Wednesday 7 November 2007

Global Warming and the Bicycle

I have been reading about how systems are developing around the world to trade carbon offsets. As a bicycle commuter, I am concerned with the environment (although the fact that there is no parking at work may also be a big factor!) but there is also the pleasure I get riding to and from the office. It was cold and windy this morning but I dressed properly and felt great.

I received an e-mail newsletter trom TerraPass, probably the largest carbon-offset trader available to consumers. I had originally gone on their website to determine how to make my next trip to Europe carbon-neutral and there is a lot of interesting stuff on the site. What piqued my interest today was a piece by Adam Stein, the director of marketing at TerraPass, about how bicycling has changed his transportation life. But I think his concluding comments are particularly important:

Now it’s been five months of biking to and from work every day. I feel healthier and I’ve gained satisfaction from “riding” the TerraPass talk. This weekend I measured my gasoline usage from January to May (115 gallons) and June to October (55 gallons). My auto-related carbon emissions dropped from 2,249 pounds to 1,031 pounds over a comparable five-month period. I’m not saying everyone can make such changes in personal transportation. But if 20% of urban dwellers in the U.S. would shift from a car to a bike as their primary way to get around town, it would add up to a lot of tons of real carbon reductions.

When I lived in the United States, a lot of people pooh-poohed bike commuting as an alternative to driving but in fact it can serve as a useful supplement for particular kinds of trips.

Tailwinds to everyone!


Ken Woodrow said...

Shouldn't commuting by bicycle generate carbon credits that commuters could then sell to others? Might be a nice way to support that bike racing habit . . . .Too bad I've only seen ways for consumers to buy credits, not sell them.

Sprocketboy said...

This seems pretty reasonable to me. Perhaps there will be a day coming when technology will allow us to meter our carbon savings and sell them. Even TerraPass will not sell carbon-offsets of less than 6,000 tons. So we just have to live with the satisifaction of knowing that while nobody cares that we are saving the world we are getting stronger each day!

Anonymous said...

Public Policy should do more to promote cycling and discourage driving. There should be a tax rebate for living close to work (whether one drives or not).

The EU just passed laws for better mirrors on trucks.

Segregated bike line should be a priority when road building in cities.


Currently snowing down low where I live .... sigh