“Idle Threat—Man on Emission”
Thanks to all for your interest and support of “Idle Threat—Man on Emission” and its grassroots crusade. The film and its impact on an army of steadfast supporters have been empowered in remarkable ways by the City of New York—for pay…

Since 1971, the City of New York had laws restricting curbside engine idling, which went unenforced. Determined to reduce air pollution, as a national and international model, our collective efforts, and media support, have had inspiring impacts on combatting grave health threats and global climate change. The film chronicles the challenges and triumphs of this campaign.

Below are two year-end reports of the exceptional progress in stemming dangerous (likely lethal at times) emissions from idling engines in New York City.

Mea Culpa: I should have gotten this 2022 year-end report LAST YEAR out last year but so many things got in my way. I hate to be late.

FYI: Idling engines consume more than 6 billion gallons of gasoline annually in the U.S., a significant but little-known contributor to local air pollution, respiratory disease and global climate change. See below, updated bullets of our outreach.


  • Media coverage in 2022 was extraordinary. NY Times had two stories in the spring, followed by a TV story from CNBC. Not to be outdone, local NBC TV ran two stories on our effort.
  • Dutch TV (RTV) ran a compelling story in Europe on our activity and Bloomberg TV did their own version of our unique program.
  • The Daily Show did a two-day shoot on our work… but with the resignation of Trevor Noah, it never made it to the small screen.


  • French Television created an 8- minute TV Magazine story this past spring. It aired in France in September
  • German TV (RTV) spent nearly a whole day in September in Brooklyn filming the activity of 4 activists. Not sure when it will air but I have been told it might run 20 minutes and be seen in Germany, Austria and Switzerland.
  • A+E TV reached out to me in late Spring. Worked for nearly 3 months with a producer to create a ‘sizzle reel’ for management to decide if they wanted to produce a reality TV show based on the NYC Idling program. Got an email in August saying the program was ‘green lite’ to produce. Then, NOTHING. A+E went dark on me and the project. I guess TV can be fickle.

Why all the excitement?
Because as best I can tell, in our 4th year of recording violations… and getting paid… we reached nearly 50,000 submissions in 2022 to the Department of Environmental Protection. This nearly doubled from the previous year.

And in 2023, DEP reports they receive approximately 7000 submissions…per month with a total, as of December 20th 2023, of 84,671. En toto, the city has collected a running total of $28,442,437.00 in fine payments as of December 20th 2023.

By any measure these are outrageous numbers. There is no other program like this in the USA… to my knowledge.

Besides cleaning up NYC’s air, I know of many participants who have made more than $100,000 per year. Clean up the air and get paid to do it. Not so bad!!!

Back between 2006 and 2011, I was shooting the footage for “Idle Threat—Man on Emission,” I was also collecting raw data. The profound data point was the comments that strangers made to me after I asked them to shut off their engines. Well, I have compiled the 99 more strange and amusing comments people said to me in a book. Its titled – Razzmatazz. This book is available for purchase on Amazon. Why not take a look? Sure to tickle your funny bone.

That’s it for 2022 & 2023. I’ll keep you posted in the coming year.

Thanks for caring! George Pakenham