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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 12, 2011.

Posted: 12 Dec 2011 15:00:03
California Air Resources Board News Clips for December 12, 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.


2011 Proving to Be a Bad Year for Air Quality in Texas. Nestled
near subdivisions north of Fort Worth stands equipment that
measures air pollutants. On 26 days this year, readings at the
site showed higher concentrations of lung-damaging ozone than
allowed by federal air-quality standards. All told, Dallas-Fort
Worth violated ozone standards on more days this year — 32 so far
— than anywhere else in Texas, including the greater Houston
area. “Every place in Texas suffered worse air quality this

Fallout far-reaching as dust kicks up in West. Denver – Oh say,
can you see across the Grand Canyon? Not as well as you used to
on some days. The question of how clean the air is in the
American West has never been an easy one to answer. And now
scientists say it is getting harder, with implications that
ripple out in surprising ways, from the kitchen faucets of Los
Angeles to public health clinics in canyon-land Utah to the
economics of tourism. It is at least partly about dust, something
that has been entwined with Western life for a long time, and now
appears to be getting worse. Posted.

Bay Area power producer pays to offset valley air pollution. The
owner of a Bay Area power plant fulfilled a commitment to help
offset emissions in the regional air basin last week by providing
the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District a check for
$644,503 for pollution-reduction projects in the Northern San
Joaquin Valley. Mariposa Energy LLC, owner-operator of the
Mariposa Power Plant in Alameda County, reached the agreement
with the air district in 2009. Posted.

Dirty Valley air triggers burning ban. FRESNO -- The air this
week was filled with soot and tiny specks, triggering a wood-
burning ban Friday for all eight Valley counties from Stockton to
Bakersfield. It was the first Valleywide burning ban this fall.
The bad-air episode was expected to continue through the weekend,
said the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. It is
the result of stagnant weather that allows fine particles to
build up over many days. Posted.


South Africa says climate deal took delicate touch.  Pushing too
hard at international climate change talks might have killed the
only treaty regulating carbon emissions, host South Africa said
Monday after concluding tense negotiations on how the world
should respond to global warming.  Given the international
financial crisis and competing national political interests,
trying to force countries to do more than they are willing and
able to do "would have resulted in a 'no deal' in Durban, not
only killing the Kyoto Protocol therefore, but possibly even the
U.N. Convention on climate change itself," Edna Molewa, South
Africa's environment minister, told reporters.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:

Climate conference approves landmark deal.  A U.N. climate
conference reached a hard-fought agreement Sunday on a
far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global
fight against climate change.  The 194-party conference agreed to
start negotiations on a new accord that would ensure that
countries will be legally bound to carry out any pledges they
make. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest.  The deal
doesn't explicitly compel any nation to take on emissions
targets, although most emerging economies have volunteered to
curb the growth of their emissions.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:


Oversupply Keeps EU Carbon Prices Low In Spite Of Global Climate
Deal.  A global deal to fight climate change provided only
temporary relief to European carbon prices Monday, underlining
that specific action will still be needed to boost prices and
restore the system's effectiveness in prompting solid reductions
to greenhouse gas emissions. Almost 200 countries reached a deal
in the early hours of Sunday after talks in Durban, South Africa,
spilled in a second extra day. According to the agreement, most
industrial nations that are currently internationally bound to
reduce emissions…Posted.

In Glare of Climate Talks, Taking On Too Great a Task. DURBAN,
South Africa — For 17 years, officials from nearly 200 countries
have gathered under the auspices of the United Nations to try to
deal with one of the most vexing questions of our era — how to
slow the heating of the planet. Every year they leave a trail of
disillusion and discontent, particularly among the poorest
nations and those most vulnerable to rising seas and spreading
deserts. Every year they fail to significantly advance their own
stated goal of keeping the average global temperature from rising
more than 2 degrees Celsius, or about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit,
above preindustrial levels. Posted.

Obama Winning Climate Debate Opens China to Legal Accord. The
U.S., long accused of blocking progress in international climate
talks, is winning a two-decade old debate about how to curtail
global warming. The decision yesterday by China and India to move
toward an agreement with the "legal force" to limit their fossil
fuel emissions marked the first step toward treating developing
nations the same as industrial ones when it comes to reducing
pollution. Posted.

Understanding the Failure of the UN's Climate Talks. It is
getting to be a pretty familiar routine by now. Thousands of
people from around the world gather to negotiate and influence
global climate policy. Rhetoric flies for a week or two,
negotiators bargain long into the night, and a modest,
unenforceable agreement is finally brought up for a vote. At this
point, it is pretty obvious that the United Nations climate
negotiation process may serve as a useful agenda-setting
mechanism, but it is no way to make global public policy. Posted.

