Monbiot does have a way with evidence, doesn’t he?

The EU decision to replace petrol engines with diesel, though driven by German car manufacturers, predates her premiership. It was a classic European fudge, a means of averting systemic change while creating an impression of action, based on the claim (which now turns out to be false) that diesel engines produce less carbon dioxide than petrol.

Wait, what? Diesel produces more CO2 than petrol? What aberration of physics is this? All is explained in the report George references:

The main argument of the car industry to continue with diesel is its lower CO2 emissions. But the report analyses
evidence and concludes an average diesel car produces over 3 tonnes more CO2 than petrol over its lifetime.
This is due to:
● higher mileage (4% more due to cheaper diesel fuel, or rebound effect)
● More intensive refinery processes for diesel fuel
● heavier engines
● High GHG emissions of biodiesel substitutes when ILUC emissions are factored in.

This analysis does NOT take into account all of the additional km s diesels are driven.
New direct injection gasoline engines are now significantly more efficient closing the gap with diesel. The average
CO2 emissions of new diesel cars (119g/km) are only a few grams/km lower than an average (often less powerful)
petrol car (123g/km). If the Euro 2,000 cost premium of diesel over petrol car is taken into account gasoline cars
already outstrip their diesel counterparts. For example hybrid systems are now no more expensive than diesels (and
cheaper in some markets) but average 89g/km. In the medium term the opportunities to lower CO2 emissions from
cars are primarily from gasoline and electric solutions. To 2050 electric is the most cost effective technology. Since
diesel is not better for the climate than petrol there is no justification for its preferential treatment.

Because the Greenies insist that diesel have biodiesel in it, and biodiesel is higher emission than fossil fuel, therefore diesel has higher emissions. Plus, either people who have cheaper fuel drive more or, people who drive more choose the option with cheaper fuel.

This is not the same as saying that diesel emits more than petrol.

Oh, and, other technologies are now becoming more efficient. Which is great, but presumably they’ll suffer from the same rebound effects etc?

But this could be the least of the environmental disasters she has engineered. For this lethal concession to German car companies was predated by an even worse one, in 2007. In that case, her blunt refusal – supported by the usual diplomatic bullying – to accept proposed improvements in engine standards forced the European commission to find another means of reducing greenhouse gases. It chose, disastrously, to replace fossil fuel with biofuels, a switch Merkel has vociferously defended.

Merkel and the European commission ignored repeated warnings that the likely consequences would include malnutrition and massive environmental destruction, as land was converted from forests or food crops to fuel production.

As I recall that was egged on by every environmental organisation on the planet. It was only very late in the process, even afterwards, that the likes of FoE and Greenpeace woke up to the idiocy they were insisting upon.

Is this the worst? It is hard to rank such crimes against the biosphere, but perhaps the most embarrassing is Germany’s shocking failure, despite investing hundreds of billions of euros, to decarbonise its electricity system. While greenhouse gas emissions in other European nations have fallen sharply, in Germany they have plateaued.


The reason is, once more, Merkel’s surrender to industrial lobbyists. Her office has repeatedly blocked the environment ministry’s efforts to set a deadline for an end to coal power.

Well, no, not really, It was the idiot decision to rule out nukes at the same time….again egged on by every environmental organisation on the planet. George himself being an honourable exception I seem to recall.

20 thoughts on “Monbiot does have a way with evidence, doesn’t he?”

  1. If only some curse could be worked to make the left literally sick of lying, to make them vomit copiously every time they try. Never mind “wheeze of the week” that would be a jape for all time.

    Although you can be sure they still wouldn’t clean up their own vomit.

    When I look around at modern women it seems such that we have nigh on wall-to-wall witches both young and crones.

    Surely some of these hags would be able to cast so noble a curse if the wages were right?

  2. It chose, disastrously, to replace fossil fuel with biofuels, a switch Merkel has vociferously defended.

    I distinctly remember Independent front pages demanding biofuels. I’m sure the Guardian, in news and opinion pieces, was similarly ‘vociferous’. It was the passion of the Tribe at the time.

    Funny how people forget, eh?

  3. Knowing Me, Knowing Steve

    Why don’t the Germans figure out a way to power the national grid with their own self-loathing?

