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Transport: Bicycles, trains, electric cars and nuclear ships

About the author

Tony Curzon Price was Editor-in-Chief of openDemocracy from 2007 to 2012, where he is now contributing editor and technical director. He blogs at tony.curzon.com

May 4th 2009. Join the Group Read. Chapter 20. Transport

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Electrify transport. There's not much to beat trains+bicycles, and any government looking for a Keynesian stimulus should find lots of infrastructure opportunities here.(For the UK, reverse Beeching at last))

David MacKay comes down softly on the car---which shows great realism---and finds that electrification is the only real solution there. He debunks hydrogen as a good energy carrier. Flying is a really tough case---there is not much that can be done to reduce its energy intensity. (I was sitting in an easyjet plane the other day that tried to convince me of its greenery by saying: "Flying contributes less CO2 than driving to the atmosphere" ...). Batteries are the way to go---though just wait for the peak lithium scares.

David has an interesting aside on nuclear ships. If we could make the (political) world safe for small-scale nuclear power, maybe there's more than ships that could benefit.