What follows is one example why caution is absolutely essential when dealing with results and findings issued by (activist) government agencies.
Once popular diesel engines now public enemy no. 1
Nowhere in the world have the diesel engines enjoyed so much popularity as in Germany. Diesel engines had long been considered in Germany as being more environmentally friendly then the Otto type engines due to their much higher fuel mileage. Taxes on diesel fuel were and are today much lower.
But Germany has withdrawn its welcome mat for diesel engine. Like CO2, the government and environmental groups recently began waging full-scale war on diesel engines. The official reason for the crack down on diesel is the alleged high levels of dangerous emissions of nitrous oxides, and is what many suspect is mostly part of what is the overall war on the internal combustion engine and thus the effort to get people to switch to “clean” electric cars.
Ministry of Environment’s, media’s absurd claims
To underscore the risks of diesel fumes and to spread fear of diesel engines, Germany’s Ministry of Environment (UBA) recently released “new findings” claiming diesel engines are responsible for 6000 premature deaths every year. Unsurprisingly: the German press and activist groups went bananas uncritically reporting the findings in the most spectacular ways they could imagine.
For example: the Frankfurter Rundschau wrote:
Also diseases such as diabetes mellitus, high blood pressure, stroke and asthma are connected to irritant gas concentration. Eight percent of the diabetes mellitus illnesses in Germany in 2014 can be linked to nitrous oxide in the air outside: ‘That corresponds to some 437,000 cases,‘ said Myriam Tobollik, health researcher at the Ministry of Environment.”
“A political number” that “sounds like science”
Fortunately the hysteria and gross exaggerations did not escape the attention of the German press consumers, who have recently seen the value of their diesel engine vehicles plummet, and the few, still responsible journalists out there. It turns out the UBA report was based on exceptionally terrible science and the claims bordering on the absurd.
For example, Spiegel’s Jan Fleischhauer wrote here:
The made-up dead
Every year 6000 premature deaths from nitrous oxide – that’s how the Environment Ministry panicked the German citizenry. What sounds like science in truth is a political number from a completely politicized government administration.”
In the Spiegel article Fleischhauer asks why aren’t other devices not targets: “A gas cooking stove during reaches peak values of 4000 micrograms per cubic meter. Where’s the campaign against the gas stove?”
It is a fact that many workplaces see routinely far higher nitrous oxide concentrations than what is measured near streets.
Measurement station folly (again), fake crisis
Fleischhauer also reminds readers that the EU directives specify that limit values for exhaust concentrations be measured at a distance of 25 meters from a busy intersection. After having looked through the UBA report, the Spiegel journalist adds:
Now I read the the measurement instruments in Germany are placed directly next to the roadway. I have not verified that. But if it’s true, then it should not be a surprise we find ourselves in a state of a diesel alarm.”
Diesel study “botched”
That the 6000 deaths a year figure was a fraud came to the attention of German mass daily Bild from its own readers. Bild was compelled on March 11 to publish the following headline:
Bild daily headline: “Reader anger over the botched diesel study”
The European Institute for Environment and Climate (EIKE) here commented that the German Environment Ministry “irrevocably ruined the reputation of the 1500-employee large agency behemoth”.
“Politicians lying, playing games”
One Bild reader, Wolfgang Bügener of Oberhausen, wrote: “It is peculiar how our politicians are playing games with and lying to us.”
Another added: “The real scam not only happened in Wolfsburg [VW headquarters] but also at the environmental organizations and Ministries, who throw around false and unproven claims.”