Bloomberg Businessweek

THE SCANDAL OF LONDON’SAIR

• And Europe’s, as heavily subsidized diesel engines endanger health

A year ago, my wife, Leslie, and I embarked on an adventure, moving with our two sons from Seattle to London. We put the boys’ playhouse on the street, hugged our cedar tree goodbye and, seemingly in an eyeblink, landed at Heathrow, where the kind crew of the British Airways 747 brought our sons, then 7 and 5, into the cockpit. They perched on seats covered in furry sheepskin while the captain, strangely, confided his disappointment in his daughter’s new career as a veterinarian.

It was a kind of homecoming. I’d lived in London in my 20s, during the heyday of Oasis and Tony Blair—Cool Britannia—and was excited to return as a seasoned journalist. We moved into a semidetached house in Crouch End, near cricket pitches and tennis courts, across from a stop for the W7 bus that took me to the Tube and on to Bloomberg’s offices in the City. It was Instagrammable stuff, except for the pungent chlorine-like smell of exhaust from the diesel-powered cars, buses, and taxis crowding London’s hip streets. Even Fortnum & Mason smelled like a petrol station.

No city’s perfect. We entered bad smells in the deficit column of our move and tried to settle in. By last fall, two months after we’d arrived, I noticed that a

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