Sympathetic Stupid

Friday, September 23, 2005

Coconuts And Swedes

Oil is top of the pops right now, and god forbid I don't post what everyone else is. Both of these are from WorldChanging (if you haven't seen it, you should).

Another clever fuel for diesel engines is coconut oil. This is even better than the previous biodiesel because it works straight out of the shell without any kitchen shenanighans, though adding a little kero helps. It's just as clean as the other stuff. This is going on in Vanuatu, where they have lots of coconuts and not many refineries, so it's very good for their trade balance. Get rid of those dependencies on foreign oil! In fact, that's probably on the best features of biodiesel; it should create a focus on local production in many poor countries, saving money and creating jobs. This stuff's probably only useful in equatorial countries, as it solidifies below about 22°C.

Am I the only one who wishes I was born in Scandinavia? Those wacky, progressive kids are always conceiving something enviable. The top 14 of the UN Development Programme's Human Development Report contains Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark, as well as Belgium and the Netherlands which are on the periphery. Though Australians can't complain as Australia is apparently third on the list, highlighting how ridiculously lucky we are to live here.

(And I'm going to ignore the fact that the media here mainly reported these superficial numbers, and ignored the important in depth discussions of inequality, poverty and conflict in the report.)

Did I have a point? Oh, yeah. So Scandinavian governments tend to be cool. And that's been reinforced as Sweden aims to end fossil fuel dependency by 2020. As they say, global warming affects the areas near the poles most, so the onus is on them to do something about it. They're increasing spending on energy research and subsidising enviro tech exports. Taxes will be reduced for cars running on more enviro-friendly fuels - in obvious contrast to certain Australian governments who are lowering rebates, not taxes.

You're the man, King Carl XVI Gustaf!