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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

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Old 01-12-07, 12:28 PM   #1
Roody
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Car boom in Europe--Dublin vs. Copenhagen

Car Boom Puts Europe on Road to a Smoggy Future
By ELISABETH ROSENTHAL
Published: January 7, 2007
I thought a lot of you might be interested in this NYT article. Four points that I thought were especially interesting:
Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Times
But in this booming city [Dublin], where the number of cars has doubled in the last 15 years, there is little choice, they said. “Believe me — if there was an alternative we would use it,” said Ms. O’Connell, 40, a textile designer. “We care about the environment. It’s just hard to follow through here.”

No trains run to the new suburbs where hundreds of thousands of Dubliners now live, and the few buses going there overflow with people. So nearly everyone drives — to work, to shop, to take their children to school — in what seems like a constant smoggy, traffic jam. Since 1990, emissions from transportation in Ireland have risen about 140 percent, the most in Europe. But Ireland is not alone.
This sounds a lot like things we hear in the states every day. People tell me it's impossible to be carfree here, even when they know they're talking to somebody who is carfree!


Quote:
Originally Posted by NY Times
The 23 percent growth in vehicular emissions in Europe since 1990 has “offset” the effect of cleaner factories, according to a recent report by the European Environment Agency. The growth has occurred despite the invention of far more environmentally friendly fuels and cars.

“What we gain by hybrid cars and ethanol buses, we more than lose because of sheer numbers of vehicles,” said Ronan Uhel, a senior scientist with the European Environment Agency, which is based in Copenhagen. Vehicles, mostly cars, create more than one-fifth of the greenhouse-gas emissions in Europe, where the problem has been extensively studied.
Cars are gaining, worldwide, as sources of greenhouse gas emissions.


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Originally Posted by NY Times
The few places that have aggressively sought to fight the trend have taken sometimes draconian measures. Denmark, for example, treats cars the way it treats yachts — as luxury items — imposing purchase taxes that are sometimes 200 percent of the cost of the vehicle. A simple Czech-made Skoda car that costs $18,400 in Italy or Sweden costs more than $34,000 in Denmark.
In another NYT article recently, it was pointed out that, in annual surveys, the Danes are consistently the "happiest people in the developed world." I don't know if this has anything to do with their limitations on cars....

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The number of bicycles on Danish streets has increased in recent years, and few people under the age of 30 own cars. Many families have turned to elaborate three-wheeled contraptions. (Beijing, meanwhile, has restricted the use of traditional three-wheeled bikes.)
The "elaborate three-wheeled contraptions" referred to in the article are Christiana bikes. Do you like them? Would they be competetive with xracyles here in the states?
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Old 01-12-07, 12:51 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by New York Times
But in this booming city [Dublin], where the number of cars has doubled in the last 15 years, there is little choice, they said. “Believe me — if there was an alternative we would use it..."
Man, there's gonna be one big "thud" when oil starts running low...
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Old 01-12-07, 06:34 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by Originally Posted by NY Times
The 23 percent growth in vehicular emissions in Europe since 1990 has “offset” the effect of cleaner factories, according to a recent report by the European Environment Agency. The growth has occurred despite the invention of far more environmentally friendly fuels and cars.

“What we gain by hybrid cars and ethanol buses, we more than lose because of sheer numbers of vehicles,” said Ronan Uhel, a senior scientist with the European Environment Agency, which is based in Copenhagen. Vehicles, mostly cars, create more than one-fifth of the greenhouse-gas emissions in Europe, where the problem has been extensively studied.
At least the European Environment Agency understands that they have a problem. In the US, this realization hasn't even dawned on most governmental agencies (or they are keeping it quiet...). Another good thing is that having strong models like Denmark will provide Europe with a direction when their member countries like Ireland seek a solution.
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Old 01-12-07, 06:48 PM   #4
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http://www.globalpublicmedia.com/articles/836

http://www.fcnp.com/index.php?option...=510&Itemid=33

there have been several discussions, hearings, and meetings amongst congress about the future, they are more or less aware, and even one congressman( Roscoe Bartlett) have given presentations about what's happening

now, considering this means undoing and rethinking behaviors and expectations that most citizens of the US have been born to, how much reaction and actual action are we really gonna get? so far, not much, and I'm not expecting much either, everything we do must change in a systemic fashion or it will long, drawn out, painful, expensive, and quite possibly pretty damn ugly
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Old 01-12-07, 07:53 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by pedex
everything we do must change in a systemic fashion or it will long, drawn out, painful, expensive, and quite possibly pretty damn ugly
and that's understating it.

