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How to transform personal transportation with existing tools

Previous posts about CyberTran described next-generation mass transit systems. But nobody expects automobiles to disappear from U.S. roads in the near future. We need to get efficiency way up, fast. The automobile equivalent of CyberTran is the ultra-light electric car. Electric cars don't have to be dull; Tesla Motors sells the Tesla roadster, a ~$100,000 electric sports car that can outrun a comparable Ferrari costing almost twice the price. But they also don't have to be toys for the filthy rich. Solectria demonstrated the midsize four-passenger Sunrise in 1997. It traveled 216 miles from Boston to New York at normal …

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Time for the feds to step in

My previous post about CyberTran described a mass transit system that is highly energy efficient compared to conventional transit, and is inexpensive enough, and supports small stations well enough, to work in suburbs as well as cities. Some readers were disappointed to find that CyberTran is not currently running anywhere -- that it is still experimental. Well, it is disappointing. CyberTran was invented around 20 years ago. It has been alpha tested every imaginable way. They had a fully functioning prototype people could ride down in Alameda for two years. They had quarter-scale models running for years before that. They …

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Public transit that would work in Houston

No, mass transit is not just for cities like Boston, New York, and Washington D.C. CyberTran[1] is a form of mass transit suitable for most parts of the nation, from suburbs to the densest parts of Manhattan. It is not so much a new system as an overlooked one. The advantages: It offers 24-hour availability. Your journey time is about the same as in a car. Your rail-car is ready when you are. You never need to stand. Stops are near your home and your final destination. You can read the paper during your trip. No magic is involved. CyberTran …

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Dams squeeze methane out of river water

There is a major controversy brewing on how carbon neutral large scale hydroelectricity really is. It has been known for a long time that dams emit both methane and CO2. The question has always been, how much of those emission are net? According to the International Rivers Network (PDF), studies by ecologist Philip Fearnside of the National Institute for Research in the Amazon (INPA) have shown that net methane emissions from hydropower are slightly higher than those from burning natural gas. Rivers generally have organic matter trapped in their silt and mud. This rots in the dark, wet environment, producing …

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An op-ed in a UK paper

An opinion piece in The Independent argues that carbon trading is not the most effective way to reduce emissions, and is in fact counterproductive. I've been known to make this argument myself, so I'm glad to see it in a major UK paper. (It will be quite a wait before we see it in major U.S. media.)

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It’s a bad frame in the long term

(Hi, I'm Gar Lipow. I've worked extensively on renewable energy issues, and have written an (as-yet-unpublished) book on alternatives to carbon emissions, mentioned by John McGrath here. I'm going to be posting on efficiency and renewable technologies that can replace fossil fuels as well as on the economics and politics of phasing them out.) "Energy independence" may be the buzzword in the renewable energy field. Even the invaluable Apollo Alliance emphasizes ending "dependence on foreign oil." The short-term political benefit is indisputable. The term polls in the Nineties, probably ahead of motherhood and apple pie. But it is a loser …

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