Cars are not as dirty as claimed.
Once again we find in Germany another article reporting how pollution from diesel cars has been massively over-hyped. Despite a massive reduction in car traffic due to the COVID-19 lock down, nitrogen oxide levels still remain high, reports German weekly FOCUS here. The air is no cleaner than before the lock down.
This virtually disproves the basis of the diesel bans that environmentalists have been hotly pursuing across over the recent months. The diesel engine, they told us, was the primary source of fine particle pollution in German cities and that it was high time to ban them. This prompted activist city administrations to plan action against cars in cities. Diesel emissions, they said, were causing millions to die prematurely.
The science, they claimed, told us there was no choice. COVID-19 has since exposed that claim to be fake.
That’s no surprise because for months skeptics accused officials of relying on dubious data and studies on which to base the bans. But they were ignored. Now the skeptics feel vindicated.
Air quality has not improved
FOCUS reports: “According to a random evaluation of air quality data from the Federal Environment Agency (UBA) over the past ten weeks by the news magazine FOCUS, nitrogen oxide levels at Stuttgart’s Neckartor and Landshuter Allee in Munich, for example, initially decreased gradually after the corona shutdown on 23 March, but then rose again.”
“Ban is off the table”
Steffen Bilger (CDU), Parliamentary State Secretary to the Federal Minister of Transport, told FOCUS: “In my view, the subject of diesel driving bans is finally off the table. Why the nitrogen oxide levels are not falling despite the rapid decline in traffic raises questions that the responsible environmental authorities must clarify.”
Environment Ministry (unwittingly) concedes other factors
Yet the UBA Environment Office continues to back diesel vehicle bans, pointing out that wind, temperatures, and precipitation also have an effect on air quality and that the period of time is still too short to assess the effects of the shutdown.
Nice to see for once that a Ministry finally realizes there are more factors at play other than just CO2 and cars.