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newsclips -- Newsclips for November 14, 2011. Posted: 14 Nov 2011 14:32:39
California Air Resources Board News Clips for November 14, 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 Does government regulation really kill jobs? Economists say overall effect minimal. The Muskingum River coal-fired power plant in Ohio is nearing the end of its life. AEP, one of the country’s biggest coal-based utilities, says it will cut 159 jobs when it shuts the decades-old plant in three years — sooner than it would like — because of new rules from the Environmental Protection Agency. About an hour’s drive north, the life of another power plant is just beginning. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/does-government-regulation-really-kill-jobs-economists-say-overall-effect-minimal/2011/10/19/gIQALRF5IN_story.html Air district provides vouchers for cleaner wood stoves. Sacramento County residents may be eligible for a voucher to help fund replacement of polluting wood stoves and traditional fireplaces with less polluting units. To protect air quality, the Sacramento Metropolitan Air Quality Management District, from Nov. 1 through Feb. 29, restricts or prohibits use of indoor and outdoor fireplaces and wood stoves on days when fine-particle pollution is forecast to exceed safe levels. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/13/v-print/4051250/air-district-provides-vouchers.html http://www.modbee.com/2011/11/13/1945596/air-district-provides-vouchers.html BY SUBSCRIPTION Grassroots pesticide fighter takes on the big polluters. If you spend a little time Googling Mari Rose Taruc, the staff director of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network, you'll find that the adjective most likely to be applied to her is "fierce." Taruc laughs delightedly when told this. "I'm a mother with two sons who are asthmatic," she explains. "And I know that my environmental work is connected to that. Posted. http://www.grist.org/pollution/2011-11-14-grassroots-pesticide-fighter-takes-on-the-big-polluters CLIMATE CHANGE UN chief urges leaders to finalize climate fund. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon urged world leaders Monday to finalize the financing for a multibillion-dollar fund to fight the effects of climate change. Delegates at a U.N.-sponsored climate change conference that starts Nov. 28 in Durban, South Africa, are to consider ways to raise $100 billion a year for the Green Climate Fund created last December to help countries cope with global warming. Ban told the opening session of a climate meeting in Bangladesh's capital that the world should make a concerted effort to finance the fund. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_BANGLADESH_CLIMATE_TALKS?SITE=CAVIC&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT AP Newsbreak: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia-pacific/un-chief-urges-world-leaders-to-create-multibillion-dollar-climate-change-fund/2011/11/14/gIQAzLn4JN_story.html http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/11/14/international/i073849S38.DTL&type=printable http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/11/14/2614051/un-chief-urges-leaders-to-finalize.html#storylink=misearch http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19332223?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19332223?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/nov/14/un-chief-urges-leaders-to-finalize-climate-fund/#ixzz1di2wCJwW http://www.modbee.com/2011/11/14/1946704/un-chief-urges-leaders-to-finalize.html Chinese Study Says Dam Didn’t Affect Climate Change. A scientific study has found that the Three Gorges Dam, the world’s largest hydropower project, has not contributed to climate change, according to a report by Xinhua, the Chinese state news agency. The study, published by the Social Sciences Academic Press under the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, focused on climate change and found that the dam’s environmental impact was limited to a 12-mile radius, the Xinhua article said. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/world/asia/china-dam-didnt-worsen-climate-change-study-says.html?scp=2&sq=climate%20change&st=cse Carbon Trading May Be Ready for Its Next Act. London — Gone are the days when carbon trade was seen as a vital policy tool to cut emissions at the cheapest cost, and not many people talk about its prospects for overtaking the oil market in terms of traded value anymore. Its reputation has been battered by a €50 million, or $69 million, scandal over permit thefts and a €5 billion fraud in the European Union’s emissions trading program, the world’s largest. The United Nations’ main carbon offset market, the Clean Development Mechanism, has also been tainted by an association with land grabs and human rights abuses in poor nations. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/business/energy-environment/carbon-trading-may-be-ready-for-its-next-act.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print Firms turning to environmental law to combat rivals. California's landmark act on environmental quality is credited with preserving scenic landscapes but is now slowing key projects and spawning a flurry of litigation. Changes are urged. To halt a competing project near USC, Conquest Student Housing turned to a legal weapon that one of its co-owners allegedly compared to a crude bomb: cheap and destructive. Conquest owned 17 buildings that rented to USC students. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-development-ceqa-20111114,0,633668,print.story Greenhouse gases climbing, federal report finds. The Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, which measures the combined heating effect of the top greenhouse gases, has risen 29% since 1990. Greenhouse gases are building at a steep rate in the atmosphere, the nation's top climate agency reported, renewing concern that global warming may be accelerating. