Your car is not doing any environmental damage when it's parked, is it? Maybe not directly, but the simple act of parking plays an important role in enabling people to drive more without really considering the consequences or alternatives and, more importantly, creates a lot of emissions while people look for a parking spot. Two related stories on this issue crossed our virtual desk today, one that rethinks how parking should operate in urban and suburban areas and the other that wants us to tu
2009 was not a good year for car sales. No surprises there. An interesting side effect of lowered sales last year, though, is that the total number of vehicles in the overall U.S. car fleet dropped. There were 250 million cars here in 2008, and only 246 million at the end of 2009. We may have been buying fewer cars than we usually do in a year – there were around 10 million sold in 2009 – but we still got rid of 14 million units.
Lester Brown of the Earth Policy Institute says there is little reliable data available to correctly gauge how much grain is needed to feed ethanol distilleries. The federal government says 60 million tons of corn from the 2008 harvest will go to ethanol plants. EPI predicts nearly 140 million tons. So why worry about a few million tons of corn? Food prices around the world.
Lester Brown, the president of the Earth Policy Institute said yesterday that the increase in ethanol production around the world could one day hurt the world's poor as foodstuffs like corn and soybeans are turned into ethanol. Brown said, "This is shaping up as competition between the 800 million people in the world that own automobiles and the 2 billion low-income people in the world, many of whom are already spending over half their income on food."