Connect with us

Environment

#VWEmissions scandal: Labour MEP reveals authorities knew existence of cheat devices as far back as 1998

SHARE:

Published

on

We use your sign-up to provide content in ways you've consented to and to improve our understanding of you. You can unsubscribe at any time.

volkswagen-touareg-review-2015_51Following the VW emissions scandal that broke in 2015, MEPs have been told EU authorities did not act on reports US authorities were fining vehicle manufacturers for using emissions cheat devices as far back as 1998.

 At the first hearing of the European Parliament's emissions test scandal inquiry, the European Commission also admitted the legal framework in place was not sufficient for catching illegal devices or prosecuting the perpetrators.

 The hearing comes amidst yet more news of motoring manufacturer malfeasance, with today's revelations Mitsubishi falsified fuel economy data for more than 600,000 vehicles sold in Japan - tyre pressure figures were falsified by employees to flatter mileage rates.

Advertisement

 Seb Dance MEP, Socialists and Democrats Group spokesperson on the emissions committee, said: "It’s incredible that authorities knew about these devices as far back as 1998. It has taken 17 years and one monumental scandal for any action to be taken, or even alarm bells to start ringing.

 "The Commission knew the legal framework in place was insufficient to root out these cheat devices and prosecute the perpetrators., but for too long, consumers were kept in the dark, and policy makers who have to rely on the facts to make policy fit for purpose were misled.

 "It is crucial this inquiry gets to the bottom of this scandal, recovers trust in the car industry, generates effective European action across the board, and ensures we get to grips with the air pollution crisis that takes 40,000 British lives every year."

Advertisement

Environment

Southern Hemisphere ozone hole surpasses size of Antarctica

Published

on

The Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service is keeping a close eye on the Antarctic region to monitor the development of this year´s ozone hole over the South Pole, which has now reached an extent larger than Antarctica. After a pretty standard start, the 2021 ozone hole has considerably grown in the past week and is now larger than 75 % of ozone holes at that stage in the season since 1979.

Scientists from the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) have been closely monitoring the development of this year´s Antarctic ozone hole. On the International Day for the Preservation of the Ozone Layer (16 September) CAMS is gave a first status update on the stratospheric hole that appears every year during Austral spring, and the ozone layer that protects the Earth from the harmful properties of sunrays. CAMS is implemented by the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts on behalf of the European Commission with funding from the EU.

Vincent-Henri Peuch, director of the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service, said: “This year, the ozone hole developed as expected at the start of the season. It seems pretty similar to last year's, which also wasn't really exceptional in September, but then turned into one of the longest-lasting ozone holes in our data record later in the season. Now our forecasts show that this year´s hole has evolved into a rather larger than usual one. The vortex is quite stable and the stratospheric temperatures are even lower than last year. We are looking at a quite big and potentially also deep ozone hole.”

CAMS’ operational monitoring of the ozone layer is using computer modelling in combination with satellite observations in a similar way to weather forecasts in order to provide a comprehensive three-dimensional picture of the state of the ozone hole. For that, CAMS effectively combines different pieces of available information. One part of the analysis consists of observations of the total column of ozone from measurements in the ultraviolet-visible part of the solar spectrum. These observations are of very high quality but are not available in the region that is still located in the polar night. A different set of observations is included, which provide crucial information about the vertical structure of the ozone layer, but has limited horizontal coverage. By combining altogether five different sources and bringing them together using its sophisticated numerical model, CAMS can provide a detailed picture of the ozone distribution with consistent total column, profile and dynamics. More information in attached press release.

CAMS_Newsflash_Ozone Day_15092021_BEEN.docx
 
Copernicus is a component of the European Union’s space programme, with funding by the EU, and is its flagship Earth observation programme, which operates through six thematic services: Atmosphere, Marine, Land, Climate Change, Security and Emergency. It delivers freely accessible operational data and services providing users with reliable and up-to-date information related to our planet and its environment. The programme is coordinated and managed by the European Commission and implemented in partnership with the member states, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organisation for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMETSAT), the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), EU Agencies and Mercator Océan, amongst others. ECMWF operates two services from the EU’s Copernicus Earth observation programme: the Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). They also contribute to the Copernicus Emergency Management Service (CEMS), which is implemented by the EU Joint Research Council (JRC). The European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organisation supported by 34 states. It is both a research institute and a 24/7 operational service, producing and disseminating numerical weather predictions to its member states. This data is fully available to the national meteorological services in the member states. The supercomputer facility (and associated data archive) at ECMWF is one of the largest of its type in Europe and member states can use 25% of its capacity for their own purposes. ECMWF is expanding its location across its member states for some activities. In addition to an HQ in the UK and Computing Centre in Italy, new offices with a focus on activities conducted in partnership with the EU, such as Copernicus, will be located in Bonn, Germany from Summer 2021.

