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newsclips -- Newsclips for October 31, 2011.

Posted: 31 Oct 2011 15:19:38
California Air Resources Board News Clips for October 31, 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.


U.S. Embassy air quality data undercut China's own assessments.
One day this month, the reading was so high compared with U.S.
standards it was listed as 'beyond index.' But China's own
assessment that day was that Beijing's air was merely 'slightly
polluted.' Perched atop the U.S. Embassy in Beijing is a device
about the size of a microwave oven that spits out hourly rebukes
to the Chinese government. It is a machine that monitors fine
particulate matter, one of the most dangerous components of air
pollution … Posted.

Central Calif burn restrictions start Nov. 1. Fresno, Calif. (AP)
-- Homeowners across the San Joaquin Valley will have to check
with air quality officials before lighting their fireplaces
beginning Nov. 1. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
district is going into its ninth season regulating residential
wood burning in an effort to reduce airborne particulate
pollution. Each day, the district uses weather forecasts to
determine whether it is safe to burn. Daily forecasts will be
available for each of the valley's eight counties at 4:30 p.m.

State asks EPA to reconsider new rule. Left unchanged, state and
energy company officials say a federal air pollution reduction
rule announced in July could lead to rolling blackouts in
Louisiana next summer. In addition, state officials say they
don't believe Louisiana should even be included in the rule. The
Cross State Air Pollution Rule addresses air pollution that
creeps over state lines, with a focus on power plants. The
Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 6 announced proposed
revisions to the rule. Posted.  


Green groups give EPA more time on CO2 rule- Green groups said on
Saturday they would give the Environmental Protection Agency more
time to forge the first-ever plan to regulate carbon dioxide from
power plants, the country's single biggest source of greenhouse
gases. The Environmental Defense Fund and other green groups that
are negotiating with the EPA on the deadline for the plan said
they would withhold legal action against the agency until
November 30. They, along with New York, California and several
other states, had sued the agency to issue the carbon rules.

Analysis: Climate impasse could kill carbon offset investment.
The failure of U.N. climate talks to clarify the future of the
Kyoto Protocol and its market-based mechanisms could dry up
investment in the carbon offset market, possibly threatening
prices that are already trading near record lows. A legally
binding pact is unlikely to be agreed at the climate summit in
Durban, South Africa, which starts November 28, as governments
continue to wrangle over emissions cut commitments and climate
aid. Many do not see such a deal emerging until 2014 or 2015.

Skeptic finds he now agrees global warming is real. Washington --
A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two
years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were
wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures
really are rising rapidly. The study of the world's surface
temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a
foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued
long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. Posted.

Greenhouse-gas tax could inflate airfares. A European program to
charge airlines for their greenhouse-gas emissions could raise
round-trip ticket prices from the United States by more than $30
starting next year. Environmental groups and some travelers
praise the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme as a way to
curb climate change. The goal is to spur airlines and
manufacturers to build more efficient planes like Boeing's 787
Dreamliner. Posted.


Solyndra Critics Sought U.S. Aid for Coal. Republicans who
criticized the Obama administration for providing U.S. backing to
the failed Solyndra LLC sought such federal loan guarantees for
cleaner-coal projects they favored. Senator John Barrasso of
Wyoming asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a Feb. 8 letter to
move the “review process forward” for a project in his state to
convert coal to liquid fuel. Posted.


California high-speed rail will try to turn corner with new
business plan. For California's high-speed rail project, it's
been an inauspicious autumn. Disparaged for its lack of public
outreach, the California High-Speed Rail Authority hired a new
deputy director for communications and public policy, Lance
Simmens, who introduced himself to Kings County residents – and
YouTube viewers everywhere – by falling asleep at a public
meeting. Posted.


In Colorado, a Power Struggle With the Power Company. Many
Americans these days, from the huddled masses of Occupy Wall
Street to the coifed confines of the presidential campaign, are
talking about the future of capitalism. Here, that debate is
focused on electricity, specifically whether this city should, in
Tuesday’s election, sever its relationship with a corporate
utility and move toward a home-ruled, municipally owned one that
would be environmentally greener and locally accountable. Posted.

Obama administration announces desert 'solar energy zones'.
'Solar energy zones' — set up in the Mojave and elsewhere in the
West by the Bureau of Land Management — are meant to encourage
development in areas without environmental or cultural conflicts.
The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled its road map for
solar energy development, directing large-scale industrial
projects to 285,000 acres of desert land in the western U.S.
while opening 20 million acres of the Mojave for new development.

Solar firms' flight to Mojave Desert sparks environmental
friction. Mojave Desert, Calif. - At first glance, the vast
Mojave Desert seems barren: mile after mile of dust, sand and
scrubby creosote bush under a blistering sun. But the huge
desert, which spans an area larger than West Virginia, is
becoming speckled with gigantic solar power plants that are
creating hundreds of construction jobs and, when complete, will
generate electricity for millions of homes. California's Solar
Gold Rush is under way, fueled by billions of dollars of federal
stimulus funding and a new state law that requires utilities to
buy a third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020.

ENERGY: Solar power is beginning to go mainstream. Solar energy
may finally get its day in the sun. The high costs that for years
made it impractical as a mainstream source of energy are
plummeting. Real estate companies are racing to install solar
panels on office buildings. Utilities are erecting large solar
panel “farms” near big cities and in desolate deserts. And
creative financing plans are making solar more realistic than
ever for homes. Solar power installations doubled in the United
States last year and are expected to double again this year.

