Wednesday, August 17, 2005

path of least resistance

Yemen - wood stoves booming via Energy Bulletin
The government’s recent move of raising prices of cooking gas has led the people in the countryside to resort to using wood for baking bread in their clay oven. The people there have decided to go back in taking care of planting trees as a source of charcoal used in cooking food and making tea.
Local sources have told the Yemen Times that the new tendency has been very necessary to dispense with gas-heated ovens especially the rise in prices of cooking gas from 200 riyals to 400 riyals and in some areas the gas cylinder price could reach at 70 riyals.

Come on, ye lazy citizenry of Yemen! Spit out that Khat! Where are the wind turbines? The nano-solar panels? Don't you think you could all chip in and buy at least one pebble bed reactor? The better to toast your goats like corndogs in the fryer! Also, for giggles, you could use open source software to track who has extra energy and then you could trade energy credits!

Instead, it is back to the trees. The Baobobs of Yemen -- making a small, pathetic comeback in the oil age, after they had largely been chopped to bits previously -- only to be targeted again, at the first whiff of trouble.

Trees are the last line of defense for sequestering carbon. If billions of people start targeting forests for fuel globally, humanity is in serious trouble.

Think of locusts.


At 12:43 AM, August 18, 2005, Anonymous speedbird said...

Thought I should share this:

This morning's advice to motorists faced with higher prices, from the UK's ITV network:

'Shop around.'


At 3:23 AM, August 18, 2005, Blogger Big Gav said...

I'm glad someone is willing to stand up and give those Yemenis a stern talking to.

I'm not so sure that avoiding burning trees to cook is enough for us to avoid serious trouble though...

At 12:09 PM, August 18, 2005, Blogger monkeygrinder said...

Well, I feel like we have a chance to avoid catastrophe.

Yemen is pretty funny of course - they have a few patches of forest left, but not enough to subsist for long in a serious shortage. But they aren't going to affect global warming one way or the other.

I'm mostly interested in the patterns of action by people faced with a shortage.

This type of behaviour won't be limited to the poorer nations.

At 11:26 PM, August 19, 2005, Blogger Engineer-Poet said...

There's at least one village in India which is cooking with homemade gas... and solar heat.  Between the solar cookers and gobar gas they don't need to burn wood, and they save all kinds of money on fuel.

Yemen is a very sunny country, and the same things should work there too.  They aren't using them.  Is it cultural factors, the Yemenis just don't grasp what's going on, or has nobody tried?


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