. 70ish bhp was good. The original Mini produced 30 ish bhp. Have we needed more powerful cars, or have we wanted them?

What design, make and engine size, should we all drive, and would it be an acceptable compromise to you? Or me? Could a Scottish Car Company produce it, cheaper than South Korea?

Sep 25, 2015 at 1:50 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Repeating a comment on another thread, the switch to diesel predates AGW alarm in countries like France. There diesel prices were set way below petrol in the 1970s to reduce oil consumption and hence imports.
This also means that they have had 30 - 40 years of almost universally diesel cars so any public health impact should have become very evident by now, especially since the diesels of those early decades were much dirtier than present models.

Sep 25, 2015 at 1:56 PM | Registered Commentermikeh

Much of the blame for this fiasco can be firmly laid the door of the Green Blob and their mindless minions the Millibrains and Barrenness Worthless.

Sep 25, 2015 at 1:59 PM | Unregistered CommenterBitter&twisted

I don't think we have even seen the tip of the iceberg on this one. Are the emissions figures for other manufacturers so different from VW's? Could they all be doing the same thing?

Also, with many £billions at stake, I expect the rules will be gone over with an electron microscope. Does it say anywhere that the tests must be indicative of real world conditions? If so, why aren't they and who devised them?

We could end up with no car companies remaining solvent and many governments' departments with egg on their faces - or some sort of agreement might be reached between the parties?

Sep 25, 2015 at 2:18 PM | Unregistered Commentergraphicconception

It's believable that some alarmist researchers do a lot of "fiddling under the hood" to get results compliant with the Climate Catastrophe VW were just copying the accepted style.

I stole that from a good comment over on WUWT article about researchers new ice free Earth catastrophe, where a scientist Andy Aschwanden says "We did a lot of work under the hood to make this model work.”

The commenter replies : "VW did a lot of work under the hood in order to pass EPA tests."

Sep 25, 2015 at 2:30 PM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

There’s something more fundamental at play here as well.
As with so many other issues that have come to light in recent years we have gone from physical evidence (in this case test the tailpipe emissions) to inspect (and trust) the output from the management system (in this case the car’s internal computer).

When Ontario moved from an actual test of the exhaust gases to plugging into my OBDII port I thought it was bizarre and fraught with opportunities for tampering. But since then so many other things seem to be moving in the same direction.

For example, if I recall correctly a large part of the recent ‘horse meat’ scandal in Europe was down to a move from meat inspectors actually sampling meat to checking the paper trails of previous inspections.

And of course no need to mention the climate debate.

Sep 25, 2015 at 2:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJud

I remain puzzled as to why VW owners consider they might be due compensation. Does the loss of smug feelings from owning a vehicle that has now been shown to emit more of a gas than previously thought count as injury? Surely, they left their trail of NOx in their wake for others to suffer. It would seem the lawyers are in on the fiddle already - but what's new there?

Sep 25, 2015 at 2:54 PM | Unregistered CommenterIt doesn't add up...

It doesn't add up ... in climate science, nothing adds up. It helps if all data is skewed by multiplying it with a thingy, to arrive at the designated answer. It is called Fluid Mathematics, where numbers can change form and shape, to fill the required space in Peer Reviewed Paper.

Sep 25, 2015 at 3:11 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Nox emissions have halved over the last 15 years in both USA and UK - see graphs I posted in the Kelly on Stern thread. Even if VW is cheating, Nox is reducing. Why the furore? Is there going to be a jihad against diesel cars?

Sep 25, 2015 at 3:18 PM | Unregistered Commenterdiogenes

This is no suprise. We all new. Everybody in the automotive industry knew. The journalists knew. But still the push was for more co2 reduction and diesel where better than gasoline on the milage, due to the higher compression in the engine. Nox and particle emissions where also higher but that was largely ignored by everyone. Gasoline is much cleaner burning and with a catalytic converter it reduces emissions of particles and nox significantly. A filter for diesel was also mandated but if it not really good. The SCR converter is better, but not widely used and cost 500 eur to install. But everyone was focused on co2 and so the families vans ran on diesel and the exhaust was emitted just around the neigbourhood and around town. Even here in Denmark, Copenhagen and Århus, did not comply with the EUs clean air rules for particles and nox. So while we reduced the co2 emissions and everyone cheered, people dies. 3000 peole in Denmark and about half of that from traffic and diesel is by far the biggest source of particles and nox. So we tried to solve a maybe problem in 2100 while killing peolpe today, in the order of 1000 pr year in Denmark alone.

They all knew. But now everyone and his dog is pointing fingers at diesel and the industry, and has forgotten that only months before, they had promoted diesel cars and not said a single word about particles or nox emissions.

