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State Rep. Says Biking Is Not Earth Friendly Because Breathing Produces CO2 976

Posted by samzenpus
from the pedal-price dept.
terbeaux writes "The fact that Rep Ed Orcutt (R — WA) wants to tax bicycle use is not extraordinary. The representative's irrational conviction is. SeattleBikeBlog has confirmed reports that Orcutt does not feel bicycling is environmentally friendly because the activity causes cyclists to have 'an increased heart rate and respiration.' When they contacted him he clarified that 'You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car...' Cascade blog has posted the full exchange between Rep Ed Orcutt and a citizen concerned about the new tax."
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State Rep. Says Biking Is Not Earth Friendly Because Breathing Produces CO2

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @09:59AM (#43066835)

    For those interested, I'd recommend the book How Bad is a Banana, which examines the carbon footprint of various foods (which varies greatly).

    Fun tidbit: If you were to take your calories from asparagus (which has a big carbon footprint), riding a bike actually has a bigger carbon footprint than a city bus. Yea, I know we don't eat only asparagus, but the point is still valid: you can just look at the surface and ignore the externalities of your actions.

    • by bhcompy (1877290) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:04AM (#43066901)
      This post has merit and should feel good about itself
    • by Inda (580031) <slash.20.inda@spamgourmet.com> on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:21AM (#43067135) Journal
      I'd suggest that book it dated if it's giving advice like that.

      These days, asparagus can be grown in a single season. In yestayear, it would have taken two. I've grown some lovely spears myself and they take no more work than any other type of vegetable. Maybe slightly more space is needed, but not that much.
      • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:28AM (#43068027)

        I'd suggest that book it dated if it's giving advice like that. These days, asparagus can be grown in a single season. In yestayear, it would have taken two. I've grown some lovely spears myself and they take no more work than any other type of vegetable. Maybe slightly more space is needed, but not that much.

        Even if it grew in one season, asparagus isn't very high in calories. The hypothetical man trying to consume 2000 calories of it would need something like 10 kg/day! And can you imagine the "asparagus pee" you'd get from that?

        Anyway -- where did you find this single-season asparagus? I've never planted it just due to impatience (and need to move every so often). Is it a new variety, or is there a successful way of raising it to maturity in a greenhouse/nursery before transplanting to a garden?

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:28AM (#43067215)

      Well yes, but not because its Asparagus, but rather because it's grown in Peru and imported at great CO2 cost using petroleum fueled ships and truck:

      http://www.coopfoodstore.coop/content/what-price-asparagus

      In fact, thin air is a strong CO2 producer..... if you bottle it in Peru and ship it to the breather in trucks.

      • by h4rr4r (612664) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:40AM (#43067393)

        Actually shipping is very efficient. It can take far more fossil fuels to grow crops outside their ideal area vs transporting them.

        I guess we could all only eat things grown in a 20 mile radius, but that would be pretty limiting.

        • by j-beda (85386) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:17AM (#43067881) Homepage

          Actually shipping is very efficient. It can take far more fossil fuels to grow crops outside their ideal area vs transporting them.

          I guess we could all only eat things grown in a 20 mile radius, but that would be pretty limiting.

          Something like 10% of the carbon footprint of agriculture is due to transportation to the consumer. While "eating local" is generally a good idea, by itself it is not a complete solution. Winter hothouse tomatoes in Britain contribute significantly more CO2 than importing Spanish field tomatoes to Britain, for example.

          • by SlippyToad (240532) on Monday March 04, 2013 @04:46PM (#43072097)

            I guess we could all only eat things grown in a 20 mile radius, but that would be pretty limiting.,

            Before Mr. Earl Butz [wikipedia.org], we did only eat things grown locally. Mr. Butz thought a lot of money could be made shipping our food thousands of miles, and voila we have Big Agribusiness [grist.org] the modern American waistline, diabetes, and increasingly, horse meat in our burgers, carp in our crab, and all the other lovely things to hate about the current very frightening state of our food supply.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:28AM (#43067221)

      Most of these claims often analyze the entire chain of producing asparagus, while neglecting to do the same for fuel the bus is using. So while superficially it is an interesting statement, the way it is derived is probably flawed. You can't compare the carbon footprint of asparagus vs. the emissions of a city bus. You also have to take into consideration the carbon footprint of the fuel the city bus is using.

