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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 15, 2012

Posted: 15 Feb 2012 13:32:46
ARB News Clips for February 15, 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.


Smog May Harm Women's Brains: Study. The more air pollution they
were exposed to, the greater their mental decline. A lifetime's
exposure to air pollution may contribute to mental decline in
older women, a new study says. Researchers used data from U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) air monitors combined with
address information on more than 19,000 women aged 70 to 81
taking part in the U.S. Nurses' Health Study to calculate their
exposure to air pollution over the course of seven to 14 years.

L.A. air pollution may increase risk of stroke. L.A.’s smog
problem might not be as visible as it was in the bad old days of
the 1970s and '80s, but city residents might be at an increased
risk of stroke even at levels of pollution that meet EPA
standards. Oh yeah, and memory loss. A new study published Monday
in the Archives of Internal Medicine found that Boston residents
experienced more strokes when exposed to “moderate” amounts of
particulate air pollution, as opposed to “good” amounts of
pollution, according to EPA standards. Posted.

Rail yards: Clean-up plan prompts contempt allegation. Railroad
officials have asked a federal judge to find Southern
California’s air quality chief Barry Wallerstein and other air
district officials in contempt of court in a long-running legal
dispute over efforts to reduce diesel pollution coming from rail
yards. Attorneys representing Union Pacific, BNSF Railway and the
American Railroad Association contend that Wallerstein, his
planning officer and top attorney violated a 2007 court order by
including rules to limit locomotive idling in a regional air
clean-up plan that must be approved by state and federal
agencies. Posted. 

LIBERTY QUARRY: No vote Tuesday, supervisors reconvene Thursday.
Riverside County supervisors could decide the fate of a proposed
Temecula-area quarry Thursday after spending much of Tuesday
questioning the project’s developer. The 8:30 a.m. hearing is set
for the board chambers at the County Administrative Center, 4080
Lemon St., Riverside. Board of Supervisors Chairman John
Tavaglione said he hopes the board can decide by 11 a.m. Posted. 


Carbon Traders Group Urges Overhaul of EU Cap-and-Trade Plan. The
European Union should change its carbon-trading plan by
introducing a mechanism to allow changing the bloc's pollution
cap to reflect economic conditions, the International Emissions
Trading Association said. While the world's biggest cap-and-trade
program is working as intended, fragmented policies are
undermining its price signal at the time when an economic
slowdown weighs on the market, IETA said in a statement today.

Carbon capture caught in a rut? Carbon capture has been offered
as one answer to climate change but is Kevin Rudd's $300 million
CCS project giving value for money for Australia? (Transcript).

Study: Sierra snowfall consistent over 130 years. Snowfall in the
Sierra Nevada has remained consistent for 130 years, with no
evidence that anything has changed as a result of climate change,
according to a study released Tuesday. The analysis of snowfall
data in the Sierra going back to 1878 found no more or less snow
overall - a result that, on the surface, appears to contradict
aspects of recent climate change models. Posted.

RIVERSIDE: EPA information chief visits UCR. A top Environmental
Protection Agency official told a group of UC Riverside earth
science students not to be discouraged by the political noise
surrounding issues such as climate change, but to rely on good
science. “Just keep reiterating the message and stick to the
facts,” said Malcolm Jackson, who is the Chief Information
Officer and Director of the Office of Environmental Information
for the EPA. Posted. 


Maersk Leads Shipping Industry Developing Fuels From Waste. A.P.
Moeller Maersk (MAERSKB) A/S, the world’s biggest container ship
owner, is leading its industry in developing biofuels made from
organic waste that could cut its carbon emissions and reduce a $6
billion-a-year fuel bill. Maersk (MAERSKB) is conducting tests
with companies including Man Diesel & Turbo SE and two Danish
universities to develop clean fuels tailored for ships and has
worked with the U.S. Navy... Posted.

Sky-high gas prices loom. It's only mid-February, but energy
analysts already are warning of a perfect storm that could drive
gasoline prices to all-time highs when the weather warms up. The
latest evidence came in Tuesday's monthly California gas price
survey released by AAA. AAA said the average statewide price of
regular unleaded gasoline climbed 15 cents from last month to
$3.85 a gallon. That's on top of an 11-cent gain from December to
January. Posted.


Electric-car subsidies would to go to automakers. We told you
earlier about how the Obama administration is proposing to
increase subsidies for electric cars, but it turns out that the
breaks would go to automakers, not directly to consumers. Whether
makers want to pass through the subsidies is their business.
Patrick Olsen of Cars.com, in a report based on an analysis from
Leaf electric-car maker Nissan, lays out these bullet points
about how the new program would work: Posted.

Can a Prius increase global warming? Some argue that driving
fuel-efficient cars will actually encourage people to drive more,
boosting carbon emissions and hastening climate change. Here's
why they're wrong. I haven't read David Owen's new book but he
appears to be taking Jevons too seriously.   He needs to read
Gary Becker's work on the value of time in a society where our
value of time is rising.   Here is the blurb for his book:
"Hybrid cars, fast trains, compact florescent light bulbs, solar
panels, carbon offsets: Everything you've been told about living
green is wrong. Posted.

Tesla loss seen widening ahead of Model S as Roadster sales end.
Tesla Motors Inc. may have seen its loss widen in 2011's final
quarter as it wound down production and sales of $109,000
Roadster electric cars. Tesla's Model S sedan, intended to expand
the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company's sales volume with a base
model priced at $57,400, won't go into production until mid-2012.
Until then, Tesla's main revenue source is supplying battery
packs and other components to Toyota Motor Corp. and Daimler AG,
two of its investors. Posted. 


Problems cast shadows of doubt on solar project. Blythe, Calif.
-- One of California's showcase solar energy projects, under
construction in the desert east of Los Angeles, is being
threatened by a deadly outbreak of distemper among kit foxes and
the discovery of a prehistoric human settlement on the work site.
 The $1 billion Genesis Solar Energy Project has been expedited
by state and federal regulatory agencies that are eager to
demonstrate that the nation can build solar plants quickly to
ease dependence on fossil fuels and curb global warming. Posted.

Republicans take Solyndra message to Obama. If you want a window
into how outside Republican groups are likely to assail President
Barack Obama's record this year, look no further than how the GOP
is lambasting the administration's handling of solar company
Solyndra. Republicans have used Obama's ties to the bankrupt
California manufacturer to argue that he plays the same political
games that have consumed Washington for generations - and has
failed to live up to promises to change the nation's capital.

Sales of residential solar in Japan explode like reactor #4.
Sales of solar panels for Japanese homes are up 30.7 percent in
2011, despite — or, let’s be real, because of — the economic hit
the country took in the wake of the Fukushima disaster. Sales
rose to 1,296 MW, which at high noon on a sunny day is a ton of
power — as much as a decent-size conventional power plant.
(Granted, the sun doesn’t always shine, blah blah blah. But on
the other hand it’s often shining when demand is at its peak —
during the day.) Posted. 

11 important clean energy provisions in Obama’s budget proposal.
President Obama’s proposed 2013 budget invests in clean energy to
help power the engine of economic growth. The budget would direct
funds to efficiency and renewable electricity technologies to
create jobs and boost domestic manufacturing, and would also make
manufacturing more efficient. The cleaner energy that will result
from these investments will reduce pollution and protect public
health. