But what actually is the problem?

Nearly 40 million people in the UK are living in areas where illegal levels of air pollution from diesel vehicles risk damaging their health, according to analysis commissioned by the Labour party.

The extent of the air pollution crisis nationally is exposed in the data which shows 59% of the population are living in towns and cities where nitrogen dioxide (NO2) pollution breaches the lawful level of 40 microgrammes per cubic metre of air.

Is it that the pollution is too high? Or is it that the definition of what’s a legal pollution level is too low?

This is one of my myriad areas of ignorance. What is actually a reasonable pollution limit for NOx? I have absolutely no idea at all whether 40 microgrammes is reasonable or whether Scrobodnik would be better. Or elebenty tonnes.

Although it wouldn’t surprise me at all to find that the EU set levels were something not really achievable in an industrial society…..

What I want to know is why are these people lying to us?

The effect on wellbeing of exposure to nitrogen dioxide, a gas mostly produced in diesel fumes, is comparable to the toll from losing a job, ending a relationship or the death of a partner, research suggests.

I’m perfectly willing to run with the idea that NoX is dangerous, that the concentrations in cities are more so and even that diesels are a major source in cities. But that’s not the same as being willing to agree to that dreck:

The largest human source of nitrous oxide emissions is from agriculture which accounts for 67%

Fossil fuel combustion and industrial processes are an important source of nitrous oxide emissions. These two combined are responsible for 10% of human emissions which equals 700,000 tonnes of nitrous oxide per year

A substantial amount of nitrous oxide is caused by biomass burning, which accounts for 10% of human-caused emissions.

Atmospheric deposition is another substantial human source of nitrous oxide emissions. Human activities release nitrogen compounds into the air which eventually falls back down to the Earth’s surface.

As with animal waste, human waste is a significant source of nitrous oxide emissions. Sewage plants and septic tanks are used to store and treat wastewater. Many of these systems create conditions that are favorable for nitrous oxide producing bacteria. Human sewage produces 3% of human emissions

Apart from being created by human activities, nitrous oxide is also released into the atmosphere by natural processes. The Earth’s soil, oceans and atmosphere are all natural sources of nitrous oxide emissions.

Human sources of nitrous oxide are smaller than natural emissions but they upset the balance in the nitrogen cycle that existed before the Industrial Revolution.

So, those wood burning stoves contribute. Fossil fuels, overall, are a minor addition to other human caused sources, the human caused being smaller than the natural. And nowhere is diesel particularly called out as a source.

My source for this?

Source: IPCC Fourth Assessment Report: Climate Change 2007, Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

So, now what we’ve got to do is go back through all this shite talking about diesels and tease out what is their specific contribution to the problem. We need rather more than just they produce NoX, there’s a lot of it about. We need to know how much of that a lot is down to this one source.

Anyone know of any studies that actually do this?

These people are crazed loons

A plan to extract millions of litres of water out of a Unesco world heritage site, send it by pipe to the coast and ship it to foreign markets for bottling has ignited a campaign over water resources in New Zealand.

An export company is proposing to collect 800m litres a month of the “untapped” glacial waters of Lake Greaney and Lake Minim Mere, mountainous dams that are fed by rainfall on the Southern Alps.
….
Jen Branje, the founder of protest group Bung the Bore which initiated the petition to parliament, said the government must halt the practice.

“We want a ban on all bottled water exports until we have legislation in place to protect this resource.

“Currently it is being given away willy-nilly for free and it is depleting our own reserves and that shouldn’t be happening.”

According to government figures, New Zealand’s annual freshwater resource is 500tr litres, of which 2%, or 10tr litres, is extracted.

This particular effort is 10 billion litres a year or so. That’s 0.002% of a renewable resource’s annual regeneration capacity.

We’re not exactly hitting Hardin’s limits to Marxian extraction yet, are we?

Isn’t this interesting

Renault diesel cars emit the highest levels of toxic nitrogen oxides of all the big manufacturers and the French company’s recent models produce nine times the legal limit, tests have found.

Volkswagen, which has paid £15 billion to settle cases in the US over cheating emissions tests, now produces the least-polluting cars, according to Which?, the consumer group.

Jeep, Nissan, Hyundai and Ford scored badly in the Which? tests, producing at least five times the limit.

As engineers the world over have been saying, absolutely everyone has been lying. Because the basics of diesel technology are that you can’t reduce both CO2 and NOX in a cheap diesel engine. Only an expensive one.

Well done to the planners there.

Injustice is it?

Researches have described the “environmental injustice” facing commuters, who are exposed to up to eight times more pollution than car users.

Even though motorists produce the most pollution per commuter, they are the least exposed to harmful particulate matter (PM) as they are sealed off from the outside, a study by the University of Surrey found.

“We found that there is definitely an element of environmental injustice among those commuting in London, with those who create the most pollution having the least exposure to it,” Dr Prashant Kumar, who led the study, said.

Sigh.

Pedestrians too, people just living there. It’s not about public transport.

Interesting, no?

Hundreds of ancient earthworks resembling those at Stonehenge were built in the Amazon rainforest, scientists have discovered after flying drones over the area.

The findings prove for the first time that prehistoric settlers in Brazil cleared large wooded areas to create huge enclosures meaning that the ‘pristine’ rainforest celebrated by ecologists is actually relatively new.

The ditched enclosures, in Acre state in the western Brazilian Amazon, have been concealed for centuries by trees, but modern deforestation has allowed 450 to emerge from the undergrowth. They were discovered after scientists from the UK and Brazil flew drones over last year.

The earthworks, known by archaeologists as ‘geoglyphs’ probably date from around the year zero.

What would be even more interesting to know is how long does it take?

That is, remove man from any particular environment around here. How long does it take to go back to “normal”? Normal meaning pretty much how it was before any men turned up?

100 years is obviously too little time, but is 500 enough? 1,000? For example, say we just stopped farming the British uplands. How long before the ancient forests are back as George Monbiot recommends?

Well, obviously, which idiots don’t know this?

The gathering of discarded timber in urban areas for fashionable wood-burning stoves and an ignorance of fire techniques is contributing to Britain’s air pollution crisis, it has been claimed.

People living in cities who grew up with gas-fired central heating but have now turned to “cosy” wood-burning stoves need to be educated on the use of appropriate wood, academics and industry leaders say.

Their warning comes after Sadiq Khan, the mayor of London, said that the capital’s “filthy air”, which on Monday exceeded the pollution levels of Beijing, was creating a health crisis.

Previous studies have suggested that levels of particulate pollution surge at weekends as people light up stoves.

This is simply so friggin’ obvious. What’s happened, everyone become morons or something?

Cruise ships and pollution

The view is pretty spectacular. But it’s what he cannot see that worries MacQueen. Like many cities across the UK, Southampton has such poor air quality it breaches international guidelines, and while the government and local authorities are looking to take action on cars, maritime fuel – the dirtiest and most polluting of all diesels – is on no one’s radar. Not only do the giant cruise liners churn out pollutants at sea, they also keep their engines running when they are docked in places like MacQueen’s home town.

Hmm, OK, should this be something we worry about?

German environment group Nabu claims one medium cruise ship emits as many pollutants as five million cars going the same distance. It says the ships belch out 3,500 times more sulphur dioxide than cars

You know, maybe we should?

– although international rules to reduce sulphur emissions in shipping are due to come into force in 2020.

Ah, no, we already got this, done and dusted.

Diesel cars 10x more polluting than trucks

Actually, umm, no, that’s not quite true:

It found that heavy-duty vehicles tested in Germany and Finland emitted about 210mg NOx per kilometre driven, less than half the 500mg/km pumped out by modern diesel cars that meet the highest “Euro 6” standard. However, the buses and trucks have larger engines and burn more diesel per kilometre, meaning that cars produce 10 times more NOx per litre of fuel.

Fiddling with the numbers there then.

Terrors, eh? Terrors

The traffic measures are designed to allow for the construction of a new access road into the field where the exploration will take place. Over the next three months Cuadrilla plans to develop a site roughly the size of a rugby pitch, creating a well pad lined with an impermeable membrane to protect the environment.

In April, it hopes to begin drilling down thousands of feet into the rock to take samples and assess the best trajectory for horizontal wells that will, for the first time in the UK, extend out into the shale rocks beneath nearby homes.

A whole rugby pitch!

All that will change is that the lies won’t have FoE on the top

A green campaign group has agreed not to repeat misleading claims about the health and environmental impacts of fracking after complaints to the advertising watchdog.

Friends of the Earth spent more than a year trying to defend its claims, which were made in a fundraising leaflet, but has been forced to withdraw them.

The group’s capitulation is a victory for a retired vicar and a retired physics teacher who have been working for years to expose what they believe is scaremongering about a safe technique for extracting shale gas.

The Rev Michael Roberts and Ken Wilkinson complained about Friends of the Earth’s claims to the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), which also received a complaint from the fracking company Cuadrilla.

The authority found that Friends of the Earth (FoE) failed to substantiate claims that fracking could cause cancer, contaminate water supplies, increase asthma rates and send house prices plummeting.

This really is damn idiocy

Some of Britain’s best-loved landscapes are being threatened by the government’s rush to declare the country “open for business”, warn rural campaigners.

That British countryside is entirely man made. Made by previous forms of business like hill farming and all the rest. There is no natural wilderness – what is being suggested is that the form of business taking place there might change, that’s all.

From something which loses money and makes us poorer to something that creates value and makes us richer.

Well, that’s easy enough

Plans are being made for fracking to take place under Sherwood Forest where an ancient oak stands where according to legend Robin Hood and his merry men rested.

Ineos, one of the world’s biggest chemicals company, is poised to start looking for gas under Sherwood Forest, Nottinghamshire, in a move which could lead to it seeking permission to frack the area.

The area could become a flashpoint with campaigners from Frack Free Nottinghamshire saying they will copy Robin Hood’s example and “defend Sherwood Forest”.

You defend the forest up there at ground level and they’ll frack hundreds of feet below you. You’ll not even know it’s going on.

Another thing Reagan was right about

He said, to much amusement, that trees cause pollution. He was in fact correct in his statement, despite the amusement. and he’s still correct but for a different reason:

City trees, popularly thought to remove pollutants and improve urban life, may also increase the amount of foul air that people breathe, says the UK body which gives independent health guidance to national and local government.

Nature, it’s always been out to kill us……

Isn’t this such grand hypocritical fun!

Dakota Access oil pipeline protesters will not follow a government directive to leave the federal land where hundreds have camped for months, organizers said Saturday, despite state officials encouraging them to do so.

Standing Rock Sioux tribal leader Dave Archambault and other protest organizers confidently explained that they’ll stay at the Oceti Sakowin camp and continue with nonviolent protests a day after Archambault received a letter from the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers that said all federal lands north of the Cannonball River will be closed to public access Dec. 5 for “safety concerns.”

Remember when it was some handful of Bundys hanging out on some Federal land and they should all be sent to jail for life for treason? Even the outrage when they weren’t?

The environmental Kuznets Curve is alive and well

The winter air in Tehran is often foul but for six days last week it was hardly breathable. A dense and poisonous chemical smog made up of traffic and factory fumes, mixed with construction dust, burning vegetation and waste has shrouded buildings, choked pedestrians, forced schools and universities to close, and filled the hospitals.

Anyone who could flee the Iranian mega-city of 15 million people has done so, but, say the authorities, in the past two weeks more than 400 people have died as a direct result of the pollution, known as the Asian “brown cloud”.

Tehran is far from alone. A combination of atmospheric conditions, geography and the start of the winter heating season regularly traps urban air pollution from October to February across a great swath of Asia. But this year has seen some of the worst smog episodes in nearly 20 years despite cities trying to reduce traffic and factory emissions.

Poor places are clean because no one has any shit (other than literal shit) to make the place dirty. Places getting rich are filthy. For people spend that getting richer on basics like food, clothing etc. Then rich places get clean as people spend some of that new richness on having a clean place not enveloped in shit.

All well known, it’s the environmental Kuznets Curve.

The only interesting question is when do people think they’re rich enough to start cleaning all that shit up? One estimate I’ve seen is about $8,000 GDP per capita. It’s only one estimate – but it means that China will be cleaner going into the future, Iran, Indonesia still have some way to go.