Transport - June 20
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Farmers swap trucks for horses due to petrol price
Samantha Williams, Telegraph (Australia)
MANY struggling farmers have been forced to swap their trucks for horses to move cattle around the state because of rising fuel prices.
Droving was once the only method of moving cattle in the outback until road transport forced the traditional way of moving stock in decline.
But droving is making a comeback because drought-stricken farmers can't afford the sky-high fuel prices to cart their livestock.
(18 June 2008)
Walking: Still Better Than Driving
Clark Williams-Derry, World Changing
In case you missed it, there was a bit of a kerfuffle in the blogosphere a few months back, concerning the climate impacts of walking vs. driving. Apparently, some folks -- New York Times columnist and blogger John Tierney in particular -- were spreading the claim that a pleasant stroll to the store might actually release more GHGs than getting behind the wheel. Other bloggers picked up the meme, including one post with the headline: "Be Green: Drive."
The idea may sound absurd, but there's a legitimate insight behind it. Walking burns calories, which come from food -- and it takes an enormous quantity of fossil fuels to produce, process, and transport everything that we eat. Add in the other GHGs from agriculture -- everything from cow manure to emissions from synthetic fertilizers -- and you've got a potent global warming cocktail in every glass of milk.
But our doppelgangers at the Pacific Institute did their homework, compiling evidence about climate emissions from both cars and food. And they came to the conclusion that walking emits about one-quarter the GHGs of driving -- earning a partial retraction from Tierney. (You go, PacInst!)
But looking at the numbers, I think that the Pacific Institute's numbers are conservative. In fact, I think that when I take a short walk, I'm being at least 12 times as friendly to the climate as if I drove.
(18 June 2008)
Driving Less, Americans Finally React to Sting of Gas Prices, a Study Says
Clifford Krauss, New York Times
As the price of gasoline quadrupled over the last decade, American drivers seemed to defy the laws of economics by pumping more into their vehicles year after year.
But this is the year American drivers appear to be finally succumbing to price shock at the pump, according to a new report by Cambridge Energy Research Associates, a consulting firm affiliated with IHS Inc. It says the slowdown in the economy and soaring gasoline prices have finally persuaded Americans to drive fewer miles in fewer gas-guzzling vehicles.
“U.S. gasoline demand will likely decline in 2008 for the first time in more than 17 years,” says the report to be released Thursday. “For the first time since the 1970s and early 1980s the number of miles driven by Americans has clearly begun trending downward.”
(19 June 2008)
Related: DOT's Traffic Volume Trends (PDF)
Airline lobby starts its own "Energy Bulletin."
ATA Smart Brief, Air Transport Association
From an accompanying message:
Dear ATA SmartBrief reader,
The future of the airline business, and the national, local and world economies that depend upon it, are threatened by skyrocketing jet fuel prices. From 2000 to 1Q08, jet fuel prices soared 217 percent, while domestic fares declined 0.5 percent.
Because of the importance of this issue and the imperatives to address both longer-term national energy needs and shorter-term market concerns, ATA SmartBrief is now featuring a section, called "Energy Bulletin," dedicated to jet fuel and related energy price and supply issues. It will appear below the "Company Watch" section. We hope that you find this new feature of value, and as always, we welcome your feedback.
(18 June 2008)
Pointed out by contributor DM who explains: "ATA is the Air Transport Assn. Biggest airline industry lobby group."
Let 10, let 100, let 1000 "Energy Bulletins" bloom. -BA