How to Boil a Frog

Pierre Gosselin reports at NoTricksZone on Germany’s War On Diesel Takes A Setback … Environment Ministry Activism Exposed, Absurd Risk Claims

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.

Those of us who’ve educated ourselves with the help of John Brignell’s Sorry, wrong number! and its companion The epidemiologists – Have they got the scares for you! will immediately suspect the figure to be derived from bad epidemiology serving political purpose.

The absurdity of the 6000 premature deaths is obvious when the “causal extrapolation” of exposure instructs us that pack-a-day smokers will likely be dead within about 3 months of developing the habit. (Not a good business model for the tobacco industry and in many places worse for government revenue.) But millions of smokers aren’t dropping like flies; so the assumption of causality is demonstrably false.

The sane among us understand that we should measure what is important; not make important what we can measure.

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

Not surprising to find that the single interest fanatics have their thumbs on the scales.

It has not gone unnoticed by administrations that the poor location of their measurement stations has been exposed; but they argue that they’ve done nothing wrong; even after measurements taken just a few metres into the adjacent parkland (at the required 25 metres from intersections) are less than half the figures of the roadside stations.

The setting of environmental exposure limits has been arbitrary for decades. Limits are in places at less 1% of what is clinically considered to be a health concern (e.g. US CDC limits on NO2). Limits have been constantly reduced because bureaucrats have perceived it their duty to reduce and those who “guide” them understand how to boil a frog.

Cities established long ago the restricting access to cities for dirty vehicles make almost no difference at all to the measured air quality in terms of particulates. e.g. this report (in German) from 2014; and a blog post here from 2012.

Pursuit of the absurd has resulted in e.g. vehicle emissions controls being unnecessarily complex, expensive, heavy and requiring energy to fuel them. None of that can be justified by rational health concerns.

Indeed, as previously blogged , single-minded pursuit of an absurd objective has in some cases led to higher emissions of acutely toxic substances such as carbon monoxide when some “Euro 6 compliant” vehicles are tested under older emissions test cycles. i.e. those vehicles would have failed emissions tests ca 1995.

Too dirty for 1995; OK for 2018.

This entry was posted in Environment, It's only a Model, Science, Securing Liberty and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to How to Boil a Frog

  1. Graeme No.3 says:

    When I was working my boss took a satirical delight in (chemical) health scares. His overall approach was based on “” 6 of the most toxic 7 substances known are natural”.
    Various claims about soft drinks gave him great delight usually categorised into how many million cans of soft drink a year would be necessary to show the predicted “dire” symptoms. He is also retired but he, or someone like him, is needed to explain to the gullible media the nonsense they sprout unthinkingly.

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