Rance, Bretagne © Dani7C3, Wikipedia
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If we drive slowly – and never faster than 100 kilometers per hour – we, as motorists, compensate for the high fuel prices, the energy shortages, and the CO2 and nitrogen surpluses, according to Het Parool. How wonderful it would be to be able to make this simple and influential contribution to nature and the economy – for free.

And yet we do not do it! The Netherlands and the EU do not set a general speed limit of 100 km/h, and motorists violate the existing speed limits en masse. Please let the government take strict action, just like it did with corona and nitrogen: 100 at max everywhere and always, with sky-high fines and a swift confiscation of driving licenses. That seems to me the only way to eradicate the life-threatening environmental crime of speeding.

Speeding serves only self-interest and personal pleasure. Public roads and nature have long ago ceased to serve these purposes. I predict that in ten years’ time, we will look back on our current driving behavior with as much amazement as we do now on, for example, smoking in company canteens and airplanes. All the more so since Earth Overshoot Day was one day earlier than last year, July 28. So from the end of last month until New Year’s day, we’ll be living and racing ‘on credit’ again, consuming more natural resources and energy than the earth can provide for more than five months.

The Rance tidal power plant in France can’t fix that either. It was impressive to visit it recently: CO2-free electricity from tidal flows for 55 years already. Unfortunately, tidal energy cannot play a significant role in an energy transition because there are only a few places on earth where it can be effectively harnessed. Rance was the first major tidal power plant in 1966; later, only Sihwa Lake in South Korea was added.

About this column

In a weekly column, alternately written by Eveline van Zeeland, Eugene Franken, Katleen Gabriels, PG Kroeger, Carina Weijma, Bernd Maier-Leppla, Willemijn Brouwer, Maarten van Andel and Colinda de Beer, Innovation Origins tries to figure out what the future will look like. These columnists, sometimes joined by guest bloggers, are all working in their own way to find solutions to the problems of our time. So tomorrow will be good. Here are all the previous columns in this series.

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