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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 11, 2012.

Posted: 11 Jan 2012 11:34:40
California Air Resources Board News Clips for January 11, 2012. 

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.


Obama praises 'vital' work of EPA.  President Barack Obama
defended the work of the Environmental Protection Agency on
Tuesday, saying he would stand with the agency that has taken a
beating from Republicans in Congress and on the presidential
campaign trail for regulations that the GOP maintains will
cripple the economy and kill jobs.  Obama, making his first-ever
visit to the EPA, took issue with those claims, saying he did not
buy the notion that there is a choice between clean air and clean
water and a growing economy. He said the mission of the agency
was “vital.”  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:


Hong Kong to Widen Pollutants Watch as Beijing Plans to Do More.
Hong Kong, facing criticism over its air quality, will measure
pollutants smaller than 2.5 micrometers at all its monitoring
stations by March, a week after Beijing pledged to make publicly
available similar data. Hong Kong is testing sampler monitors at
nine stations, adding to the five that are already measuring the
fine particulate pollutants, Environment Secretary Edward Yau
said in a written reply to questions from lawmakers today. Yau
didn’t say if the data would be released to the public. Posted.

Winter Spare the Air Alert called for Wednesday. Air quality
authorities have called the 13th Spare the Air Alert of the
winter season on Wednesday, banning the burning of wood,
manufactured fire logs and any other solid wood for 24 hours.
Cool, still weather patterns will continue through Wednesday,
according to the Bay Area Air Quality Management District. During
these weather conditions, the earth cools the air close to the
ground, which creates an inversion layer of warmer air above.
Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/news/ci_19713407


Stronger alerts will be issued even when Valley’s air pollution
is low. In the midst of the nation’s worst soot problem this
season, air authorities are issuing stronger warnings when
pollution is at a much lower level than before — a new protective
measure. The San Joaquin Valley has been caught in a seven-week
dry spell that shows no sign of relief. The lack of cleansing
storms has allowed a haze of tiny debris to build up and violate
the federal health standard for 37 consecutive days. Posted.

W. Pa. power plant getting $700M pollution upgrade.  The owners
of a coal-fired western Pennsylvania power plant identified by
regulators as one of the nation's worst polluters plan to add
$700 million in pollution control equipment there.  A federal
judge in Pittsburgh late last year dismissed a pollution lawsuit
filed by the federal Environmental Protection Agency and the
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection against the
Homer City Generating Station, the state's second-largest coal
plant. Posted. 

Officials Say Bad Air Quality Reaching Historic Levels.  Air
pollution officials say our air quality is now reaching
historically bad levels. They say the length of our current
string of bad days has set a record.  Local air officials say our
warm mild winter is keeping the atmosphere from mixing leading to
our bad air quality.  It’s a problem you can see: pollution so
thick it blocks out views of the mountains.  But this is
different than the ozone pollution problem we have in the summer.
 Posted.  http://www.turnto23.com/central/30181820/detail.html


Gov. Brown's cap-and-trade spending plan angers businesses. He
aims to spend $1 billion from the auction of greenhouse gas
emission credits to help shrink the budget shortfall. Industry
groups call that a back-door tax hike. Reporting from Sacramento—
Gov. Jerry Brown has found a new pot of money to help him fill a
$9-billion hole in his proposed budget: $1 billion from
auctioning credits to allow California companies to emit
greenhouse gases. Posted.

State shift of carbon fee to deficit questioned.  Gov. Jerry
Brown's budget proposal includes nearly $500 million in spending
from the proceeds of California's first-in-the-nation
cap-and-trade program, but the plan is raising questions about
whether the governor is using the new money to cut the budget
deficit instead of promoting new greenhouse-gas-reducing
programs.  The controversial cap-andtrade program essentially
puts a price on carbon emissions by limiting the amount of CO2
that can be produced by the state's largest polluters.  Posted. 


CARB fines businesses $383,000 for air quality violations.  The
California Air Resources Board will collect $383,000 after
settling 53 air quality violation cases stemming from late 2011. 
In a news release, CARB said most of the violations involved
truck and bus fleets that didn’t conduct annual emission tests as
required by law, though nearly half of the fine totals were tied
to illegal motorcycles being sold or tampered with in California.

Port generates $202 million in economic output, report says. The
Oxnard Harbor Commission is beginning the year with new
leadership, tough regulatory challenges and an economic impact
report that indicates the Port of Hueneme generates about $202
million in economic output, pays $15.4 million in local taxes and
supports 1,516 local jobs. The report was prepared by economists
at California Lutheran University under a different method from
the one used the last time such a study was undertaken, so a
comparison is not possible. Posted. 

