The Ins and Outs of the Volkswagen Scandal


In times that the planet is becoming quite uneasy owing to the impact that global warming is having. News of auto companies trying to beat the emission policies are bound to rattle quite a number of feathers. Volkswagen has felt the heat and the wrath of such doing after it was revealed that the company’s diesel vehicles did not meet the diesel emission cap. What this simply means is that the company diesel models are emitting more carbon dioxide than the law allows. As expected, there was a public outcry and plenty of media coverage as the company was forced to recall hundreds of thousands of vehicles in the U.S alone. So what really was the Volkswagen scandal?


What is emission compatibility?

To understand the depth of VWs doing, one has to understand what a emission caps are and how they affect the performance of the car. Owing to the rising temperatures on the planet, one of the ways to curb the growing pollution would be to make cleaner cars that have a lower carbon footprint. To achieve, this companies would have their cars undergo emission tests to test just how clean their cars are and if they get a clean bill of health, they can release the car into the market.


How diesel cars reduce pollution. 

Now that you understand how emission control works, it is time you understood how diesel cars are able to reduce their carbon dioxide emission and perhaps the sole reason why Volkswagen was caught pants down.

To meet the set pollution levels, cars that use diesel are usually fitted with a tank that contains a chemical called Urea. The sole purpose of this compound is to turn the fumes that result from the combustion of fuel into a harmless gas (nitrogen) and water. The downside to this is that engine performance is affected because reducing emissions means that fuel efficiency also takes a fall. Now it’s easier to see how VW could have been lured into trying to beat the system in order to retain their performance.


What exactly did VW do?

Well, here comes the cream of the pie. According to publicized reports and later a confirmation by the company, instead of using the Urea fitted tanks, the company used ‘Defeat devices.’ These were fitted with a software that allowed the cars to cheat during the emission test making them appear cleaner than they were.

However, VWs software allowed the car to beat the test in the lab but once the car hit the road, the emissions control would be switched off. As a result, the car pumps nitrogen oxide which is a pollutant into the air and what was worse is the fact that the levels were up to 40 times the legal limit. It is a complete case of profit over conscience.

The worse part is that the software was not controlled by the driver. Instead, it new when it was being tested and hence switched emissions control on and off depending on the scenario. Thanks to the algorithms used on the software, using the steering patterns, atmospheric pressure and the use of the engine, it was able to tell when it was testing time.

It is estimated that the car manufacturing giant had been installing the so called ‘Defeat device’ in its cars for at least six years before the scandal was unearthed. The company has also gone ahead to admit that over 11 million vehicles had the cheating software and some of the models affected include the Audi, VW vans, Skoda and SEAT. In the U.K a further 1.2 million cars are under scrutiny over the same device.


What do you do if your car is affected?

Big question lingering in every VW or affected model owner’s mind is, “What do I do with my car?” Luckily, the answer is not as complicated as the whole scandal seems to be. If your car is affected, Volkswagen will get in touch with you and perform any repairs that are needed on the car free of charge. The only downside to this is the fact that you will have a car that does not perform as you had been told when making the purchase.

It is without a doubt that the management of the company was preview to the fitting of such devices and as much as they might want to have the public believe otherwise, it is important for them to understand that their actions might have weakened an already ailing planet. Even worse, the reputation of their brand might have been hit but only time will tell how badly this was.

What is Global Warming?



For all of the politics and debate over global warming, it’s hard to sometimes separate the facts from the fiction. Fortunately, in the case of what has become known as global warming, it doesn’t take much more than just walking outside your doors and/or reading the newspapers to make the problem very real. Simply watching television will prove the real problems of record heat, melting ice at the poles, rising sea levels and the effect these have on everyone. What might not be so clear is the fact that these events are the result of a phenomenon known as the “greenhouse effect,” which is a gradual warming of the earth’s surface brought on gases such as carbon dioxide from burning fossil fuels or deforestation.


What is the Evidence?

Scientific understanding of global warming has increased dramatically over the years. Beginning in the mid- to-late 1800s, scientists have kept records of the mean surface temperature of the earth. The results of these studies have shown that until the 1950s, the surface temperature of the earth has remained relatively stable. After that time, however, the gradual and steady increase of the earth’s surface temperature has been unprecedented.


What is Global Warming?

It is interesting to note that although the overall effect of global warming is the same all over the earth, the causes of these changes vary from region to region. For example, although the greenhouse effect is just as critical in North America as it is in the subtropics, the problem in the former can be traced to the burning of fossil fuels. By contrast, in the subtropics, the expansion of deserts caused by several factors have caused just as serious of problems.


Global Warming and the Future

Scientists have presented vast amounts of evidence proving the validity of their data, but for a very real look at the effects of global warming, one needs only to watch news reports of these changes. For example, a recent news report showed an emaciated polar bear traipsing over the vanishing ice packs in search of food that is no longer available. This confirms the theory that global warming is expected to be the greatest in the arctic areas, with continuing problems with retreating glaciers, permafrost and sea ice. Scientists also expect other changes that include more extreme weather events, heat waves, droughts, heavier than usual rainfall, heavier snowfall, acidification of oceans, and extinction of species of animals as well as plant life, and shifting temperature regimes. Scientists also predict humans will also feel the effects of global warming as food security becomes a problem due to decreasing crop yields and abandonment of populated areas as a result of flooding.


A Human Response

As serious as these problems are predicted to become, scientists do offer some hope, but it will require considerable work and sacrifice by populations around the world. Prime among these sacrifices will be the mitigation of greenhouse gases from fossil fuels. Further, any response will need to be accompanied by an adaptation to the effects of not only this mitigation, but also dealing with the aftermath. For this reason, systems will need to be created that are resilient to the effects of the changing atmosphere as well as future climate engineering.


Worldwide Response

Fortunately, the evidence that has been presented by scientists so far has been convincing enough to members of the world community to convince them to agree to the need for change. For this reason, most countries have become parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, which is working to prevent serious damage due to climate change. These steps will put in place both the technologies and programs that are designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions as well as to help adapt to the effects of global warming. Most significantly members of this convention have agreed to work towards deep cuts in emissions, whatever their source. Most scientists believe that with this one action alone, future global warming would be limited to levels under pre-industrial eras.


Too Little Too Late?

The most recent scientific studies released by NASA indicate that although there have been improvements in man-made carbon dioxide levels, those levels have continued to increase above those seen over hundreds of years. As much work as has been done over the years, the gases released by fossil fuels into the atmosphere remains and are not being absorbed by vegetation and/or oceans to an extent that would prove to be beneficial.