Big ideas for low-carbon living
Yesterday the New York Times offered up a green issue of its Sunday Magazine focused exclusively on carbon. Some of the stuff you’ve seen before (particularly if you read this blog) and some of the stuff is a bit slight (hasn’t Blackle been debunked about 100 times over by now?), but there are, of course, plenty of interesting nuggets. Here are a few from the transportation section:
* Compressed air cars — small automobiles that power themselves via a tank of highly compressed and environmentally benign air — have been around for a while. Now it seems the technology might find a market in India, where the same company responsible for the (potentially environmentally disastrous) world’s cheapest car has acquired the rights to produce and sell the air-powered version.
* Israel and Denmark are leading the charge for gas-free roadways. In Israel, the plan involves government subsidies for electric cars, coupled with for-profit initiatives to develop an extensive network of charging stations and battery exchange points. Under certain battery subscription plans, your car could even be free. David Roberts has a few more details.
* Aviation is thought to be one of the toughest carbon nuts to crack. Planes burn a lot of fuel, and no really great substitutes exist for long-distance travel. However, it’s possible that the problem could be managed rather than solved — airline emissions are a relatively small proportion of global emissions, and various efficiency measures could help keep fuel use down, even if eliminating emissions entirely remains out of reach. Some airlines are even cutting the weight of in-flight magazines to save fuel, lending new credence to our suggestion that eco-sensitive passengers go to the bathroom before boarding the plane.
And there is one article I have to single out for criticism: what on earth compelled the addition of a short blurb on “ghost bikes,” roadside tributes to cyclists killed in traffic accidents? Environmentalists would have you believe that bicycles are a good thing. “The hundreds of ghost bikes throughout the world, however, silently testify to a darker truth.” Really? I’m willing to bet that hundreds of people around the world have also been killed by splinters and bunny rabbits. I’m also 100% positive that millions of people have been killed by car accidents and coronary heart disease.
Bikes: good and good for you.