According to a new report, diesel cars have caused thousands of premature deaths in Europe in the past few years. These deaths could have been avoided if countries had met anti-pollution standards. The recently published paper comes almost two years after the Volkswagen scandal, in which the German car maker was caught cheating on emission tests.
Europe is a continent with about a hundred million diesel-driven vehicles, almost twice as many as in all the other countries of the world combined. Years ago governments and car makers encouraged consumers to buy diesel cars because they were cheaper, used less fuel and produced less carbon dioxide. Many governments also offered tax reductions if people bought diesel cars. What has not been known until now is that diesel cars produce more nitrogen oxides, which may cause lung diseases.
Italy, Germany and France were the countries that recorded the most premature deaths from diesel-polluted vehicles. Especially diesel trucks that drive in denselypopulated areas contribute to the high level of pollution.
The Volkswagen scandal also shown that emission tests are not accurate and that in some cases diesel vehicles emit up to 4 times more substances than they do when tested in a lab.
Since the scandal broke , governments in Europe and elsewhere have been trying to get people to buy more petrol-driven cars. They have become more efficient than diesel vehicles and the difference in prices are not not as high any more.
according to = as said by …
accurate = detailed; exact
anti-pollution standards = laws that are made to keep pollution levels in a country low
avoid = stop ; not happen
carbon dioxide = gas that is produced when animal or people breathe out or when carbon is burned in the air
cheat = here: to trick people and not tell them the truth
combined = together
contribute = to help make something happen
densely populated = when many people live in a small area
efficient = if something works well
emission test = testing how much gas or dirty substances are sent into the air
emit = send into the atmosphere
encourage = to say that people should do something
especially = above all
fuel = liquid used to produce energy and make a car drive
government = the people who rule a country
nitrogen oxide = combination of nitrogen and oxygen
paper = report
petrol-driven = run with normal petrol, not diesel
premature = something that happens before the natural time
record = write down information
substance = material
tax reduction = to pay less tax than you normally would
vehicle = machine with an engine that is used to transport people or products
The world’s longest railway tunnel, the Gotthard Base Tunnel, was opened after many years of construction. Trains can travel at speeds of up to 250 km an hour through the 57 km long tunnel. It took 17 years to complete and cost $12 billion. The engineeringmilestone will bring southern Germany and northern Italy closer together.
The new Gotthard Base Tunnel is also the world’s deepest tunnel, located 2300 metres below Swiss mountain peaks. A total of 2600 workers involved in building the tunnel had to excavate more than 28 million tonnes of rock.
Gottardinoshuttle trains will be running between the two endpoints of the tunnel and make a stop at Sedrun, a mountain station in the middle. 65 passenger and 240 freight trains are expected to travel through the tunnel every day. The Gotthard Base Tunnel will reduce the time it takes trains to pass through the Alps. A journey from Zurich to Milan, for example, will be reduced by an hour.
The new tunnel is part of a larger European transportation project that includes two other tunnels in the Alps. Ultimately, the EU plans a high-speed rail connection between its two majorharbours, Rotterdam and Genoa.
During the course of history the Alps have been a natural barrier to travel. In the past traders and merchants had to use mountain passes to travel from north to south. The first Gotthard rail tunnel opened in 1882, but as time went on it could not handle the growing traffic.
In the 1990s, Swiss citizens approved of a government plan to build a new tunnel. How hard such a construction feat would be soon became obvious . In places where there was hard rock boring was extremely slow. Workers could only advance only about half a metre every day.
The new tunnel is expected to reduce road traffic crossing the Alps as more and more lorries and cargo companies will put their freight on Swiss trains.
advance = move forward
approve = to agree with something or to say yes to a plan
barrier = a mountain, lake or any other natural object that stops people from going somewhere
boring = to make a hole in the mountain by using a special machine
cargo = goods carried by a train, ship, lorry, plane etc..
citizen = a person who lives in a country and has rights there
course of history = as time went on
complete = finish
connection = joining or linking two places
construction = building
engineering = the building of roads, railways bridges etc..
excavate = remove earth
feat = something very difficult to do
freight = goods that are transported from one place to another
handle = deal with
harbour = place where ships load and load goods
high-speed = very fast
include = something as part of something else
involved = here: worked at the tunnel site
journey = trip
located = where something lies
lorry = truck ; large car that carries goods
major = very big and important
merchant = person who bought and sold things in the past
milestone = an important development in history
obvious = easy for everyone to see
peak = the top part of a mountain
reduce = lower
shuttle = train that travels regularly between two places
speed = how fast something is
Swiss = from Switzerland
ultimately = here: when the whole project is finished