Sep 25, 2015 at 4:31 PM | Unregistered CommenterHalken

It seems obvious that the political 'elite' has now decided (after persuading car purchasers to change to diesel) that the time is right to declare diesel to be 'evil' and, undoubtedly, introduce another raft of regulations and taxes to cane diesel drivers.

On the basis of what?

Yes, diesel cars produce more pm 2.5 particulates which allegedly are injurious. Yes, they may produce slightly more NOx. Yes, everyone is well aware that a badly maintained diesel engine (especially in an HGV) produces unpleasant and probably harmful smoke.

Is there any CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that tens of thousands of people in the UK die because of diesel fumes?

No, of course not.

Is there any CREDIBLE EVIDENCE that the lives of tens of thousands of people in the UK are shortened because of diesel fumes (even by 5 minutes)?

No, so far as I am aware, there isn't.

So this is just another pseudo-science scam, just like cAGW, ocean 'acidification', ice 'death spirals' and all the rest.

Actual NOx levels continue to reduce, as has been pointed out.

pm 2.5 particles, properly analysed, are as likely to come from a dust storm in the Gobi desert as they are from that smelly bus that just went past.

You think that this will prevent the new taxes and regulations I predict?

You must be having a laugh!

Sep 25, 2015 at 5:08 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

Give manufacturers a target and they will hit it.

Sep 25, 2015 at 6:01 PM | Unregistered CommenterDoug Elliot

Doug Elliot, give Greens influence on an economy, and they will smash it.

Sep 25, 2015 at 6:07 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

The $10billion/yr EPA craters VW, just after it becomes #1 world automaker (selling many of the most efficient non-electrics in the US) on an 18 month old tip from a tiny, West Virginia Univ lab.

This obscure lab is commissioned by the "non profit" but liberally financed International Council on Clean Transportation, which "leverages" its 30 technical staff researchers and staff liberally salted with US EPA and California CARB connections, fighting ClimateChange! & promoting electrics as "the future".

Primary funder of the ICCT is Climateworks, an anti fossil fuel NGO lobbying "charity" with extremely deep pockets.
On the board sits The Counselor to the President, founder of the Center for American Progress, Obama's initial chief hiring advisor, top Washington lobbyist, just now Clinton campaign director, John Podesta.

With heavily government and media favored Tesla reportedly having some difficulty in bringing the $30000 laptop battery powered "peoples car" to life,

could it be that "powerful and devious friends" are creating a little space in the market using former EPA Regional Director, Al Armendariz "grab five guys at random and crucify them" intimidation technique?

Probably we will never know as communication record destruction is endemic in "direct action government". All former EPA directors from Carol Browner on have given the Hillary Clinton server wiping treatment to their records.

Sep 25, 2015 at 7:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterBetapug

For those who are hard of hearing, the point is being lost.

The diesel car manufacturers are and have deliberately duped the public with the tacit nod of the EU and UK governments, pontification on the relative merits of diesel cars is neither here nor there. The whole shebang was sold on the big lie - that somehow diesel cars are 'greener' than their petrol burning alternatives.

All of it, 'diesel cars are nicer cos less CO2 produced' is based on the false notion, that somehow man's emissions of a harmless gas: is causing runaway warming.

Everybody and his dog knew since father time was just a tad younger - diesel is a dirty fuel - that's no mystery, thus killing a few more today was seen as OK to save a few more in the future!?

Finally, THOUSANDS OF diesel generators will be fired up, when......IF AND WHEN. THE GRID FAILS THIS WINTER - PUT THAT UP YOUR PIPE AND SMOKE IT.

Sep 25, 2015 at 8:07 PM | Unregistered CommenterAthelstan.

Absolutely spot on.

Sep 25, 2015 at 8:21 PM | Unregistered CommenterKeith Holland

Breaking news..............VW new chief executive has just announced a new replacement model diesel.......the Zyclon-B

Sep 25, 2015 at 9:16 PM | Unregistered CommenterAnoneumouse

I was forced to listen to some idiot academic claiming that 23000 people die each year from NOX (nitrous oxide). No question from the BBC interviewer like where are the death certificates kept.
The huge green blob of idiots in France have been campaigning bit by bit (their usual strategy) for the demise of diesel. I wish them well with that in France. Some 60% of all cars are diesel here.

Sep 25, 2015 at 9:28 PM | Unregistered CommenterStephen Richards

".....just wondering if it is worth considering the true, historical provenance of 'The Peoples' Car ???"....

Sep 25, 2015 at 9:45 PM | Unregistered Commenterrobbbie

@Stephen Richards, 9:28pm: "I was forced to listen to some idiot acedemic claiming that 23000 people die each year from NOX (nitrous oxide). "

Please check your facts, before posting them. NOx is a generic term for the mixture of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2), it is a combination of these gases and their combination with particulates in diesel exhausts can result in adverse health effects. Nitrous oxide (N2O) is not an NOx gas. It is used, by itself as an anaesthetic (laughing gas), or abused as 'hippy crack', or in combination with oxygen as an analgesic (entonox).