Continue Reading

Climate change

German election: Hunger strikers want greater action on climate change

Published

on

A group of young people are in the third week of a hunger strike in Berlin, claiming Germany's political parties aren't adequately addressing climate change ahead of this month's general election, writes Jenny Hill, Climate change.

The protestors - aged from 18 to 27 - have vowed to continue their hunger strike until the three leading candidates vying to replace Angela Merkel agree to meet them.

There's a subdued atmosphere among the little tents and hand-painted banners close to the German Chancellery in Berlin.

Advertisement

The six young people who've been on hunger strike for more than a fortnight say they're feeling weak.

At 27, Jacob Heinze is the oldest of the protesters here (organisers say four other people have joined their hunger strike away from the camp). He speaks slowly, clearly struggling to concentrate, but told the BBC that, while he's afraid of the consequences of his "indefinite hunger strike", his fear of climate change is greater.

"I already told my parents and my friends there's a chance I'm not going to see them again," he said.

Advertisement

"I'm doing this because our governments are failing to save the young generation from a future which is beyond imagination. Which is horrific. We're going to face war regarding resources like water, food and land and this is already a reality for many people in the world."

With less than two weeks to Germany's general election, Jacob and his fellow protesters are demanding that the three leading candidates to replace Angela Merkel as German Chancellor come and talk to them.

Hunger strikers for climate policy in Berlin, 2021

Climate change is, arguably, the biggest election issue here. German politicians have been influenced by the mass street protests of young climate change activists in recent years but this summer's deadly floods in the west of the country have also focused public concern.

Even so, say the hunger strikers, none of the main political parties - including the Green party - are proposing adequate measures to address the problem.

"None of their programmes is taking into account the actual scientific facts so far, especially not the danger of tipping points (major irreversible climatic changes) and the fact that we're very close to reaching them," says spokeswoman Hannah Luebbert.

She says the protesters want Germany to institute a so-called citizens' assembly - a group of people chosen to reflect every part of society - in order to find solutions.

"The climate crisis is also a political crisis and maybe a crisis of our democracy, because the set up with elections every four years and the great influence of lobbyists and economic interests within our parliaments often leads to the fact that economic interests are more important than our civilisation, our survival," Ms Luebbert says.

"Such citizens' assemblies aren't influenced by lobbyists and it's not politicians there who are afraid of not being re-elected, it's just people using their rationality."

A view of a climate activists camp near the Reichstag building on September 12, 2021 in Berlin, Germany.
The hunger strikers say none of the candidates are doing enough to prevent a climate catastrophe

The hunger strikers say that only one of the Chancellor candidates - Annalena Baerbock of the Green party - has responded, but that she spoke to them by telephone rather than meeting their demand for a public conversation. She's appealed to them to end their hunger strike.

But the group - which is attracting increasing publicity - have vowed to continue, though they acknowledge the distress of their families and friends.

Even so, Jacob says, his mum supports him.

"She is scared. She's really, really scared but she understands why I take these steps. She's crying every day and calls every day and asks me isn't it better to stop? And we always come to the point where we say no, it's necessary to continue," he said.

"It's really necessary to wake people up all over the world."

Continue Reading

Flooding

One person still missing after floods in southern France

Published

on

By

Wind, hail and rain blow in Rodilhan, Gard, France September 14, 2021, in this screen grab obtained from a social media video. @YLONA91/via REUTERS

One person was still reported missing on Tuesday (14 September) after torrential rain hit the Gard region in southern France, said Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who visited the area, write Dominique Vidalon and Benoit Van Overstraeten, Reuters.

Other people who had been reported missing have been found, local authorities said.

"About 60 villages have been partially hit", Darmanin said on BFM TV.

Advertisement

"The weather situation has improved since mid-afternoon but it will worsen again overnight," the region's prefect said in a statement, adding that schools in the area would be closed on Wednesday (15 September).

Advertisement
Continue Reading
Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Trending