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Getting people on bikes, part II: bike shops

Continuing on with this cross-cultural exchange: I recently bought a new bike myself, a Trek touring cycle, and the experience was pretty unpleasant in all the predictable ways. It's impossible for non-obsessives to sort through all the options, and most bike shop employees really aren't interested in helping. So how does this work in Denmark, where cycling is ubiquitous? Has… read more →

They hate us! They really hate us!

A number of intrepid environmental bloggers have infiltrated the splashy climate change denialist convention taking place this week in Times Square. I'd been avoiding mention of the event because you really can't talk about this stuff at all without falling into the PR trap that's been set, but Grist raises a point that I want to amplify: climate change skepticism… read more →

Do I hear $500? How about $600?

Here's a fun one: California state legislator Jim Battin has submitted a bill that would allow purchasers of carbon offsets to ride in the carpool lane. No environmentalist, Battin just wants to be able to drive his Lincoln Aviator (14 mpg) "guilt-free in the empty diamond lane." Meanwhile, Desmog Blog grumbles over Washington State's proposal for new road tolls. The… read more →

How do we get more people on bikes?

Underlying my enthusiasm for Lance Armstrong's new bike emporium is a common complaint about the bicycle industry in America: commuters get short shrift. Manufacturers and dealers cater to athletes and enthusiasts (collectively: bike geeks), ignoring the much larger group of people who just want a sturdy, affordable beater to get around on. The Commute by Bike blog recently dug into… read more →

Companies reward fuel-efficient employees with cash

This is a worthy mini-trend: A growing number of small companies like Topics also are seeing value in encouraging employees to make environmentally friendlier choices as well -- at home, at work and in their commutes. Among the incentives: giving bonuses to employees who buy more fuel-efficient vehicles and outfit their homes in more energy-efficient ways, as well as helping… read more →

Paper cuts

I first became an environmental activist in 7th grade. I completed a homework assignment for Mrs. Dibbs' science class on the blank side of a printed piece of paper that would have otherwise been thrown away. Mrs. Dibbs praised me for the content of my work, but docked me half a grade for poor presentation. Despite my effort to explain… read more →

The TerraPass store: your reviews please!

It seems far longer than three months ago that we began selling energy-saving gadgets at TerraPass. Since then, hundreds of you have cut down on standby power with the Smart Strip, measured your appliance's power usage with the Kill A Watt or kept your tires fully inflated with the LED Tire Alerts. Now we need your feedback -- our product… read more →

Adventures in carbon pricing

A federal carbon tax in the U.S. appears to be a political dead letter, but all sorts of interesting experiments in carbon pricing are underway regionally. First: the California Assembly this week votes on the California Clean Car Discount Act, a "feebate" system that imposes a direct charge on sales of gas guzzlers and uses the funds to reward buyers… read more →

Comparing climate change plans

Per request, I wrote up a post comparing Hillary, Obama, and McCain on climate and energy policy. The post was long and dense and boring, so I threw it away and instead wrote the following long, dense and absolutely riveting primer on what to look for in a good climate change plan. These principles apply to cap-and-trade style programs, because… read more →
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