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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 16, 2011.

Posted: 16 Feb 2011 11:53:54
California Air Resources Board News Clips for February 16, 2011.


This is a service of the California Air Resources Board’s Office
of Communications.  You may need to sign in or register with
individual websites to view some of the following news articles.


Enviro Groups Urge EPA To Limit Greenhouse Gases. Environmental
activists urged the federal government Tuesday to set limits on
greenhouse gas emissions from power plants and oil refineries
even as Republican opponents in Congress seek to restrict or stop
those rules. The comments came during the second of five meetings
that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is holding across
the country ahead of its plan to issue proposed standards
limiting two of the biggest industrial sources of the gases
blamed for global warming: power plants and oil refineries.

Congress’ Heated But Hollow Climate Debate. While campaigning to
become chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, Fred
Upton, R-Mich., vowed that he would grill Lisa Jackson, the head
of the Environmental Protection Agency, in front of his committee
so often that she would need her own parking space on Capitol
Hill. On Wednesday, Jackson submitted to her first interrogation,
about one of the Republican Party’s pet peeves: the EPA’s plan to
restrict emissions of greenhouse gases from cars and factories by
decree. Posted.

EPA Levies Major Fines Against Biomass Plants.  wo biomass
plants, intended to help the San Joaquin Valley clean up the air,
have been tagged with one of the state's largest air-pollution
fines in recent history.  Global Ampersand of Boston was fined
more than $800,000 for excess ozone-related emissions and other
violations from biomass plants in Madera and Merced counties,
federal authorities announced Tuesday.  Posted. 


Odor Sickens Residents, Bewilders Officials. Regional air
pollution officials believe a toxic soils recycling plant is the
source of strong, gassy odors that Mecca residents blame for
illnesses in this small, low-income, predominantly Hispanic
farming community in the Coachella Valley.  The odor is emanating
from the plant, which is on tribal land and is operated by
Western Environmental Inc. Residents said they started smelling
the odor about three years ago.  Posted. 

Chowchilla Biomass Plant Faces $328K Fine. A biomass power plant
in Chowchilla has been slapped with a $328,000 fine in a
settlement over alleged violations of the federal Clean Air Act.
The fine against Ampersand Chowchilla Biomass, LLC was announced
today by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, which along
with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District allege
the power plant emitted nitrogen oxides, sulfur dioxide and
carbon monoxide in excess of permitted limits. Posted.


Investments Worth Trillions At Risk From Climate Change: Study.
Singapore (Reuters) - Climate change could put trillions of
investment dollars at risk over the next 20 years, a global study
released on Wednesday said, calling for pension funds and other
investors to overhaul how they allocate funds. Risks from more
extreme weather, continued delay in climate policy by governments
and uncertainty over the shape of a new global climate pact were
major concerns, while renewable energy, agriculture and
infrastructure could be opportunities. Posted.

EU May Cut Emissions by 25% as of 2020, Put Permits in Reserve.
The European Union may cut carbon emissions 25 percent by 2020
and withhold permits in the next phase of its cap-and-trade
program to curb excess supply and promote new technologies. The
European Commission, the EU regulator, stopped short in a draft
policy paper of proposing a binding 2020 target for cutting
carbon dioxide more than the current goal of 20 percent below
1990 levels. Still, it said the 27-nation bloc may exceed 20
percent as long as it saves more energy, curbs emissions from
transport and invests in low-carbon infrastructure. Posted.

Environmental Justice Groups Sue For Cap And Trade Alternatives.
A final decision regarding a law on California greenhouse gas
emission reduction will likely come in the next few weeks. The
California Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as Assembly
Bill 32, aims to reduce carbon emissions to 1990 levels by 2020.
To reach these goals, the California Air Resources Board adopted
the Scoping Plan in 2008 to reduce carbon dioxide emissions
through various methods, including cap and trade policy. Posted.

Carbon Counters. California’s Air Resources Board defends and
reconsiders its Low Carbon Fuel Standard. January marked the
start of California’s controversial Low Carbon Fuel Standard
program, a regulatory measure designed to reduce greenhouse gas
(GHG) emissions from the state’s transportation sector by 16
million metric tons in 2020. The specifics of the program are far
from finalized, however. California’s Air Resources Board is
currently defending its policy in lawsuits filed in both federal
and civil courts while simultaneously convening its regular
Expert Working Group hearings to attempt to settle contentious
issues related to the policy. Posted.