    • by sootman (158191) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:41AM (#43067413) Homepage Journal

      I haven't read the book but I find that hard to believe for many reasons.

      1. You are going to breathe some anyway, so you need to look at how much more CO2 you give off than if you were just sitting. And they need to compare a typical rider, not Lance Armstrong in competition mode. The bicycle is one of the most efficient forms of transportation ever made, in terms of distance traveled per energy put in. I rode a bike pretty much exclusively in college, and in a flat town, it's less work than walking. Pedal, coast. Pedal, coast. Pedal, coast.

      2. If you're going to look at all the CO2 it took to make some asparagus, then you need to be fair and look at all the CO2 it took to make every single component of the car, and assemble the car, and all the CO2 it took to gather and refine the petroleum that's in the tank -- not just the CO2 that's coming out the tailpipe. I'd also be curious how he made his measurements -- like the saying goes, it takes a lot to build a factory to make one can of soup, but after you've done that, the next million cans are pretty easy.

      3. I'd also like the see the footprints of more foods. There's probably a 10x, if not 100x, difference between the highest and lowest foods, and as you say, we don't all eat just asparagus.

      4. And finally, are you talking about the entire bus, or just one rider's worth? The good Rep. Orcutt is talking about biking versus driving a car, and we all know that a bus with 60 people gives off less CO2 than 60 people driving.

      If you're familiar with the book, I'd be curious to know the answer to any of those questions.

      In any case, the representative is full of shit. When I'm walking my kid to school, and we get to the door, I can smell the exhaust of the dozens of cars sitting there. It does not smell like that from an equal number of people breathing.

  • by pianophile (181111) on Monday March 04, 2013 @09:59AM (#43066837)
    Does the House GOP caucus have a minimum stupidity requirement?
    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:07AM (#43066939)
      Nope - you just need to be able to take the economy hostage and kiss rich people's asses.
    • by Tridus (79566) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:18AM (#43067097) Homepage

      Yes, they need to be dumb enough to appeal to the "moron voters that fear intelligence" demographic.

      Said demographic is quite large.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by DigiShaman (671371)

      No, it doesn't. But then again, California does have it's Barbara Boxer and Nancy Pelosi. As a "conservative", I know longer have faith in any elected official. And yes, it is condescending to say this, but the vast majority of the voting public are STUPID!!!. And there is nothing I can do about it but suffer along with the rest of you dumb numbs!

    • by Grayhand (2610049) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:46AM (#43067473)

      Does the House GOP caucus have a minimum stupidity requirement?

      They are trying to construct an Infinity Stupidity Drive. You need to cram 500lbs of bullshit in a 10lb bag then light it on fire while a 100 Congressmen dance on it singing God Bless America. It won't power a starship and is a complete waste of time but it makes as much sense as everything else they are doing lately!

    • by mabhatter654 (561290) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:00AM (#43067611)

      Did you know Congresscritters expel CO2? LOTS of it.

    • by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:36AM (#43068153)

      Does the House GOP caucus have a minimum stupidity requirement?

      Although I hate to be fair to Republicans, I'm going to point out that some pretty unqualified people can get elected to state legislatures regardless of party. In a heavily Republican (or heavily Democratic) district, a candidate might actually run unopposed. It can be hard for even the majority local party to recruit a good candidate. Not just anyone can get their boss to give them 2 or 3 months off to serve in the statehouse. So you just might end up with an unemployed loon getting in by default.

    • by operagost (62405) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:51AM (#43068345) Homepage Journal

      Does the House have a minimum stupidity requirement?

      FTFY. Remember, we've got Maxine Waters saying 170 million jobs will be lost due to the sequester, when we don't even have that many Americans in the work force right now. Stupidity is standard equipment for the politician. If you keep pointing at one party, you'll let the other one off the hook.

