Not very green, no

So far, its two 24-gear rickshaws have carried 80,000 passengers within a three-mile radius of the city centre: a “driver” can expect to take home £100 for an evening’s work.

The firm also delivers for about 400 local businesses, carrying some 300,000 items a year on six cargo bikes. An international courier service uses it for the final stage of its deliveries, dropping off the packages at the depot for distribution to recipients by muscle power. The firm also does work for the local authority and NHS, and has carted off hundreds of tons of waste for, er, recycling.

The problem is that growing the food to power the humans that power the bicycles emits more CO2-e than simply firing up the petrol driven engine being replaced.

5 comments on “Not very green, no

  1. Isn’t the important thing the net CO2 emissions over the medium term, not the gross (assuming this CO2 thing is important)?

    So growing food absorbs CO2, which is then emitted when we eat it. If the two sides balance, then net emissions are zero. In contrast oil, coal etc. is emitting CO2 which was abosorbed millions of years ago, so in time-spans of the human race it’s a net emission.

    Having said that, agriculture and food production, storage and delivery are so energy-intensive that the net absorption of CO2 from the food side is much less than one might think (and may even be a net emission itself), so the ‘offset’ might not be that much.

    In fact, according to one greenie, petrol engines have lower net emissions than walking (although he based that on a meat-only diet; having the rickshaws powered by vegans might have different results).
    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/science/article2195538.ece

    It would be interesting to see the calculation for a typical diet.

  2. “It would be interesting to see the calculation for a typical diet.”

    I agree who gets 100% of their calories from meat?

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