Wednesday, December 29, 2010

World is finite, human demand is not

The Finite World - "In particular, today, as in 2007-2008, the primary driving force behind rising commodity prices isn’t demand from the United States. It’s demand from China and other emerging economies. As more and more people in formerly poor nations are entering the global middle class, they’re beginning to drive cars and eat meat, placing growing pressure on world oil and food supplies.

And those supplies aren’t keeping pace. Conventional oil production has been flat for four years; in that sense, at least, peak oil has arrived. True, alternative sources, like oil from Canada’s tar sands, have continued to grow. But these alternative sources come at relatively high cost, both monetary and environmental.

Also, over the past year, extreme weather — especially severe heat and drought in some important agricultural regions — played an important role in driving up food prices. And, yes, there’s every reason to believe that climate change is making such weather episodes more common."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Every year, Republicans try to kill Amtrak

China: Betting Big on High-Speed Rail - TIME: "Spending on railroad construction increased 80% over 2008 totals to reach $88 billion in 2009. It will climb to $120 billion this year and exceed $700 billion over the next decade. The most ambitious focus of that investment is the expansion of China's high-speed passenger rail. Right now, China is the world's leader with 6,552 km of high-speed tracks (defined as those that can carry trains at speeds over 200 km/h). It plans to double that distance in two years."

Thursday, December 16, 2010

More D.C. area commuters leaving the driving to others, census data show

More D.C. area commuters leaving the driving to others, census data show: "In a region long dominated by solo drives to work, more Washington area residents are abandoning their cars and taking public transportation to work, according to new census data that reveal a noticeable shift in commuting patterns over the past five years."

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Mass-transit tax break to shrink while fares rise

(AP Photo/Kevin Wolf, File) (Kevin Wolf - AP)
Mass-transit tax break to shrink while fares rise [Washington Post]: "Mass transit riders can save up to $1,000 a year under a federal tax break that will be reduced after Dec. 31. Unless Congress acts, their savings will be cut nearly in half. The squeeze will be especially painful because it comes on top of increased transit fares in New York, Washington and other cities."