Climate Strategists: To Cut Emissions, Focus On Forests.  Some
climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the
idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's
tropical forests.  The basic idea is to provide rich countries
that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce
their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting
factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer
countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests
suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to
put carbon in a storehouse.  Posted. 


Sweeper Regulatory Update: How to Comply with California's
Recently Amended On-Road Regs. California Air Resources Board
offers information link to those affected by its rulings.
Deadlines are coming up fast. Sacramento, CA – Elizabeth White,
the California Air Resources Board's Manager for Truck and Bus
Regulation, provided an informative seminar at Pavement LIVE. Her
topic was an update on the regulations faced by the power
sweeping industry in California. The California's Air Resources
Board (CARB) has begun implementation of the On-Road Truck and
Bus Regulation, which impacts the owners, operators, businesses,
and municipalities in the street sweeping industry. Posted.


Landowners left out of the loop on 'fracking' risks. Natural gas
companies that use hydraulic fracturing disclose the risks, such
as leaks, spills and explosions, to shareholders, but property
owners aren't privy, according to a report by the Environmental
Working Group. Reporting from Washington— Natural gas companies
that regularly use hydraulic fracturing to drill disclose the
risks to shareholders, but not to landowners, according to a
report released Monday. Posted. First Valley-wide burn
prohibition in effect.  The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution
Control District has issued a burning prohibition throughout the
San Joaquin Valley, the first time this year the ban has
stretched across the entire valley.  Poor air quality is
predicted in all eight counties, possibly through the weekend,
according to the district.  The prohibition went into effect at
midnight on Thursday should continue through midnight Friday --
though it could be extended throughout the weekend.  Posted. 


New 54.5-mpg fuel economy standard moving toward reality.  In
mid-November, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the
Environmental Protection Agency came one step closer to a utopian
vision of future transportation. Both federal agencies released
joint formal proposals to adopt regulations setting Corporate
Average Fuel Economy averages of 54.5 miles per gallon in
combined city/highway fuel economy by 2025. Posted.

Electric cars trump flex-fuel cars on places to fill up. Public
charging stations for electric cars outnumber outlets for
alternative motor fuels by almost 2-to-1, even though there are
hundreds of times more flex- fuel vehicles than plug-in cars on
U.S. roads, Bloomberg News reports. Bloomberg goes on to say:
Drivers of the approximately 16,500 highway-worthy electric
vehicles in the U.S. can choose from 4,448 public charging
stations should they want to plug in someplace other than home or
work, according to U.S. Energy Department data. Posted.

Norwich rolls out 'green' city vehicles.  When crews are called
on to clear streets of snow this winter, the newest truck in
Norwich's fleet will provide more than just safe passage for
travelers.  The $150,000 vehicle, which rolled off the city's lot
in May, complies with new federal emission guidelines that call
for drastic reductions in the output of nitrogen oxide and
particulate matter from diesel-powered engines.  It's one of the
most visible examples of a broad effort in departments across the
city to turn away from traditional practices and toward more
energy-efficient ones that not only save money but reduce
Norwich's carbon footprint.  Posted. 

Denmark launches independent centre to test EV interoperability. 
An independent test centre for electric vehicle (EV)
infrastructure, which is the first technology platform of its
kind in the world, has been officially launched on 8 December
2011 in Denmark. The test centre will serve as a platform where
power companies and EV operator businesses can test roaming
functionality and mitigate any interoperability issues.  The
Nordic Electric Vehicle Interoperability Centre (NEVIC) is
designed to serve as an independent platform by providing
“neutral ground” for the companies, where they can test full
interoperability.  Posted. 

California Wants One in Seven New Cars to Plug In By 2025.  The
California Air Resources Board has released a new plan seeking to
make nearly 100 percent of new autos sold in the state
zero-emission (ZEV) or plug-in hybrid (AT-PEZ) vehicles by 2040.
In the meantime, California may seek to set regulations mandating
that one-seventh of all new light duty vehicles sold there carry
at least plug-in hybrid electric drive capabilities. Posted. 


Oak Park schools recognized for environmental awareness.  Efforts
by Oak Park schools to promote environmental awareness and
recycling have been recognized by a California initiative
dedicated to supporting sustainability.  Oak Park Unified School
District has been given a Green Schools California Leadership
Award by Green Technology, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering
strategy and leadership for sustainable communities in the state.
 "We are really excited," said district Superintendent Tony
Knight. "It's a lot of recognition and it gives us motivation to
continue to lead other school districts in this area of
environmental education and sustainability."  Posted. 

