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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for January 20, 2012. Posted: 20 Jan 2012 13:42:39
ARB Newsclips for January 20, 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 Navistar Running Out Of Pollution Credits - California Board. Truck maker Navistar International Corp. (NAV) is quickly running out of the pollution credits that have allowed the company to sell heavy-duty truck engines that don't meet the latest U.S. standards for diesel engine exhaust, according to California's Air Resources Board. The board, which is part the state's Environmental Protection Agency, said it's prepared to rescind an executive order that has allowed Navistar to sell noncompliant engines in California. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20120120-705495.html?_nocache=1327078767823&user=welcome BY SUBSCRIPTION Beijing makes rare concession on pollution measure. BEIJING — In a rare bow to public pressure, the Beijing local government has begun using a more stringent measure for air quality, and the first publicly announced readings Thursday showed the air was “hazardous” in at least two areas of the polluted capital city. The release of the data followed online protests and complaints that the U.S. Embassy in Beijing was providing a more accurate gauge of Beijing’s air than the city government, which typically tries to downplay the pollution as mere “fog.” Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/beijing-makes-rare-concession-on-pollution-measure/2012/01/19/gIQApsI6BQ_story.html San Lorenzo Valley residents air complaints over smoky conditions: Use of fireplaces, wood-burning stoves increases, worsening air quality. The Monterey Bay Unified Air Pollution Control District is reminding county residents, especially those in the San Lorenzo Valley, to be wary of using fireplaces and wood stoves during cool temperatures. A lack of rain - until Thursday - and cool temperatures have combined to worsen the air quality in the valley, as residents fire up their wood-burning stoves and fireplaces to stay warm. With little wind, the smoke is lingering in the air, leading to several complaints. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/california/ci_19777241 District sets list of air quality goals. After a challenging year for air quality in the San Joaquin Valley, officials on Thursday approved a list of goals for 2012, including more air-quality stations, cleaner vehicles and new alternatives for burning agricultural waste. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District says pollution has declined 80 percent from factories and businesses, and 60 percent from mobile sources such as cars and trucks since 1980. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120120/A_NEWS/201200320 CLIMATE CHANGE French Corn Farmers Plant Earlier, Lift Yields as Climate Warms. Corn farmers in France, the European Union’s largest producer, are planting their crop earlier compared with a decade ago as climate change causes higher temperatures, boosting yields, researchers and growers said. Corn planting has advanced by about a month, giving crops more time to grow and develop, Jacques Mathieu, head of crop researcher Arvalis Institut du Vegetal, said in an interview this week in Dijon in eastern France. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-20/french-corn-farmers-plant-earlier-lift-yields-as-climate-warms.html World not quite as hot in 2011. The world last year wasn't quite as warm as it has been for most of the past decade, government scientists said Thursday, but it continues a general trend of rising temperatures. The average global temperature was 57.9 degrees Fahrenheit, making 2011 the 11th hottest on record, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said. That's 0.9 degrees warmer than the 20th century average, officials said. In fact, it was hotter than every year last century except 1998. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jan/19/world-not-quite-as-hot-in-2011-ranks-11th-warmest/print/ http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120119/A_NEWS/120119859&cid=sitesearch http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/19/2032165/world-not-quite-as-hot-in-2011.html http://www.dailynews.com/ci_19774751?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com Barclays Closes US Carbon Desk In Latest Cap And Trade Setback. A major European bank closed its US carbon trading business this week in a sign that 2012 is a "make-or-break" year for cap-and-trade programs designed to fight climate change. London-based Barclays determined the US carbon market, currently comprised of a handful of states, is too small to justify the expense of a dedicated trading desk in New York, according to sources familiar with the decision. Posted. http://energy.aol.com/2012/01/20/barclays-closes-us-carbon-desk-in-latest-cap-and-trade-setback/ FUELS Ever wonder where fossil fuels come from? Many people are very concerned about climate change and how and why the Earth seems to be getting warmer. Steps to prevent this warming from continuing include recycling, reducing people’s “carbon footprint” and finding ways to produce energy that doesn’t pollute and that is renewable, which means it can be created again and again. Reducing your carbon footprint means releasing less carbon dioxide into the environment. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/kidspost/ever-wonder-where-fossil-fuels-come-from/2011/11/30/gIQAfxQeDQ_story.html Seaweed in the tank? Company turns to aquaculture for ethanol. Imagine driving up to a gas station for ethanol made not from corn farms in the heartland but from seaweed farms on the coasts. Futuristic, yes. But as the world looks for ways to reduce the use of fossil fuels, farming for seaweed as a fuel feedstock could emerge as an option. It's already starting in the earliest stages of testing in Chile. On Thursday, a breakthrough in the development of biofuels and useful chemicals from seaweed made the cover of the current issue of Science magazine. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2012/01/19/2032425/seaweed-in-the-tank-company-turns.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/19/2689268/seaweed-in-the-tank-company-turns.html#storylink=misearch Traders worry that a Calif. low-carbon fuels decision could apply to electricity imports. A federal judge's decision overturning California's emissions reduction program for transport fuels is making carbon traders and lawyers nervous. The ruling, they fear, may not just apply to fuel. It could open California's cap-and-trade system to charges that it violates the U.S. Constitution's Commerce Clause by regulating shipments of electricity from out-of-state power generators. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/01/20/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY With Pipeline Stopped for Now, Tar Sands Battle Continues in California Courts. A legal brawl over a low-carbon fuel rule will shape the appetite of global markets for Canada's dirtier crude. A high-stakes legal battle is underway in California over whether the state's clean air agency can enforce a first-ever rule to slash carbon emissions in transportation fuels. The fight is being closely watched because the rule could choke global market demand for Alberta's carbon-intensive oil sands at a very precarious time for the industry. Posted. http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20120120/tar-sands-california-low-carbon-fuel-standard-carb-federal-judge-keystone-xl-obama-european-union VEHICLES Road Safety Agency Is Urged to Add Expertise in Electronics Systems. A branch of the National Academy of Sciences reported Wednesday that federal safety regulators lack the expertise to monitor vehicles with increasingly sophisticated electronics. In a widely anticipated study, the group called on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to add technical help, refine its investigative techniques and push for automakers to install “black boxes” that record data in car crashes. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/01/19/business/group-proposes-nhtsa-add-expertise-in-electronics.html?_r=1&scp=6&sq=vehicles&st=cse Chevrolet plans special Volt to qualify for carpool sticker, rebate. General Motors Co. plans to bring a special version of the Chevrolet Volt to the California market that will qualify the plug-in hybrid sedan for a $1,500 state rebate and a coveted carpool lane sticker. The Volt, which the automaker has made the poster child for its environmental credentials, has sold slower in California than its all-electric rival, the Nissan Leaf -- in part because it previously did not qualify as a vehicle solo drivers could use in the state’s network of time-saving carpool lanes. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-chevrolet-volt-20120119,0,6323739.story GREEN ENERGY Report highlights California's huge 'wave power' potential. A new report by the Department of Energy says that waves off California's 1,100-mile coastline could generate more than 140 terawatt hours of electricity a year -- enough to power 14 million homes -- if tidal and wave energy was developed to its maximum potential. The United States uses about 4,000 terawatt hours of electricity a year; 1 terawatt hour powers about 100,000 American homes. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_19777304 MISCELLANEOUS REGION: Boxer calls on Congress to pass transportation bill. Against the backdrop of a new railroad overpass in Riverside County, Sen. Barbara Boxer on Wednesday called on Congress to pass legislation that would significantly change the way the federal government pays for transportation projects. Boxer's Senate Environment and Public Works Committee voted 18-0 in November to maintain federal transportation funding at current levels for two years, while sharpening the program's focus. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/swcounty/region-boxer-calls-on-congress-to-pass-transportation-bill/article_3c40566a-9b06-52d6-8d08-ec6190ed45ab.html As other cities add SMART stations, Petaluma will still get only one. While other North Bay cities are gaining additional train stations in the initial phase of the SMART rail system, Petaluma commuters will have to make tracks to a single downtown station with no plans for additional parking. Saying construction bids came in low, SMART officials recently announced they are adding a station in Santa Rosa near Coddingtown and another in Novato at Atherton Ave. This first phase of SMART will now stretch from the Guerneville Road Coddingtown to downtown San Rafael. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120120/COMMUNITY/120129990 OPINIONS Help Next-Generation Nuclear Advance During Building Lull: View. It’s been 34 years since the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a new operating license for a nuclear reactor. Not, that is, since before the partial meltdown at Three Mile Island in 1979. Finally, the agency is set to move ahead. In December, it approved the design of a so-called generation III-plus reactor, the Westinghouse AP1000. Soon the NRC is expected to license four of these, two in South Carolina and two in Georgia. That’s promising news for the U.S.’s energy future. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-01-20/help-next-generation-nuclear-power-advance-during-long-building-lull-view.html Dan Morain: Brown buys a risky ticket on high-speed rail. You have to hand it to Jerry Brown. He's not shrinking from taking a big risk on high-speed rail. The governor used his State of the State speech Wednesday to give a full-throated endorsement of the project, even as cost estimates soar, polls suggest that the electorate has turned against it and many politicians look for ways to derail it. Brown made clear that high-speed rail is a point of pride. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/01/19/v-print/4198239/brown-buys-a-risky-ticket-on-high.html Robert Samuelson: Rejecting Keystone XL act of national insanity. President Obama's rejection of the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf of Mexico is an act of national insanity. It isn't often that a president makes a decision that has no redeeming virtues and – beyond the symbolism – won't even advance the goals of the groups that demanded it. All it tells us is that Obama is so obsessed with his re-election that, through some sort of political calculus, he believes that placating his environmental supporters will improve his chances. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/oil-336459-obama-decision.html EDITORIAL: Environmental disaster. President Barack Obama's decision to block the Keystone XL pipeline from Canada to the Gulf Coast is a monumental blunder, one that will not only ship jobs from the United States to China, but will significantly increase air pollution while doing nothing to decrease our dependence on fossil fuels. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/editorial-environmental-disaster/article_ccfd7039-4293-5538-904a-88b86d3b78c0.html Misguided Obama blocks Keystone pipeline. The following editorial appeared in the Chicago Tribune on Thursday, Jan. 19: It's going to be a long, long year in Washington. The Obama administration announced Wednesday that it will deny a permit to build the Keystone XL pipeline, an important link between a U.S. market that's thirsty for energy and a rich source of petroleum in nice, stable, neighborly Canada. But, the administration said, this doesn't necessarily mean the president is against the Keystone pipeline. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/01/19/2690209/misguided-obama-blocks-keystone.html#storylink=misearch Keystone surprise: Greens stronger & GOP dumber than predicted. In October 2011, National Journal surveyed energy experts about whether Obama was likely to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which would carry Canadian tar-sands oil through the U.S. to the Gulf of Mexico. Ninety-one percent of the “energy and environment insiders” believed he would. On Wednesday, Obama proved them wrong. How could the experts have gotten it so wrong? The answer is twofold: Grassroots environmentalists were stronger and congressional Republicans dumber, than anyone predicted. Posted. http://grist.org/oil/keystone-surprise-greens-stronger-gop-dumber-predicted/ BLOGS Scrapping fossil-fuel subsidies would get us halfway there on climate change. Here’s one free-market way to tackle global warming. In 2010, the world spent $409 billion on fossil-fuel subsidies to artificially lower the price of coal, gas and oil. Eliminating those subsidies would curb fuel use and lead to half the emissions cuts necessary to avoid 2°C of warming. That’s all according to Fatih Birol, chief economist at the International Energy Agency. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/scrapping-fossil-fuel-subsidies-would-get-us-halfway-on-climate-change/2012/01/20/gIQAtZbcDQ_blog.html Come Hell With High Water. DHAKA, Bangladesh — Earlier this month, Bangladesh’s foreign minister chided the world’s developed nations for failing to honor their pledge to help this low-lying, water-logged nation adapt to the effects of climate change. Of the $30 billion that poor countries were promised three years ago, just $2.5 billion have been disbursed. “Our achievements — social, economic, environmental — of the past decades” are at risk, Dipu Moni told the Guardian. Posted. http://latitude.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/bangladesh-faces-environmental-calamity-if-carbon-emissions-arent-cut/?scp=9&sq=climate%20change&st=cse Pushing the Green Button for Energy Savings. The White House hopes that someday soon everyone will be able to monitor and control their home energy usage, and lower their monthly utility bills, with a few swipes on a smartphone app. At least that’s the vision of the Green Button initiative, a recent White House effort to bring together the nation’s utilities, energy consumers and private industry to develop Internet and mobile phone-style technologies and business models aimed at reducing energy consumption. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/01/20/a-phone-app-for-turning-down-the-thermostat/?scp=2&sq=green%20energy&st=cse California Expects $1 Billion From Carbon Trading. There might be more money in the first year of California’s cap-and-trade program than expected. Governor Brown’s 2012-2013 budget includes $1 billion in revenue from the state’s cap-and-trade program, ramping up this year as part of California’s 2006 climate legislation, known as AB 32. That might seem surprising since 90% of initial permits to emit greenhouse gases will be given away to industry. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2012/01/19/california-expects-1-billion-from-carbon-trading/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29 http://www.pbs.org/engage/node/61039 Obama gambles for green votes. President Barack Obama has taken every left turn toward his liberal voter base of unions, minorities, youth, big-city democrats and enviro-voters. Obama’s pandering to the green eco-establishment has recently led him to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring Canadian-produced oil to U.S. refineries, provide thousands of new permanent jobs, and diminish our dependency on foreign oil. Posted. http://www.examiner.com/ecopolitics-in-los-angeles/obama-gambles-for-green-votes