I N · T H I S · I S S U E
Ripping on Hybrids?
Absolutely not. It isn’t the type of car, it’s the car itself.
This past issue we posed a question about hybrids, questioning whether they should be given preferential treatment, even in low MPG situations. Some hybrids get far fewer miles per gallon than conventional engines. Should their drivers be rewarded?
And we got responses:
One member from Mammoth Lakes called to point out that two people in a conventionally powered car get better per- passenger gas mileage than a single person in a hybrid. He’d been thinking about it for weeks.
Another commented, “Right on Ted. It tickles me to read EcoMotion Network News. You’re asking the tough questions, the right questions. ‘Absolutely not’ is the answer to the question.”
The hybrid’s honeymoon has reached its end. It has now become an institution, susceptible to suspicion and the jaws of public opinion.
Next issue we celebrate the 50th birthday of the U.S. Interstate system, a remarkable engineering accomplishment, one that shaped our transportation patterns and lifestyle. There’s no question that the automobile has given us many benefits – and cars can be darn fun to drive! But the silver anniversary of the interstate system provides pause for reflection, and for envisioning the future.
It isn’t the type of car, it’s the car.
I remember Ralph Nader stating emphatically to Amory Lovins, “What good is a super efficient car if it’s stuck in traffic?” Al Bartlett from the University of Colorado criss-crossed the county giving his compelling lecture on exponential growth hundreds of times, pointing to the illogic of building more highways and parking garages. With the population growing exponentially, there is no way to keep up. It’s a futile cause.
Back to hybrids. No, I’m not ripping on hybrids. In fact I hope to buy one soon. Getting as many miles per gallon for whatever vehicle you choose is admirable. But our collective goal must be to create a new engineering marvel for the next 50 years, a new predominant transportation system aligned with our economic, environmental, and national security goals.
A New Windy City!
Mason City has become Iowa’s first city to allow windmills to be built just about everywhere... even in residential neighborhoods. Bucking concerns about visual impacts, television reception, emergency helicopters, and even bad odors that might be blown one way or another, Mason City now allows 100 foot high residential systems to be installed in residents’ back yards just as long as there is sufficient room on the lot for toppling towers.
China: Number One in Renewables
China has become the top investor in renewable energy in the world, claims Dr. Eric Martinot, a senior research fellow with the Worldwatch Institute and senior visiting scholar of Tsinghua University.
Martinot’s report -- Renewables 2005 Global Status Report -- says China invested 6 billion U.S. dollars in renewable energy (excluding large hydropower) in 2005 out of a global total investment of $38 billion.
Most of the money paid for small hydropower and solar hot water systems, with $600 million for wind power.
China plans to raise its electricity installed capacity for renewable energy to 10% of its total power capacity by 2010 and to 20% by 2020. Half of that will be from renewables other than large hydropower.