  • I sighed (Score:5, Funny)

    by programmerar (915654) on Monday March 04, 2013 @09:59AM (#43066839) Journal

    I sighed while reading this, fatigued by the comments of the congressman. Sorry for the extra CO2 guys.

  • Simple solution (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wbr1 (2538558) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:01AM (#43066861)
    Set up two sealed rooms with a glass wall.
    In one room have a car outside the window with its exhaust piped into the room.
    In the other have a cyclist on an exercise bike working out. Pipe his exhalations into the room.
    Outfit the room with a nice desk and sofa and other accouterments. Then ask the esteemed congressman which room he would like to spend the day in.

    For myself it would depend on if the cyclist had eaten garlic recently!
  • by Bill_the_Engineer (772575) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:01AM (#43066863)
    By his own reasoning, Rep Ed Orcutt needs to lower his CO2 production by keeping his mouth shut. He would do both the planet and his colleagues a favor.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:01AM (#43066865)
    It's clear that he is just lobbying, and that's just not true. But the benefits of people commuting aren't only in helping the atmosphere, but our society, full of obese people that doesn't interact with others and act like retards with their cars.
    • by kannibal_klown (531544) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:21AM (#43067133)

      It's clear that he is just lobbying, and that's just not true. But the benefits of people commuting aren't only in helping the atmosphere, but our society, full of obese people that doesn't interact with others and act like retards with their cars.

      The only problem with that, is my experience is the that the percentage of idiots in cars is roughly the same as the percentage of idiots on bicycles. Which isn't bad, I guess, if there were only bicycles in the road.

      But when you mix bikes and cars together, even with a biking lane, the idiots make things dangerous. A) because they're idiots and B) because SOME cyclists think that since they're not in cars they don't need to follow the rules.

      And some of the biggest idiots I've talked to about it, are people that have recently switched "for the environment" Like I've yelled at people that did the below, and their response was simply "But it's good for the environment." Great, will the environment save me from the lawsuit your family will file because I hit you with the car because you swerved in front of me?

      Stuff I've seen
      - Let's speed down the middle of a one-way street, going the wrong way.
      - Let's ride down the middle of an actual highway... yeh, nothing bad will happen here. (Seriously, saw that and went WTF)
      - That red light (or stop sign) at the bottom of the hill is only for cars... I don't need to stop or even slow down
      - Let's make a left turn here while on this 40MpH road without indicating or looking, I'm sure the car behind me can stop in time
      - Hmm, I think I'll dig in my pocket and look for my cellphone, then start talking on the cellphone, while weaving around like a drunk idiot
      - Hmm, I'm obviously not a great cyclist... so let me ride carelessly on a 40MpH road, fall down in the middle of the road without a helmet, and nearly cause a bunch of accidents as they try not to drive over my head.

      Obviously, there are plenty of careful and educated cyclists out there... especially the ones that take it seriously (helmet, solid bike, proper signals, etc). But the idiots out there are quite bountiful. And of course, hitting one due to their stupidity will obviously result in ME getting hit with criminal and/or civil issues out the whazoo.

      • To me, this all seems like a problem with cyclist education and your local laws.

        In European cities, where cycling is much more common, there seems to be significantly fewer (although sadly still more than zero) idiots. I assume it's simply that because cycling is so much more common, both the cyclists and the vehicle drivers are more used to dealing with each other.

        Beyond that, cyclists can and do end up taking the blame when they cause an accident. An acquaintance of mine here in Germany was cycling drunk one day, ran a red light and got hit side on by a VW convertible going 50km/h. He was thrown a significant distance and woke up in hospital, lucky to be alive. Upon being released from hospital, a couple of police officers had a nice chat with him about the accident and the end result was that he ended up paying two separate fines for cycling whilst under the influence as well as running a red light; AND he had to pay for the damage he caused to the car (normally there's a type of insurance here that covers that sort of thing, but being the relatively irresponsible type (obviously) he doesn't have it).

