Daily Mail writer spins Volkswagen emissions scandal to blast ‘Green lobby zealots’

Wacky argument effectively absolves car manufacturer and blames gremlins

Photo: Martin Winterkorn resigned as chief exec of Volkswagen


You might think the issue at hand in the ongoing Volkswagen scandal is a car manufacturer cheating on emissions tests.

But the Daily Mail’s Stephen Glover has a different take. Apparently, the problem is trying to reduce emissions in the first place. 

Glover claims the rise in Diesel engine cars was foisted upon an unsuspecting public by what he calls a Green lobby of ‘global warming zealots’.

As so often with blowhard columnists, Glover fails to identify who he actually means by naming a single organisation or individual. He may as well be talking about gremlins.

Thus, the Green gremlins have somehow bullied governments and international bodies into forcing hapless car manufacturers to produce Diesel engine cars, which Glover calls ‘death-traps’ that make people ill, even if they are better for the environment.

As he says early in his piece: “It seems hard to believe, I know, but it’s true.”

He’s right on the first half. As Glover later concedes:

“It’s true, of course, that over the past decade or so car manufacturers have succeeded in reducing these nasty gases emitted by diesels, but they have not eliminated them.

That is why Volkswagen found itself cooking the evidence, and trying to hoodwink the American authorities into believing that its cars discharge a lot less nitrogen oxide than they actually do.”

So you see, the gremlins are the root cause of ‘a devious and untrustworthy conglomerate’ (his words) engaging in illegal practices. What else were Volkswagen to do? Abide by the law?

What could possess a newspaper columnist to come out to bat for a company he is so ready to condemn, and with such an implausible and wacky argument?

Glover is keen to set out his stall:

“I am neither a climate-change zealot nor what is invidiously termed a ‘denier’. But the fact that there has been no recorded increase in global temperature over the past 17 years — a period during which carbon emissions have soared because of the rapid economic growth of countries such as China and India — suggests to me that we should treat the more hysterical claims of the Green lobby with caution.”

As you can see, the bulk of this passage, (as with the whole thrust of the piece), rather disproves the first sentence.

No recorded rise in global temperature? What’s this then?

Global temperatures, Nasa

(Click to enlarge.)

The rise continues from where this graph ends in 2010 to the latest figures for 2014.

It’s little wonder Glover goes on to refer to the ‘Armageddon’ warned of by the gremlins as ‘a threat over the horizon which may or may not exist..’.

Yet again, the Mail is taking an axe to the root of climate science, only to find it has arrived armed with a butter knife.

The fact that its nonsense effectively absolves a multinational corporation of responsibility for breaking the law is only the barbecue sauce on the burger.


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Adam Barnett is a staff writer at Left Foot Forward. Follow MediaWatch on Twitter

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