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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.


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. 

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. 

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. 


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.

AP Newsbreak:

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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. 

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.


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.


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. 

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.

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.


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. 

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. 

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.

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.

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. 

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. 


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.

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.

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.

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.”

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.

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.


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.

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. 

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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.

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