      • That red light (or stop sign) at the bottom of the hill is only for cars... I don't need to stop or even slow down

        So what should a cyclist do facing a red light at the bottom of a hill that has stayed red for several minutes because the bicycle doesn't have enough metal surface to trip the induction sensor that it has remained stopped over? I've reported it to the city, but the city claims that fixing the sensor isn't in its budget. No, there's no marked crosswalk or pedestrian call button. No, leaning the bike doesn't help on this particular signal. Not even carrying a loop of patch cable in my left shoe works. I gues

      • Agreed but a remark (Score:4, Interesting)

        by aepervius (535155) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:04AM (#43067683)
        There are as many idiot on bike as in car. BUT and that is a really important point, idiot biker are far more likely to damage themselves than to damage other, on the contrary to idiot in car. In fact for many of the point you cited above , I saw in the last years at least one car doing it. Up to the point of having a geisterfahrer (guys which take the highway on the frigging wrong direction going coutner sense of the other car).
        "- Let's speed down the middle of a one-way street, going the wrong way."
        Have had car do that on me. At 40 mph in a city road because they were in a hurry.

        - Let's ride down the middle of an actual highway... yeh, nothing bad will happen here. (Seriously, saw that and went WTF)
        As said above see my paragraph about geisterfahrer.

        - That red light (or stop sign) at the bottom of the hill is only for cars... I don't need to stop or even slow down
        Was badly hurt by a car which tought red light don't count. There was no policeman so hey who the fuck care about red light, right RIGHT ? And I don't count the number of time where car think stops sign and "right of way" do not count if you ride a bike. And seems surprised when you fume at them ("You should not be in the road , it is for car only fucktard")

        - Let's make a left turn here while on this 40MpH road without indicating or looking, I'm sure the car behind me can stop in time
        My colleagues fumes about cars doing that all the time, never putting the blinker light. So I am guessing ehre it is actually a widespread "sport" of forgetting for everybody to put a indication. On the other hand nearly 1/3 of the time if I put my arm to the left, the guys whicha re up to 100m behind me REEVES their motor up the wazoo and accelerate to pass before I go to the left. I dunno for the US, but here once you put your harm to the elft, unless they were already engaged to pass over you, they should not accelerate , they should slow down and let the bike pass. As I said a full 1/3 of the population ignore that fully.

        - Hmm, I think I'll dig in my pocket and look for my cellphone, then start talking on the cellphone, while weaving around like a drunk idiot
        Like cars. Which is why there are so many law against driving with cellphone and so many fines distributed.

        - Hmm, I'm obviously not a great cyclist... so let me ride carelessly on a 40MpH road, fall down in the middle of the road without a helmet, and nearly cause a bunch of accidents as they try not to drive over my head.
        How often that happens ? get real.

        Oh yeah and my all time classic. old driver thinking they will brake and accelerate instead
        I was nearly killed by one guy and his wife parking in a sport car, thankfully a tree stopped the car right in its track and they were not wounded,, the car totalled, but there hadn't been the tree I would probably be in a hospital or gone.
        At least old biker are not a menace to everybody else.

        Facts is, I frankly think there are a higher number of idiot on bike than there is on car. But the idiots in cars provocate hundreds, thousands of death every year. Those in bike do not.
  • by Orphis (1356561) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:02AM (#43066873)

    Plants emit CO2 at night, let's have a tax on people who have plants too!

  • RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

    by TheRaven64 (641858) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:03AM (#43066889) Journal
    He doesn't say that bicycles produce more CO2 than cars, he says that:
    • Drivers pay road tax to cover the costs of roads, including bike lanes, why shouldn't bikes pay some of this?
    • Cycling increases your respiration rate so produces more CO2 than not cycling.

    Both of these are true. The only one he is actually using to justify his position (that bikes should pay road tax) is the former, the second point is refuting the point that bikes are environmentally friendly. The second point is debatable: it's a question of what the basic comparison is. Cycling is more polluting than staying at home, less polluting than driving a car.

    There are lots of valid reasons to mock Republicans, we don't need to make more up.

    • by Zelos (1050172)

      Where do you think the carbon in the CO2 you breathe out comes from?

    • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:08AM (#43066959)

      No. The second point is complete nonsense.

