Do computers outpace cars as vehicle of self-expression ?

As a young urbanite, I don’t own a car. Indeed, cars are very expensive nowadays – with oil costing more than 1.50 euro per liter, or $8 a gallon – and public transportation make it quite easy to ditch your car in Paris.

However, I own a computer. I believe it is making a statement about me as I carefully chose each component and assembled them all by myself.  I now have a silent and nice computer that consumes little energy on my desk at home.

Even if I wouldn’t turn down an offer for a Ford Gran Torino (pictured above, ala Starsky and Hutch) or a 1970 Mustang (sorry for the clichés), I don’t need a car, I don’t want a car.

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USA unveil $53 billion high speed rail investments

American high speed rail supporters, rejoice ! To Ecogeek : ” Vice President Joe Biden announced that the Obama administration is investing $53 billion in high speed rail development over the next six years.”

Yes, you read it right : President Obama is really willing to invest nearly 40 billion euros in high speed rail to enable 80 percent of Americans to have access to this great alternative to both private cars and planes.

As a long time supporter of public transportation, I am absolutely thrilled by this announcement. This should enable the country to start catching up with European countries, Japan and China

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SNCF, à nous de vous faire préférer le train ?

The French National Railways want us to believe their service is so good you will ditch your car and take only trains. At first I thought so as the SNCF indeed enabled me to avoid a tonne of CO2 emissions in 2008.

But between their often prohibitive tariffs and their repetitive and long-lasting strikes I am tired. I am also fed up of waiting between two trains, sick of the time it takes to just to just get there…

I am not the only in thinking that the service proposed by the SNCF could improve dramatically and that a little competition would do wonders.

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A great project for US high speed rail

Future-high-speed-rail-USA-2030I previously noted that the United States have a plan of creating ten high speed rail corridors by 2020. Even if this is a good idea, it isn’t enough as it won’t enable Americans to travel from coast to coast.

This might be done by 2030 according to the US High Speed Rail Network which advocates the building of 17,000 miles (27,000 km) of high speed rail which would enable trains to go as fast as 220 mph (355 kmph).

The map above shows what the network could look like by 2030. The US would by then have a similar network to its European counterpart. A bright prospect that deserves our support.

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Trains, a brilliant solution for the 21st century

japan-rail-cinderella-express-poster-detailIt seems that trains and other mass transit systems have a bright future in front of them. As climate change and energy scarcity increase, alternatives to cars and planes are sought.

What if a new generation of trains could help in solving both problems ? TreeHugger dedicated lately a certain amount of articles to such solutions and this post sums up their discoveries.

I always liked trains, and have been using them extensively in 2008. It seems that it will only increase and I can but rejoice of that.

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I avoided a tonne of CO2 emissions this year

tgv-blurThis year I avoided the emission of more than a tonne of carbon dioxide – more likely 1,500 kilograms – by simply taking the train on various occasions like business or leisure trips.

Fast trains in France –  like the TGV on the left – are powered by electricity, which is 90% low carbon. Relatively reliable, it is a pleasure to use them and work while going at 360 km/h. (200mph)

Thus, using public transportation systems fights climate change. Decreasing CO2 emissions is easy, we will see it with my Towards Sustainability series.

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How I avoided 200 kgs of CO2 emissions in ten days

Two weeks ago I took some vacations and visited my family near Nancy. Additionally, I went to the renewable energies fair in Paris. It was also the opportunity for me to have a most interesting meeting.

All this brought me to travel up to 1,600 kilometers (approx. 1,000 miles). By choosing the train instead of my Toyota Yaris, I avoided the emissions of up to 208 kilograms of carbon dioxide.

With this travel, I am reaching a total reduction of 800 kilograms of CO2 this year. I plan to reach a minimum of a thousand five hundred kilograms in 2008.

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574.8 kph !

This is the speed achieved today by the French Train à Grande Vitesse (high speed train) hence breaking the previous world record of 515 kph dated from 1990. This world record is interesting as train is releasing much less greenhouse gases than planes.

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