Grapevine: Biking worse for environment than driving?

Washington State lawmaker's comments


And now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine...

Sober Up

The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Budget Committee wants other diplomats to sober up. Really.

Joseph Torsella says negotiating rooms should be inebriation-free zones but often are not.

He suggests colleagues -- quote -- "Save the champagne for toasting the successful end of a negotiating session."

Apparently this has been an issue for some time. A diplomat told reporters that on one occasion the note-taker in the room had to be replaced because he was too impaired to complete the task.

Foreign Policy magazine cites another U.N. diplomat as disputing the ambassador's assertions, saying the main negotiators are sober.

What does not appear to be in question, is that delegates keep a well-stocked bar in the negotiating room.

Rat Race

Iran is at war with rats.

Tehran's population of 12 million people is said to be outnumbered by the rodents. Big rodents.

The National reports 10 sniper teams are working under cover of night to pick off these creatures, some of which are said to be larger than cats.

So far, they've bagged 2,000 of these rats.

Officials are trying to boost the number of rat sniper squads to 40 in Iran.

In the Driver's Seat

And finally, a Washington State lawmaker claims bicycling is worse for the environment than driving. 

Republican State Representative Ed Orcutt e-mailed a constituent who was concerned about a proposed bike tax.

Quote -- "A cyclist has an increased heart rate and respiration. That means that the act of riding a bike results in greater emissions of carbon dioxide from the rider. Since CO2 is deemed to be a greenhouse gas and a pollutant, bicyclists are actually polluting when they ride."

He wasn't kidding.

He later told the Seattle Bike Blog -- quote -- "You would be giving off more CO2 if you are riding a bike than driving in a car."

Orcutt admits he has absolutely no evidence to back this up.

The European Cyclists Federation reports cars generate 10 times more carbon dioxide than bicyclists.

The EPA says that passenger vehicles give off an average of 4.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide a year.

Orcutt has since apologized for his statement, calling it over the top.