Grove Introduces Bill To Delay Environmental Regulations.
Sacramento, Ca. — Assemblywoman Shannon Grove has introduced
Assembly Bill 333, which calls for the delayed implementation of
AB 32, otherwise known as the “Global Warming Solutions Act,”
passed by the legislature in 2006, her staff announced Tuesday.
Grove’s measure will relieve California businesses from "the
costly and burdensome regulations associated with AB32 until the
unemployment rate in the county where the business resides falls
below 7% for six consecutive months," according to a statement.
“Now is not the time to experiment with new, oppressive rules on
businesses,” said Grove.  Posted.


Greens Sour On Natural Gas. Whatever happened to the romance
between the environmental lobby and natural gas? After years of
basking in a green glow as the cleanest fossil fuel and a
favorite short-term choice to replace cheap-but-dirty coal, gas
now finds itself under attack from environmentalists, filmmakers
and congressional Democrats — and even from some scientists who
raise doubts about whether its total emissions are as
climate-friendly as commonly believed. Posted.


Obama Budget Looks To Boost Clean Energy. As promised in his
State of the Union Address, President Obama's proposed 2012
budget continues his administration's commitment to funding
alternative energy and transportation research and development.
The president aims to pay for some of his investments by
jettisoning tax breaks for fossil-fuel industries worth billions
every year. Exactly what the president is able to get out of a
split Congress, and in particular a Republican-led House bent on
slashing spending, remains to be seen. Posted.

Growing in Power, Natural Gas Attracts Enemies. Environmental
groups want to extinguish the ardor many are feeling for natural
gas. As the fuel grows in market share and political power,
several green groups have launched campaigns highlighting
potential problems. They raise questions about everything from
how natural gas is extracted to how much of a climate benefit it
offers over competitors. Posted.


Tesla Beats Expectations As Revenue — And Losses — Grow. Palo
Alto-based Tesla Motors announced fourth-quarter revenue Tuesday
of $36.3 million, a 16 percent increase from the $31.2 million
reported in the previous quarter and double the $18.6 million in
the fourth quarter a year ago. Wall Street analysts had expected
revenue of $34.3 million. The electric-car maker's stock rose
about 0.1 percent to $22.86 in after-hours trading after closing
down 1 percent to $22.84. Posted.

E.U. Caps Commercial Van Emissions. The European Union has voted
to cap carbon emissions from commercial vans, the latest move to
curb transportation pollution contributing to climate change. The
law will be imposed on "light commercial vehicles" made by auto
manufacturers like Volkswagen AG, PSA Peugeot Citroën and Fiat
SpA. It will reduce average CO2 emissions from new vans sold in
the European Union by 14 percent compared with 2007. That level
will equal to 175 grams (6.2 ounces) a kilometer (0.6 mile).
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/02/16/8


Opinion: Now Is The Time To Invest In Ending California's Oil
Addiction. Oil prices are spiking yet again, due in large part to
the political unrest in the Middle East. We've seen this before,
and we will see it again. Oil price volatility will take a toll
on California until we diversify energy supplies and reduce oil
demand. The time has come for us to end our addiction to imported
oil. We depend on oil for 93 percent of our transportation needs
in California. This is hardly the "diversified portfolio"
approach that we, as an 
investor and an economist, would recommend as a risk management
strategy. Posted.

Congress Must Derail President Obama's Backdoor EPA Power Grab.
In last year’s budget, President Obama called for Congress to
enact cap-and-trade legislation, using a slush fund to disguise
the cost of the program.  But cap-and-trade was decisively
rejected in the 2010 election, so this year President Obama’s
budget simply funds the EPA to move forward with regulating
greenhouse gases on its own – against the clear wishes of voters
and without any legitimate legislative basis. Congress must take
responsibility, step in, and stop this power grab. One day after
the election, President Obama told us this was coming:  “Cap and
trade was just one way of skinning the cat; it was not the only
way. Posted.