Cool Planet BioFuels Announces Road Testing of Negative Carbon
Gasoline Begins in California.  Cool Planet BioFuels announced
today it has received approval from the California Air Resources
Board (CARB) to begin fleet-testing its negative carbon gasoline.
Cool Planet BioFuel's technology converts low-grade biomass --
such as grass and woodchips -- into high-grade fuel. This process
also produces a byproduct, which can be used to sequester carbon
and act as a soil conditioner. This makes the CoolPlanetBioFuels
product a negative carbon fuel. Posted. 


Electric vehicle battery costs coming down: Chu. Industry and
government are on track to bring down the cost of batteries to
power hybrid and electric cars, which is crucial for improving
commercial appeal of those vehicles, U.S. Energy Secretary Steven
Chu said on Wednesday. Chu said at the Detroit Economic Club the
Obama administration is not deterred by soft sales of plug-ins in
their first full year in showrooms, nor does it worry about the
potential for overcapacity in battery production. Posted. 

California getting majority of electric vehicle VC, study finds. 
A December report by the Next 10 public policy group showed that
California brought in $840 million in venture capital invested in
electric vehicle technology, 80 perent of the U.S. total.  As the
industry grows throughout the state, two electric vehicle
companies in the North Bay said that they were also gaining
momentum.  Zap Jonway, a Santa Rosa-based manufacturer and
developer of electric vehicles, and CODA Automotive, based in
Santa Monica with an assembly plant in Benicia,…Posted. 

Solution to higher mpg lies in conventional engines, panelists
say. The U.S. auto industry may only have to look under the hood
to find a solution for meeting increasingly stringent fuel
economy regulations. Industry experts speaking during a panel on
public-policy issues at the Automotive News World Congress today
said that some of the greatest improvements in fuel efficiency
will come by adding new gas-saving technologies to the internal
combustion engine.  Posted. 

Ghosn warns of disruptive shifts in auto industry. Carlos Ghosn,
CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, warned today that global
paradigm shifts in energy and demographics threaten to disrupt
the auto industry. Exploding populations in developing countries
are spurring unprecedented demand for cars and the fossil fuels
powering then, he said in a keynote address at the Automotive
News World Congress. But instead of preparing, carmakers are
passively reacting, he said. Posted. 

Hybrids, China’s second best choice to go green.  China held a
conference to discuss the development plan for energy-saving and
new energy vehicles for 2011 to 2020 last week. In China’s future
development plan, more support will now be given to hybrid and
other new energy automobiles.  The Chinese State Council held a
conference on 6th January to discuss the development plan for
energy-saving and new energy vehicles for 2011 to 2020. Posted. 


A Return to the Good Old Days? Preliminary results show that
cleantech investment returned to levels not seen in three years.
And it gets better, as the Cleantech Group said that 2012 may be
the best year ever.  Global cleantech investments were a shade
under $9 billion last year for clean technology venture and
corporate investments, a 13 percent increase over 2010. Cleantech
mergers and acquisitions reached record highs in 2011 with 391
deals and a dollar volume of $41.2 billion, a robust 153 percent
growth over 2010.  Posted. 

A Return to the Good Old Days? Clean energy VC at 2008 levels.
Preliminary results show that cleantech investment returned to
levels not seen in three years. And it gets better, as the
Cleantech Group said that 2012 may be the best year ever. Global
cleantech investments were a shade under $9 billion last year for
clean technology venture and corporate investments, a 13 percent
increase over 2010. Posted.


Doomsday Clock Overview.  The Doomsday Clock conveys how close
humanity is to catastrophic destruction--the figurative
midnight--and monitors the means humankind could use to
obliterate itself. First and foremost, these include nuclear
weapons, but they also encompass climate-changing technologies
and new developments in the life sciences that could inflict
irrevocable harm.  Posted. 


Alan Salzman: Global investors see the future in clean energy. 
Global investors controlling tens of trillions of dollars will
gather Thursday at United Nations headquarters to showcase
investments in clean energy and energy efficiency solutions.
There's a powerful narrative here: Even in the face of paralysis
among governments, many in the private sector are moving ahead on
energy and climate change innovation.  Posted. 

EDITORIAL: Moderate winter plagues Valley air quality.  It's hard
to gripe about weather that allows you to wear shorts in January
-- a fashion statement that many in California have been
embracing. For people who like mild weather, the numerous sunny
days of late have been a blessing, but the lack of wind and rain
comes with some downsides.  A big one is dirty air, which is a
particular health threat for children and people with asthma and
other respiratory diseases. On Tuesday, Fresno's air was among
the dirtiest in the country.  Posted. 

