Bikes cause global warming because you exhale CO2, GOPer says

The infamous Republican war on science continues. Washington state representative Ed Orcutt (a Republican) wants to tax people who ride bikes because of the wear and tear bicycles generate on roads and, incredibly, because of the greenhouse gases cyclists produce when they exhale.

Orcutt argues that bike riding is not green, and is actually harmful to the environment, because of the CO2 that your body exhales.

I suppose that’s one solution to global warming, all the Republicans can simply hold their breath.

Republicans generally hate cyclists.  Since heaven forbid anyone exercise, or use roads in a manner that actually decreases the pollution impact.  Cyclists are socialists, you see, and simply must be destroyed.

Here’s what Orcutt wrote to a local bike shop owner inquiring about the tax:

bike-tax

Even crazier is that Orcutt is the top Republican on the state Transportation Committee in the Washington state House.  He’s their science guy.

This argument is a familiar one for anyone who rides a bike. Even though most cyclists also have a car and pay taxes that build roads, that’s not enough for the bike haters. It’s impossible to reasonably argue that bikes damage roads the way cars and trucks do — the average bike weighs, say, 30 pounds, while the average car weighs 4,000 pounds, or 133x more.

WA State Rep. Ed Orcutt (R)

WA State Rep. Ed Orcutt (R)

Asking cyclists to help fund special bike paths is fair, but Orcutt’s attack on cyclists is what we’ve come to expect from a political party that is far outside of the mainstream. It must be frustrating for Republicans.  They’ve had their way on economic policy for three decades and all they have to show for it is a weaker middle class, a more polluted environment, and decreasing support from the electorate.

Orcutt may have apologized for his email but the problem remains, the GOP has a crazy-problem that isn’t going away.

Every day we hear about new “scientific” theories from Republicans, whether it’s dinosaurs living alongside man (in fact, Noah had dinosaurs in his ark!) only 6,000 years ago, or Marco Rubio’s insane claim that no one knows the real age of the earth (it’s 4.5bn years, in fact).

There are Republican theories on how women’s bodies have a way of shutting down pregnancies resulting from rape.

Or nutty Joe Walsh’s claim that pregnancy is no longer ever a risk to the life of the mother (false) because science has “solved” that problem.

Or the NASA air safety study that the Bush White House killed lest air travelers knew how dangerous flying really is.

Young socialist (via Shutterstock)

Young socialist (via Shutterstock)

Or Missouri Republican Rick Brattin – who calls himself “a huge science buff” — who wants to force the redefinition, in law, of the phrase “scientific theory” to include “faith-based philosophy.”  So this way, priests could call themselves “scientists,” and creationism would be “science.”

Or the Republican US Senator who compared global warming science to Hitler.  (“First they came for the ozone…”)

Or the head of the Texas science curriculum board who had to resign because she believed in evolution.

Orcutt isn’t the fringe of the GOP, he is the GOP.


An American in Paris, France. BA in History & Political Science from Ohio State. Provided consulting services to US software startups, launching new business overseas that have both IPO’d and sold to well-known global software companies. Currently launching a new cloud-based startup. Full bio here.

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  • gotroy22
  • Paul Browne

    16 years!! really? Who knew?……….ok guys, ….yeh that means you, you dumb nobel climatologist……….yeh, and you oceanographers too……gotroy22 says it’s all a scam by Al Gore……Al Gore, the failed presidential candidate……..no, the US one moron ……. wrap it up….let’s all go home and get regular jobs……look you’re going to be on better money working for the oil companies anyway…….

    What you mean gotroy22 is a moron? Really? Ok, guys back to work…….

  • DavidPun

    I have a feeling that the amount of “hot air” coming from his mouth will create a much larger problem.. Has this guy never heard of the carbon cycle.

  • gotroy22

    Nope I’m a supporter of common sense. You libs were shortchanged at birth.

  • gotroy22

    Gee the Met Office says the world hasn’t increase in temperature for the last 16 years. The global warmist scams involve politicians like Al Gorezerra, the corrupt UN and corrupt scientists like Mann and his fake hockey stick falsifying data and making millions on carbon credits and “clean energy” scams like Solyndra.

    You are a sad example of left wing propaganda.

  • mucholderguy

    Republican politicians only pretend to be stupid in order to appeal to Republican voters.

  • http://voenixrising.com/ Mark Alexander

    “the st00pid, it BURNS!”

  • Paul Browne

    Jafafa Hots is agreeing with you. he was using sarcasm.

    Al Gore has never ever claimed to be any sort of scientist. He’s just a very well known figurehead.

  • Paul Browne

    Don’t know whether you noticed, but it not just Al Gore!! What about the tens of thousands of world renowned Scientists, the dozens of major Countries investing, or the multiple Heads of States calling for Global Warming action now?

    You are a sad example of right wing propaganda.

  • Z54

    A tinsy pinch of truth. (They exhale CO 2) mix in a whole ton of psychobabble and wala you have republican legislation! Not much different from the way the Democrats do it now a days!

  • Wesinoregon

    And let’s keep it that way.

