Thursday, 19 February 2009

Dumb questions about being Eco-friendly & Green (5)

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Q9: Does switching from bus to cycle really have any effect? Afterall cycling is also not competely carbon-neutral as I have to eat a lot to fuel cycling!
A: Relax, you're much better off cycling. A 12 km round commute on a bus or a train is reckoned to generate 160 kg of carbom/commuter/year. Somebody cycling that distance would burn about 50,000 calories a year - roughtly the amount of energy in 22 kg of brown bread. A kilo of brown bread has a carbon footprint of about 1.1 kg, So switching from public transprot to a cycle does save almost 140 kg of carbon emissions/commuter/year. Although these calculations would really work if enough people cycle to allow public transport providers to reduce the number of buses and trains they run. All said and done, you can enjoy a fit body after cycling!

Q10: Is a full commercial plane more fuel-efficient over long distances than a car?
A: Not if the car is also full. For example, EasyJet, which claims to be 30% more fuel efficient than other carriers, alrgely because it packs in more people, calculates that on an average flight per passenger accounts for 95.7 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre, compared with 164 grams for someone travelling by car. That flight will be around 80% full, so the figure would fall to 76 grams per person if every seat were taken. What's more, most EasyJet flights are either short or medium haul, making them one-third less efficient than long-haul flights (that travel more than 4000 km in one go). Long-haul flights could bring the figure down to around 50 grams per passenger. However, using EasyJet's own figures, a full car would produce just 41 grams of carbon dioxide per kilometre for each of its 4 passengers. So cars win no matter what the distance it - although clearly planes have the edge when travelling over water!

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