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, which indexes the key gases known to trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, rose 1.5% from 2009 to 2010, the agency reported. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-greenhouse-gases-20111111,0,7268882.story PG&E to end carbon offset plan after few sign on. Pacific Gas and Electric Co.'s ClimateSmart program, which lets the utility's customers go "carbon neutral" for a price, will close at the end of the year after signing up far fewer people than expected. Begun in 2007, ClimateSmart gives participants a way to offset greenhouse gas emissions from the power plants that supply their electricity. PG&E customers who joined the program pay a little extra on their monthly bills - about $3.30 for a typical homeowner. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/11/11/BUPR1LTB45.DTL&type=printable THE PUBLIC EYE: $2 million to start up cap and trade effort. The state will spend nearly $2 million to develop one of the centerpieces of its climate change programs: cap and trade. Starting in 2013, the state will place a ceiling on the amount of greenhouse gases produced by California's 350 largest oil producers, refiners, electric utilities and other large industrial companies. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/11/11/4046674/the-money-trail-2-million-to-start.html Agency: Emissions must be curbed now to avoid severe warming. Just as the federal government released its annual index of greenhouse gases, showing a steady increase over the past 21 years, the International Energy Agency warned that we are on the path to 11-degree warming if we don’t curb emissions now. “Delaying action is a false economy: For every $1 of investment in cleaner technology that is avoided in the power sector before 2020, an additional $4.30 would be needed to be spent after 2020 to compensate for the increased emissions,” the authors of the energy agency report wrote in their 2011 World Energy Outlook. Posted. http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/agency-emissions-must-be-curbed-now-avoid-severe-warming-13544 FUELS Ethanol at Record as U.S. Ousts Brazil: Energy Markets. Ethanol prices are breaking records in the U.S. as demand from Brazil to the Netherlands for corn- based biofuel sends exports to an all-time high. Prices rose to $2.79 a gallon on Nov. 3, the highest ever for the month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg. Exports climbed to an average 62,750 barrels a day in the first eight months of the year from 26,000 in 2010, and reached an unprecedented 98,000 in July, according to the U.S. Energy Department. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/11/14/bloomberg_articlesLUN7ZC6K50XS.DTL&type=printable VEHICLES A Plan for Efficiency in the Rest of the Car. IN the Mazda canon, Skyactiv is a term that describes the company’s systematic approach to improving fuel efficiency. Under the Skyactiv umbrella are gasoline and diesel engines, 6-speed manual and automatic transmissions, lightweight body structures and a host of chassis improvements. Among Mazda’s 2012 models, the 2-liter gasoline engine available in the Mazda 3 is the star of the Skyactiv show. The other components that make up the full Skyactiv package will appear first in the 2013 CX-5 crossover, which goes on sale early next year. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/13/automobiles/a-plan-for-efficiency-in-the-rest-of-the-car.html?scp=2&sq=diesel%20emissions&st=cse Chevrolet Volt fire prompts safety probe of electric vehicle batteries. The plug-in hybrid sedan caught fire after a crash test. Federal regulators will look at the safety of batteries from several vehicles. Federal safety officials have launched a probe into whether the batteries in Chevrolet's Volt plug-in hybrid sedan are prone to fires. The probe by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration was launched after a Volt caught fire following a crash test, General Motors Co. said. The agency will be looking at the safety of batteries from several makes of electric vehicles, according to the Associated Press. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-volt-fire-20111112,0,6120182.story http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/11/11/bloomberg_articlesLUISR46JTSE8.DTL http://www.wired.com/autopia/2011/11/nhtsa-battery-inquiry/ Nissan Leaf Unloved in Hong Kong Where Maseratis Rule Smog: Cars. Hong Kong is small, rich and cosmopolitan. It's also choking on smog. For carmakers like Nissan Motor Co. that should make the city a perfect base from which to launch their electric vehicle strategy on the rest of Asia. The snag is that the carmakers' target market of trendsetting early adopters are proving hard to find, with Hong Kongers content to covet their neighbors' Maseratis, Mercedes and Porsche Cayennes through the haze. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/11/13/bloomberg_articlesLUN1I66JTSE9.DTL&type=printable GREEN ENERGY A Gold Rush of Subsidies in Clean Energy Search. Halfway between Los Angeles and San Francisco, on a former cattle ranch and gypsum mine, NRG Energy is building an engineering marvel: a compound of nearly a million solar panels that will produce enough electricity to power about 100,000 homes. The project is also a marvel in another, less obvious way: Taxpayers and ratepayers are providing subsidies worth almost as much as the entire $1.6 billion cost of the project. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/12/business/energy-environment/a-cornucopia-of-help-for-renewable-energy.html?scp=2&sq=green%20energy&st=cse Wind Money Fuels Spending and Benefits in Small Schools. When people complain about the weather here, Abe Gott, the school superintendent, just smiles. A visit to the campus of the school district of about 160 students shows why. Behind the 1930s-era facade of the Blackwell school 30 miles south of Sweetwater looms a distinctly 21st-century sight: a wind turbine. Energy development capitalizing on the high winds in the area — which quickly turned sunshine to chill rain one afternoon in late October — has injected sluggish rural communities with new economic lifeblood. