If Volvo can ditch diesel, so can VW.
We’ve seen news story after news story, study after study, proving just how dangerous diesel is. The people around us are also glaring evidence of the problem – those who walk down streets coughing or struggling to breathe in thick pollution. The fact is that for the 9 out of 10 people across the world who live in cities, diesel is a curse.
But change is coming. Just a month ago Volvo announced that it will stop creating cars run solely on toxic diesel. In just 2 years, they’ll only make cars fully or partly powered by batteries – that’s a big wave goodbye to the engines that have powered our cars for decades. If you couple this decision with the huge progress eco-superstar Elon Musk has made with Tesla, other car companies are beginning to run out of excuses. That’s why it’s time for those of us who care about healthy people and a healthy planet to demand that other car companies switch up too.
Our government recently proved that they will not be leading the charge to end diesel in the near future. Our Environment Minister Michael Gove may have gained front page splashes by saying that the UK would ban diesel and petrol cars and vans by 2040, but this target is unambitious to say the least. Even the petrol-heads at at Top Gear commented that the government probably wouldn’t have any cars to ban in 2040. With a few pushes, we can make sure of that.
The worst culprit in this air pollution and climate crisis is Volkswagen. This company has known for years that diesel is poisoning us. Yet instead of taking responsibility, they cheated official tests that would have exposed just how toxic their diesel cars were – all the while filling their pockets with the tainted profits. Since then, they’ve refused to pay for the cost of a crisis they created – most recently telling London Mayor Sadiq Khan that they wouldn’t pay backdated congestion charges.
It seems only fair then, that VW start helping to lead the charge in a future that is bound – whatever they do – to be dominated by electric vehicles. After all, this problem cannot fall on the average car owner. When my Dad bought the diesel car he uses to drive to work there was nothing on the advert about an air pollution crisis choking children’s lungs. Neither was there an affordable green alternative offered to car drivers like him.
VW made €4.4 billion last year – so while car users don’t have the means to stop the air pollution crisis caused by diesel, VW do – and their lack of action speaks volumes. 8000 Greenpeace supporters have sent personal messages to VW asking them to ditch diesel and go electric, in the last 24 hours alone, will you be next?
About India Thorogood
Digital Campaigner at Greenpeace UK