For the last few weeks at least, Diesel engines have been blamed for killing people and causing lung disease in children whose schools are in the near vicinity of main roads according mainly to the BBC. Whenever radio 4 goes into brainwash mode on a particular subject, it generally needles my suspicion and therefore interest in to trying to obtain facts rather than being gently hammered into a desired governmental dictated view. This is the only reason I listen to this noise; its a good barometer as to what the government are going to try to push next IMHO. The only question is why?
I have recently re-discovered the desire to run aimlessly for vast distances in the pursuit of personal well being and solitude. Despite being 40 years old, I now wear my pants outside my leggins in public, like Batman but far less equipped to fight crime. Although I tend to aim for the wilderness as much as possible, I often find myself running along B-roads and my newfangled athletes lungs and nose are well attuned to the various fragrances served up by everyday life along the way.
There is no doubt whatsoever that diesels pump out some tremendously vile gases. I have to say though that I can't remember ever wafting the fine emissions of any internal combustion engine into one of the prams of my children to promote their well-being. Last year in the UK, 40,000 early deaths were linked to transport related air pollution!
What the BBC don’t mention is that in the last 5 years or so, zero emission vehicles have ceased to be a laughing stock and are now mainstream. The government are about to champion a scrappage scheme for diesels, but this is driven by a desire to re-invigorate the sale of new vehicles rather than an intention to improve air quality. I don’t wish to imply that they are not keen to improve air quality, rather they have more complex reasoning for suddenly instructing their 'independent' brainwash corporation into rubbishing Diesels.
Why isn’t this scheme applicable to all noxious gas emitting vehicles in general?
The answer is very simple. Despite the fact that a near zero emission transport infrastructure is now possible, a reality even; it is the interests of governments or those wealthy enough to convincingly lobby them to maintain a degree of reliance on fossil fuels. Economies, pensions and even countries rely on this stability to maintain such interests and profits. If kids lungs suffer as a consequence, this can be blamed on the diesels once promoted as our saviours fifteen years ago. If this falsehood is reiterated everyday on the network that the British public are forced to finance, the assumption is that one day, it will probably be accepted as fact.
Why don’t the government and BBC push zero emission vehicles rather than ruining diesels?
The electricity supply in the UK and beyond didn’t anticipate the rise of everyday electric cars. Elon Musk came as a bit of a surprise to the establishment and is greatly admired for this, not just by me, but I am convinced he will become an historically significant human being far into the future. Since Elon's early bravery and foresight, the uptake has been phenomenal and will continue to be so and accelerate exponentially until complete domination of the market. Taxing can't fix the problem of lost revenue to the exchequer as old ladies depend on the same electricity to stay warm as what is required to charge this new transportation revolution. Unless road tax is restructured from encouraging the uptake of low emitting electric vehicles, to penalising them. This process has already begun both in the UK and USA.
So how do we balance the new demands on the grid whilst eradicating vehicle tail pipe emissions altogether?
We must get much, much more efficient. The only answer is to vastly reduce the amount of zero emission energy required to propel an individual from A to B. This means being more organised in terms of sharing travel, driving much lighter vehicles with zero emission drive trains and wasting much less energy through the use of human input, aerodynamic advances and low energy consumption at the point of build and at end of life. Better still, do your business from home over the internet and grow your own food or in other words, promote the avoidance of travel.
If you must travel, try to make your journey in an Aerocycle.