The TerraPass blog points to a new study out from U. Penn professor Karl Ulrich called "The Environmental Paradox of Biking" (PDF). The rather jarring conclusion is that switching people over from cars to bicycles has, at present, no net environmental benefit.
"Wha …?!" you say.
Well, here’s the thing. Just by being alive, you’re sucking up resources. In particular, lots and lots of fossil fuels are required to transport food to you. If you stop driving everywhere and bike instead, you’ll live longer. So you’ll suck up more resources. So it’s a wash.
If you really love the environment, you’ll drive your car … off a bridge.
(Yes, yes, before you start yelling at me, it’s a bit of a lark. Ulrich is a dedicated enviro — he’s responsible for the birth of TerraPass and is a dedicated cyclist. As the energy intensity of our lifestyles decreases, as it had better in coming years, the balance will change to favor biking and living longer. [Other angry-letter-diverting caveats here.])