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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 19, 2011. Posted: 19 Dec 2011 14:52:12
California Air Resources Board Newsclips for December 19, 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 AP IMPACT: EPA rules threaten older power plants. More than 32 mostly coal-fired power plants in a dozen states will be forced to shut down and an additional 36 might have to close because of new federal air pollution regulations, according to an Associated Press survey. Together, those plants—some of the oldest and dirtiest in the country—produce enough electricity for more than 22 million households, the AP survey found. But their demise probably won't cause homes to go dark. The fallout will be most acute for the towns where power plant smokestacks long have cast a shadow. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_COAL_PLANT_RETIREMENTS?SITE=KFWB&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT AP Newsbreak: http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal-government/ap-impact-survey-shows-more-than-32-power-plants-to-be-retired-because-of-new-pollution-rules/2011/12/16/gIQAmOQlyO_story.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/12/18/2654141/ap-impact-epa-rules-threaten-older.html#storylink=misearch http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19577398?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19577398?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/dec/18/ap-impact-epa-rules-threaten-older-power-plants/ http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/ap-impact-epa-rules-threaten-older-power-plants/article_2e42f0cf-bbea-5757-a834-16391e6698de.html Cement plant near Mojave to pay EPA fine. The CalPortland facility will pay a $1.4 million fine and $1.3 million on equipment needed to reduce emissions of pollutants. The penalties were part of a settlement of an EPA and Department of Justice probe. A CalPortland cement plant near the high desert community of Mojave has agreed to pay a fine of $1.4 million and spend $1.3 million on equipment needed to reduce emissions of pollutants that cause asthma and generate smog, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced Thursday. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-cement-fine-20111216,0,335637.story Bay Area's seventh Winter Spare the Air Alert issued for Monday. Keep those fireplaces dark Monday because the Bay Area Air Quality Management District has issued another Winter Spare the Air Alert. It is the second spare the air day in a row, and the seventh since the first spare the air day of the season Dec. 7. During a Winter Spare the Air Alert, it is illegal for Bay Area residents and businesses to use fireplaces, woodstoves and inserts, pellet stoves and any other wood-burning devices. Burning wood, manufactured logs and other sold fuel indoors and out has also been banned for 24 hours. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19574800?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19574800?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Projects to improve San Joaquin Valley air get $3 million. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District's governing board has awarded $2,947,694 to 11 projects targeted at reducing the valley's air quality emissions through new technology. The board also authorized an additional $3 million to bring more technology-advancement entrepreneurs in the valley. The latest request for proposals to the Technology Advancement Program resulted in submissions ranging from an all-electric agricultural sprayer to a natural gas conversion kit for locomotive engines, an emission-reducing raisin tray burning system to a cleaner composting system. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/12/18/1992961/projects-to-improve-air-get-3m.html#storylink=cpy CLIMATE CHANGE The Battle Over Aviation Emissions. Brussels — One of the most contested global environmental initiatives ever undertaken is scheduled to get under way on New Year’s Day, when the European Union plans to begin regulating greenhouse gas emissions from airlines. Much is at stake for Europe, which has sought to burnish its identity as a significant international actor partly by leading the world on climate protection. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/business/energy-environment/the-battle-over-aviation-emissions.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print As Permafrost Thaws, Scientists Study the Risks. A bubble rose through a hole in the surface of a frozen lake. It popped, followed by another, and another, as if a pot were somehow boiling in the icy depths. Every bursting bubble sent up a puff of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas generated beneath the lake from the decay of plant debris. These plants last saw the light of day 30,000 years ago and have been locked in a deep freeze — until now. “That’s a hot spot,” declared Katey M. Walter Anthony, a leading scientist in studying the escape of methane. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/17/science/earth/warming-arctic-permafrost-fuels-climate-change-worries.html?scp=1&sq=fuels&st=cse La Nina keeps Sierra snowless. After a big snowfall year in 2010, snowboarders and skiers are still waiting for big storms this year. National Weather Service forecasters say don't give up on the snow season yet. Snow could come anytime, but probably not this week. Forecaster Brooke Bingaman, with the National Weather Service's Sacramento office, explained that a La Nina weather pattern is influencing the north state's weather. A La Nina event pushes the polar jet stream far north of the west coast while the Pacific jet stream, although it can vary, usually is aimed for the Pacific Northwest. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/19/4132121/weeks-weather-is-expected-to-remain.html REGION: State should brace for greater disasters, rising costs from climate change, experts say. California should prepare for massive storms, frequent and severe wildfires, and dwindling snowmelt, scientists at a climate conference at Scripps Institution of Oceanography said last week. The conference showcased new research on the practical consequences of a warming planet. Although similar events have often presented climate research, the conference last week highlighted the implications of warming on wildfires, water supply, energy policy and biological diversity. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/science/region-state-should-brace-for-greater-disasters-rising-costs-from/article_6a90a2ad-2e3f-56de-b925-981da9ed2eb2.html FUELS California Approves Rules Restricting Use of High-Carbon Crude. California passed rules discouraging the state’s refiners, including Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Tesoro Corp. (TSO), from processing types of crude that release more carbon when produced and delivered, such as output from Canada’s oil sands. The regulation, approved as a change to the state’s low- carbon fuel standard, assigns “carbon-intensity” values to about 250 types of crude oil, favoring those that take less energy to produce and transport. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-16/california-approves-rules-restricting-use-of-high-carbon-crude.html GREEN ENERGY Breakthrough could double solar energy output. A new discovery from a chemist at the University of Texas at Austin may allow photovoltaic solar cells to double their efficiency, thus providing loads more electrical power from regular sunlight. Not only that, but it’s way cheap. Chemistry professor Xiaoyang Zhu and his team discovered that an organic plastic semiconductor could double the number of electrons harvested out of one photon of sunlight. Yep, plastic. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-breakthrough-double-solar-energy-output-20111216,0,3897047.story?track=rss The U.S. electricity mix in 20 years: A prediction. What will the U.S. power mix look like in 10 to 20 years? It's impossible to predict for certain, of course, because there's no way to know what regulators will do. Given the heavily regulated nature of the electric sector, even in so-called "deregulated" markets, surprises tend to come from regulatory reform, not innovation. (The U.S. electric grid has shown itself capable of rapid, large-scale transformation in response to regulations.) Posted. http://www.grist.org/article/2011-12-16-us-electricity-20-years-prediction Harnessing the sun’s energy for water and space heating. The pace of solar energy development is accelerating as the installation of rooftop solar water heaters takes off. Unlike solar photovoltaic panels that convert solar radiation into electricity, these "solar thermal collectors" use the sun's energy to heat water, space, or both. Posted. http://www.grist.org/solar-power/2011-12-14-harnessing-the-suns-energy-for-water-and-space-heating MISCELLANEOUS How to find greener tech products. So you're a holiday shopper -- or just an electronics lover -- who cares about treading lightly on the planet. How do you know if that shiny new gadget was made with hazardous materials, or whether the manufacturing process created tons of carbon emissions? Several organizations are offering tips and detailed guides on how to buy green electronics this year. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/business/ci_19566271?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_19566271?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com OPINIONS Beyond Durban. Startling new evidence that global carbon dioxide emissions are rising faster than ever did little to increase the urgency of the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, which concluded earlier this week. Once again, the world’s negotiators kicked the can down the road. Even as delegates from nearly 200 countries were meeting, the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists, reported that emissions from carbon dioxide from fossil fuels, the main greenhouse gas, had jumped 5.9 percent in 2010, the sharpest one-year rise on record. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/17/opinion/beyond-the-durban-climate-talks.html?scp=7&sq=fuels&st=cse Back to the electric future for cars. 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. So Haagen-Smit decided to put aside his pineapples (he had already worked out the taste chemistry of onions, garlic and wine and had identified the active agent in marijuana) to try to solve the source of smog. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111218/OPINION/111219594/1314/lifestyle04?Title=Back-to-the-electric-future-for-cars Brian Calle: North Dakota's energy lessons for California. California's economic slide is one of choice and consequence, not of necessity. The state still possesses the resources for prosperity, even today, but policies advanced by ideologues and political zealots in the state capital have tarnished the Golden State. North Dakota, by contrast, illustrates, as it rapidly becomes the economic envy of the nation, how a different approach to public policy bolsters economic activity and job creation. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/state-331918-energy-california.html CARR: Where there's smoke ... there just might be a fine. Hop in, buckle up. Quite a few readers have asked me if it's true that Temecula, Murietta, and other northern backcountry communities in or abutting Riverside County are to be restricted on certain days from lighting their fireplaces or wood-burning stoves. The short answer: Yes. The longer answer: Probably. There's been something of a mini-blitz of public service announcements, billboards, and TV/radio/newspaper coverage aimed at educating residents that they will now be required to take a more active role in reducing fine-particulate pollution on days deemed to be of unhealthy air quality. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/columnists/carr/carr-where-there-s-smoke-there-just-might-be-a/article_c778664c-f11c-5da6-a933-6b14ff533599.html#ixzz1h0AJHn7V Global climate forecast still calls for haze. Are big international climate conferences useless? Cheerleaders say the agreement from the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, is a great achievement: It foresees a system that binds all big polluters — not just developed countries — to reduce their emissions. Some environmentalists counter that the system is still unforgivably weak — emissions cuts could easily be too small and won’t kick in for another decade, and that’s if the agreement holds. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20111219/WIRE/111219599 Why the WCI still matters. There has been renewed interest in the fate of the Western Climate Initiative following a November press release from Arizona stating that it was formally withdrawing from the WCI. Other Western Climate Initiative states, including Oregon and Washington, made no similar formal announcement, but the result is the same. Only California remains a partner in the WCI, along with the participating Canadian Provinces — British Columbia, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec. Posted. http://www.sustainablebusinessoregon.com/columns/2011/12/why-the-wci-still-matters.html Rethink renewable energy mandates. It’s been a rough two years for global warming alarmists. Cap and trade failed in 2009, despite the fact that Democrats controlled the House, Senate and White House. The recent United Nations summit produced an agreement that means little — with countries like Canada dropping off an extension of the Kyoto Protocol. Meanwhile, high unemployment and economic woes are drawing public attention from environmental issues. Posted. http://www.politico.com/news/stories/1211/70610.html Mild hybrids deliver. General Motors' decision to introduce its mild hybrid system, eAssist, in a big way proves that automakers can use a variety of technologies in the quest to achieve a corporate average fuel economy of 54.5 mpg by the 2025 model year. Not every advance has to be a moonshot like the Chevy Volt. What's key is that a mild hybrid system costs about a quarter of what a conventional full hybrid system costs but can deliver about half the added fuel savings. Posted. http://www.autonews.com/article/20111219/OEM06/111219884#ixzz1h0KP96Xg California Dreams and Low Carbon Fuels. Last month the Obama Administration announced it would delay a decision on whether to permit the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline – a 1,700 mile long proposed pipeline that will connect the Alberta oil sands and Bakken crude oil reserves to Gulf Coast refineries – until after the 2012 election. The decision was no doubt influenced by the boisterous protests led by environmental groups like the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), and Tar Sands Action among others. Posted. http://townhall.com/columnists/michaelwhatley/2011/12/19/california_dreams_and_low_carbon_fuels BLOGS For Green Groups, a Shift in Tactics. In The Times’s Sunday Review section, I wrote about the generational leadership change that big environmental groups are undergoing and how it is affecting their strategies. Several leaders and observers I interviewed noted that in an Occupy Wall Street era, some people have little patience for the notion of courting corporations and policy makers to seek their cooperation. They want to apply direct pressure. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/19/for-green-groups-a-shift-in-tactics/ California Moves Forward with Strong Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Just moments ago, the California Air Resources Board voted unanimously to move forward with a Low Carbon Fuel Standard in California. The ARB decision is a victory for California and its residents, but the benefits of the LCFS will be felt across the nation and around the world. By re-asserting California’s commitment to the world’s first Low Carbon Fuel Standard and turning back the oil industry’s attempts to weaken it, the Board sent a clear signal that this state is charging forward with the transition from dirty fuels to clean fuels – and is on track to meet commitments to reduce carbon emissions. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/smui/california_moves_forward_with.html California Air Resources Board amends the Low Carbon Fuel Standard. The California Air Resources Board voted Friday to amend the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) to streamline procedures and clarify language. (Earlier post.) The LCFS intends to reduce, on a full-fuel lifecycle basis, the carbon intensity (CI) of transportation fuels (measured in gCO2e/MJ) used in California by an average of 10% by the year 2020. (Earlier post.) One key amendment will improve how the regulation accounts for the carbon intensity of crude oils. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2011/12/arb-20111217.html