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Old 11-04-02, 11:56 PM   #1
John C. Ratliff
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Bicycling and Global Warming, a Lost Cause?

The title of the article from the New York Times is "It's time to adapt to damage, global warming forum agrees." In it, writer Andrew Revkin discusses the international climate talks in New Delhi. At one point, he discusses ozone depleting chemicals, then states,

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But no ready substitutes exist for cheap, plentiful fossil fuels. Many experts say the use of coal and oil is bound to keep rising for decades, particularly as poor countries climb the economic ladder from bicycles and water buckets to cars and washing machines.
The entire article can be read at: The New York Times Website

As a bicyclist, I feel that putting the bicycle into the same reference as water buckets and then contrasting that with cars and washing machines does a huge disservice to bicycles as a legitimate mode of transportation, and also as the technological marvals of engineering efficiency that they represent. What are your thoughts?

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Old 11-05-02, 03:09 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
As a bicyclist, I feel that putting the bicycle into the same reference as water buckets and then contrasting that with cars and washing machines does a huge disservice to bicycles as a legitimate mode of transportation, and also as the technological marvals of engineering efficiency that they represent. What are your thoughts?
It certainly is a disservice. However, I'd suggest that car companies pump in a few sponsorship $, so we probably can't expect anything else. Let's face it, this sort of hype is probably the main reason for the popularity of the motor car in the first place.
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Old 11-05-02, 07:38 AM   #3
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You guys are making too much of the words. By 'cars' i think they mean motorized transport for all their goods and services; most fo which are not widely motorized and thus immensely wasteful en route as foods rot and goods are damaged.

The same arguments people make about 'using bikes versus cars' can be made for 'using buckets vs. washing machines', and VICE VERSA. The latter save vast amounts of toil and effort. And I might add, washing machines and dryers have been made much more efficient than they were back in the 1950s or 60s...they use less water and electriity; although of course much more than if you did the stuff by hand and on a line.

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Old 11-05-02, 08:17 AM   #4
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It's proven fact that bicycles have caused 52.7% of all global warming.
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Old 11-05-02, 10:35 AM   #5
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If there really is such a thing as "global warming", and more importantly if human activity is the cause, the appropriate measures ought to be taken later, if at all. We'll know better what the effects are in the future, we'll be richer, and have more technology available to adapt. What we ought not to do is derail the economy of the first world now.

Lest some be tempted to start employing the usual metaphors about driving on a dark road with no lights and refusing to hit the brakes, notice that the cost of taking the action urged on us by environmentalists is huge, and certain. That "global warming" is a serious problem, and one we can do anything to reverse even if it is, is much less clear.

So, here's one vote for ignoring this "issue" for a while.

Some other articles for anyone interested in the radical, right-wing view:

http://www.cato.org/current/global-warming/
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Old 11-05-02, 11:17 AM   #6
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There is I think a huge difference between riding a bicycle because one chooses to, and riding one becasue that is all that is available or affordable.

I shouldn't wish to wake in the middle of the night and discover that my wife, or my dog needed medical attention and attempt to deliver them to it on my bicycle. Nor would I expect to wait for emergency services people to show up on their bicycles to administer aid. In some places, a bicycle or walking is the only way these things can happen. Life expectancy in these jurisdictions are I opine, shorter.

This is an extreme example, yet where the standard of living supports it, can be applied to transporting multiple members of a family on an outing, shopping for more than can be carried on a bicycle or traveling distances made impractical by constraints of time or by virtue of the available strength and stamina of the person pedaling.

To argue for a reversion to more primitive means of transport for the whole society is futile. How am I going to use my bicycle to haul home an entire animal I've killed when all I needed was a pound of ground meat?
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Old 11-05-02, 04:20 PM   #7
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Originally posted by webist
How am I going to use my bicycle to haul home an entire animal I've killed when all I needed was a pound of ground meat?
Ummmmm either get a trailer or become a Vegetarian.
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Old 11-05-02, 08:10 PM   #8
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I think you are mistaking what I stated above. My thought is that the developing world should concentrate on infrastructure, on providing electricity and clean drinking water to their population, rather than concentrating on getting everyone into autos. Trucks are needed for transportation, as are good roads. But not if they are completely clogged by cars.

I do think that a country trying to gain economically would do best to emphasize the things that will encourage productivity, self-reliance, the ability to take care of their people. I would much rather see the washing machines, public transportation systems, good sewage plants with the ability to handle all the population, and reliable drinking water than simply concentrating on getting personal cars for transportation.

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Old 11-05-02, 09:17 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by John C. Ratliff
I think you are mistaking what I stated above. My thought is that the developing world should concentrate on infrastructure, on providing electricity and clean drinking water to their population, rather than concentrating on getting everyone into autos. Trucks are needed for transportation, as are good roads. But not if they are completely clogged by cars.
You are right, of course, but as I said above, it's not what the car companies want to see. They'd rather see people spending what limited funds they have on paying off a car. Heck, you only need to look at the developed world to see examples of the advertising brainwashing that made the automobile so popular in the first place.

People always complain about how they can't afford to send the children to that exclusive private school, or how they can't afford to live in that lovely neighbourhood that's close to work, shops etc. Of course, the amount of money they are spending on paying off, running and maintaining their car could usually get them all of those things and more, but they simply refuse to see it. It's the old circular logic of "I need my car to do the things that have to be done to pay for my car."

