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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 23, 2012

Posted: 23 Jan 2012 13:28:07
ARB Newsclips for January 23, 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.


Beijing releases pollution data; US figures higher.  Caving to
public pressure, Beijing environmental authorities started
releasing more detailed air quality data Saturday that may better
reflect how bad the Chinese capital's air pollution is. But one
expert says measurements from the first day were low compared
with data U.S. officials have been collecting for years.  The
initial measurements were low on a day where you could see blue
sky. After a week of smothering smog, the skies over the city
were being cleared by a north wind.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:

Judge sends Central Valley ozone plan back for revision. State
and local air pollution districts in California's Central Valley
must come up with a new plan to meet ozone emission standards
after a federal appeals court ruled that the data used was out of
date. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency approved the plan
in 2010. But Earthjustice sued arguing that the plan and emission
projections didn't match reality. To measure diesel emissions,
the San Joaquin Air Pollution Control District had considered
where trucks were registered — not whether they drove through the
region. Posted. 


Weaker sun will not delay global warming. A weaker sun over the
next 90 years is not likely to significantly delay a rise in
global temperature caused by greenhouse gases, a report said
Monday. The study, by Britain's Meteorological Office and the
university of Reading, found that the Sun's output would decrease
up until 2100 but this would only lead to a fall in global
temperatures of 0.08 degrees Celsius. Scientists have warned that
more extreme weather is likely across the globe this century as
the Earth's climate warms. Posted.

Environmentalists see reason for alarm in GOP race. Four years
after the GOP's rallying cry became "drill, baby, drill,"
environmental issues have barely registered a blip in this
Republican presidential primary. That's likely to change as the
race turns to Florida. The candidates' positions on environmental
regulation, global warming as well as clean air and water are all
but certain to get attention ahead of the Jan. 31 primary in a
state where the twin issues of offshore oil drilling and
Everglades restoration are considered mandatory topics for
discussion. Posted.

Putting Cap and Trade Back Into Play. The nation's first
experiment with a cap and trade system for carbon emissions has
come to an end -- as of the first of the year, the Chicago
Climate Exchange no longer deals in carbon credits. That is a
blow to the U.S.'s effort to limit greenhouse gases, but it
cannot and must not be the end of the story. Cap and trade has
always made sense as a practical market-driven solution for
reducing carbon emissions. Posted.

Climate change threatens Calif. economy by drying up ecosystems –
report. Global warming could dry up portions of California's
grasslands and forests, posing a threat to the state's economy,
according to a study published in the February issue of Climatic
Change. Researchers say climate shifts will decrease the natural
vegetation that livestock need for grazing by 14 to 58 percent by
the end of the century, forcing ranchers to grow or buy
additional hay to supplement the animals' diets. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/01/23/8 BY


As Price of Oil Soars, Users Shiver and Cross Their Fingers. When
David Harris built his 2,000-square-foot hilltop home nine years
ago, he wanted to put in natural gas, but the utility wouldn’t
run a line to his house. Like many people here, he was stuck
using heating oil. Mr. Harris added a wood stove to help cut
costs and now uses only about one-third of the oil the house
would otherwise need. But that did not stop a deliveryman for
Crowley Fuel from handing him a $471.21 bill earlier this month
for a refill that should get him to April. Posted. 

CARB calls for stay on injunction for low carbon fuel standard. 
The California Air Resources Board (CARB) has asked the US
District Court for the Eastern District of California to stay its
injunction it issued at the end of last year to stop CARB’s
introduction of the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). 
Judge Lawrence O'Neill, who implemented the injunction, says he
did so because he believes the LCFS ‘violates the commerce clause
of the US Constitution’.  Posted. 

Chesapeake to cut natural gas production.  Faced with decade-low
natural gas prices that have made some drilling operations
unprofitable, Chesapeake Energy Corp. says it will drastically
cut drilling and production of the fuel in the U.S.  Chesapeake,
the nation's second largest natural gas producer, said Monday
that it plans to cut production 8 percent. That means the company
would produce the same or slightly less natural gas in 2012 than
it did in 2011. Chesapeake produces about 9 percent of the
nation's natural gas.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:

Calif. cites trade damage in asking court to lift injunction.
California policymakers asked a federal judge on Friday to lift
his injunction against their low-carbon fuel regulation, saying
several biofuels producers have already suffered economically.
U.S. District Court Judge Lawrence O'Neill in Fresno will now
decide whether to allow the low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to
continue while the state appeals his decision of last month. The
regulation, in force since last year, is designed to lower the
carbon content of fuels sold in-state by 10 percent by 2020.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/01/23/4  BY


In Fire Investigation, Regulators Say They Found No Defect in
Volt. Federal safety regulators on Friday closed their
investigation into the Chevrolet Volt, saying that they found no
evidence of a defect and that plug-in vehicles posed no greater
fire risk after a crash than gasoline-powered ones. Still,
analysts say that General Motors faces a challenge to rebuild
consumer confidence in the car and that related safety concerns
could hurt overall acceptance of the growing number of
electrified vehicles coming on the market. Posted. 

