More research needed before demonising diesel

There is a lack of balanced perspectives when it comes to reports on diesel and carbon emissions.

The media has a duty of care to avoid demonising diesel (Diesel vehicles may be on the way out ; March 9, Surge in diesel cars unlikely to last; March 6).

It is pertinent to note that the latest Euro 6 emission standards for diesel and petrol are, in fact, very similar.

While some diesel vehicles have failed real world nitrogen dioxide tests, what has not been mentioned is that the cars failed because the pollutant filters were designed to shut down in temperatures of 17 deg C and lower. However, we do not have such temperatures in Singapore.

Furthermore, although the World Health Organisation classified diesel fumes as carcinogenic, its International Agency on Research on Cancer noted that the conclusion was drawn based on studies of workers who were also highly exposed to other carcinogens.

I hope more research will be done by the Land Transport Authority or the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, as newer diesel technology may actually be a clean solution compared with electrification.

It noted that it had positive findings for the general population and also admitted that the report was for emissions from older diesel technology.

I hope more research will be done by the Land Transport Authority or the Ministry of the Environment and Water Resources, as newer diesel technology may actually be a clean solution compared with electrification, where the mining of rare earths and the disposal of batteries have a potentially far worse environmental impact.

Vincent Law Mun Loong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 10, 2017, with the headline 'More research needed before demonising diesel'. Print Edition | Subscribe