Of course, it isn't totally rational, but then most people aren't when confronted with this sort of advertising.
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Old 11-06-02, 08:16 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by Chris L
Heck, you only need to look at the developed world to see examples of the advertising brainwashing that made the automobile so popular in the first place.
I walk the streets in some of the poorest neighborhoods in downtown L.A. everyday. A large portion of the communities don't have a pot to piss in but the majority of the people drive nice cars and blab away on cell phones. Priorities?
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Old 11-06-02, 09:18 AM   #11
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I walk the streets in some of the poorest neighborhoods in downtown L.A. everyday. A large portion of the communities don't have a pot to piss in but the majority of the people drive nice cars and blab away on cell phones. Priorities?
yes, this is an amazing phenomonum that is not limited to just the US: for example in Italy it is quite common now that young unmarried men in their 20s and 30s live at home with their moms so they can afford an expensive car (as well as expensive clothes)

or visit a US trailer park where about half the residents are actually poor and the other half have a corvette and BMW or Dodge pickup or something similar parked next to the trailer -- often the car is worth more than the home!!
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Old 11-09-02, 05:02 AM   #12
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Do the car corporations give a jot about Global warming "I think not".
They are only interested in profit, profit above everything.

It is quite alarming to see of the massive advertizing and car owning campagne being perpitrated by these company`s in China and the far East as they move into a more Westernized modern society.
Just imagin the massive explosion in co2 gases as the millions in this part of world give up their bikes for motorized transport over the coming decades.

We aint seen anything yet to what might happen in the future as regards global warming.
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Old 11-09-02, 09:44 PM   #13
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The best solution is an educated, disciplined populace comprising individuals who act out of LONG-TERM, ENLIGHTENED self-interest. Whenever it is practical, safe, and reasonably efficient to do so, I walk, cycle, or ride public transit, for my own physical, emotional, and financial health, as well as for the environment. I drive my compact-midsize low-emission 4-cylinder cars (e.g., a VW Passat station wagon) about 4000mi/6500km per year and make them last for many years. Although I own and use a gas-fired clothes dryer, I save energy by hanging towels, jeans, and other large, bulky items on a clothesline. My mostly-vegetarian diet is nutritious and thorougly enjoyable.

Bottom line: There is a balanced, tenable middle ground in the debate on global warming and in lifestyle choice. By reducing waste of energy and/or materials, we can continue to enjoy the fruits of our modern lifestyle, while significantly curbing its adverse impacts.
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Old 11-09-02, 09:57 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally posted by Greg
It's proven fact that bicycles have caused 52.7% of all global warming.
To qualify Greg's statement, it should be pointed out that most of the global warming caused by bicycling is is due to biker flatulants.

Hmm. Well, anyway, I can say that I feel hotter when I bicycle than when I ride in a car, so there may be something to Greg's info.
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Old 11-10-02, 06:27 PM   #15
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Even if all cars are made pollution-free, I will ride a bike.

I like the way it makes me fit. Cars contribute to physical deterioration and health problems (should this warning be put on the side of all cars sold and on all car ads?)
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Old 11-18-02, 06:47 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally posted by Merriwether
If there really is such a thing as "global warming", and more importantly if human activity is the cause, the appropriate measures ought to be taken later, if at all. We'll know better what the effects are in the future, we'll be richer, and have more technology available to adapt. What we ought not to do is derail the economy of the first world now.

Lest some be tempted to start employing the usual metaphors about driving on a dark road with no lights and refusing to hit the brakes, notice that the cost of taking the action urged on us by environmentalists is huge, and certain. That "global warming" is a serious problem, and one we can do anything to reverse even if it is, is much less clear.

So, here's one vote for ignoring this "issue" for a while.

Some other articles for anyone interested in the radical, right-wing view:

http://www.cato.org/current/global-warming/
I agree it's hard to prove global warming. I appear to be very far right on the political spectrun. Saying that I can see lots of ways to reduce polution and reducing polution seems to be a good thing even if it has nothing to do with global warming.

Joe
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Old 11-18-02, 07:04 AM   #17
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hey Joe, i like the comment...

basically the only reasons NOT to reduce pollution:
* it's cheaper - i.e. more profitable
* it's easier - i.e. no restrctions, regulations, sacrafices

for the benefits of reducing pollution and keeping our environment clean, safe and beautiful i cannot see why some pollution-reduction is not warranted...

now, deciding on the tradeoff between cost and benefits is difficult. this is one reason why i am a proponent for the "pollution trading" ideas where companies can buy and sell the rights to pollute. although from a pure environmentalist standpoint this sounds horrible - "buying and selling the right to pollute" - i think it a good way to integrate the environment into the economic system which i think bcause of the dominance of profti-driven capitalism is a requirement to really improve the environment; only when it affects the corporate bottom line on the positive side will the environment really be protected.

joining Kyto, even if you don't believe in global warming, would establish a global pollution trading market and really start the efforts to reduce pollution (because the companies that do so would earn TONS of money)
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Old 11-18-02, 11:43 AM   #18
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Italy it is quite common now that young unmarried men in their 20s and 30s live at home with their moms so they can afford an expensive car
That's not why . . . It mama's Spaghetti and Lasagna!
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