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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 3, 2011 Posted: 03 Jun 2011 11:53:18
California Air Resources Board News Clips for June 3, 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 Mecca toxic shipments trigger audit. The new director of the state Department of Toxic Substances Control said Thursday that she has ordered an outside audit to determine why the agency allowed thousands of hazardous materials shipments to a plant in Mecca that had no permit to accept such waste. The new director, Debbie Raphael, made the announcement during a news briefing at an elementary school in the rural community, where residents say strong odors from the plant sickened some people, including schoolchildren. Posted. http://www.pe.com/localnews/stories/PE_News_Local_D_mecca03.3ae234a.html Home Depot sued over sale of illegal paints. LOS ANGELES -- As part of a crackdown on pollutants blamed for causing much of the region's smog, air regulators and several local governments have sued Home Depot Inc. for selling illegal paints and other products. Two related lawsuits filed Thursday allege that from 2007 to 2010, the nation's largest home improvement chain sold paints, wood lacquers and other coatings that contained excessive levels of smog-forming chemicals. According to the lawsuits, the illegal products were sold at more than two dozen stores across Southern California, even after the company was notified that it was breaking local air regulation laws. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0603-home-depot-20110603,0,5502587.story http://www.sacbee.com/2011/06/02/3673572/home-depot-sued-over-sale-of-illegal.html#storylink=misearch http://www.modbee.com/2011/06/02/1716036/home-depot-sued-over-sale-of-illegal.html http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2011/06/03/20/ http://www.ocregister.com/news/filed-303079-air-quality.html Government does a fine job not cleaning the air. A couple of air related issues caught my attention recently via the newspaper, emails and phone tips. Let me boil it down for you -- CRAZY. There is no other way to explain what's going on in California. Lets start with the federal Environmental Protection Agency. Did you all read where they OK'd a new natural gas fired power plant in the San Joaquin Valley and exempted it from current air quality standards? Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/news/columnist/henry/x1898680550/Government-does-a-fine-job-not-cleaning-the-air CLIMATE CHANGE GREEN CARBON: FORESTRY OFFSETS IN CALIFORNIA’S NEW CAP & TRADE PROGRAM. The first U.S. market for forest carbon offset projects implemented anywhere in the U.S. will open in 2012. The state of California, as in so many things, is poised for a first. Under its Global Warming Solutions Act, known as AB32, the Golden State will establish the nation’s first compliance carbon market to allow forest carbon offsets. When it opens, California’s carbon market will be the second largest in the world, after the European Union, and the largest in North America. New England’s Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, is currently North America’s only compliance market for carbon emissions but does not allow forest carbon offsets. Posted. http://www.lumber.org/pdf/The_Link_-_May_2011.pdf As carbon emissions trading begins to shrink, the voluntary market expands. NEW YORK -- The market for voluntary trades in greenhouse gas emissions offsets expanded by an impressive margin last year, even as the compliance market shrank globally over the same period. A survey of voluntary carbon traders found that the volume of voluntary credits trading hands in 2010 expanded by almost 34 percent over the prior year. Offset traders also say they expect the voluntary carbon market to remain healthy in the short term, with most anticipating activity to expand by about 60 percent over the course of 2011. Posted. BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2011/06/03/4/ Soaring emissions. ISN’T it odd, asks Henry Waxman, a Democratic congressman from California, how the same Republicans who make such a fuss about abortion do not seem to care if the unborn are poisoned by toxic chemicals such as mercury? Isn’t it strange, Republicans retort, that people like Mr Waxman, who profess to care about working Americans, cheer on bureaucrats determined to smother business and destroy jobs? It may be hard to discern amid the melodramatic rhetoric, but the two sides are talking about the Environmental Protection Agency, and the various new rules it has in the works to curb pollution. Besides the endless toing and froing about government spending, it has become the most fiercely debated topic in Congress. Posted. http://www.economist.com/node/18775131/print Using West's oil shale would pump up greenhouse gases. WASHINGTON — Oil shale in the American West might contain three times the oil of Saudi Arabia, but getting it out of the ground would require much more energy than drilling for conventional oil does, and the result would be more greenhouse-gas emissions. Department of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced proposed regulations last week to start a commercial oil-shale program on public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. He said that with gasoline around $4 a gallon, "we need to be doing more to develop our own energy here at home, through resources such as oil shale." Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2008/07/28/3396216/using-wests-oil-shale-would-pump.html#storylink=misearch DIESEL EMISSIONS Inhaling Port of Oakland. When I moved to Alameda several years ago, no one mentioned the significant air pollution here. I expected fresh air from onshore breezes coming in from the bay but discovered that I cannot sleep with my windows open at night due to the horrid stink that would suddenly come streaming across into my bedroom. And far too often, upon opening my front door in the morning, I walked out into a wall of stink. "I love the smell of napalm in the morning" quickly became my joke at 6 a.m. on weekdays as I headed down my Victorian's stairs. But this is not funny. Posted. http://alamedasun.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=8617&Itemid=11 FUELS CARB: Clean Fuel Use by Ships Reduced Coastal Pollution. SACRAMENTO (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — A major 2010 state-federal atmospheric research project has found that California’s first-in-the-nation regulation requiring oceangoing vessels to use clean fuel when near the coast has been extremely effective in reducing sulfur dioxide pollution from ships. The data were gathered during a study organized by the California Air Resources Board and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “These scientific findings clearly demonstrate that ships off our coast are now emitting significantly less sulfur pollution than in the past,” said CARB Chairwoman Mary D. Nichols. Posted. http://www.thelog.com/news/logNewsArticle.aspx?x=12355 Biofuels Future That U.S. Covets Takes Shape -- in Brazil. Amyris, perhaps the hottest biofuel company around, seems like the model American startup. Few can match its pedigree. Several years ago, Amyris helped create a landmark achievement in medicine, engineering microbes to produce an expensive antimalarial drug. Related tricks, it later found, can create a liquid fuel similar to diesel. Well-heeled partners lined up at its door. The company went public last fall, and its stock has only risen since. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/gwire/2011/06/01/01greenwire-biofuels-future-that-us-covets-takes-shape-in-b-1741.html?scp=3&sq=diesel%20emissions&st=cse Local Propel stations offering diesel fuel made with recycled vegetable oils. Redwood City-based Propel Fuels, a retailer of clean, renewable fuels, today began selling B20 biodiesel at two of the company's Sacramento area stations. Propel is now selling B20 at 8090 Folsom Blvd., in Sacramento and 999 Sunrise Ave., in Roseville. Propel's B20 is a blend of 20 percent, American-made biodiesel and 80 percent petro-diesel. It's sourced from recycled vegetable oils and touted as promoting longer engine life and reduced emissions. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/06/02/1715273/local-propel-stations-offering.html GREEN ENERGY A 'Big Thumbs Up' for Renewable Energy. BRUSSELS — Governments around the world have pledged emissions cuts aimed at keeping global warming below levels that could set off runaway climate change. So what proportion of the low-carbon energy needed to meet those goals will come from sources like the wind, sun and waves? Most renewable sources are abundant, practically inexhaustible and far more climate friendly than fossil fuels. Some companies making equipment to harness these energies are growing rapidly. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/06/03/business/energy-environment/03iht-RBOG-Kanter03.html?_r=1&scp=7&sq=climate%20change&st=cse U.K. 'zero emissions' housing development misses target, but satisfies most residents. LONDON -- Nine years after opening its doors as the United Kingdom's first carbon-neutral housing development, the "Beddington Zero Emissions Development," known as BedZED, is underperforming its carbon targets but easily meeting the expectations of its residents. There is a long list of people waiting to move in. With its visually striking and brightly colored weather-vane ventilation cowlings, rooftop gardens, photovoltaic (PV) panels and unique building design, the community of 100 apartments stands out from the usual two-up, two-down suburban red-brick houses about 10 miles south of Central London. Posted. BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2011/06/03/2/ VEHICLES Barack Obama, Detroit on collision course. Detroit’s major automakers are ready for Round Two in their battle with the Obama administration over fuel economy standards, and this time, they’re hoping new leverage will give them the punching power they need. In 2009, President Barack Obama pushed through the first increase in gas mileage standards in decades, signing a rule that will raise fuel economy standards to 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016. Now he’s back for more, with plans that could raise standards for cars and light-duty trucks as high as 62 mpg by 2025. Posted. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0611/56137.html Electric-vehicle technology accelerates toward tipping point. When oil hit a record price of $147 a barrel in July 2008, it was a game-changing moment that sparked a serious push to create electric cars and hybrid electric engines that could help wean Americans off oil. Today, crude is back over $100 a barrel and the payoff is the first generation of mass-produced electric cars rolling off production lines. Interest in electric vehicles has ebbed and flowed with the price of oil over the past three decades, but something new is clearly afoot. General Motors and Nissan already have electric cars on the streets of major U.S. cities, and intensified battery research is bringing down costs. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_18195343?nclick_check=1 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_18195343 Tesla’s Tightrope: Making Electric Cars for the Masses. Tesla Motors, the most prominent electric-car start-up in the field, is fighting to survive as an independent company. That’s pretty much what’s behind its drive to raise more money for its new-car programs. Without a more diverse and profitable product line, including cheaper — and cheaper to make — cars, Tesla will get swallowed up by a bigger player, and probably soon. Posted. http://www.bnet.com/blog/electric-cars/tesla-8217s-tightrope-making-electric-cars-for-the-masses/4321 BLOGS A Geographer Pushes Climate Panel and Academia to Reach Out. Edward Carr, a geographer at the University of South Carolina, took umbrage last year when the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urged him and more than 800 other authors contributing to the next batch of climate assessments by the group to “keep a distance from the media.” (That same mailing included a three-page brochure prepared by consultants that, among other things, advised the scientists not to use terms including uncertainty, risk and significant. “To avoid the risk of being misunderstood, avoid them,” the scientists were advised.) Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/06/03/a-geographer-pushes-climate-panel-and-academia-to-reach-out/ Yep, it’s safe to start fretting about carbon again. In 2008 and 2009, the world was in the grips of a brutal recession and there wasn't much to be cheerful about. There was, however, one tiny consolation: Greenhouse gas emissions were plummeting, thanks to reduced energy use, and it looked like all those worries about global warming could be put on hold for a bit — or at least temporarily postponed. But the reprieve turned out to be more temporary than expected. The International Energy Agency has just released new data showing that carbon dioxide emissions shot way back up in 2010, thanks to rapid growth in developing countries. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/yep-its-safe-to-start-fretting-about-carbon-again/2011/06/02/AGw96VHH_blog.html Carbon President: Why does Obama keep OK’ing big fossil-fuel projects? In our globalized world, old-fashioned geography is not supposed to count for much: mountain ranges, deep-water ports, railroad grades -- those seem so 19th century. The Earth is flat, or so I remember somebody saying. But those nostalgic for an earlier day, take heart. The Obama administration is making its biggest decisions yet on our energy future and those decisions are intimately tied to this continent's geography. Remember those old maps from your high-school textbooks that showed each state and province's prime economic activities? A sheaf of wheat for farm country? Posted. http://www.grist.org/fossil-fuels/2011-06-02-barack-obama-carbon-president-massive-oil-tar-sands-projects