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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 17, 2012 Posted: 17 Jan 2012 11:40:59
California Air Resources Board News Clips for January 17, 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. AIR POLLUTION Hong Kong Says New Air Quality Objectives May Start in 2014. Hong Kong, facing criticism over its pollution, plans to have new objectives for its air quality by 2014 and seeks to use the World Health Organization’s targets as a benchmark, according to a statement from the government. The city’s government will submit amendments to the air pollution ordinance to the Legislative Council in 2012-13, according to the statement. It wants to review its objectives every five years. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-01-17/hong-kong-says-new-air-quality-objectives-may-start-in-2014.html http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204468004577166383365590226.html BY SUBSCRIPTION Pollution tied to disease risk in L.A. black women. In a study of more than 4,000 black women in Los Angeles, those who lived in areas with higher levels of traffic-related air pollution were at increased risk of developing diabetes and high blood pressure. The researchers, led by Patricia Coogan at Boston University, found that black women living in neighborhoods with high levels of nitrogen oxides, pollutants found in traffic exhaust, were 25 percent more likely to develop diabetes and 14 percent more likely to develop hypertension than those living in sections with cleaner air. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/01/13/us-pollution-disease-risk-idUSTRE80C1TP20120113 http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/13/la-air-pollution-tied-to-disease-risk-black-women_n_1205303.html Clean-air advocates see real need to check pollution levels along region's freeways. A growing body of science has confirmed common-sense instinct that dirty freeway air is seriously bad for health, and that research is spurring activists and regulators to consider new ways of addressing Southern California pollution. Despite studies showing troubling health effects, it remains a mystery exactly what's in the air near heavily trafficked freeways on any given day. Regional air regulators have 36 air-quality sensors across Southern California but they don't monitor pollution next to freeways. Posted. http://www.dailynews.com/ci_19754442?source=most_viewed http://www.dailynews.com/news/ci_19754442?source=rss http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_19754895 Winter air pollution raises health worries. If you haven't been feeling well, the tiny particles that have filled the Valley's air, and your body, may be to blame. Kevin Hall, Director of the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition believes the region has been hit hard by microscopic pollution, known as PM 2.5. "We've been through the worst winter air pollution episode for fine particulates that anyone can remember. Posted. http://abclocal.go.com/kfsn/story?section=news/local&id=8506668 STATE OF THE AIR REPORT FALLS SHORT. Beginning in 2000, the American Lung Association (ALA) has periodically released its “State of the Air” report. The report gives letter grades to counties in the country based on air quality. But despite being well intentioned, some local government officials believe the report has a number of flaws that result in unfair grading. The ALA uses stricter air quality standards than the EPA when determining grades for ambient air quality. Posted. http://www.publicceo.com/2012/01/state-of-the-air-report-falls-short/ CLIMATE CHANGE Climate Proposal Puts Practicality Ahead of Sacrifice. The current issue of the journal Science contains a proposal to slow global warming that is extraordinary for a couple of reasons: 1. In theory, it would help people living in poor countries now, instead of mainly benefiting their descendants. 2. In practice, it might actually work. This proposal comes from an international team of researchers — in climate modeling, atmospheric chemistry, economics, agriculture and public health —…Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/science/countering-climate-change-without-waiting-for-a-payoff.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print Growing Doubts in Europe On Future of Carbon Storage. The European Union’s long-term energy plans to abate global warming while still burning fossil fuels hinge on proposals to capture carbon dioxide emissions and store them in deep underground rock formations. Yet weak support for the untested technology is putting Europe in the rear ranks of its development. Two carbon capture and storage projects in Germany and Britain were canceled last quarter …Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/technology/17iht-rbog-ccs17.html?scp=3&sq=fuels&st=cse Climate change skepticism seeps into science classrooms. Some states have introduced education standards requiring teachers to defend the denial of man-made global warming. A national watchdog group says it will start monitoring classrooms. Reporting from Washington— A flash point has emerged in American science education that echoes the battle over evolution, as scientists and educators report mounting resistance to the study of man-made climate change in middle and high schools. