The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has in many
respects underestimated the severity of global warming and the speed at
which it strikes. "From 2000 to 2007, greenhouse gas emissions increased
far more rapidly than we expected, primarily because developing
countries, like China and India, saw a huge surge in electric power
generation, almost all of it based on coal", admitted IPCC member Chris
Field, of Stanford University and the Carnegie Institution for Science.
Drivers of all ages are realizing how observing the speed limit and never exceeding 55 mph "puts money in their pocket" while helping to reduce petroleum consumption, lessen their carbon footprint and increase safety on the road. This engaging and feel good documentary examines just a few of the people involved in this convincing and very catchy environmental movement. Music by Eliquate. http://www.wildandscenicfilmfestival.org
Alert speeders about the conservation minded driver ahead, and help spread the Drive 55 message with 4" x 11" "iDrive 55" removable window cling things. Thanks go to Gina Saitta of Omaha, Nebraska for helping with these great new stickers.
Checking in again after a weekend trip to Houston, TX.
12.99 gallons got me 590.5 miles in my 2009 Civic LX (automatic), for an average of 45.458 mpg.
About 550 miles of this was highway driving, at speeds of 50-60 mph (depending on weather, road conditions, traffic flow, etc), with about 40 miles of city driving thrown in (I get about the advertised 25 mpg in the city).
I have my iDrive55 window cling posted on my rear driver's side window for passing cars to see.
In 1974 the 55 MPH national speed limit was enacted as an emergency measure to reduce our dependence on imported crude oil that totaled about 36% of U.S. consumption. It worked and 1985 marked a record low of less than 28% imported oil. About this same time Sammy Hagar's "I Can't Drive Fifty Five" was made popular and in 1987 congress relaxed the law to allow 65 MPH on Rural Highways. Consumption of imported oil began to skyrocket but nonetheless in 1996 the national 55 MPH speed limit was repealed and 12 years later, in 2008, U.S. dependence on imported oil has more than doubled to over 60%. The top 5 sources of imported oil, in order, are Canada, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Venezuela and Nigeria. On August 31, 2008, Sammy Hagar helped kick off the Republican National Convention by performing his old hit.
July 16 (HealthDay News) -- Deaths and injuries on America's
interstates have increased since the repeal of the federal
55-mile-per-hour speed limit in 1995, a new study finds, and some
believe it's time to slow down again.
Researchers tracking fatalities attributed 12,545 deaths and 36,582
injuries in fatal crashes to higher speed limits implemented during the
1995-2005 study period.
"Our study clearly shows that policy can
directly result in more deaths as well as reducing deaths on our
country's roads," said lead researcher Lee S. Friedman of the division
of environmental and occupational health sciences in the School of
Public Health at the University of Illinois, Chicago.
Last week I sent this letter out to a number of conservation organizations, and also to Yes! magazine. They asked me for a reference and I couldn't find it, so I googled "55 speed limit mideast oil" and BINGO! "You've been doing this for a while. Why hasn't it caught on?" I suggest a new bumpersticker :
55 FOR PEACE
55 FOR POLAR BEARS
55 TO STOP GLOBAL WARMING, etc.
Text of my earlier letter:
Here’s an action almost everyone can do immediately that will reduce global warming. DRIVE SLOWER.
I read in a recent Sierra Club magazine that if the whole country went back to the 55mph speed limit (as we did in the first oil crisis back in the 70s) it would save the amount of oil we import from the Persian Gulf. We don't have to wait for the Government, we can drive 55 right now. How about some sort of campaign: Drive 55, keep the earth alive! or 55 for polar bears! 55 for peace! People could display a bumper sticker, so we'd know who we are as we drive down the highway.
I'm already doing it. I’ve been doing it for 3 years, since I bought my Honda Hybrid. It has a clever LED readout of my average mileage, so I tested it on the highway, and at 55mph my car gets 55mpg. At 60 it drops to about 52, at 65 it’s down to about 47. It’s true, it does require some sacrifice. It takes longer to get places. But you know what? It doesn’t take that much longer. Every time the needle creeps up to 60 I remember polar bears and slow down. It makes me feel good.
A lot of different groups could suggest their members do this: environmental groups, peace groups - almost every problem we are struggling with could be helped by slowing down.
in Franconia, NH
Thank you Jenny, and also all the others who have sent email and encouragement. This new website is for you. Our goal: One Million Drive 55 bumperstickers!