      Every gram of carbon dioxide you emit while cycling was previously fixed directly from the atmosphere by a plant or alga. If you didn't re-emit it, the food you would have eaten would rot instead, and the same CO2 would be released by bacteria. Even if that food had never been grown, the plant or alga that grew in its place would have eventually decayed, emitting the same CO2.

      • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by 1s44c (552956) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:55AM (#43067547)

        No. The second point is complete nonsense.

        Every gram of carbon dioxide you emit while cycling was previously fixed directly from the atmosphere by a plant or alga. If you didn't re-emit it, the food you would have eaten would rot instead, and the same CO2 would be released by bacteria. Even if that food had never been grown, the plant or alga that grew in its place would have eventually decayed, emitting the same CO2.

        You are missing the secondary costs. These are things like the oil burnt by machinery to turn the soil, plant the seeds, pull up the plants, process and package the plants, deliver them to supermarkets, and the gas you burn cooking them.

        • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Alioth (221270) <no@spam> on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:42AM (#43068255) Journal

          The secondary costs are small. I can't not eat by simply not cycling, I have to eat anyway.

          If I bike to work (12.5 hilly miles in each direction) the amount of extra food I have to eat compared to just sitting on my backside all day is approximately 1 banana or equivalent thereof, which is a pretty small fraction of daily food intake. While a competition cyclist might need a lot more than that, a utility cyclist generally isn't training for competition and rides at a lower, less energy intensive pace.

    • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by faedle (114018) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:10AM (#43066985) Homepage Journal

      And even assertion 1 is faulty.

      Cyclists also pay for roads via sales and property taxes in Washington, probably reasonably close to their proportional use of same. Cyclists are more likely to use city streets over state highways (and aren't allowed on Interstates at all), occupy a considerably smaller footprint than an automobile, and impact the road surface considerably less, if at all, given their light weight.

      • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

        by tazan (652775) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:50AM (#43067505)
        Roads are usually paid for with a gasoline tax. This worked out great when everyone drove cars as the more you drove the more you paid. The problem is as we move to alternative fuels there will be no one left to pay for the roads.

        Bike lanes cost money to build, and money to maintain. They may not get worn out by the bicyclists but they still need to have the street sweeper run, the lines painted, signs posted, cracks sealed, etc. Around here the bike lanes are not used nearly as much as the rest of the street, I would say probably the bike lanes cost more per mile used than the rest of the street.
        • Re:RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

          by R.Mo_Robert (737913) on Monday March 04, 2013 @02:15PM (#43070367)

          Roads are usually paid for with a gasoline tax.

          False. That's why the post you quoted mentioned that it was a faulty assertion and specifically mentioned city streets vs. state or interstate highways. For the former, which cyclists are for more likely to use, most funding comes from municipal revenue. This is something every citizen pays. The gas tax is more important on the latter two, but cyclists aren't even allowed on interstates.

          For a discussion on this issue with data from Seattle and the state of Washington (where this rep is from), see, for example: http://www.seattlemet.com/news-and-profiles/publicola/articles/we-all-pay-for-the-roads [seattlemet.com].

    • Re:RTFA (Score:4, Insightful)

      by geekmux (1040042) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:12AM (#43067023)

      He doesn't say that bicycles produce more CO2 than cars, he says that:

      • Drivers pay road tax to cover the costs of roads, including bike lanes, why shouldn't bikes pay some of this?
      • Cycling increases your respiration rate so produces more CO2 than not cycling.

      Both of these are true. The only one he is actually using to justify his position (that bikes should pay road tax) is the former, the second point is refuting the point that bikes are environmentally friendly. The second point is debatable: it's a question of what the basic comparison is. Cycling is more polluting than staying at home, less polluting than driving a car.

      There are lots of valid reasons to mock Republicans, we don't need to make more up.

      Yeah, you're right, because the concept of taxing breathing now makes sense. How about the dog who takes twice as many breaths as I do walking? Should we start taxing the animals too? Be careful if you do, those blue whales are gonna all swim to the Cayman Islands to avoid their tax.

      Yup, they were right all along. Death is the only way to get out of taxes. You have to stop breathing.