  • Jafafa Hots

    It is a red herring in the sense of it being a distraction, but I don’t think Orcutt INTENDED it as a red herring – I just think he’s an idiot.

  • TomH01

    Jafata, IMHO, efficiency is a red herring. See my response to Naja.

  • TomH01

    Naja, my point was that, in a discussion about carbon tax and global warming, the only consideration that matters is the carbon cycle; we simply cannot set it aside or allow ourselves to be sucked into a discussion of efficiency. Efficiencies, or any variant of ecological footprint, are a different subject. The problem with Orcutt’s statement is that he has conflated ecological footprint with global warming, and proposed a carbon tax on biking to address “the” problem. Which problem? He’s not clear. If we’re not clear about what a carbon tax addresses, then we give him—and others like him—the opportunity to change subjects at will just to come out as the victor in the debate. The correct response to “cyclists exhale CO2, a greenhouse gas,” must be “it’s the carbon cycle, stupid;” not “but bikes are way more efficient.” Efficiency is a red herring.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    So true,,,,,, he used to believe that the trees talked about him behind his back when ever he road around the ranch.

  • dmhlt_66

    Since you clearly are a supporter of Rep. Orcutt’s ridiculous hypothesis that biking is more harmful than driving, I propose a simple experiment for us to see:

    I’ll go in my garage, shut the doors and bike madly in circles for an hour.
    You’ll go in your garage, shut the doors, start the engine and rev it up for an
    hour.

    Then after that hour we can get together and compare notes on which one is
    actually more harmful.

  • http://buddybest.tripod.com/index.html BuddyNovinski

    Why not? When the god Ronald Reagan was campaigning to be king in 1980, he said that trees pollute as well. Why shouldn’t any Republican be as silly as the Gypper?
    The scientific ignorance of this county is pitiful, but that fact that the majority is ignorant, and we must import foreigners for scientific jobs is even more pitiful. Furthermore, the ignorant majority can outvote the minority, especially in the party of the god Pruneface.

  • PeteWa

    you misinterpreted nothing, just take a gander at the posting history.

  • Jafafa Hots

    I may be an asshole.
    That doesn’t make your claim less silly, unless you were simply being sarcastic. If you were, I apologize for misinterpreting your comment.

    If you weren’t being sarcastic, if you do equate a bicyclist exhaling with car exhaust, then this asshole is going to repeat with more emphasis – learn some physics, dumbass.

  • Jafafa Hots

    I’m not sure if you are criticizing my comment or not. Hard to tell. But if you are, please reread it, and you’ll see that I’m agreeing with you.

  • Bill from Dover

    Well, that’s an intelligent answer, now isn’t it? Keep it up guys as the more ya all chime in, the better it gets, especially when ya all avoid to the max anything that has to do with science.

    BTW, how were 98% of world climatologists fooled before Al was defeated by the conservatives on the Supreme Court?

    Do I have to hold your collective hands? http://www.google.com/search?num=100&hl=en&newwindow=1&biw=1591&bih=800&q=how+long+does+co2+stay+in+the+atmosphere&oq=how+long+does+co2+stay&gs_l=serp.1.0.0l3j0i30l7.943869.952927.0.956861.22.15.0.7.7.0.140.1147.13j2.15.0.les%3B..0.0…1c.1.5.serp.0yzvJ7sZq9E

  • SkippyFlipjack

    “Physics. Learn some”? What are you, twelve? Please give yourself a timeout and come back when you’ve learned to act like you’re not an assho!e.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Ha, or Ann Romney’s ‘help’ are mouth breathers.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    Just ask these idiots what they would rather be driving behind while attempting to breathe; a cyclist, or a semi tractor spewing noxious crap from its exhaust pipes.

    Combustion engines spew out many other other poisonous goodies that this average stupid conservative conveniently omits.

  • Jafafa Hots

    again I ask, how many 4000 pound cyclists do you know?

    Physics. Learn some.

  • Jafafa Hots

    How many 4000 pound cyclists do you know?
    Hint: it takes more energy to move 4000 pounds for a mile than it does to move 200 pounds for a mile.

    Please adjust your efficiency claims and “can’t be very different” to reflect that.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    Nah, I believe in science and the 98% of world’s climatologists whose opinions he simple reports, pure and simple.

    Al Gore is no more a scientist,than the hose you use to pump this crap into your gas guzzlers or the fossil fuel advertisement campaigns that bring you clean coal.

    BTW, way what is your guess on how long CO2 will remains in the atmosphere?

    Hint, this is a simple physics question that can’t be answered with ad hominem attacks.

    But, I sure that ya already knew that?

  • Jafafa Hots

    What’s sad is that you think thousands of scientists around the world are able to be controlled and/or fooled by a failed US Presidential candidate.

  • Jafafa Hots

    “It’s all the fault of Al Gore’s private jets!!!”

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    How many cyclists have committed suicide by shutting the garage door and connecting a hose from their rear wheel to their nose?

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    I can hear it right now:

    Why didn’t the liberals do anything to prevent this when they knew this stuff was poisoning my/our atmosphere?

    At least, I believed what I was told by right-wing talk radio and the coal and oil industries when you guys knew the truth all along and did nothing to prevent it!