California to deploy CO2 monitoring stations. Next time you check
the weather on your desktop icon or mobile phone app, will you be
able to get an update on the carbon dioxide and methane
concentrations in the air, as well? That's not clear yet, but
Earth Networks, which operates WeatherBug, a real-time weather
app for mobile devices and desktops, has just announced a
collaboration to create greenhouse gas monitoring stations
throughout California. Posted.


Global Warming and Adaptability.  Any carbon deal to replace
Kyoto would have a negligible impact on climate in coming
decades. The Durban pit-stop in the endless array of climate
summits has just ended, and predictably it reaffirmed the United
Nations' strong belief that the most important response to global
warming is to secure a strong deal to cut carbon emissions. What
is almost universally ignored, however, is that if we want to
help real people overcome real problems we need to focus first on
adaptation. The Durban agreement is being hailed as a diplomatic
victory. Posted.

Back to an electric future for cars. A Caltech scientist turned
the key in 1948, and innovation is getting into gear. Now we're
on the road from smog to ZEVs. One day in 1948, Caltech chemistry
professor Arie Haagen-Smit took a break from trying to decipher
the mystery of the flavor of the pineapple. He stepped outside
his lab for a breath of fresh air but instead found himself
enveloped in what he called "that stinking cloud" of smog. At the
time, there was a bitter debate as to what caused smog. Posted.

Bill Lockyer: Air board must not back down on clean fuel
standards. The Gas Guzzling Age is receding into the past.
California can be proud of the prominent role it has played in
making that happen. Our state has long been a leader in pushing
for cars and trucks to burn less gasoline and produce less
pollution. For the past two years, we've also become a world
leader in encouraging the development of clean fuels. In 2009,
California established the world's first Low Carbon Fuel
Standard. Posted.

Ignoring a global warning. The following editorial appeared in
the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Dec. 9: Nero probably didn't
really fiddle while Rome burned; for one thing, fiddles as we
know them today didn't exist yet, and for another, historians at
the time dismissed the story as a rumor. Moreover, it's hard to
believe that even a tyrant as petty and murderous as Nero would
be foolish enough to watch the burning of his city-state and do
nothing about it. But we Americans are. Posted.

Coal in the crosshairs: Will mercury rule have teeth? As the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency nears its Dec. 16 date with
coal-fired power plants - that's when the agency plans to
finalize its mercury and air toxics rule - the lobbyists must
surely be working overtime. Environmental and public health
groups say the rule, which would require significant reductions
of emissions, is long overdue and should be implemented ASAP. And
the industry says the rule is onerous and that it needs more
time. Mercury, which is emitted when coal is burned, is a
neurotoxin that hampers the development of young children and
fetuses. Posted.

View: Free Markets, Carbon Tax Best to Fight Climate Change. The
Durban climate-change talks ended in what negotiators agreed to
call a success. Governments, including China and India for the
first time, said they would devise a new global system for
curbing emissions of greenhouse gases and make it operational by
2020. This promise, however, has uncertain legal force, the form
of any new regime is unclear, and the meeting failed to set any
new binding targets. Posted.

Getting Gas Drilling Right. After several crowded and often
raucous hearings, Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to give the public
until Jan. 11 to comment on 2,000 pages of environmental analysis
and proposed regulations designed to govern natural gas drilling
in deep shale formations in New York State. The extension makes
sense. The drilling decision is a momentous one, for the
environment and the economy, and it is vitally important to get
it right. The issue is not the fuel. There is little doubt in our
minds that natural gas, which is cheap, plentiful and cleaner
than coal, could help greatly with the country’s energy and
climate problems. Posted.

Oakland Tribune editorial: Meeting California's
emission-reduction target is daunting challenge.  California has
the nation's most ambitious plan to reduce carbon dioxide
emissions into the atmosphere. Step one is to cut emissions to
1990 levels by 2020. Then comes the really hard part -- cutting
the emissions by an additional 80 percent by 2050.  Can it be
done? A California Council on Science and Technology report,
which was produced by scientists from the Department of Energy's
Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, says yes and outlines how to do it.

The frog and the polar bear: The real reasons Americans aren’t
buying climate change.  As international leaders trek home from
Durban, South Africa, after a week of plotting the world's
response to global warming, the debate rages here at home -- over
whether Americans even care.  The New York Times ran a story in
October headlined, "Where did global warming go?" that cited
polls suggesting that Americans had lost interest in climate
change, or just didn't believe in it. Climate activists have
blamed the declines in some surveys on flawed questions. But
polls by Gallup and PEW have shown similar recent declines. 