FORUM: Forum on fuel rules missed the point. The Community Forum
appearing Monday, Jan. 2, by Eric Buechele totally misses the
point with his unfair criticism of Congressman Darrell Issa. What
Buechele and many others fail to understand is that the
government's efforts to limit fuel availability, manage vehicle
production, impose millage standards, and limit roadway
construction are all built on a deliberate and calculated barrage
of misinformation. Posted. 

Letter: No air pollution from wind power. I like wind power
because it does not cause air pollution, and further protects our
air by preventing dirty coal and oil from being burned. Opponents
who say that it spoils the view need to consider what will be
included in their view without clean energy sources. Standing
atop a mountain in Rocky Mountain National Park and seeing the
view shrouded in what looked like brownish haze from humidity
baffled me in that super dry climate. Posted.


Obama Drops by the E.P.A. President Obama, who has been both
applauded and jeered for his record on environmental issues, paid
a brief visit to the headquarters of the Environmental Protection
Agency in Washington on Tuesday to try to raise spirits at an
agency that has been under siege for the past year.  All the
Republican presidential candidates and the House Republican
majority have criticized the agency for what they cast as
intrusive environmental regulations that cost jobs and harm the
economy. Posted.

Can Better Communication of Climate Science Cut Climate Risks?
Over the weekend I noticed a clever new effort to visualize how
natural climate variability interacts with the heating effect
from accumulating greenhouse gases – made by Ole Christoffer Haga
for the Danish television program Siffa: The video, which has
been making the rounds, reminded me of a conversation I
videotaped a year and a half ago when I met up with Murray
Gell-Mann, a physics Nobelist and dean of efforts to understand
complex, consequential systems. Posted.
Addressing Climate Change: Vote for Green, Not Junk Jobs, in
2012. The liquid golden light of winter floods our flowering
yard, perfumed by blooming narcissus, cymbidium orchids, Andean
lilies, and others. Tropical? No, we live in a temperate zone,
but this year's unseasonable balmy to hot, dry weather persisted
from the US southwest to the now-not-so-frozen Canadian north, as
climate change melted away white Christmas hopes. Ah, warm, sunny
winter weather -- an insidious, sinful delight of climate change.

Bay Area's Urban Planning Must Address Public Health, Study Says.
For nearly four years, Cassandra Martin lived in West Oakland, a
few blocks from two freeways and the city’s port. This has made
her an accidental expert on air pollution. “I used to wonder what
that black stuff was on the windowsill,” said Martin, who was
diagnosed with asthma in 2009. “I would constantly wipe the walls
and windowsills, but it would get so caked with soot. That’s a
reason I was wondering about particulate matter.” Martin now
works part time collecting air-quality data for a West Oakland
environmental group. Posted.

Doomsday Clock kicks off more conspiracy theories.  The Doomsday
Clock moved one minute closer to midnight Tuesday. It is now
11:55, five minutes before the hour in which humankind will face
its fate.  Have we all gone mad with apocalyptophobia? Since
1947, the Doomsday Clock has charted how near humanity is to its
destruction. And we have always been prone to end-is-nigh
hysteria.  Posted. 
NSF Early Career Award supports investigation of technique to
measure temperature of low-temperature combustion reactions. 
David Rothamer, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering
at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, recently received a
$405,000 National Science Foundation 2011 Faculty Early Career
Development Award (CAREER) to investigate a new technique using
nanoparticle thermographic phosphors for measuring the
temperature of a low-temperature combustion reaction through the
entire process.  Posted. 

Fraccidents. We've all seen (or at least heard of) the movie
"Erin Brockovich" in which a bold and fiercely determined mom
takes on a chemical company for exposing a small town and the
families and children that live there to toxic chemicals that
have been linked to cancer. It's Academy Award winning material.
And it's happening again. In a small town in Colorado, 600 yards
from three elementary schools and a childcare center, the natural
gas industry is about to drill wells and expose hundreds of
school children to chemicals that have never been proven safe.
Posted.  http://www.enviroblog.org/2012/01/fraccidents.html

Coda will offer cheaper electric Sedan with less range, now
starts at $37,250. Will electric-car buyers trade away 25 miles
of driving range in exchange for $2,650?
That's what Coda Automotive is betting on. Los Angeles-based
electric-vehicle maker said this week that, in addition to
offering its standard Coda Sedan battery-electric vehicle, which
has a 150-mile range, for $39,900, it will also sell a cheaper
version with a 125-mile range for a base price of $37,250.

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