Vendor Picked in Gas-for-Trash Scheme. Anaerobic Digester Gets
Nod as Conversion Technology for Tajiguas Landfill Project. After
years of talking, scheming, and dreaming about fitting the
Tajiguas Landfill with an ambitious trash-to-energy conversion
technology, Santa Barbara County trash czars have settled on a
plan that will generate less political opposition than competing
technologies that pack more diversionary punch. They've also
settled on a development team of businesspeople out of San Luis
Obispo County — Mustang Renewable Power Ventures. 


California’s New Green Tax. As the world retreats from cap and
trade, Sacramento signs on.  It may be time for California to
formally apply for membership in the European Union. Its taxing,
borrowing and regulatory policies are already more in line with
the southern tier of Euroland than with other U.S. states, and
the Golden State has taken another lurch in the Euro-direction by
becoming the first jurisdiction in the nation to adopt a
full-scale cap-and-trade tax to combat global warming.  Posted.

Dan Morain: Rich soak up solar subsidies. The sun shines on the
beachfront mansions of Malibu and La Jolla, just as it does on
Compton and Barrio Logan in San Diego. It beams down on the most
upscale part of Clovis and its golf course development of
Brighton Crest, and on the gritty flats of south and west Fresno.
But based on how California policymakers dole out valuable
subsidies for solar panels placed on the residential roofs, the
poorest parts of our sunny state might as well be on the dark
side of the moon. Posted.

Visiting editors weigh in on pollution, air travel and elections.
When I travel to area schools to present science programs, I
often see prominently displayed colored flags that are raised to
alert students and community members about each day's air
quality. That information is vital to asthma sufferers. The 2010
Stanislaus County Asthma Report Card explained that roughly 13
percent of county residents have experienced asthma. Children
under 17 have the highest rate of emergency room visits due to
severe asthma events. Posted. 

California’s costly green subsidies. If there was any doubt about
the economic success of state-mandated green programs, it was
erased this week after a state Senate hearing about the future of
alternate fuels. By the end of the four-hour session, it was
clear that environmental special interests are thriving in
California. At the hearing, Jane Williams of California
Communities Against Toxics threw out statistics and emotional
testimony about the increase in asthma in California children
caused by vehicle emissions. Posted.

Our View: Pollution czars plan to choke California business.
California foolishly is going where Congress fears to tread, and
where even European global warming zealots are backing away.
Nevertheless, an unelected, virtually unaccountable board of
government overseers has voted unanimously to impose mandatory
cap-and-trade regulations on California businesses that will
likely kill jobs, chase companies out of state and impose $2
billion in new taxes, all in a Quixotic quest to reduce
greenhouse gas emissions, a highly questionable, perhaps
meaningless, goal. Posted.


A clear and fair incentive to pollute less. This week the U.S.
House of Representatives passed a rather unusual bill directly
addressed to Europe. Through the European Union Emissions Trading
Scheme Prohibition Act H.R. 2594, America’s legislators want to
tell American airlines not to respect an EU law. This seems to me
a rather unorthodox course of action, but here in the EU we are
confident that in the end the United States will respect our
legislation, just as the EU respects U.S. legislation and U.S.
lawmakers’ authority in U.S. airports. Posted.

Cap and trade as food policy. Could cap-and-trade regulations
have a place in food policy? That’s the idea behind a recent New
England Journal of Medicine paper, which suggests that one way to
stem our obesity crisis would be to regulate the total amount of
unhealthy food that’s available. Cap and trade was a key part of
the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments as a way to regulate
acid-rain-causing pollutants like sulfur dioxide. Posted.

What is the government doing to go green? Federal agencies are
buying more hybrid vehicles, installing energy-efficient light
bulbs and using rainwater to hydrate outdoor landscaping as part
of the Obama administration’s goals of reducing the government’s
carbon footprint. Dozens of federal agencies — from the Pentagon
to the Smithsonian — plan to release progress reports Monday on
what they’re doing to reduce the government’s carbon footprint
after President Obama ordered them to do so back in 2009. Posted.

In California, a Final Exam for Heavy-Duty Hybrids. Hybrid
technology is working its way off road, and two heavy-duty earth
movers, a bulldozer and tracked excavator, are preparing for
large-scale emissions tests in California. Heavy-duty diesel
hybrids save around 25 percent in fuel over their conventional
counterparts, manufacturers say. Put another way, a hybrid
excavator weighing 20 tons burns 1,500 fewer gallons of diesel a
year than a nonhybrid machine of the same size, translating to
roughly the same carbon savings as 14 Toyota Priuses. Posted. 

Reinventing Fire: A Vision for Our Energy Future. Amory Lovins
says we can do it all. Do we need to emit far less CO2 into the
atmosphere? To stop using the dirtiest fuel of all, which now
generates more of our electricity than any other? To reduce
sharply our importation of oil, from Canada and elsewhere, and
achieve the elusive goal of "energy independence," set by
successive presidents but never done? Need to use natural gas
only as a "transition" fuel? Posted.

House Democrats Introduce Carbon Tax Bill. Nine House Democrats
introduced a bill on October 24 which would create a “simple tax
on carbon,”  in the words of its lead sponsor, Rep. Pete Stark
(D-CA). The bill, the Save Our Climate Act (HR 3242), probably
doesn’t have a proverbial snowball’s chance in hell making it out
of committee with the Republicans in control of the House, but I
can’t help but root for it. I love to root for the underdog, and
having been a life long San Francisco Giants fan, I have had
years of practice. Like the Giants, the Save Our Climate Act
(SOCA) might pleasantly surprise me. Posted. 

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