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Margot Roosevelt

Margot Roosevelt is based in Los Angeles, and specializes in climate change and air pollution. She joined the L.A. Times in 2007, after working at The Washington Post, and later at Time Magazine, as an environmental reporter, a political writer and a foreign correspondent.

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The 7th Annual AREDAY (American Renewable Energy Day), taking place in Aspen, Colorado August 19-22, will feature a Gulf Oil Spill panel titled "Linking the Oil Spill, Energy Policy and Climate Change." Honored panelists include Larry Schweiger, CEO and President of the National Wildlife Federation; Tom Strickland, Assistant Secretary of the Department of the Interior; Carl Safina, President of Blue Ocean Institute and Phil Radford, Executive Director of Greenpeace. AREDAY is a world class environmental conference unique in its ability to gather the top minds from public and private sectors around the world. The conference focuses on finding implementable solutions to the issues facing our planet. Please visit to register.

Dear Ms. Roosevelt:
We are trying to establish a contact with an influential person who is dealing with the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico to discuss the success of using all natural microbes. These microbes, working in a unique consortium, are able to break the bonds of hydro carbons and effectively clean the oil slick on the surface, in the marshlands, on beaches, and possible the oil coating the Gulf's floor. These microbes have been used throughout North America for the last 23 years and the EPA is aware of their existence. The cost of the microbes is significantly less than mopping the marshes with towels.

Thank you.....Michael Friedman

I just sent the following to a Yahoo internet list called "biochar-policy" and then was encouraged to look at this site - so want to thank Margot for a well-written article on a hugely important topic. The article led me to encourage readership to a policy group very interested in a topic (Biochar) closely related to Margot's subject matter (REDD).

1. This excerpt from yesterday,0,3432052.story?page=2
is only indirectly related to Biochar, but it will show some of the problems we face as we try to convert this char-maker's present outlaw one that we can endorse:

/ " An hour outside Manaus, the Amazon’s biggest city, the blackened remains of a virgin forest smolder. Chain saws whine. And Jonas Mendes tosses logs, one after another, into his kiln. “I know it’s wrong to cut down the trees,” said Mendes, 48, sweat streaming down his neck and torso. “But I have no other way to make a living.” Under a lean-to, his teenage son hacks charcoal into pieces with a machete. His wife fills 110-pound plastic bags that sell for $4 each. If the Obama administration succeeds in its pledge to curb climate change, billions could flow from the U.S. to help forest dwellers such as Mendes change their ways.
Governors of the Brazilian Amazon’s nine states are pushing the U.S. and other industrial nations to invest in projects under rules known as REDD — or Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and Degradation — that are being designed through the auspices of the United Nations."

/ /[RWL: I recommend more of the article, which is about ten times longer.]

2. So this retail (?) char price is less than $75 per ton Char - (about $25 per ton CO2) - and the CO2 price has been appreciably higher on the European exchage. How do we sell reforestation efforts so that this char-making family has a legitimate trade, makes more, and does so legally - with the (now) Biochar going into the ground and thereby providing better forestry and better ag growing conditions(that are probably worth at least as much more per ton)?

3. I recently read an interesting article about the impact of elephants tearing up trees in a reforestation project in Uganda. Turns out that slightly damaged trees were giving more kg/m2-yr (more sequestration) - as the trees overcompensated with new extra above-ground growth. Part of the favorable "destruction" story relates to the amount of light getting to other trees also. Based on this one article (that I now can't locate), I believe we can show that a reforestation project which is managed so as to remove (for char-making) some new growth annually (emulating the elephant - ending up as Biochar and being a sustainable employment opportunity for Mendes and family). Further, this can be done is such a way that the pyrolysis gases are used productively rather than vented (both parts probably worth another $25 to $50/ton CO2 - to society as a whole).

4, The above LA Times article and most that I read along these lines only talk about reforestation (REDD) and not about how Biochar can improve on or solve all (seven??) of the problems mentioned above (employment, vented pyrolysis gases, fossil fuel displacement, added annual sequestration in forest biomass , added annual CO2 sequestration through Biochar, improved soil productivity [with additional annual CO2 sequestration], and condoned illegal behavior). Sounds to me like $100 per ton would be undervaluing Biochar - and Mendes should be as happy as everyone else. Additionally, for those now buying the illegal char, Mendes and family can package smaller stove-ready packages of right-sized wood for urban charcoal-making stoves that in turn make more char (that Mendes can pick up and return to where it was grown - thereby lowering the cost to the urban cook, giving further added income for Mendes, and allowing more REDD benefits than if char-making was prohibited).