Volt and Leaf Fail to Topple Honda Civic GX From Green Book List.
The Honda Civic GX, which runs on compressed natural gas, topped
The Green Book’s annual list for the eighth time. The American
Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, a Washington-based
nonprofit group financed by foundations, electric utilities and
state and federal agencies, released its annual list of the 12
greenest vehicles of the model year on Tuesday. With five models
having displaced 2010 honorees, this year’s list differs markedly
from last year’s group. Posted.

Climate Change Drives Instability, U.N. Official Warns. The
United Nations’ top climate change official said on Tuesday that
food shortages and rising prices caused by climate disruptions
were among the chief contributors to the civil unrest coursing
through North Africa and the Middle East. In a speech to Spanish
lawmakers and military leaders, Christiana Figueres, executive
secretary of the United Nations climate office, said that climate
change-driven drought, falling crop yields and competition for
water were fueling conflict throughout Africa and elsewhere in
the developing world. Posted.

The A, B, C’s of Limiting Climate Risk.  There appears to be a
breath of fresh air wafting through the environmental community,
reflected in  Degrees of Risk: Defining a Risk Management
Framework for Climate Security, a new report from the
Britain-based nonprofit group Third Generation Environmentalism,
or E3G. The report is enthusiastically endorsed by Bill Becker,
the head of the  Presidential Climate Action Plan, in a guest
post at Climateprogress.  Posted. 

CERV: A New Kind of Army Green.  Just beyond the stands of
mainstream manufacturers during last week’s Chicago auto show
press previews, stood an unusual, rugged-looking vehicle. Though
its crude appearance might suggest otherwise, the Clandestine
Extended Range Vehicle, or CERV, is an all-wheel-drive diesel
hybrid that $14 billion in federal financing for dual-use
advanced technology helped to build.  Posted. 

Greenest Cars: Natural Gas Honda Civic GX, Nissan Leaf Electric
And, Just Barely, Chevrolet Volt. For a list of the greenest 2011
model-year vehicles, there sure are a lot of traditional gasoline
engines among the top 12 cars ranked by the American Council for
an Energy-Efficient Economy. The council's 14th annual ratings of
the most eco-friendly cars on the market include internal
combustion models such as the Smart Fortwo, the Ford Fiesta and
the Hyundai Elantra. The natural gas-powered Honda Civic GX
topped the list for an eighth straight year, with a score of 54,
followed by the new all-electric Nissan Leaf. Posted.

Classifying Beliefs About Climate Change. Is Convinced Versus
Unconvinced The Way To Go? In the climate change debate,
commentators on the issue in the media and cocktail parties alike
often use labels to put people into camps based on what they
"believe" about the issue. The labels I've heard include: the
mainstream, alarmists, progressives, deniers, delayers, skeptics,
believers, hawks, contrarians, naysayers, doomsayers, chicken
littles, non-skeptical heretics, and dissidents - to name a few
off the top of my head (heard others? comment below). Posted.

Aerodynamic Add-Ons Reduce Fuel Consumption Of Semi Trucks By
7-12%. BMI Corporation, along with the Department of Energy's Oak
Ridge National Laboratory, have developed a set of aerodynamic
fairings that are claimed to reduce fuel consumption of long-haul
semi trucks by 7-12 percent. The aerodynamic add-ons, which BMI
calls the SmartTruck UnderTray System, include five individual
components that reduce the drag coefficient of tractor trailers.

Why We Can Have One Million Electric Cars on the Road by 2015.
When General Motors' EV1 rolled out in 1996, there was no
infrastructure for it, gas was about ten cents a gallon, and cars
were turning into military vehicles. And I still wanted one. But
then it was gone. Flash forward to President Obama saying we'll
have a million electric cars on the road by 2015. Pundits
expressed immediate doubts about this number, but today we have
two big reasons to believe we can get there. First, we have to
look beyond the options we have today. Posted.

Bad Air Politicians Want A Blast From The (Smog-Filled) Past. In
October 1954, Los Angeles found itself swallowed up by a blanket
of smog so thick that industry shut down and children stayed home
from school for most of a month. Over 2000 auto accidents
occurred in a single day, as drivers careened through the
soot-filled air. Residents wore gas masks at community meetings,
protesting the life-threatening pollution seeping into their
lungs. There’s no doubt that our air has been made significantly
safer and cleaner since then due to government standards and
programs. Posted.

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