    You can count on it!

  • gotroy22

    What is so sad is that you believe Al Gore’s global warmism nonsense.

  • http://twitter.com/BillFromDover Bill from Dover

    What’s even sadder is that once, they wake up and realize what the fossil fuel industries have done to their planet, it will be soooo too,too late as this stuff takes about 100 years to dissipate after it is 1st introduced in the atmosphere.

    After all carbon is the same stuff used in graphite… the stuff in pencils.

  • Naja pallida
  • Dave of the Jungle

    That will be the case for some, unfortunately.

  • Russ

    Nooooo – he’s not from Oregon – our Republicans aren’t quite that openly dumb (yet…)

  • nicho

    The average person walks 900 miles a year. The
    average person also drinks 22 gallons of beer each year. That means the
    average person gets 41 miles to a gallon. Not bad . . .

  • nicho

    That’s not correct. Several times, he has won the 30-yard dash — to the buffet.

  • nicho

    Well, Ronnie RayGun did warn us about trees.

  • nicho

    You’re wrong. They will be fed some garbage about how the problem is all the fault of “liberals.” And they will believe it. They will never wake up.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    I have long believed that the majority of right wing voters won’t really wake up until the effects of climate change impact their food & water supplies and prices. Perhaps hundreds of deaths from heat stroke in the Southeast every year will be convincing. They will then understand that they have been systematically lied to or that their opinion makers were incompetent, in the first place.

    Very sad.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Willard-D-Russell/1284685385 Willard D Russell

    When a republican speaks, I always have to make sure it is not from The Onion, they are so similar.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Jindal is the Jimmy Olson of the Republican Party.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    But Naja, that would collapse the housing market. Surburbs built on old dairy farms are doomed!

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    Yes, this gut does have a point—-on the tip of his head.

  • http://www.rebeccamorn.com/mind BeccaM

    First, to state the obvious, Orcutt is an ignorant moron.

    Secondly, this post ignores another obvious point: Combustion engine vehicles emit far, far more CO2 than a person, no matter whether they’re walking, running, or cycling to get to point A to point B because (1) the simple fact you are also transporting a ton or two of vehicle in addition to yourself and (2) the 2nd law of thermodynamics.

    Yes, the GOP has a ‘crazy’ problem, but they have an even more serious one. An “embrace of ignorance” problem. They don’t even bother to try to be rational or present facts to support their positions anymore. They just make up shit and assert that it’s true, even when it’s objectively false and patently ridiculous.

    This won’t stop until they’re treated not merely as an alternative ‘faith based’ point of view, but as pathetic and irrelevant as the flat-Earthers.

  • http://adgitadiaries.com/ karmanot

    It’s time to ban house plants I say! There’s terrorism lurking in that Chlorophytum comosum!

  • SkippyFlipjack

    Don’t forget that the increased heartrate and respiration results in increased energy expended, so the bicyclist is getting less “miles per gallon” as well.

  • Naja pallida

    Even if you ignored that human carbon consumption and release is part of a mostly closed cycle and doesn’t contribute significantly to greenhouse gases (it does contribute some, because we do release more than we take in and store). Over the course of a day an average human only exhales about 2.3lbs of carbon dioxide. Now if you maybe ran a marathon all day, you might get yourself up to 10lbs… but if you considered the relatively moderate exercise of bicycle commuting, chances are those people aren’t even breaking 5-6lbs/day. Of course, entirely dependent on distance and activity level. Whereas, there’s about 14lbs of carbon dioxide released when you burn a gallon of gasoline. Just with those figures alone, there isn’t even a comparison with which one is more potentially harmful to the environment, and which is putting more carbon dioxide out there. That isn’t even considering the real culprits, coal and oil burning power plants.

    Next Orcutt will be suggesting that we all stop farting immediately, because methane is worse than carbon dioxide.

  • Indigo

    He’s their science-guy? Oh, for vaudeville!

  • Jim Olson

    Would someone please tell these people that they are simply fucking idiots, and should shut up until they know what they are talking about? For goodness sake they are stupid. They should listen to Bobby Jindal and stop being the party of stupid!

  • TomH01

    The guy almost has a point. The human body is about 18% to 26% efficient in activities like cycling. Cars are about 20% to 30% efficient. So in terms of CO2 per mile, bicyclists and drivers can’t be very different.

    Except that this argument completely misses the point. The carbon that we exhale is part of the normal carbon cycle in our food supply; an equal amount of carbon will be bound in food that is growing right now. The carbon released from burning fossil fuels is part of a carbon cycle lasting hundreds of millions of years, and is being released at historically unprecedented rates, and it’s this carbon that increases the CO2 concentration in the atmosphere and leads to global warming.

  • http://heimaey.us/ jim morrissey

    How would he know? Doesn’t look like he’s exercised a day in his life

  • freewayblogger

    As an avid cyclist I can attest that it does in fact make you breathe more heavily, but trust me, you don’t want to know what makes people like Orcutt breathe that way.

  • Dave of the Jungle

    Yes, they really are that stupid, or, they hope that everyone else is.

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