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Who do you believe?

8 April 2019

I think everyone is well aware of the fiasco that was the rigging of emission tests by the likes of VW and other European diesel car makers a year or two ago.

By using software that recognised when the vehicles were being tested, rather than being driven normally, the onboard systems were able to trick the test-gear into believing that the NO2 emissions of these vehicles were far less than was actually the case in regular use.

When the scam was exposed, all hell broke loose, people went to jail and huge fines were levied.

In Germany itself, large numbers of near-new diesel vehicles were decommissioned and headed for the scrap-heap to be recycled, at an enormous cost to their owners and the vehicle industry.

This was done because of the huge health risks we've been told are associated with NO2 and particulate emissions.

But is this really true?

That seems to be a question that nobody, until now, has really asked.

It seems that everyone, including the media, have been happy to accept the claims that levels of NO2 which exceed 50 micro-grams per cubic metre are injurious to health.

However, this DW documentary that I came across the other day, seems to cast significant doubt on those claims:

If you watch the video, you'll see that the claims in respect to the "toxic" levels of NO2 and particulates appear to be based on bad science. One might even say that certain parties have just plucked them out of their backsides.

DW is a highly respected broadcaster which is not known for "fake news" or deceptive documentaries so this video can't be discounted lightly and it should perhaps be seen as a warning that there are certain groups who will "invent facts" to bolster their own agendas as and when suits them.

I'm no doctor, I'm no environmental scientist -- but it all seems quite credible that the risk from NO2 emissions has been grossly overstated. On the other hand, I have to acknowledge that the German auto industry has taken a real hammering from this whole emissions scandal so there might just as easily be an agenda to try and repair some of that damage by trying to discount the magnitude of the effects these emissions could have on human health.

Ultimately, this is a perfect example of how it has become increasingly difficult to trust or believe *anyone* in an age when corporations have such immense power, the media is more interested in chasing profits than facts, and there are so many sources with different perspectives on the same events.

Perhaps the only up-side is that this stuff will all become irrelevant in the next decade or so as we switch to EVs and the era of nasty, polluting, dino-juice-powered personal transport is relegated to the history books.

What do readers think? Is this DW documentary a revelation or an attempt to simply downplay the seriousness of the problem created by these faked emission tests?

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