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/11/us/wind-money-fuels-spending-and-benefits-in-small-schools.html?scp=1&sq=fuels&st=cse The energy, and expense, of bringing water to the Southland. The twin forces of power costs and climate-change regulations are threatening Southern California's long love affair with imported water, forcing the region to consider more mundane sources closer to home. The aqueduct stretched across the desert like an endless blue freight train, carrying its cargo of Colorado River water to a concrete building at the base of a craggy-faced mountain. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-water-power-20111114,0,2536520,print.story Analyst: bills rising due to overpriced renewables. Dozens of renewable energy plants being built to meet California's tough global warming laws, including a major Spanish-owned solar plant in the Mojave Desert, are so overpriced they will increase consumers' energy bills for decades, according to the independent watchdog arm of the state's s utility regulator. California's 2006 landmark climate law has driven demand for solar and wind power and spurred renewable energy development both in-state and in neighboring states. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/11/12/state/n143148S02.DTL&type=printable Energy efficiency program offers homeowner incentives. It freaked out their cats a little, but the energy efficiency upgrade Mark and Shirley Brewer recently completed on their Panorama Drive home may turn out to have been a very wise move. Subsidized investments ranging from duct insulation to new recessed lights are expected to reduce the Brewers' energy use by 47 percent -- which sounds right considering their gas and electric bill went from about $190 between late September and late October of last year to $101 over roughly the same period this year. Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/news/business/economy/x68631963/Energy-efficiency-program-offers-homeowner-incentives States weighing pros, cons of utility smart meters. The cost of using an air conditioner _ whether it runs during the peak time for electrical usage or during off-peak hours _ is still the same for many electricity users across the country. The same goes for using a clothes dryer. Many utilities and state energy officials, some armed with federal stimulus money, think that should change and are advocating so-called "smart meter" technology in a growing number of states. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/states-weighing-pros-cons-of-utility-smart-meters/article_251002dc-1ba6-5d1d-9413-86b7e61a718d.html MISCELLANEOUS L.A. gets auto-show circuit in gear. The Los Angeles Auto Show is the first of its kind each model year. It's where carmakers hope to grab the attention of California's eco-conscious drivers as well as those who care more about speed and styling. The Los Angeles Auto Show is the first major North American auto show of the new model year. It is known for automakers introducing hybrid, fuel-efficient and electric vehicles that grab the attention of California's eco-conscious drivers. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-show-20111112,0,6512362,print.story Firms turning to environmental law to combat rivals. California's landmark act on environmental quality is credited with preserving scenic landscapes but is now slowing key projects and spawning a flurry of litigation. Changes are urged. To halt a competing project near USC, Conquest Student Housing turned to a legal weapon that one of its co-owners allegedly compared to a crude bomb: cheap and destructive. Conquest owned 17 buildings that rented to USC students. When the developer Urban Partners proposed erecting a new complex to house 1,600 students, Conquest sued under California's landmark environmental law. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-development-ceqa-20111114,0,633668,print.story California pioneers plan for trimming toxins. Long a pacesetter in efforts to control dangerous chemicals, California is moving toward sweeping new rules to reduce toxins in cleaning products, cosmetics, electronics, toys and possibly many other consumer goods. They are among the most cutting-edge codes of their kind since 1986, when voters passed Proposition 65. That law set a national precedent by forcing businesses to warn customers if they “knowingly and intentionally” expose people to chemicals the state determined to cause cancer or reproductive toxicity. Posted. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/nov/12/california-pioneers-plan-reducing-toxins-consumer-/ EPA to be GOP target in 2012. The Environmental Protection Agency is likely to play an unusually prominent role in the 2012 presidential election, reflecting ongoing partisan debate in Congress over the ties between environmental regulations and jobs. “What we’re going to see in this cycle is a lot of bitterness. … It’s going to be more partisan than it’s ever been,” said GOP environmental strategist Chelsea Maxwell. “So the energy and environment issues will definitely creep into that.” Posted. http://dyn.politico.com/printstory.cfm?uuid=C1D14373-7A86-43F6-9B5D-07E1C7F2177E Study links Parkinson's disease to industrial solvent. An international study has linked an industrial solvent to Parkinson's disease. Researchers found a six-fold increase in the risk of developing Parkinson's in individuals exposed in the workplace to trichloroethylene (TCE). Although many uses for TCE have been banned around the world, the chemical is still used as a degreasing agent. The research was based on analysis of 99 pairs of twins selected from US data records. Posted. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-15639440 New Refrigerant Rules Coming in California. On Jan. 1, the California Air Resources Board (ARB) will begin applying new refrigeration regulations to about 2,000 facilities, including some supermarkets, with greater than 2,000 pounds of a refrigerant that has a significant impact on global warming. The ARB’s regulations are part of a range of measures developed under AB 32, California’s climate change law enacted in 2006. In addition to paying annual dues ($370), the affected businesses have until March 1 to register with the ARB and submit an annual report on their refrigerant usage. Posted. http://supermarketnews.com/news/refrigerant_california_1110/ BLOGS Budget Shortfall Could Imperil Subsidies for Electric Vehicles. In a city as eco-conscious as this one, it shouldn’t surprise that Chris Paine’s 2006 documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?,” is a bit of a cult favorite. A cautionary tale about the shortsightedness of automakers and politicians, it is also a call to action for those here who are busy promoting the development and adoption of E.V.’s. Yet while the latest generation of plug-in vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Volt are only just hitting the streets, there are already warning signs that the industry could be scuttled before it becomes self-sufficient. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/10/budget-shortfall-could-imperil-subsidies-for-electric-vehicles/?scp=1&sq=vehicles&st=cse Flying on Chicken Fat. Gasoline for cars is commonly blended with corn ethanol. In the last few weeks, airlines have started using blends, too, but their feedstocks are more varied, including chicken fat, algal oil, used fryer grease and parts of inedible plants. Last week, Alaska Airlines, based in Seattle, began one of the most ambitious test programs to date, a series of 75 flights that will burn a total of 15,000 gallons of an 80/20 blend with ordinary jet fuel. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/11/14/flying-on-chicken-fat/?ref=earth NOAA greenhouse gas index climbs. The U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration released its Annual Greenhouse Gas Index (AGGI) number today, which measures the direct climate influence of a select set of greenhouse gases, and the news is not good. The numbers continue to climb, further evidence that the greenhouse effect is on the rise. This comes on top of a staggering report released by the U.S. Department of Energy last week saying that global emissions of carbon dioxide –- a key, and long-lived, greenhouse gas –- had jumped by the biggest amount on record in the year 2010. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/greenspace/2011/11/noaa-greenhouse-gas-index-climbs.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+GreenspaceEnvironmentBlog+%28Greenspace%29 Shell exec says biofuels are the most important alternative to fossil hydrocarbons in mobility for the next 20 years. In a keynote interview to open F.O. Licht’s World Ethanol & Biofuels in Barcelona on 8 November, Arthur Reijnhart, General Manager, Alternative Energies and Fuel Development Strategy for Shell, described a scenario of an increasingly diverse energy supply landscape against a backdrop of soaring demand between now and 2050, driven by population growth, increasing incomes and increasing urbanisation of the world’s population. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/11/shell-20111114.html Toyota launching home charging support tool for PHEVs and EVs. Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC), in collaboration with its customer service IT company, Toyota Media Service Corporation, has developed a tool to support easy home-based charging of the Prius PHV plug-in hybrid vehicle, due for launch next year, and electric vehicles (EVs). Toyota Housing Corporation, TMC’s house construction and design subsidiary, will start sales of the tool, the H2V (home-to-vehicle) Manager, in Japan in January 2012. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/11/toyota-launching-home-charging-support-tool-for-phevs-and-evs.html U.S. Chevy Spark revealed ahead of Los Angeles show. On Wednesday, the 2013 Chevrolet Spark will be unveiled at the Los Angeles Auto Show. The small hatchback has been tweaked for the North American market, and the hope is that the Spark takes off like wildfire with buyers. Chevrolet thinks the Spark will find favor with buyers living in cities, as well as first-time purchasers. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/11/14/u-s-chevy-spark-revealed-ahead-of-los-angeles-show/ Tesla says Top Gear still hurting UK sales. It's not always easy to tell how a company is performing just by looking at the numbers. In the second quarter of 2011, for example, Tesla Motors revenues hit a record $58 million, with losses of $59 million. This fell just short of Wall Street expectations, and Tesla stock took a beating. In the third quarter, Telsa matched its second quarter revenue numbers, but losses increased to $65 million. However, this was better than analysts had predicted, and Tesla's stock made a sharp turn for the better. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/11/14/tesla-still-says-top-gear-hurting-sales/ Average fuel economy up four months in a row. According to the data collected by TrueCar.com, the miles per gallon average for all vehicles sold in October 2011 is expected to be 22.2. That may not sound like much when compared to the kind of numbers that are tossed around when talking about hybrids, newer diesels or even the latest generation of efficient small sedans, but it's a small step in the right direction from the 21.5 mpg delivered by vehicles sold a year ago. Looked at over the short term, this also marks the fourth month in a row when the mpg has increased. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2011/11/13/average-fuel-economy-up-four-months-in-a-row/