Category Archives: Climate

A tale of two green-car markets

The Japanese market is apparently embracing more eco-friendly hybrid vehicles at a much greater rate than the US, largely due to a more wide-ranging incentive scheme. The sale stats don’t lie, as we can see (I’m including the hyperlinks from the original article to make it easier to follow up on what’s going on):

In Japan, where hybrids are now tax-free and gas prices are 78 percent higher than in the U.S., a hybrid (Honda’s Insight) topped the charts for vehicle sales for the first time ever in April. And Toyota’s gen-3 Prius, which took the crown last month, is doing well enough that the company has reportedly brought back overtime and started recruiting workers from other Toyota factories to keep up with booming demand. Chief Prius engineer Akihiko Otsuka told the New York Times recently that he expects hybrid sales to “push up the entire car market.”

Yet a Honda executive has just announced that the company expects to miss its sales targets for the Insight by as much as 33 percent this year in the U.S. That’s partly because of relatively low gas prices — they’ve dropped as much as 35 percent in the last year. As J.D. Power and Associates powertrain analyst Mike Omotoso told us recently, “When gas is cheap we tend to buy large vehicles without too much concern for the environment.”

Links o' the day 17/11/08

So very tired, but here we go:

A chaffinch map of Scotland: “The work looks deceptively simple, while in fact it is a cleverly multilayered combination of poetry, cartography, ornithology, linguistics, and maybe just a hint of Scottish nationalism”. I love the oddities of the internet.

Strip websites back to basics.

Like ice, penguins, clouds and atmospheric disturbances? Then you’ll love this selection.

I can sympathise with the Transformers. But Pokemon? Super-soakers? C’mon.

And if you haven’t had enough after that, try love, romance and other natural disasters.

Even Times Square is getting climate conscious.

Living in the shadow of past glory is not easy for some Egyptians.

Well that didn’t take long, did it, Blizzard?

Links o' the day 11/11/08

Microwave an instant chocolate cake in a mug. Tiny Planet accepts no responsibility for things going wrong or it tasting like crap, though.

People are giving up their pets because of the credit crunch.

Blogger gets 20 years for posting a picture of Burma’s military leader.

Dirt + manure = energy.

Meanwhile, the Maldives is trying to buy land in case the islands are swamped by rising sea levels.

Why would you shock yourself for the sake of good posture?

The sights of home

This, which I took while out walking, is not near my home, but is still the kind of leafy sight that greets me in the mornings (minus the shell).

Damp leaves are piling up on the front lawn and I even see the occasional flicker of frost on parked cars and shaded patches of grass. It isn’t raining, but the air holds no warmth.

Winter is back, and I’m feeling the cold more than ever before. This from a man who hails from a country the Romans once dismissed as “icy Hibernia”, and where the people were driven to savagery by the constant cold.

I wonder how much Abu Dhabi changed my physiology: I acclimatised quite well, in fact better than I had expected, thanks in part to arriving in December and so being around as the temperature climbed. But although I grew to handle 42C and even higher, I feel the chill in the mornings here. Even when the temperature is about 13C – good for this time of year – it nips a touch too much; this is a new experience for me.

I’ve found myself buying and, more importantly, wearing jumpers and the like, which I wouldn’t normally do until the dead of December. As I walked to work the other day I realised my hands were turning purple from the cold – and it wasn’t as bad as it could be.

Can one re-acclimatise to one’s native environment? Is it psychological? Did I feel all this before but am only now, with the benefit of experiencing a different climate, able to appreciate and define it?

As I write this it is 36C in Abu Dhabi and 7C in Cork. Before my departure I would never have thought that 36C would be lovely weather.