      I don't care how you want to slice this. Enough is enough.

    • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Insightful)

      by tibit (1762298) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:16AM (#43067063)

      You haven't been paying attention to politics I see. The deal is only and precisely in how he frames his "facts". He is implying -- and his statements are specifically construed to do so to the uneducated masses -- that the respiratory CO2 output of a bike rider is somehow in the ballpark of a per-person amortized CO2 output of any ICE means of transport (whatever comes to Joe Sixpack's mind). This is of course sheer lunacy, but he is careful by not stating it outright -- he'd be rightfully called a fool. What he is doing is what politicians do: what's important is what he is not saying -- what the ignorants' minds will fill the voids with. It's a rather obvious means of manipulating the public -- on the surface there's no way to accuse him of anything much, really. That's where the problem is with politicians.

    • Re:RTFA (Score:5, Informative)

      by jbssm (961115) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:57AM (#43067581)

      He doesn't say that bicycles produce more CO2 than cars, he says that: Drivers pay road tax to cover the costs of roads, including bike lanes, why shouldn't bikes pay some of this? Cycling increases your respiration rate so produces more CO2 than not cycling.

      Then start taxing those awful anti patriotic people that walk around, cause you know, they have pass-walks in the cities as well, and well, in case it's too complicated for you to understand, they actually "waste" more CO2 to move the same distance then someone riding a bicycle.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bicycle_performance [wikipedia.org]

  • Simple test (Score:3, Insightful)

    by devforhire (2658537) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:04AM (#43066903)

    This can be solved by a simple test.

    Put several plants and some animals in a closed garage and ride your bike all day long. Take note of any sick or dead plants/animals afterwards.

    After this if you are still convinced bikes are bad for the environment, do the same test using your car instead of the bike.

  • by geekmux (1040042) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:05AM (#43066905)

    Did a representative of MY government just try and tell me that my breath is somehow more harmful to the environment than the Hummer exhaust I'm choking on?

    Where is the damn toilet handle on Congress already...Will someone please go tell Nicolas Cage to go find THAT please? I could care less about a fountain of youth if the world is going to be run by this level of ignorance.

    • Did a representative of MY government just try and tell me that my breath is somehow more harmful to the environment than the Hummer exhaust I'm choking on?

      Betteridge's Law of Headlines needs to be expanded to cover comments on websites. No, he didn't say that at all, as you would know if you'd RTGodDamnA. He said that your breath while cycling is more harmful to the environment than your breath while driving a car, as you release more CO2 because of the physical exertion. Where I come from, we learn that in science class at around 10 years old. Secondly, the tax is separate from this issue. It was pointed out that car drivers currently pay road tax to cover m

  • by Progman3K (515744) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:10AM (#43066983)

    Brought to you by Carl's Jr

  • by advid.net (595837) <slashdot@nOspAm.advid.net> on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:13AM (#43067025) Journal

    This news looks like one of The Onion great news... but I just checked, and I couldn't find it.

    Anyway, one should point out that biking produces less CO2 [globe.gov] than walking or using any other vehicle, for a given distance.

    • Anyway, one should point out that biking produces less CO2 [globe.gov] than walking or using any other vehicle, for a given distance.

      I produce more CO2 when I bike than when I ride in a car.

      The car itself is another story, though.

  • Wrong Analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

    by NEDHead (1651195) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:14AM (#43067039)

    What is remarkable about this exchange is not that bike riders are enhanced CO2 producers, but that a republican legislator has acknowledged the CO2 needs to be recognized as a greenhouse gas, which in excess is bad.

    It is a start...

    • Re:Wrong Analysis (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rob the Bold (788862) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:36AM (#43067339)

      What is remarkable about this exchange is not that bike riders are enhanced CO2 producers, but that a republican legislator has acknowledged the CO2 needs to be recognized as a greenhouse gas, which in excess is bad.

      It is a start...

      You've got to be the most optimistic commenter on Slashdot today.