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-climate-change-school-20120116,0,2808837.story http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/17/4193444/climate-change-skepticism-seeps.html http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/16/scientists-want-climate-change-young-minds/?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS Rising home insurance rates point to climate change. Insurance companies don’t care if you believe in climate change or not: Your premiums are going up anyhow. NPR reported Monday that home insurance premiums are going up across the board in response to the record number of tornadoes, floods, fires, blizzards and other heavy weather that hit the country in 2011. The piece features insurance executives at major firms such as Allstate and State Farm saying they are raising rates as much as 10%. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-insurance-rates-driven-up-by-global-warming-npr-reports-20120116,0,3679812.story?track=rss Greenhouse gases in your backyard. Data showing how much carbon dioxide and other climate changing gases power plants, refineries and other industrial operations emitted in 2010 are, for the first time, widely available to the public on a new U.S. Environmental Protection Agency website. The U.S. EPAs Greenhouse Gas Inventory collects data from several industries that comprise about 80 percent of the yearly total industrial emissions of gas linked to global warming. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/16/v-print/4191324/greenhouse-gases-in-your-backyard.html DIESEL EMISSIONS CARB registry accepts mismatched model years; OOIDA urges caution. California’s Truck and Bus Rule registry will accept any combination you may have of truck, engine and VIN numbers. That information, however, could leave a truck owner open to enforcement by CARB, EPA or others should your truck not meet standards of the federal Clean Air Act. The California Air Resources Board’s Truck and Bus Rule registration system is online, and CARB says about 20,000 trucks have signed up in the last two weeks. Posted. http://www.landlinemag.com/todays_news/Daily/2012/Jan12/010912/011312-02.shtml FUELS Electric plants shift from coal to natural gas. The huge, belching smokestacks of electric power plants have long symbolized air pollution woes. But a shift is under way: More and more electric plants around the nation are being fueled by natural gas, which is far cleaner than coal, the traditional fuel. The most optimistic projections describe an abundant domestic energy source that will create enormous numbers of jobs and lead to cleaner skies. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gwTFgyJcaehjsPpUa5Q0GIXUItjA?docId=b411c24334fb47518b446cf1a81ca91a AP Newsbreak: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/16/2685090/electric-plants-shift-from-coal.html#storylink=misearch http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/16/2027734/electric-plants-shift-from-coal.html http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/electric-plants-shift-from-coal-to-natural-gas/article_29f86c71-0322-5693-8122-19a6c19b0404.html http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jan/16/bc-us--gas-drilling-electricity-1st-ld-electric/ http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19752376?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19752376?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com SG Biofuels Gets $17 Million to Develop Bioenergy Crop Jatropha. SG Biofuels Inc., a closely held U.S. bioenergy crop company, received $17 million in venture capital that will fund research and international jatropha planting programs. Thomas, McNerney & Partners led the Series B financing round, and Finistere Ventures LLC also participated, SG Biofuels said today in a statement. Existing backers Life Technologies Corp. (LIFE) and Koch Industries Inc.’s Flint Hills Resources LLC unit also reinvested. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-17/sg-biofuels-gets-17-million-to-develop-bioenergy-crop-jatropha.html Keystone XL pipeline would be hard to kill, analysts say. Even if the Obama administration rejected it on environmental grounds, demand for oil and jobs means an alternative probably would emerge. Reporting from Washington— A provision attached to the recent payroll tax bill requires President Obama to decide by Feb. 21 on the construction of the controversial Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the U.S. But even if the administration rejects the project, it may not be enough to kill it, industry analysts said. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-keystone-pipeline-20120116,0,367991.story Bulgaria bans Chevron from using 'fracking' Bowing to public pressure, Bulgaria's government said U.S. oil company Chevron cannot explore for shale gas in the country using the extraction technique known as "fracking." Energy Minister Traicho Traikov said that under Tuesday's decision "Chevron can still have the right to test for oil and gas, but without using the controversial technology of hydraulic fracturing." He said San Ramon, Calif.-based Chevron had not yet been notified of the decision and negotiations on the contract are pending. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/01/17/financial/f063001S56.DTL California biodiesel conference addresses LCFS, bad RIN issues. Leaders of the California biodiesel industry met Jan. 16 in San Francisco to partake in the inaugural California Biodiesel & Renewable Diesel Conference. More than 180 industry stakeholders attended event, which was presented by the California Biodiesel Alliance and Biodiesel Magazine. Eric Bowen, chairman of the California Biodiesel Alliance and executive director of corporate business development and legal affairs at the Renewable Energy Group Inc., was on hand to deliver the keynote address. Posted. http://www.biodieselmagazine.com/articles/8275/california-biodiesel-conference-addresses-lcfs-bad-rin-issues Volatility Rules Markets. Natural gas continues to set the tone for national power markets, but federal crackdown on coal generation and the uncertain policy outlook for renewables also dominate the energy sector. Clean energy continues to be most sensitive to these trends. The latest in the ICF Integrated Energy Outlook Series was the subject of a recent webinar that discussed natural gas, coal, power, emissions, and renewable energy markets in light of impending regulations of hazardous air pollutants rules and other recent areas of concern. Posted. http://www.renewablesbiz.com/article/12/01/volatility-rules-markets Negative-Carbon Gasoline? Cool Planet BioFuels Ready to Road Test. Despite a hot 2011 for biofuels, startup Cool Planet BioFuels flew mostly under the radar. That's surprising considering that the company has a number of marquee backers. It's also about to change, thanks to an announcement that the California Air Resources Board approved road tests of Cool Planet's “negative-carbon” gasoline. Cool Planet is an intriguing case because the firm has skipped the ethanol game altogether. Posted. http://www.greentechmedia.com/articles/read/negative-carbon-gasoline-cool-planet-biofuels-ready-to-road-test/ VEHICLES Doubts cast on cost estimates for high-speed rail alternatives. Bullet train promoters predict it will cost $171 billion to build new airports and roads if the trains aren't completed. But experts say that figure is greatly exaggerated. As the price tag for California's bullet train has soared to nearly $100 billion, a central argument for forging ahead with the controversial project is an even loftier figure: the $171 billion that promoters recently estimated will be needed for new roads and airports if no high-speed rail is built. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-bullet-exaggeration-20120117,0,4293248.story New vehicles' U.S. fuel mileage rises. Fuel mileage on new motor vehicles purchased nationwide in 2011 averaged 22.2 miles per gallon compared with 21.7 mpg in 2010, according to calculations by Santa Monica-based TrueCar.com. "It may seem insignificant, but an increase of a half a mile per gallon in fuel economy translates to a reduction in fuel consumption of 214 million gallons, or a savings of about $722 million in fuel annually in the U.S.," said Jesse Toprak, TrueCar's vice president of industry trends. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/17/2028894/new-vehicles-us-fuel-mileage-rises.html Detroit Auto Show: Electric premieres. The 105th North American International Auto Show 2012 is held in Detroit until 22 January. New electric cars, some of them even already planned for production, can be seen at the biggest US automotive event. cars21.com summarises the electric premieres of NAIAS 2012. http://www.cars21.com/content/articles/73320120117.php GREEN ENERGY Solar grid parity 101 — and why you should care. This post originally appeared on Energy Self-Reliant States, a resource of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance’s New Rules Project. Solar grid parity is considered the tipping point for solar power, when installing solar power will cost less than buying electricity from the grid. It’s also a tipping point for the electricity system, when millions of Americans can choose energy production and self-reliance over dependence on their electric utility. Posted. http://grist.org/solar-power/2012-01-12-solar-grid-parity-101/ MISCELLANEOUS New ads reignite fight over Keystone XL jobs figures. As the deadline looms for President Obama’s Feb. 21 decision on whether to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline, the dogfight is focused on job numbers. Project proponents tout an enormous number of new jobs created by the pipeline, but a labor institute says those numbers are greatly inflated. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-new-ads-keystone-xl-jobs-figures-20120116,0,6768250.story Sonoma County's Cedars a rare geologic wonder. At an old mining camp in the mountains above Cazadero in Sonoma County is a Mars-like panorama of steep crumbling red slopes, bizarre mineralized formations and green serpentine rock. The 11-square-mile area, called the Cedars, is a mysterious land of one-of-a-kind geological phenomena next to the Austin Creek State Recreation Area and Armstrong Redwoods State Reserve that almost nobody in the Bay Area knows anything about. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/01/16/MNIM1MNAG8.DTL&type=printable OPINIONS Michael Gerson: Climate change added to politics of culture war. The attempt by Newt Gingrich to cover his tracks on climate change has been one of the shabbier little episodes of the 2012 presidential campaign. His forthcoming sequel to "A Contract With the Earth" was to feature a chapter by Katharine Hayhoe, a young professor of atmospheric sciences at Texas Tech University. Hayhoe is a scientist, an evangelical Christian and a moderate voice warning of climate disruption. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/17/v-print/4192349/climate-change-added-to-politics.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/climate-and-the-culture-war/2012/01/16/gIQA6qH63P_story.html Editor’s pick: Reader offers science lesson. In a letter Saturday, Violet Smith expressed concern about air pollution in airplane exhaust contrails and asked if anyone knew more about the air pollution in these contrails. Actually, only a small fraction of the contrails is air pollution. The vast majority is water in the form of ice crystals. As explained in WeatherQuestions.com: “Water vapor is a natural by-product of the burning of petroleum-based fuels, and the amounts produced by jet engines are sometimes larger than the cold, thin air of the upper troposphere can hold in vapor form. Posted. http://www.centredaily.com/2012/01/17/3055204/reader-offers-science-lesson.html Are 'green energy' policies thwarting job growth? No: Route to profitable public investment. The Obama administration's investments in the green energy economy have already produced a great number of jobs in a sector with significant potential for additional growth. It would be a serious mistake to undercut the initiative just as it's contributing to the recovery. While estimates vary on exactly how many jobs the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act created, several experts have put the number at 2 million or more. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/14/2025945/are-green-energy-policies-thwarting.html INLAND: Quarry rejection is bad news for all. Permit me to voice my dismay that the Riverside County Planning Commission voted to turn down the Liberty Quarry project despite Granite Construction having gone through an extensive EIR process, with approval by the planning staff of the work by that organization and its consultants, each of whom is a well-known professional in his or her field. The commission’s decision is another in an unfortunate pattern found repeatedly in California of narrow local political pressures inhibiting the state’s economy. Posted. http://www.pe.com/opinion/local-views-headlines/20120115-inland-quarry-rejection-is-bad-news-for-all.ece More misguided CARB complaints. If California highways and parking lots of 2025 look considerably different from today's, it will probably be because they'll contain almost 1.5 million more hybrid cars and trucks, hydrogen-driven vehicles and plug-in hybrids that run mostly on electricity, except on long trips. That's the vision behind the proposed rules rolled out by the California Air Resources Board, even as the Republican chairman of the U.S. House of Representatives' main investigative committee seeks to drag it into hearings about whether it is exceeding its mission. Posted. http://www.thereporter.com/opinion/ci_19747513 BLOGS On the Horizon, Planes Powered by Plant Fuel. The use of jet fuel from renewable sources is now well demonstrated, but it costs more than double what fuel made from petroleum does, according to airlines, aircraft companies and suppliers. One way to cut the cost may be to tinker with the plants that biofuel is made from. Take jatropha, for example. Lufthansa said last week that it had completed a series of more than 800 flights by an Airbus A321 that shuttled between Hamburg and Frankfurt while burning a 50 percent biofuel mix in one of its two engines. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/17/on-the-horizon-planes-powered-by-plant-fuel/ A Climate Change Idea That Might Work. A new proposal to slow global warming is extraordinary, John Tierney writes in The New York Times, because it would help poor countries now, and “it might actually work.” The proposal, outlined in the latest issue of Science magazine, takes into account an often ignored fact: “When there’s a conflict between policies promoting economic growth and policies restricting carbon dioxide, economic growth wins every time,” the article says. Posted. http://india.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/16/a-climate-change-idea-that-might-work/?scp=2&sq=climate%20change&st=cse Climate 101 – Online and Free. As part of the trend in higher education toward moving more course offerings onto the Web, the University of Chicago has launched Open Climate 101, an online version of a popular course led by David Archer that explores for non-science majors the body of research pointing to a rising human influence on the climate system. It’s built around Archer’s climate text, “Global Warming: Understanding the Forecast” (sample chapter). (I have a particular affection for that title.) Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/16/climate-101-online-and-free/ Public to Obama Administration: Adopt New Auto Fuel Efficiency and Carbon Standards. Greetings from the Motor City! Obama Administration officials are in Detroit to gather public input on the EPA and Department of Transportation proposal to raise new automobile efficiency standards to the equivalent of 54.5 mpg by 2025, nearly double that of today’s new vehicles. As I’ll be testifying later today, the standards are a huge step forward. They will dramatically cut U.S. oil consumption and dangerous emissions carbon pollution. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/ltonachel/public_to_the_feds_adopt_new_a.html India Emerges as Solar Energy Hotspot. India emerged as a solar energy market hotspot in 2011, as the Indian government set a goal of scaling up solar power generation from 20,000-megawatts (MW) to 20,000-MW by 2020. Government support to achieve the ambitious target is attracting private sector investment from a host of domestic, as well as some foreign, solar energy industry participants, the latest one being Talma Chemical Industries. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/01/india-emerges-solar-energy-hotspot/ California Renewable Energy Off to a Good Start in 2012 with Five Big Projects. Renewable energy is getting off to a good start in California this new year despite being buffeted by supply-demand imbalances, rising trade friction and uncertainty over federal support for clean energy and technology. As NPD-Solarbuzz reports, the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has approved five renewable energy contracts so far this month, which will result in the production of some 1,088-megawatts (MW) of clean, renewable power and forecasts 2,927 gigawatt-hours (GWh) of electrical energy. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/01/california-renewable-energy-good-2012-start-approval-1-gigawatt-plus-projects/ Scientists Pour Water Into Oregon Volcano to Generate Energy. A team of scientists from Seattle-based AltaRock Energy, Inc. and Davenport Newberry Holdings LLC has announced plans to harness one of Mother Nature’s most powerful energy sources by pumping 24 million gallons of water into the side of a dormant volcano in Central Oregon. The team hopes that the water will return to the surface boiling hot, at which point it can be used to generate clean and cheap energy – without the explosive side effects and liquid magma associated with active volcanoes. Posted. http://inhabitat.com/scientists-pour-water-into-oregon-volcano-to-generate-energy/ US and UK researchers report direct measurement of key atmospheric reactant; more rapid formation of secondary aerosols. Molecules called Criegee intermediates—carbonyl oxides—are important atmospheric reactants, but only indirect knowledge of their reaction kinetics has been available. Now, researchers from Sandia National Laboratory’s Combustion Research Facility, the University of Manchester and the University of Bristol report in a paper in Science the first direct kinetics measurements made of reactions of any gas-phase Criegee intermediate, in this case formaldehyde oxide (CH2OO). Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/01/criegee-20120116.html