VW needs to come clean over dirty emissions

Unlike the peculiar things surrounding the sale of the Nama property assets in Northern Ireland, where it appears that public servants north and south of the border are trying to limit the scope of the inquiries, it’s unlikely there will be any such relief for the folk from the Volkswagen Group.

As each day goes by the story of untruths, downright lies, subterfuge and ingenuous, but inappropriate software, grows more legs.

This is an issue that is set to run and run. It is a veritable investigative journalists dream because as more and more is revealed it becomes clearer that there is even yet more to reveal.

Over the coming days, weeks and months we should expect to see further revelations as the dark recesses of corporate greed come into view.

Undoubtedly somewhere along the line there will be an effort to divert the world’s attention from what is a major sign of how even the so-called best of corporates behave.

In the last few days the issue of VW facilitating the manipulation of nitrogen oxide or NOx emissions, through its software adjusting emissions when the car is under test, has grown to include other models within the VW stable.

Now questions are being raised about petrol consumption and even the ‘holy of holies’, carbon dioxide or CO2 emissions. It’s almost the stuff of science fiction.

Can we dare to ask how long this has been going on or indeed if this is another of these well-kept secrets only those in the industry are aware of?

The speed with which other unfounded emission claims are coming to light would suggest that there are lots of folk out there who knew but couldn’t tell, for a variety of reasons.

Mind you, a cynic, or a corporate spin doctor, might suggest that now is the best possible time to get as much of the dirt in public view and to bring as many companies into the frame as possible. After all we can’t proverbially shoot them all.

Next step then would be to repeatedly apologise for the heinous deeds of others, cast those allegedly responsible into the dark with a confidentiality clause covering the terms of any pay off, then promise to put it all right now that the guilty have been given their marching orders.

Guess what? We’ll likely buy it even though it’s become clearer by the day that governments, including Germany’s, were aware of the situation for some time.

More than likely governments which currently use low emissions as a basis for car taxation, have just been given a golden opportunity to increase vehicle tax on the basis that the promised emissions are nowhere near promised.

Will Michael Noonan resist the temptation given his need to increase largesse ahead of the election?

Large numbers of us were beguiled into buying diesel cars as they were allegedly cleaner than petrol and emitted lower CO2, the alleged killer of the ozone layer and driver of global warming.

The London Borough of Islington reportedly introduced a parking surcharge in 2014 for diesel-fuelled vehicles with Kensington following not too far behind costing anywhere from £15 (€20.22) to £176 per annum depending on engine size and borough.

Last year Boris Johnson announced that he wanted to charge owners of older diesels £10 per day to enter the congestion charge zone in London.

At the time it was understood that diesel engines pumped out oxides of nitrogen that can cause respiration problems. They did not know then what car manufacturers were up to and what ordinary car owners were up against.

This is yet another example of the law of unintended consequences. The green lobby has demanded that CO2 emissions should be reduced.

They forgot or perhaps perceived that city-dwelling humans are less important than the ozone layer. Emissions of NOx in crowded areas such as large conurbations are just as bad if not worse for humans.


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