  • by Jason Levine (196982) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:24AM (#43067173)

    Since any form of exercise does this then, by the Congressmen's reasoning, all Americans should stop exercising. To make sure we don't exercise, we should make physical movement difficult by, say, adding two hundred pounds to every person. McDonald's is now proud to announce the McPatriot. It's a five thousand calorie burger that all patriotic Americans should eat. By eating five of these a day, you should put on your two hundred pounds of patriotic, exercise-preventing fat very quickly. (Don't worry about the lack of competition. Burger King is coming out with an All-American Whopper. KFC has said that they were ahead of the curve with their Double Down sandwich.) As a bonus, all of this fat will mean that Americans won't live as long which should solve the Social Security crisis.

  • What a fucking moron (Score:5, Interesting)

    by dargaud (518470) <[slashdot2] [at] [gdargaud.net]> on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:25AM (#43067183) Homepage
    Some people really deserve all the insults that can be thrown at them.

    The difference between the CO2 you exhale and that exhaled by your car is that yours come from the food you ate: plants (even if indirectly you ate animals that ate plants). And those plants got it from the atmosphere. So you are just returning CO2 to where it came from. A car takes it from the ground where it's been slowly accumulating for tens of millions of years and dumps it into the atmosphere. It's NOT the same CO2.

    Now if we go into externalities such as "how must CO2 from petroleum did it take to bring that food on the table", then it gets a bit more tricky.

  • by TheUglyAmerican (767829) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:27AM (#43067205)
    I think many of you are missing the point by engaging in the merit of the argument. Politicians raise taxes to gain and extend their power. If they could do so at will they would. However they need some level of acceptance by their marginally informed constituents. So they throw out explanations that only need to sound legitimate enough to let them proceed. I doubt the good congressman cares squat about the co2 generated by a biker.
  • by turkeyfish (950384) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:28AM (#43067223)

    Who is voting for this guy? It must be a corner of WA where stupid is a virtue.

    An average car produces 5.1 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. The average resting human produces 170,000 liters, or 340kg carbon dioxide per year. With a moderate level of activity, we can increase this to a conservative 500kg. There is simply no comparison. Clearly, this guy is an idiot masquerading as a "representative" of people's needs.

  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:30AM (#43067265)
    Next he will be taxing running, walking, having sex, masturbation, all sports ... basically anything that raises your breathing rate.
  • by Chrisq (894406) on Monday March 04, 2013 @10:32AM (#43067287)
    Cars don't produce C02; People do!
  • by rabun_bike (905430) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:16AM (#43067861)
    Average gasoline vehicle produces 19.29 lbs /gal CO2 emissions. An average North American mid-size car travels 21 mpg. So, in an average 21 mile commute the vehicle would travel 21 miles and release 19.29 pounds of CO2 emissions.

    An average person’s respiration generates approximately 450 liters (roughly 900 grams) of carbon dioxide per day (CO2#Human_physiology). The amount of CO2 released by human per day is 0.9 kg/day or 1.9 lbs.

    It is an absurd comparison because there is no way a human can produce the amount of energy in one gallon of fuel. In fact, one gallon of gasoline is equivalent to

    1 Barrel of Oil = 5,800,000 BTUs Source: Louisiana Oil and Gas Association

    1 Gallon of Gas = 125,000 BTUs Source: US Department of Energy

    1 Barrel of Oil thus contains the energy contained in 46.4 gallons of gas (5,800,000 divided by 125,000 = 46.4 )

    1 Gallon of Gas = 500 hours of human work output (37 KWH in 1 gallon of gas divided by human work output in agriculture of .074 KW = 500)

    1 Barrel of Oil = 23,200 Hours of Human Work Output (Energy equivalent of 46.4 gallons of gas per barrel of oil x 500 hours of human work ouput per gallon of gas = 23,2000 hours)
  • Jesus (Score:4, Insightful)

    by azav (469988) on Monday March 04, 2013 @11:31AM (#43068071) Homepage Journal

    We really need to limit the stupidity - or ignorance of basic science - in our elected officials.

  • by Hoi Polloi (522990) on Monday March 04, 2013 @12:06PM (#43068591) Journal

    I would support this tax only if Rep Orcutt and his ilk all stopped producing any CO2 themselves.

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