Sep 25, 2015 at 11:23 PM | Registered CommenterSalopian

Le'see: NASA guesstimates one million lightning bolts per day (or was that per hour? what ever!), and these massive* electrical discharges take place in a atmosphere of 80% N2; 20% O2 (near enough), and people are concerned that a VW might produce 20ppb NOx rather than 2ppb under some circumstances?

I don't know about Europe, but the last time that the US EPA issued a regulation that was actually cost/benefit justifiable was likely in 1970.

The only scandal I see is the obscene amount of money that the governments and ambulance chasers are going to skim from the productive sector over this.


*The most authoritative source I could quickly find states that each lightning bolt produces in excess of "two point twenty-one Jigga-watts of electricity." Of course that estimate was made in 1955.

Sep 26, 2015 at 1:37 AM | Unregistered Commenterdadgervais

Je suis VW.

Sep 26, 2015 at 1:46 AM | Unregistered CommenterDocBud


Ambulance chasers.

I wish every ambulance was powered by a Chipped VW Turbo Diesel. More lives might be saved, and some of the vultures might lose the scent.

Sep 26, 2015 at 9:42 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Martin Brumby

Here in Denmark the sources and share of emissions of particles is well known, and so it the estimated number of people who suffer from lungproblems. I don't quite know how they have established a baseline, but I would assume that if they compared the deaths from lungdiseses in Denmark with say Greenland or other place with very low particle and nox pollution, then you get a pretty good ide of a baseline, and all other things being equal, you can calculate, with references to different place in the world, with different levels of particles and nox and compare that with lungdiseses. Them I would assume you would get a pretty good estimate. NOx and particles has leveled out here in Denmark due to increased use of diesel and word pellets etc.


I don't think they duped anyone. This was pretty much out it the open here i EU back in 2005. Everyone knew, the authorities included. But the journalists, consumer organisations and environmental organisations just failed to raise the issue, as they where also on the co2 wagon.


Diesel is a dirty fuel, when burnt in a diesel engine, but everyone and his dog watched (and a lot cheered) while the governments put higher taxes on the cleaner running gasoline and gasoline cars but with poorer mileage, and hence the share of dirty diesel cars rose to about 50-60% i EU along with the air pollution from NOx and particles. Yes, they mandated a particle filter, but that only get you so far, so the pollution rose and that costs lives - yes also today.

Sep 26, 2015 at 10:07 AM | Unregistered CommenterHalken

It's interesting to see a split on the diesel issue among those who are probably skeptics on AGW.

Some skeptics are attached to their diesels (primarily in Europe) or their hybrids (more in the U.S.). In both cases, there was probably a certain amount of, er, thriftiness involved, self-congratulations for being smarter than those fools using gasoline-powered vehicles, but also buying into a certain amount of boomer bullshit about the environmental "benefits" of vehicles that are probably more harmful to the environment overall.

The AGW debate can open us all to the fact that there is boomer bullshit everywhere. It's just not true that the boomers base important public policy decisions on a sober consideration of impressive evidence, or anything like that.

Sep 26, 2015 at 12:46 PM | Unregistered CommenterLloyd R

Halken, just curious how anybody knows that NOx and particles have levelled off in Denmark, what was the peak reading, and why has it levelled off?

Everybody is quick to accuse VW of bad behaviour, which I do not dispute, but I am not sure that Green means clean, in the dirty tricks department.

Sep 26, 2015 at 4:32 PM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Here's a Bloomberg View article from Clive Crook making the same claim about the political push for "clean diesel". It also links to a BBC article which is worth referring to directly. And here's the Guardian article mentioned in the Mail piece. All pretty scary reading, and not easily dismissed as coming from the right-wing media either.

Sep 26, 2015 at 6:08 PM | Unregistered Commenteranonym

Thanks to Halken and others for trying to put me right about the danger of diesel engines.

But up to now, the only thing I have read about VW and diesel engines which strikes me as at all convincing, is the inimitable James Delingpole:-

I have to 'fess up, I've driven diesels for 45 years, ranging from the horrible long wheel base Landrovers of the 1960s to the excellent latest Citroens, Fords, VWs, Toyotas etc.

I actually like diesels for their torque, their reliability, their economy. I didn't and never have given a stuff about CO2 emissions, even when I used to believe in Glowbull Warming. I needed a diesel because I had to drive a lot off-road as part of my job. I do know that very extensive epidimialogical studies of workers on Surface Coal Mining sites found NO evidence of lung damage or disease, either from the many (massive) diesel engines or from fugitive dust.