Getting the entire country to accept that every single aspect of their lives must change? Damn near impossible. I can only hope I don't catch a stray bullet as I ride past the riots at the gas stations when the hoarding begins.
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Old 01-12-07, 09:50 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
The "elaborate three-wheeled contraptions" referred to in the article are Christiana bikes. Do you like them? Would they be competetive with xracyles here in the states?
I like them. We seem to be getting a little Bakfiets-crazy in this town.

http://bikeportland.org/2006/08/18/b...s-on-broadway/
http://bikeportland.org/2006/11/08/a...ike-any-other/
http://bikeportland.org/2006/10/27/p...bakfiets-blog/
http://bikeportland.org/2006/11/09/i...e-distributor/

People with kids seem especially excited about getting one, so I'm not sure if they would compete with Xtracycles.
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Old 01-13-07, 04:44 AM   #7
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James Howard Kunstler says it's the North Sea oil that has brought the prosperity to Ireland.
He also says the North Sea oil fields are in decline.
Just as they've seen ecomomic advancement they'll be experiencing ecomomic decline.
They, like us, will regret squandering their wealth on a system of living that cannot be sustained when the wealth is gone.
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Old 01-13-07, 06:59 AM   #8
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From the article:

>>>>>>>>>John MacClain, a cabdriver in Dublin for 20 years, said that on a recent trip to Prague, he liked the architecture just fine. But what really impressed him, he said, was “the tram system.”

“Now that was beautiful,” he said. “I could get everywhere with ease.”<<<<<<<<<<

I live next to a tram (lightrail) stop and it's the only reason why I'm living in my town. The buses do not come frequent enough for me and it's cramp and the ride is horrible. That tram made me carfree and bike free for the most part. There's only three stops in my town and if I decide to move, it will be to get CLOSER to the lightrail because it's that important in my life. That train which comes every 15 minutes, 7 days a week is my lifeline to work and shopping.
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Old 01-13-07, 11:27 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by GeoKrpan
James Howard Kunstler says it's the North Sea oil that has brought the prosperity to Ireland.
He also says the North Sea oil fields are in decline.
Just as they've seen ecomomic advancement they'll be experiencing ecomomic decline.
They, like us, will regret squandering their wealth on a system of living that cannot be sustained when the wealth is gone.
I don't think this is a complete picture of Ireland. For one thing, their economic boom has seen a huge development in high tech, particularly software development, which was due partly to their fine education system. Also, they have benefitted from have lower wages and an influx of capital from the EU.

This is a somewhat rosy picture of their boom, but seems complete from what I've read
http://www.celtia.info/culture/economy/celtictiger.html

If you want a country that has really benefitted from North Sea Oil, try Norway.
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Old 01-15-07, 10:35 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Roody
The "elaborate three-wheeled contraptions" referred to in the article are Christiana bikes. Do you like them? Would they be competetive with xracyles here in the states?
I haven't seen an xtracycle or long bike but I have a neighbor that has one of the Christiana bikes. They use to ride with their two kids around the neighborhood. Not sure if they use it for other purposes but I see them on a regular basis in the neighborhood.
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Old 01-16-07, 01:25 PM   #11
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I have an Irish acquaintance. She tells me that even 15 years ago, people would be enthralled with her stories of the cars and houshold appliances that we were taking for granted. Now, the Irish standard of living is probably as high as our own, and her Irish relatives own the same number of cars and appliances as we do.

The article only mentioned cars, but I'm sure that Irish consumption of electricity and heaing oil has also skyrocketed. Look for the same thing to happen in China, India, Eastern Europe, Southern Europe, southeastern Asia, and all the other newly prosperous areas of the world.

The emission of greenhouse gases is not winding down--it's barely started!
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