Editorial: Who said green was easy? Solyndra, Volt shouldn't
discourage public investment in alternative energy. The "Drill,
baby, drill" brigade -- that vocal coalition of oil producers,
free-market zealots and global warming deniers that is
perpetually on the lookout for ways to discredit public
investment in alternative energy -- hit the jackpot last month
when two of the nation's most visible green initiatives hit
highly publicized potholes. Posted.


Start-Up BioLite Aims To Help Developing World With Safer,
Cleaner Stove. Many clean-technology companies are trying to
solve the world’s biggest environmental problems with equally big
solutions and are building enormous wind farms, gigantic ethanol
plants, massive electric car factories and the like to tackle
them. But one Brooklyn company, BioLite, is developing a
watermelon-sized stove that can almost eliminate the pollution
from cooking fires in the developing world. Reducing global
warming isn’t the only goal. Posted.

Young Voices Reverberate at Indeterminate Climate Talks.  That
was a core line in a remarkable speech delivered on behalf of
youth in the final stretch of two weeks of contentious, largely
indeterminate climate treaty talks in Durban, South Africa. The
talks went into overtime Saturday night (Durban time), with the
leadership desperate to salvage at least a “Durban outcome,” akin
to the “road map” produced in Bali in 2007.  The best way to
track the finale and afterthoughts is by following the #COP17 or
#UNFCCC tags on Twitter.  Posted. 

New climate study reveals “true global warming signal”; warming
continues unabated. Take a look at any chart of global average
temperature trends during the past several decades (below, for
example), and chances are that you’ll notice a lot of short-term
ups and downs, with an overall trend towards warmer than average
conditions. Those zigs and zags from one year to the next are
largely due to natural phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina,
which help tip the odds in favor of warmer or cooler years.

Despite policy changes, smog still afflicts Mexico City.
Reporting From Mexico City -- When you're above it, it might look
like brown smoke. From far away at ground level, it can shine
like a sheet of white ice. And when you're under it, which is
most of the time, you can't really see it at all. It is the
famous air pollution of Mexico City, causing countless cases of
scratchy throats, stinging eyes and mucus that looks like it came
from outer-space. It is, in a word, nasty. Posted.

Climate deal delays new concerted effort on greenhouse gases
[updated]. Reporting From Washington -- Negotiators at a climate
change meeting in South Africa struck an 11th-hour deal to avoid
the collapse of international negotiations over global warming,
averting the worst fears of environmental advocates but doing
little to immediately advance the cause of limiting greenhouse
gas emissions. The agreement in effect would postpone new
concerted global action on climate change for at least eight
years. Posted.

First Valley-wide burn prohibition in effect.  The San Joaquin
Valley Air Pollution Control District has issued a burning
prohibition throughout the San Joaquin Valley, the first time
this year the ban has stretched across the entire valley.  Poor
air quality is predicted in all eight counties, possibly through
the weekend, according to the district.  The prohibition went
into effect at midnight on Thursday should continue through
midnight Friday -- though it could be extended throughout the
weekend.  Posted. 

Choking on change (3). We are gambling. We are casually and
nonchalantly sliding the lives of our children onto the table. We
are betting it all on ignorance, denial and the immediate
gratification of the greedy, corpulent community of petulant
polluters who have placed their need for profit ahead of
everything else. Our window, we are told, closes in about 2015.
Our atmosphere, we are told, has a limit. Once it is packed with
enough carbon dioxide and methane, it forces us into a whole new
climate, one that future generations may not survive. Posted.

Climate Counts Scorecard Shows Improvement, but Not Enough. 
Climate Counts is a not-for-profit organization aimed at
increasing public awareness of, and bringing consumers and
companies together in the fight against, global warming. Every
year they put out a scorecard rating companies on their efforts
in combating climate change. This month they published their
fifth annual scorecard. Specifically, the scorecard assesses a
given company’s efforts in…Posted. 

SAP Calculates the Carbon Footprint of a Yogurt Cup. The German
software company SAP is a leader in using computer analytics to
help a company reduce its environmental footprint while also
saving a few bucks. This week, SAP unveiled software that can
establish how much CO2 and water it takes to make an individual
product. SAP’s first partner on the technology is Groupe Danone,
the French multinational foodmaker known in the U.S. as Dannon.
By the end of the year, Danone expects to be using SAP’s
technology to evaluate 35,000 products, according to Peter Graf,
SAP’s chief sustainability officer. Posted.

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