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From: The Socialist issue 872, 30 September 2015: Organise, strike, resist!

Search site for keywords: Environment - Volkswagen - Profit - Oil - Transport - Government - Health - Britain - EU - Shell - Gas - Europe - European Union

Pollution cheat volkswagen kills thousands for profit

Richard Worth

Volkswagen, the world's largest car maker, fraudulently fitted eleven million diesel engines with "defeat devices" to rig pollution tests.

This has caused nearly one million tonnes of lethal air pollution a year. That's equal to the UK's combined emissions for all power stations, vehicles, agriculture and industry.

It has taken seven years to be "discovered". But government scientists in Britain have been warning of illegal levels of toxic gases since at least 2011. And European Union (EU) regulators knew about rigging as early as 2013 - but failed to act.

Also, campaign network Trans-port and Environment says it goes further than Volkswagen. Nine out of ten cars from every major manufacturer breached EU pollution limits when tested in real-world conditions.

Environment charity Greenpeace has uncovered that diesel carmakers employed 184 European lobbyists, costing 14 million. Does this explain it?

The scandal has caused a 30% nosedive in Volkswagen's share value. But the real cost is to us.

The pollutants spewed out by these cars have caused serious health conditions. Inflammation of the lungs, leading to asthma and bronchitis. An increased risk of heart attacks and strokes. And possibly memory loss and dementia.

Unfiltered 'particulate matter' also causes cancer. Exposure to air pollution hastens death - with 9,500 premature deaths annually in Europe's most polluted city, London.

Deaths

The government estimates the combined impact of nitrogen oxides and particulate matter is equivalent to 52,500 deaths a year in Britain.

Capitalists will do anything for profit. They can't be trusted to care for our health or environment. Poisons that should have been filtered by their engines are being filtered by our lungs instead.

The Socialist Party campaigns for public ownership of car makers and transport systems - under the democratic control of workers and the public. That could guarantee accountable, green, integrated and affordable transport for all.


This is not a drill

Oil and gas company Shell has called off potentially catastrophic Arctic drilling!

Has the petroleum giant had some miracle conversion? Has it abandoned its evil-genius-style plans for Armageddon?

Not quite. The firm says its decision was based instead on "disappointing" levels of fossil fuel in Alaskan oil wells.

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The coronavirus crisis has laid bare the class character of society in numerous ways. It is making clear to many that it is the working class that keeps society running, not the CEOs of major corporations.

The results of austerity have been graphically demonstrated as public services strain to cope with the crisis.

The government has now ripped up its 'austerity' mantra and turned to policies that not long ago were denounced as socialist. But after the corona crisis, it will try to make the working class pay for it, by trying to claw back what has been given.

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Article dated 30 September 2015

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