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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 17, 2011. Posted: 17 Feb 2011 13:03:31
California Air Resources Board News Clips for February 17, 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. AIR POLLUTION Grant Will Help Schools' Indoor Air Quality. An Inland environmental group has won a $1 million grant that will be used to improve indoor air quality at four schools and a community center in neighborhoods polluted by rail yards and diesel truck traffic. The Center for Community Action and Environmental Justice will use the money to upgrade heating and air condition systems with high-tech filters that keep cancer-causing diesel soot and other air pollutants out of the school buildings. Posted. http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_schoolfilters17.2750338.html CLIMATE CHANGE Special Report - The California Carbon Rush. San Francisco (Reuters) - Under California's new carbon trading system, big polluters will be paying through the nose for the privilege. And so will everyone else in the state. The basic premise is "no pain, no gain" -- when the price starts to pinch, that will spur innovation and California will lead the world in green technology. Or at least that's the plan. The Carbon Rush officially gets underway next year. Power plants, factories and other companies will have to obtain an "allowance" permit for every ton of carbon dioxide they produce. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/02/17/us-california-carbon-idUSTRE71G3R220110217 Democrats Mount Rear-Guard Action Against Republican Assault on EPA Climate Rules. House Democrats ratcheted up their defense of U.S. EPA's climate regulations yesterday as lawmakers debated a GOP-crafted spending bill that would defund the agency's regulations on greenhouse gases and chip away at funding for other environment and climate initiatives. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/cwire/2011/02/17/17climatewire-democrats-mount-rear-guard-action-against-re-29952.html?scp=8&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Heavy Rains Linked to Humans. An increase in heavy precipitation that has afflicted many countries is at least partly a consequence of human influence on the atmosphere, climate scientists reported in a new study. In the first major paper of its kind, the researchers used elaborate computer programs that simulate the climate to analyze whether the rise in severe rainstorms, heavy snowfalls and similar events could be explained by natural variability in the atmosphere. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/science/earth/17extreme.html?_r=1&scp=7&sq=climate%20change&st=cse Scientists Connect Global Warming To Extreme Rain. Extreme rainstorms and snowfalls have grown substantially stronger, two studies suggest, with scientists for the first time finding the telltale fingerprints of man-made global warming on downpours that often cause deadly flooding. Two studies in Wednesday's issue of the journal Nature link heavy rains to increases in greenhouse gases more than ever before. One group of researchers looked at the strongest rain and snow events of each year from 1951 to 1999 in the Northern Hemisphere and found that the more recent storms were 7 percent wetter. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/02/16/national/a100211S31.DTL&type=printable http://www.nctimes.com/news/science/article_a2626d9f-450f-5b00-8509-4be4e8920836.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/02/16/2274926/scientists-connect-global-warming.html#storylink=misearch http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/02/16/AR2011021603393.html http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/16/scientists-connect-global-warming-to-extreme-rain/ Munich Re Says Natural Disasters Tripled in Germany Since 1970. German insurers' losses from natural catastrophes are rising as global climate change causes more inundations and storms, Munich Re said. Weather-related events have more than tripled in the country over the past 40 years, Peter Hoeppe, who heads the Munich-based reinsurer's Geo Risks Research Department, told journalists in Dusseldorf today. A rising trend is also measurable worldwide, he said. Insurers' claims costs related to natural disasters rose last year. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/02/16/bloomberg1376-LGR9ZW07SXKX01-282VCFK01POEPBN16I1MGCTKH3.DTL&type=printable Greenhouse Gas Drop Tied To Technological Advances As Well As Slumping Economy. The period between 2008 and 2009 saw the largest decrease in U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in 20 years, according to U.S. EPA's Greenhouse Gas Inventory Report. While the 6 percent decrease correlates with the constriction of the global economy that followed the financial crisis in 2008, it was not the only reason for the drop, the report says. Advances in technology, efficiency and reuse of scrap industrial material also decreased energy use in key sectors. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/02/17/6 FUELS Report: Calif. Should Wean Itself Off Foreign Oil. A group of politicians, academics and business leaders are calling on California to take bold steps to reduce its dependence on foreign oil. Former Secretary of State George Shultz and other members of The California Secure Transportation Energy Partnership cite turmoil in the Middle East, threats to national security and climate change as reasons why the state needs new energy sources. They note that California has increased its oil imports by 10 times over the past decade. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/02/16/state/n135822S88.DTL&type=printable Obama Effort To Cut U.S. Fossil Fuel Subsidies May Be An Empty Pledge. With G-20 finance ministers meeting in Paris on Friday, the Obama administration will aim to prove it is upholding the United States' end of a global pledge to phase out subsidies for fossil fuels. But the elimination of $3.6 billion worth of tax breaks to the oil and gas industry Obama outlined in his proposed budget this week -- all of which were shot down by Congress for the past two years -- are again running up against a Republican political blockade backed by industry. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/02/17/7 RFA Supports CARB Changes To Land Use Penalty, Urges More Study. In comments submitted Wednesday to the California Air Resources Board, the Renewable Fuels Association continued to raise concerns regarding the indirect land use change (ILUC) analysis used for the state’s Low Carbon Fuels Standard. The comments were submitted in response to the release of final reports from the LCFS Expert Workgroup that was assembled to assist CARB in improving its ILUC analysis. “While we continue to have concerns with the selective application of indirect greenhouse gas emissions penalties only to crop-based biofuels… Posted. http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/7521/rfa-supports-carb-changes-to-land-use-penalty-urges-more-study GREEN ENERGY Solarcity Expansion Continues On East Coast. SolarCity, a San Mateo company that leases solar energy systems to homeowners, will announce today that it is buying the East Coast's largest residential solar installation business for an undisclosed amount. The deal is SolarCity's second East Coast purchase in two months and expands the company's business to 10 states. It also represents continuing consolidation in the fast-changing solar industry. SolarCity will buy the residential installation business of groSolar, based in Vermont. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/02/17/BUNA1HO2NR.DTL&type=printable UC Davis To Help Navy Reduce Its Energy Use. The University of California, Davis, said it will help develop a greener U.S. Navy. UC Davis officials and Jackalyne Pfannenstiel, the Navy's assistant secretary for energy, installations and environment, on Wednesday announced a new partnership to sharply reduce the amount of energy that the Navy uses for lighting at its military installations. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/02/17/1560732/uc-davis-to-help-navy-reduce-its.html Improved Efficiency Can Be Double-Edged Sword – Study. Increasing the efficiency of our power systems and gadgets will not necessarily yield great reductions in energy use and could lead to using even more juice, according to a study released today by the liberal Breakthrough Institute. In a new review of energy efficiency literature, researchers at the Oakland, Calif.-based think tank found that a "rebound effect" means that implementing low-cost efficiency improvements can increase overall energy consumption and can even lead to a higher net energy use in what they describe as a "backfire effect." Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/02/17/4 VEHICLES California Hopes To Get High-Speed Rail Funds Florida Spurned. Washington – Florida on Wednesday spurned $2.4 billion in federal high-speed rail funds, giving California a chance to scoop up more for itself. Citing project costs and inefficiencies, Florida Gov. Rick Scott said he was turning down the federal dollars designed to help build a rapid route connecting Tampa to Orlando. The move means the Obama administration must now reallocate the funds. "Thank you, Florida," said Rep. John Garamendi, D-Walnut Grove. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/02/17/v-print/3409510/california-hopes-to-get-high-speed.html Air Resources Board Offers $19 Million in Grants for Hybrid Vehicle Technology. The Air Resources Board (ARB) this week announced its second year offering grants totaling $19 million for hybrid vehicle technology that significantly reduces smog-forming and greenhouse gas emissions. The Hybrid Truck and Bus Voucher Incentive Program will provide vouchers on a first-come, first-served basis to help California fleets purchase fuel-efficient hybrid medium- and heavy-duty vehicles. At least $2 million of these funds will be set aside for California public fleets to increase the number of hybrid vehicles, ARB says. Posted. http://www.aftermarketnews.com/Item/84474/air_resources_board_offers_19_million_in_grants_for_hybrid_vehicle_technology.aspx http://www.truckinginfo.com/clean-green/news-detail.asp?news_id=73016&news_category_id=63 MISCELLANEOUS LCV Releases Environmental Scorecard. Even as environmental groups face their toughest legislative challenges in years, the League of Conservation Voters today released its latest environmental scorecard, a look back on votes during the second half of the 111th Congress that revealed a lackluster end to a promising beginning. In a conference call with reporters to announce the group's ratings, LCV's Senior Vice President of Government Affairs Tiernan Sittenfeld said while the start of the 111th Congress began well, it was an "incredibly disappointing second session." Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/02/17/7 OPINION Securing California’s Energy Future. For the first time since 2008, the price of oil recently increased to more than $100 per barrel amid concerns that protests in Tunisia, Egypt and Jordan could lead to supply disruptions from the oil-rich Middle East. The price has since dropped to about $84 a barrel, but it remains clear that our heavy dependence on imported oil makes the situation thousands of miles away in the Middle East today an issue of great concern to all of us here in California. Posted. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/feb/17/securing-californias-energy-future/ Elias: Carbon-Trading Critics Are Wrong, State Is Far From Alone. Because Republicans in Congress have steadfastly stymied attempts to get the federal government to act against global warming and climate change, critics of California's new carbon trading rules usually get little contradiction when they insist those regulations will see this state going it alone and putting itself at an economic disadvantage. But they're wrong, at least in large part. For California isn't going it alone at all. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/feb/16/elias-carbon-trading-critics-are-wrong-state-is/?print=1 KIRK: Green Jobs And Hot Air. President Obama's recent State of the Union Address reprised the "green jobs" theme that he constantly touted in his 2008 campaign as the key to America's economic future. Those stump speeches were regularly punctuated with references to the great job Spain was doing in this arena. At least candidate Obama's misguided economic assessment occurred before the release of a 2009 study by a research team from Madrid's King Juan Carlos University that concluded Spain's green energy programs destroyed twice as many private sector jobs as they created. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/columnists/kirk/article_4c428c5c-97c5-5f89-afe7-c652898db33c.html BRYCE: ‘Absolute Madness’ Of Biofuels. Last month, Peter Brabeck, the chairman of the Swiss food giant Nestle, declared that using food crops to make biofuels was “absolute madness.” The epicenter of that madness is the U.S. corn-ethanol sector. This year, it will consume 40 percent of all U.S. corn - that’s about 15 percent of global corn production or 5 percent of all global grain - in order to produce a volume of motor fuel with the energy equivalent of about 0.6 percent of global oil needs. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/feb/16/obamas-green-power-builds-chinas-red-power/?page=1 BLOGS A Harder Rain’s Gonna Fall (and Already Is). Bursts of extreme precipitation have occurred through the ages. Just review this 2002 study for clear evidence going back several millenniums in the northeastern United States. But for the first time, a thorough analysis has concluded with nary a caveat that a rise in heavy precipitation episodes — rain and snow — across most of North America in the second half of the 20th century cannot be explained without a significant push from the human-driven buildup of greenhouse gases. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/a-harder-rains-gonna-fall-and-already-is/?scp=10&sq=climate%20change&st=cse Modifying California’s Petroleum Diet. We suggest you take the greenhouse-gas reduction framework enshrined in your landmark 2006 legislation and substitute the word “petroleum” wherever the original text made reference to “greenhouse gases.” We believe that policy will make the state stronger economically, improve national security by making us less dependent on the oil merchants of the increasingly unstable Middle East, create fertile ground for clean-tech investments and coin the phrase “patriot state” while making California the first to earn that title. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/02/17/modifying-californias-petroleum-diet/?scp=6&sq=Fuels&st=cse