Event on electric vehicles scheduled. The California Center for
Sustainable Energy will be hosting an event called Plug-In
Electric Vehicles: Innovation, Incentives and Infrastructure from
10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 29 at Pleasant Valley School
District auditorium, 2222 E. Ventura Blvd., Camarillo. The free
workshop is offered by the CCSE in partnership with the Ventura
County Air Pollution Control District, the Community
Environmental Council and the Central Coast Clean Cities
Coalition. Posted. 

New electric-car charging stations coming to Sonoma County.
Sonoma County officials are taking steps this year to
significantly expand the region’s number of charging stations for
plug-in electric vehicles, an effort to jump-start a relatively
new sector of green transportation. Through a $1.4 million
package of state and federal grants and funding from local
governments, the county expects to add as many as 100 charging
stations in cities and other spots across the region starting in
spring. Posted. 

UK invests more than EUR 480 million in hydrogen mobility.  A
project to boost the deployment of hydrogen as a fuel, to
evaluate the conditions and prepare grounds for a mass-market
rollout of fuel cell electric vehicles by 2015 has been initiated
in the United Kingdom (UK). UK H2 Mobility, funded both by
industry and government aims to put the UK at the forefront of
hydrogen mobility in Europe.  Posted. 


A Smart Power Grid Begins With a Promise for the Future.
Substation No. 505 in Oak Park, with its nondescript cluster of
bulky transformers and web of power lines, seems an unlikely
place for Commonwealth Edison to start the $2.6 billion smart
grid it says will prepare the region’s antiquated power system
for the digital age. Arguments raged over legislation, approved
last year over Gov. Pat Quinn’s veto, that authorizes ComEd’s
10-year investment in the grid. ComEd says that the project will
ultimately save customers more than it costs them. Posted. 

Obstacles to Danish Wind Power. During howling winter weather two
years ago, the thousands of windmills dotting Denmark and its
coastline generated so much power that Danes had to pay other
countries to take the surplus.  The incident was the first of its
kind, and lasted only a few hours. Low temperatures were an
aggravating factor, because Denmark’s combined heat and power
plants were also running full bore and generating a lot of
electricity. Posted. 

California solar strikes gold in N.J. It may be better known for
smokestack industries, but New Jersey is fast becoming a green
haven for a number of Sacramento-grown solar companies. Lured by
some of the most attractive incentives in the solar industry, SPI
Solar of Roseville and Premier Power Renewable Energy of El
Dorado Hills have lined up a significant amount of work in the
Garden State. Posted. 

Government energy geeks: Fracking might not get us as far as we
thought.  Government energy geeks from the Energy Information
Administration this morning released the abridged version of
their Annual Energy Outlook. One of the most dramatic bits of the
outlook for 2012 is that the EIA cut their estimate of
“technically recoverable” shale gas almost in half, from 827
trillion cubic feet to 482 trillion cubic feet.  Posted. 


Car-sharing networks flourish in the Bay Area. Donnie Fowler owns
a 2006 Saab that's fully paid for, but he almost never drives it.
A self-employed consultant who lives in San Francisco, he often
works from home and takes public transportation to most of his
meetings. But his car does not sit idle -- it's out on the
streets earning money. Fowler rents out his Saab for $8 per hour
via Getaround, one of several car-sharing networks that have
sprouted in the Bay Area. Posted.

Environmentalists see reason for alarm in GOP race. Four years
after the GOP's rallying cry became "drill, baby, drill,"
environmental issues have barely registered a blip in this
Republican presidential primary. That's likely to change as the
race turns to Florida. The candidates' positions on environmental
regulation, global warming as well as clean air and water are all
but certain to get attention ahead of the Jan. 31 primary

Retired Marine sergeant helps veterans find green jobs.  Jarom
Vahai learned early on in the Marine Corps never to desert a
fellow Marine in need. He's taken that credo with him back to
civilian life.  The San Bruno resident formed a nonprofit last
summer that's dedicated to helping veterans find green jobs, and
the organization is already getting results. Green & Gold Careers
for Veterans has found jobs for more than 40 people, and that
number is about to increase dramatically.  Posted. 


The verdict is in on climate change. When it comes to climate
change, open-mindedness is the wrong approach. Recently I had
jury duty, and during jury selection something remarkable
occurred. Early in the proceedings, the judge posed a
hypothetical question to the 60 or so potential jurors in the
room: "If I were to send you out now and ask you to render a
verdict, what would it be? How many of you would vote not
guilty?" A few raised their hands. Posted.

As California drives, so drives the nation. These days, people
seem surprised when government works the way it was intended.
This week, in San Francisco and in Los Angeles, we have the
satisfaction of witnessing firsthand government working exactly
as it is supposed to. A state agency is working in concert with
not one, but two federal agencies, supported by many local ones.
Businesses are pleased with the outcome of a government
regulation, consumers will save money, and they will be healthier
as a result. Posted.

Thumbs down on Keystone. The following editorial appeared in the
Baltimore Sun on Thursday, Jan. 19: President Barack Obama is not
going to issue a permit for the Keystone XL pipeline in its
current form, and for this, even the project's most ardent
supporters should be grateful. That includes TransCanada Corp.
which was reportedly considering pulling its application for the
pipeline to avoid further partisan bickering over the original
route. Posted. 

