Bike commuting in Amsterdam

One of the nice things about living in Amsterdam is that I can ride to work on my bike. Compared to the Scandinavians, the Dutch are not very safety conscious. You see many people ride in the dark without lights, and not even children wear helmets. Maybe I have a vivid imagination, but accidents do happen.

Winter is coming, and it will be dark soon on the way to and from work, so I have fitted out my bike with a set of the excellent Reelights (no batteries), and I am thinking about buying a somewhat naf looking Illuminite jacket, and maybe a pair of their gloves. It is worth it, I bike along the Amstel river, and through a beautiful, green area. It is a nice way to start the day.

Review of Lomborg’s new book

In the Financial Times, Clive Crook reviews Cool It: The Skeptical Environmentalist’s Guide to Global Warming,

One man who was not rooting for Al Gore to win the Nobel Prize was Bjorn Lomborg. The smiling Dane is the anti-Gore. Unimpressed with An Inconvenient Truth , his new book challenges many of that film’s alarming statements about global warming. Mr Gore and his admirers are paying no attention, needless to say, and that is a pity.

Lomborg’s capacity to anger his opponents is limitless. Of course, he disagrees with them, an outrageous affront in itself. He says that the state of the environment is not dire. He also argues that cutting greenhouse gas emissions should not be the world’s top priority, another scandalous provocation. He makes it worse by being pleasant and reasonable (not to mention Danish), turning up in T-shirt and jeans all the time, supporting his arguments with too many footnotes and acting in other ways designed to offend. Continue reading

Prices, prices, prices

From BBC’s website,

The focus on reducing carbon emissions has blinded us to the real problem – unsustainable lifestyles, says Eamon O’Hara.[…]

We urgently need to think about the more fundamental concept of sustainability and how our lifestyles are threatening not only the environment, but developing countries and global peace and stability[…].

How many people are tired and weary of modern living? The endless cycle of earning and consumption can be exhausting and does not necessarily bring happiness and fulfillment. Can we do things differently, and better?

I don’t think an appeal to our better selves to change our lifestyles is going to work. And I certainly don’t want the government to tell me in detail what I can or can’t do.

What we need to do is to get the prices right. The enormous environmental problems in China and India show what happens if you don’t get prices for water, power, and pollution right. This is not at all simple and easy to do; rich OECD countries are also struggling to get to grips with it. But it is absolutely fundamental.

Is nuclear green?

Here is an article by Jesse Ausubel, Renewable and nuclear heresies (pdf),

Abstract: Renewables are not green. To reach the scale at which they would contribute importantly to meeting global energy demand, renewable sources of energy, such as wind, water and biomass, cause serious environmental harm. Measuring renewables in watts per square metre that each source could produce smashes these environmental idols. Nuclear energy is green.[…]

The article is discussed in New Scientist under the heading Renewable energy could ‘rape’ nature.