5. Any list members see anything I have left out? How do we get REDD proponents to see how important Biochar is to their (laudable) goals. What am I missing as a down-side?

6. Thanks to Margot Roosevelt at the LA Times for telling us about Mendes and his hard life - and allowing me to relate this proposed REDD improvement to Ugandan elephants (if there are the right number of them and not allowed in the latest plantings too soon.).

Margot - I hope you will learn more about how important Manaus and Mendes are to those on this list (eg. read more of Michael Mann and others' writings on _*Terra Preta*_ [centered around Manaus]. We on this list would all I think recommend an early visit to:
for justification of what I have alleged above.


It's a good thing that I am not one to gloat.
But STILL no mention of the 3 air monitoring towers erected in the past decade along the Pacific coast.

See, my ranting and raving about the Asian dust in my house was perhaps a bit premature; but government agencies work that way. Otherwise how could they hold a job; unless they told you something you already had discovered on your own.

But I am sort of suspicious why BLOG report is avoiding the use of the word, "particulate". The terms green house gas, ozone, smog, are rather limiting in how they do not contain the same implication of dust bonded poison in the air that the term particulates does. One simply takes the term to mean dust; never realizing that the dust is a toxic particulate.

It is a known fact that Asian industry does as a practice include many harmful toxins into their export projects, food, toys, clothing, and even milk their own children die from. Why does the American public not understand that when those toxins are manufactured, and then applied to products, that the casual overspray becomes airborne and is capable of migrating to the western United States, and beyond.

So, why bother to buy a chocolate bar made in China for your daily dose of poison; just take a deep breath.


Thanks, Margot, for your even-handed reporting of climate change issues, and for your amazing restraint and grace when the professional deniers attack in droves! Keep up the good work!

As a (self-proclaimed) "Eco-Satirist," I'm launching an online video feature called "Mirth for Earth." It's my belief that humor is an effective way to reach more people with a green message in an "Eco-Friendly" manner. The first video focuses on the importance of COP15 the UN Climate Change Conference.

This video was also entered in the youtube/COP15 video contest sponsored by the Danish government.

Coming soon: the next video will explain the "real" reason behind global warming.

Bob Hirschfeld

My name is Erica Chapman and I read the LA Times.

.....would you be interested in hearing about a real showdown going on in West Virginia and having to do with turbines?
I know it's West Virginia, but as there aren't that many stories on wind power, and we need information on this developing energy source, it's an excellent example of cart before the horse, misrepresentation of energy facts, political chicanery,
and disregard of environmental and historical issues. It's also a basic "little people fighting fighting to be heard over the money of big corporation" kind of thing -- and it's happening right now!!

I could put you in touch with LOTS of information and contacts.

I think the story is significant on a national level as it encompasses so many issues around our quest for cleaner and more renewable energy sources.

If you do not think this story would be something you want to pursue, could you please direct me to someone who might......time is of the essence and the Times coverage could help a lot.

Thank you,
Erica Chapman

Dear Mr. Logan, September 24, 2009

Please find enclosed my donation to your good work. I just read the article in the L.A. Times that I believe to be written by Margot Roosevelt and I feel inclined to provide an immediate note on clear and clean reporting and a compliment to your endeavors.

I live far away in the fresh air of Laguna Beach but I won’t feel right until everyone has the oxygen and clean air that I have. I drive cars, watch television and talk on cell phones that come through Los Angeles shipping. It isn’t right that people should suffer so that I can have my life.

I drive by the port several times a month and often pass it by sea and I remember my roots. My father worked on Terminal Island and was also a Navy reservist in the same area. I remember going on a Sunday drive almost 60 years ago and having him show me his ship, his work and marveled at the cranes brought from Germany after WW II. It was a different view then. I loved that port and my fathers stories about it. We would drive on to San Pedro and pick fresh abalone right off the rocks.

I worked out of the casual Longshoreman’s hall to get through college. I don’t remember containers, I think we did it all by hand but I remember loving that work and loving that place and the people I met.

I want the port to exist and I want to be proud that OUR port is the cleanest and greenest in the world and a model for how shipping and transportation can be. I loved reading that you want shipping to be good neighbors and I believe there is no reason why not. My father was a hard working good man and he died with asbestosis. I believe that what you are saying is true. Not everyone can be as fortunate as myself, in some regards, but no matter what your circumstances everyone has a right to have a clean garden, clean air and clean water.

I am sure the technology exists to be the largest port in the world and have clean air too. I just know it can be done. I also know that it will be people like you and me that will make it happen. Especially you. I intend to follow along and support your projects as I can.


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