Monthly Archives: July 2008

Conserved Lands Will Remain Safe

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

Two weeks ago, Lisa Moore posted about a dangerous suggestion from Congress and producer groups to allow the penalty-free release of up to 24 million acres from the Conservation Reserve Program so the land could be put back into crop production.

Yesterday, U.S. Agriculture Secretary Ed Schafer decided again it. Good call! From Sara Hopper, EDF’s director of agricultural policy:

Secretary Schafer should be commended for resisting calls to gut the nation’s oldest and most successful farm conservation program. Putting millions of CRP acres back into intensive crop production would have resulted in the loss of billions of dollars in taxpayer investments in conservation and caused untold environmental damage, while only minimally boosting crop production and providing little, if any, relief from rising commodity prices.

Posted in News / Read 1 Response

A Viable Coal-to-Liquids Project?

Mark BrownsteinThis post is by Mark Brownstein, managing director of business partnerships and specialist on coal technology at Environmental Defense Fund.

On Monday, CONSOL Energy – one of America’s leading coal companies – announced they would build America’s first coal-to-liquid plant in West Virginia. The press release from coal country announces that a strategy for sequestering carbon dioxide pollution produced by liquefying coal will be part of the project. That’s important because an EPA study found that diesel fuel from coal could result in double the greenhouse gas emissions of diesel fuel from oil.

Many Americans are feeling real economic distress with gasoline above four dollars a gallon. Economic hardship and energy security play to coal’s strength as a traditionally low cost, domestic, and plentiful energy resource. Deploying the technology to convert it to gasoline and diesel fuel seems like a no-brainer. But it’s not so simple.

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Posted in Cars and Pollution, Energy / Read 4 Responses

My Arctic Journal

Fred KruppThis post is by Fred Krupp, president of the Environmental Defense Fund.

A few weeks ago, I returned from a voyage called the Arctic Expedition for Climate Action. Sponsored by the Aspen Institute, the National Geographic Society, and Lindblad Expeditions, our group [PDF] included over 100 business leaders, scientists, environmentalists, journalists, politicians, religious leaders, and community activists.

Orthographic projection over Svalbard (red dot).In a word, it was sensational. We set out by ship from Svalbard – almost the closest land to the North Pole, and a three hour plane flight from Oslo, Norway. This is by far the closest to the North Pole I’ve ever been. My prior trips to the north shore of Alaska at Prudhoe Bay and the north coast of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge were much further south.

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Posted in Arctic & Antarctic / Comments are closed

New Poll: Development of New Energy Technology Beats Expanded Oil Drilling

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

Earlier this month I posted about problems with a Pew poll that found a majority of Americans now favor expanding oil drilling over protecting the environment. I suggested that the results were misleading, biased by the questions Pew asked. A new poll released last week confirms this.

When asked whether government’s priority should be "invest in new energy technology" or "expand exploration and drilling", a full 76 percent said "invest in new energy technology" should be the priority.

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Car Insurance that Costs Less When You Drive Less

Michael ReplogleThis post is by Michael Replogle, Transportation Director at Environmental Defense Fund.

Think back to your last all-you-can eat buffet. Did you eat more than you would have ordering à la carte? The same applies to driving and car insurance. With insurance policies giving almost no consideration to miles driven, if you drive an average amount or less compared to other drivers in your neighborhood, you pay much more per mile for car insurance than high-mileage drivers, which are in the minority. Yet accident risks are clearly linked to miles driven.

Shouldn’t your insurance premium correspond to your risk, saving you money if you drive less? That’s the idea behind Pay-As-You-Drive (PAYD) Insurance – drive less, pay less. Pricing insurance by the mile not reduces premiums for the majority of drivers, but if universally available, would cut traffic by 8 percent, with corresponding reductions in greenhouse gases, air pollution, congestion, and oil imports.

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Posted in Cars and Pollution / Read 5 Responses

Western States Lead on Carbon Market

Sheryl CanterThis post is by Sheryl Canter, an online writer and editorial manager at Environmental Defense Fund.

This week, seven U.S. governors and four Canadian premiers – partners in the fast-growing Western Climate Initiative (WCI) – released a draft design for what would be the largest cap-and-trade market for global warming pollution in North America. The outcome of many public workshops, the draft caps emissions for utilities and industry by 2012, and adds caps for residential, commercial and transportation sources by 2015.

WCI will present the draft at a stakeholder workshop and webinar in San Diego next week. Environmental Defense Fund experts Derek Walker, Jamie Fine and Martha Roberts will be there to speak in favor of a firm, binding emissions limit that declines over time, strict standards for offsets, and to remind participants of the economic benefits of action.

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