It's Climate Change, Stupid. I watched the two Republican
presidential candidate debates in South Carolina last week, and
although the contenders spent quite a bit of time bickering over
economic issues (as well as bashing each other), they ignored the
elephant in the room. The biggest long-term threat to the U.S.
economy isn't government over-regulation, high taxes, or even the
deficit. It's climate change. I work for a nonpartisan,
tax-exempt organization that can't endorse candidates. Posted.

Will natural gas fuel the future? We’ve all heard the hype, seen
the television commercials, and even heard presidential
candidates talking about it: the U.S. is awash in natural gas. 
The fossil fuel burns cleaner, and new drilling technologies have
supposedly unlocked enough natural gas to last “a hundred years,”
which makes it sound like we can consume the resource at twice
current rates and still have it last 50 years.  Posted.


Comparing Pollution Data: Beijing vs. U.S. Embassy on PM2.5.
Beijing’s municipal government began releasing new air-pollution
data over the weekend that will likely raise questions among
government critics who worry that authorities aren’t going far
enough to better track air quality. On Saturday, Beijing’s
municipal government began publishing hourly measures of what are
known as PM2.5 pollutants, or pollutants that measure less than
2.5 micrometers in diameter. Posted.

Home, Home … on Less Range. To see how thoroughly the concept of
ecosystem services — the economic analysis of the natural world’s
intersection with human endeavors — is embedded in climate change
research, check out this forecast from a group led by researchers
at Duke University and the Environmental Defense Fund. It
examines the future of cattle ranching, an industry that is bound
up with America’s self-image, thanks to Hollywood, pulp novels
and Cormac McCarthy, through the lens of a climate-changed
California landscape. Posted. 

NHTSA: Volt investigation proves plug-in vehicles do not "pose a
greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered vehicles.” The
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration's official word on
the Chevrolet Volt fire incident is out, and it's all good.
Following a two-month investigation into the crash test that
resulted in a fire three weeks after the fact last summer, NHTSA
says it "does not believe that Chevy Volts or other electric
vehicles pose a greater risk of fire than gasoline-powered
vehicles. Posted. 

Global hybrid and plug-in truck sales will almost double this
year. Global hybrid and plug-in truck sales will almost double
this year as more companies and public entities turn to advanced
powertrains to cut fuel costs, green-technology research firm
Pike Research said. In 2012, hybrid and electric-drive truck
sales around the world will reach about 19,000 vehicles and will
increase by more than 45 percent for each of the next five years
until it hits more than 100,000 vehicles by the end of 2017, Pike
Research said. Posted. 

New car-pool sticker program starts with little fanfare. 
California's yellow clean-air car stickers were popular: They
allowed 85,000 solo drivers of vehicles such as the Toyota Prius
free use of the state's car-pool lanes, until the program expired
last summer.  The quiet start was probably because there's no car
yet on the market eligible for the state's new and more stringent
program.  Posted. 

Next Week's Vote on California's Clean Car Standards: What it
Means for the State.  At a time when consumers and businesses are
being held hostage to oil rising to over $100 a barrel, our oil
dependency is once again threatening our economic recovery. It
would seem like we have little control in all of this as we are
impacted by threats by Iran to disrupt oil shipments, by Nigerian
strikes, and by the growing appetite for oil in Asia. Well, think
again.  Posted. 

For dying O.C. activist, an electric car rally.  The friends of a
Seal Beach environmental activist suffering from terminal lung
cancer filled a Los Alamitos home Sunday with memories of his
vigorous campaigns, fiery emails and torrent of ideas — along
with a powerful sense of triumph.  Doug Korthof, 68, greeted
friends and activist colleagues with smiles, chuckles and jokes
as they converged on the event, many pulling up in electric
vehicles they said Korthof inspired them to drive.  Posted. 

MIT team calls initial performance results of magnesium-antimony
liquid metal battery “promising”.  Drs. Donald Sadoway and David
Bradwell of MIT and colleagues report promising initial
performance results for a high-temperature (700 °C)
magnesium–antimony liquid metal stationary storage battery
comprising a negative electrode of Mg (magnesium), a molten salt
electrolyte (MgCl2–KCl–NaCl), and a positive electrode of Sb
(antimony) in the Journal of the American Chemical Society. 

Geoengineered Food? Climate Fix Could Boost Crop Yields, But With
Risks. For a few years now, a handful of scientists have been
proposing grandiose technological fixes for the world's climate
to combat the effects of global warming — schemes called
geoengineering. Climate change has the potential to wreak all
kinds of havoc on the planet, including the food system.
Scientists predict that two variables farmers depend on heavily —
temperature and precipitation …Posted.

California, Climate change and our economic future (2). economy
by reducing the types of natural, non-irrigated vegetation
available for livestock forage and the ability of forest
ecosystems to store carbon dioxide." This finding was published
in a peer-reviewed study in the scientific journal Climatic
Change. The Global Warming Solutions Act, also known as Assembly
Bill 32 or AB 32, is based on this idea that we need our
ecosystems to store carbon dioxide. Posted.

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