Monthly Archives: December 2007

Turn Off Your Engine!

Mel PeffersThis post is by Mel Peffers, Air Quality Project Manager at Environmental Defense.

Many people idle their car engine in winter because they think it needs time to warm up. Not true! Today’s fuel-injected engines don’t need a warm-up period, and idling for long periods can lead to excessive engine wear.

Worse, cars idling for over 10 seconds use more gas and create more global warming pollution than simply restarting the engine. Surprised? It’s true. The 10-second rule has been proven empirically.

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Posted in Cars and Pollution / Read 14 Responses

Sequestering Carbon in Soil and Trees

Martha RobertsThis post is by Martha Roberts, an economist at Environmental Defense. It’s the first of a three-part series on carbon sequestration – storing carbon or carbon dioxide (CO2) in soils, trees, geological formations, and oceans.

1. Biological Sequestration
2. Geological Sequestration
3. Ocean Sequestration

Global warming is occurring because – day after day, hour after hour – human activities pump large amounts of greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. One way to decrease emissions is to store carbon or CO2 someplace other than the atmosphere.

There are two vastly different ways of sequestering carbon: biological and geological. The topic of this post is biological sequestration, which is among the biggest of the "low hanging fruits" for making quick, substantial cuts in emissions.

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Posted in Geoengineering / Read 15 Responses

Bali Roadmap Addresses Deforestation

Peter GoldmarkThis post is by Peter Goldmark, Program Director, Climate and Air, Environmental Defense. Also see his previous dispatch from Bali and background on the meetings.

As I reported in my last bulletin from Bali, after much sturm und drang, countries finally agreed to a two-year process that can lead to the next international climate change treaty in 2009 – the "Bali Roadmap".

Deforestation was a major topic at the Bali conference, and ended up being one of the most positive components of the Bali Roadmap. Environmental Defense helped lead the way there.

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Posted in International / Read 5 Responses

Virus from Africa Spreading in a Warmer Italy

John BalbusThis post is by John Balbus, M.D., M.P.H., Chief Health Scientist at Environmental Defense.

Ravenna Province in ItalyNearly 300 people in northeast Italy have come down with a virus formerly limited to Africa and Asia called Chikungunya Fever (CHIKV). It’s not usually fatal, but it’s not pleasant. Sufferers experience fever, joint pain, muscle pain, and headache. In the Makonde language, "chikungunya" means "that which bends up" – a reference to the victim’s contorted posture.

Dean Menke, a policy analyst here, had the disease when he was living in East Timor: "I thought I was going to die – I wished I would die just so the pain would stop. If it wasn’t for the hallucinations from the 104° fever, the whole ordeal would have been a waste."

CHIKV virus is very rare in Europe, and until now, it was only seen in travelers returning from areas with epidemics. According to a report [PDF] from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, this is the first time CHIKV virus has spread through local means within the European mainland. And that’s why climate change must be considered.

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Posted in Health / Read 1 Response

Bali Bulletin: Dramatic Final Hours

Peter GoldmarkThis post is by Peter Goldmark, Program Director, Climate and Air, Environmental Defense. Also see his previous dispatch from Bali and background on the meetings.

As I prepare to send this account to New York by email, we know how it all ended.

But I had to suffer through 40 hours of nearly sleepless sturm, drang, chaos and emotional suspense to find out. I’ll take you through some of that, too.

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Posted in International / Read 7 Responses

Some Cool Tools and Links

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an Online Writer and Editorial Manager at Environmental Defense.


Sex and the Socket – Hilarious video on why CFLs are better. View below, or click link for hi-res version.

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Posted in What Others are Saying / Read 2 Responses