Here’s fun thought experiment. What words have I erased from this story about Nitrogen Dioxide levels in London?
Here and in cities across environmentally minded Europe, NO2 levels are substantially higher than in North America, or even in Asian and African megacities whose names have become bywords for dirty air. And that is all because of decades of designed to spur the purchase of supposedly cleaner diesel cars and trucks.
Apparently London is a once again a smoggy city, and it’s all due to…anti-environmental greedy private industry? Nah, too many letters.
Governments across Europe have aggressively promoted diesel vehicles, reasoning that diesel’s lower carbon-dioxide output makes it gentler on the planet than gasoline. In London, the streets are filled with diesel-powered buses and taxis. Continent-wide, diesel accounts for about half the car market.
But diesel has one glaring disadvantage: It is a major source of NO2, a pollutant that stunts lung growth and has been linked to a range of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. The diesel push has meant that although air in Europe is far cleaner overall than in many parts of the globe, it still can be — and often is — deadly.
Only government can make air that is cleaner, but deadlier.