The modern testing regime for car diesel emissions in the UK was described to me years ago, by several expert automotive engineers, as so rigorous as to be "barmy" and likely to damage the engine under test. It seems likely that VW (and probably others) took the logical step of modifying their engine control system to give the 'required' results. Seems reasonable to me.

So, who are you going to trust?

One of the world's largest and most successful car makers, with an excellent record of responding to their customers' needs and wishes and of producing value-for-money models?

Or the denizens of Westminster, Brussels, Washington and the fifth rate media pundits who love a good anti-capitalist 'scandal'?

Or even the self styled "scientists" who will happily produce non-validated computer models using fiddled and 'adjusted' data to manufacture the evidence their paymasters require?

Naturally, although NOx levels have been falling and life expectancy is increasing, I can't say for sure there isn't a real problem with modern, well maintained diesel engines.

But I'm going to have to see something a hell of a lot more convincing than BBC and Grauniad articles before I start to feel concerned.

Sep 26, 2015 at 10:23 PM | Unregistered CommenterMartin Brumby

High Five, Halken for 'word pellet', and all for the assert and dissent, fahr laddies and fair ladies.

Sep 27, 2015 at 3:22 AM | Unregistered Commenterkim

Have they tested the STOR diesels?

Sep 27, 2015 at 7:43 AM | Unregistered CommenterAmoorhouse

Martin Brumby, I would happily swap my petrol VW for a well engineered VW turbo diesel. VW have been naughty, but they have provided consumers with what they have been programmed to want, by equally naughty people.

Sep 27, 2015 at 9:22 AM | Unregistered Commentergolf charlie

Here is a mild curiosity: one of the claimed effects of NOx is that it reacts with volatile organic compounds in the presence of sunlight to form ozone, which can cause adverse effects such as damage to lung tissue and reduction in lung function, mostly in susceptible populations. But I came across something which on the face of it seems to suggest the opposite, perhaps instead associating high NOx with low ozone.

The Environmental Research Group at King's College London produces maps for the London Air Quality Network. As is well known, maps of NOx concentrations show high levels on major roads. But (assuming the scale is the correct way round) maps of O3 concentrations seem to show low levels on the same roads.

Sep 27, 2015 at 8:50 PM | Unregistered CommenterHenry

" in the presence of sunlight to form ozone" They'll be a difference between genuinely sunny places and London.
Even in summer like the sunny days of 1995 I never got sunburnt in London due to theway the London haze kept UV...Then one hour in Brighton and I was red raw.

Sep 28, 2015 at 5:24 AM | Registered Commenterstewgreen

Golf Charlie
No I don't despise capitalism. Far from it!

Sep 28, 2015 at 1:40 PM | Unregistered CommenterJamesG

Strange update : BBC Costing the Earth is usually an very UNRELIABLE source cos its so so biased *
Yet in a 3 minute segment clip their independent tester (Emissions Analytics) expressed surprise that VW fiddle , saying that in his real road tests VW figs closely matched those claimed in EU testing.
I have seen that VW admitted cheated on their old engine the EA189 model , but say they didn't on the new one (introduced in 2012)
"Following a thorough examination we are now certain that there is no software built into vehicles with the EA 288 under EU emissions regulation 5 that would constitute an illegal defeat device," a company statement said."

* Costing The Earth, an often deceitful programme
As it consistently promotes GreenFantasy as the BBC state religion, which cannot be criticised.

I listened to the whole CtE prog, BUT it was the normal BS
#1 They allowed talk of murder and thousands of deaths**, but did not context that with how many life days it was.
A few days at the end of your life is a big difference from being stabbed at 22.
#2 They failed to mention other particulate harms which maybe significantly worse in scale the annual SE Asia palm oil smog.
..It was all talk of anti-diesel and climate change.

Conspiracy theory ? The event is so weird and the stakes so high one has to consider different scenarios.
#1 VW engineers just got carried away and no one thought to speak out ?
#2 Some key engineers were convinced somehow to deliberately stitch VW up ?
.. Like why didn't it come out earlier ? There's talk of regulators and experts knowing much earlier
..It's certainly a PR coup for those coal powered things called electric cars.
#3 There maybe other scenarios I didn't think of

** That murder thing many complex products have an accepted level of risk and positives, with a trade off between costs. ..Some VW engines will have powered ambulances etc. And with alternatives like cleaner diesels, petrol, or electrics there will still be some level of particulate "human life days " lost. So I would call it law breaking and NOT murder. Some court would have to calculate whether the average citizen has has seconds, minutes or days lopped off the end of their life cos of VW's cheating.

I see on the other VW discussion thread @NBY has posted the US charges

Nov 9, 2015 at 10:48 AM | Unregistered Commenterstewgreen2

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