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Comment: Diesel engines ARE the problem. (Score 1) 405

by MtViewGuy (#46512107) Attached to: Paris Bans Half of All Cars On the Road

Here's the problem: thanks to favorable tax laws, people in Europe are buying diesel-powered automobiles in huge numbers--in fact probably over 60% of new cars sold in Europe in recent years are diesel powered.

Problem: until very recently, diesel-powered vehicles did not have to meet the same very strict emission requirements required for diesel car sales in the USA--namely, meeting the EPA Tier 2 Bin 5 (or California Air Reources Board ULEV Level II) certification. The Euro4 and Euro5 emissions requirements result in much higher NOx emissions and diesel particulates than the US standard, and as such with so many fairly polluting diesel auitomobiles, European cities in the very recent past started to run into problems with higher NOx and particulate levels in cities.

Today, new European cars have to meet the new Euro6 emissions standard, which is almost identical to EPA Tier 2 Bin 5. This is why the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz can now sell a lot more diesel-powered cars in the USA--the diesel engines only need very little change to meet EPA standards.

This is why I wonder London did not switch their famous double-decker buses and London taxis to compressed natural gas a LONG time ago. Such a change could have dramatically cleaned up the air of London, another city that has experienced NOx and particulate air pollution problems in recent years.

Comment: Re:Dumb (Score 1) 358

by MtViewGuy (#46491077) Attached to: EU Votes For Universal Phone Charger

The EU should just standardize on two USB port charger designs, one smaller one for cellphones and one larger one (up to 12 W capacity) for tablet computers. And make sure the "universal" charger will actually charge all Apple iOS devices (there's been an issue where many USB chargers won't charge an iPhone, iPod or iPad).

Comment: Re:Coal is dying anyway (Score 1) 712

I think within the next 100 years, coal will be replaced by something else: thorium-232. Why? Because thorium-232--which is as common as lead in the Earth's crust and likely have huge deposits on the Moon itself--is the primary fuel for the molten-salt reactor, a nuclear reactor that is extremely safe to run and generally produces a tiny amount of the radioactive waste of uranium-fueled pressurized vessel light water nuclear reactors. And there is enough thorium on Earth and the Moon to run these reactors for potentially tens of thousands of years.

Comment: Re:This is more than a little bit naive. (Score 1) 712

Also, unlike China, American-based coal-fired power plants cleaned up their act decades ago with the EPA-required installation of devices to remove the sulfur compounds and heavy metals that cause the most environmental damage. This something that should be required in China, where uncontrolled emissions from coal-fired power plants are causing a huge fraction of the extremely unhealthy air pollution not only in the country, but also spreading to the Korean peninsula and Japan.

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