Copenhagen, Denmark: Following a successful International
Scientific Congress Climate Change: Global Risks, Challenges
& Decisions attended by more than 2,500 delegates from
nearly 80 countries, preliminary messages from the findings
were delivered by the Congress? Scientific Writing Team. The
conclusions will be published into a full synthesis report June 2009. The conclusions were handed over
to the Danish Prime Minister Mr. Anders Fogh Rasmussen today.
The Danish Government will host the UN Climate Change
Conference in December 2009 and will hand over the
conclusions to the decision makers ahead of the Conference.
The six preliminary key messages are:
Key Message 1: Climatic Trends
Recent observations confirm that, given high rates of
observed emissions, the worst-case IPCC scenario
trajectories (or even worse) are being realised. For many
key parameters, the climate system is already moving beyond
the patterns of natural variability within which our society
and economy have developed and thrived. These parameters
include global mean surface temperature, sea-level rise,
ocean and ice sheet dynamics, ocean acidification, and
extreme climatic events. There is a significant risk that
many of the trends will accelerate, leading to an increasing
risk of abrupt or irreversible climatic shifts.
Key Message 2: Social disruption
The research community is providing much more information
to support discussions on "dangerous climate change". Recent
observations show that societies are highly vulnerable to
even modest levels of climate change, with poor nations and
communities particularly at risk. Temperature rises above
2oC will be very difficult for contemporary societies to
cope with, and will increase the level of climate disruption
through the rest of the century.
Key Message 3: Long-Term Strategy
Rapid, sustained, and effective mitigation based on
coordinated global and regional action is required to avoid "dangerous climate change" regardless of how it is defined.
Weaker targets for 2020 increase the risk of crossing
tipping points and make the task of meeting 2050 targets
more difficult. Delay in initiating effective mitigation
actions increases significantly the long-term social and
economic costs of both adaptation and mitigation.
Key Message 4 - Equity Dimensions
Climate change is having, and will have, strongly
differential effects on people within and between countries
and regions, on this generation and future generations, and
on human societies and the natural world. An effective,
well-funded adaptation safety net is required for those
people least capable of coping with climate change impacts,
and a common but differentiated mitigation strategy is
needed to protect the poor and most vulnerable.
Key Message 5: Inaction is Inexcusable
There is no excuse for inaction. We already have many
tools and approaches ? economic, technological, behavioural,
management ? to deal effectively with the climate change
challenge. But they must be vigorously and widely
implemented to achieve the societal transformation required
to decarbonise economies. A wide range of benefits will flow
from a concerted effort to alter our energy economy now,
including sustainable energy job growth, reductions in the
health and economic costs of climate change, and the
restoration of ecosystems and revitalisation of ecosystem
Key Message 6: Meeting the Challenge
To achieve the societal transformation required to meet
the climate change challenge, we must overcome a number of
significant constraints and seize critical opportunities.
These include reducing inertia in social and economic
systems; building on a growing public desire for governments
to act on climate change; removing implicit and explicit
subsidies; reducing the influence of vested interests that
increase emissions and reduce resilience; enabling the
shifts from ineffective governance and weak institutions to
innovative leadership in government, the private sector and
civil society; and engaging society in the transition to
norms and practices that foster sustainability.
About the congress
The International Scientific Congress on Climate Change
is taking place in Copenhagen 10 ? 12 March. More than 2,000
participants are registered. The congress has received
almost 1,600 scientific contributions from researchers from
more than 70 countries. The preliminary conclusions from the
congress will be presented Thursday 12 March at the closing
session of the congress and will be developed in a synthesis
report to be published in June this year. The synthesis
report will be handed over to all participants at the United
Nations Climate Change Conference (COP15) in December in
Copenhagen by the Danish Government. It is organized by
International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU):
Australian National University
National University of Singapore
University of California, Berkeley
University of Cambridge
University of Copenhagen
University of Oxford
University of Tokyo
DISCLAIMER: THIS PRESS RELEASE IS WRITTEN BY THE CLIMATE
SECRETARIAT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF COPENHAGEN. THE PEOPLE
QUOTED DOES NOT NECESSARILY SHARE THE OPINIONS EXPRESSED BY
OTHERS IN THIS TEXT.
The amount of energy saved as a result of drivers observing ALL speed limits and never exceeding 55 MPH will increase over time as the vehicle fleet of large units is replaced by smaller "downsized" models. While slowing down reduces energy consumption for all vehicles, smaller vehicles fuel economy suffers more at high speeds than larger vehicles do. In fact, as the following chart shows, at speeds over 70 MPH a small vehicle will use nearly as much energy as larger ones, negating the benefits of its smaller size and weight!