Sonntag, 9. Dezember 2007

Greenwash bikes

There has been a lot of talk about the carbon footprint of the Bali climate talks. Questioning the carbon footprint of big events like this is justified. And clearly not everybody who is on Bali needs to be here. Take the stuck in the rut climate sceptics, for example! But let's also keep in mind, that this conference emits only as much CO2 as running the planned new coal power plant at Neurath for a mere 20 hours or so. Neurath was one of the places where the global day of action took place yesterday. (To all of you who took part a big thank you!) IF governments get their act together and agree a credible action plan here, it will have been carbon well spent - unlike at Neurath! - The hosts have also done what they can to reduce the transport emissions locally. Free bikes are available everywhere. And though it seems to be getting more and more humid by the minute, lots of people can be seen rushing around on bikes. I once got lost with one, cycling around in circles for half an hour (the closest I have gotten to exercise this week. But also to swimming - I was that wet ...!). So the bikes are a good thing as well as a fast and convenient - if sweaty - alternative to taxis. That said, some of them are also a form of greenwash. Medco energi are sponsoring the free bikes that have "Stop global warming" written all over them (see picture). Sadly, stopping global warming is not Medco energi's core business, to put it mildly. Rather, they produce oil - and are also the company behind a planned nuclear power plant in Jepara, Central Java. Those nuclear power plans are not popular. The local muslim council has declared a very reasonable fatwa against the project. And last week, some 1200 people joined us for a protest on the proposed site of the nuclear power facility. I have to think of those communities every time I dash off - carbon-free - to another meeting on a Medco energi-sponsored bike.

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