  4. There is an additional factor, and that is the diesel particulates filter fitted to new cars for getting on for a decade. This reduces power, so demanding a bigger engine. It also adds cost at the manufacturing stage, and therefore all the way to the end user. It also requires being taken on a half-hour motorway run every now and again to burn off the additional soot, which for someone whose driving is short journeys may be additional to the normal routine. Perhaps that is where the 4% comes from – unnecessary journeys to clear an unwanted, green-imposed, additional device. Apparently, DPFs clog more easily with biofuels.

  5. Bloke no Longer in Austria

    It was when the government tried to mandate bio-petrol in Germany that the wheels really fell off. The E10 petrol was introduced and caused a huge consumer backlash. People would stop at a petrol station see that only E10 was available and kept on driving. It was phased out pretty quickly and diluted down to E5.
    The Left and greenies are remarkble in their abilities to contradict themselves and in self-denial, but the fact that politicians are stupid enough to listen to them is a curse upon us all.

  6. Two contradictory statements in the PDF report:

    This is due to:
    ● higher mileage (4% more due to cheaper diesel fuel, or rebound effect)


    This analysis does NOT take into account all of the additional km’s diesels are driven.

    So have they accounted for higher mileage or not? (Rhetorical question, I really don’t care.)

    Monbiot is actually fairly good at spotting second-order effects: he wrote in December 2014 that The adoption of biofuels would be a humanitarian and environmental disaster for the planet. Where he struggles is third-order effects, i.e. pinpointing the idiots, institutions, and processes responsible for this state of affairs in the first place.

  7. It’s only germany doing what germany does – fuck up europe – either through war 1870/1914/1939 – inviting in 1 million plus muslim economic parasites – then demanding everyone else take their “fare share” – why on earth does this come as a surprise to anyone?

  8. Best description I’ve heard of bio-fuels is it’s the mechanism by which rich people burn poor peoples food in their cars to feel smug about solving a problem that only exists in computer models a hundred years from now.

    This is a Monbiot stopped clock moment. He’s done as much as anyone to make this state of affairs come about. He won’t be spared in the purge.

  9. So….. my 2001 1.2litre 50mpg Corsa produces more CO2 than the 1997 2.6litre 25mpg Rover I inherited from my ex-wife seven years ago, because I average 10,000 miles a year and she averaged 500 miles a year. Clearly, I need to get rid of my little Corsa and get a 20-year-old big lumbering Rover.

  10. The mystery with Mobiot and stopped clocks is why he is right enough times to be compared to a stopped grandfather clock, when every other environmentalist I read is only as right as a stopped digital clock.

    It might be that he does at least live what he preaches (out in the countryside, being horribly rightous in his lifestyle, but not totally abstanious) so presumably interacts with people outside environmentalist circles and is therefore somewhat immune to the group think that the urban-located environmentalists display. Whatever, I do actually respect him, despite the fact he is generally wrong – at least he is wrong on his own terms (and however bad his use of evidence, his own arguments) which is what I would like my political oponents (everyone?) to say about me.

  11. @jgh, September 20, 2017 at 2:20 pm
    So….. my 2001 1.2litre 50mpg Corsa produces more CO2 than the 1997 2.6litre 25mpg Rover

    What 1997 Rover do you have that has a 2.6L engine?

  12. “So….. my 2001 1.2litre 50mpg Corsa produces more CO2 than the 1997 2.6litre 25mpg Rover”

    Feel good about yourself – you are feeding more plants.

    And thank you for doing so.

  13. It was a Rover 206 (200/25) automatic with a typo, 1.6litre engine. I nudged it through two MOTs with bits of wood wedged in holding things in place before it fell to pieces.

  14. “Feel good about yourself – you are feeding more plants.”

    Well said. We need those extra plants to make biofuels so we can release more carbon than just drilling for oil for our fuels.

  15. +Liberal Yank it turns out (Allen, Grubb) that CO2 sensitivity has been greatly overstated by those models previously regarded as infallible. Good news, we can now switch off all the models and go home. The science is settled.

  16. @jgh, September 20, 2017 at 11:42 pm

    I knew there was a typo in year or engine. If year it would have been an SD1 2.6 inline six. Size could have been an 800 KV6 2.5

    Thanks for clarifying

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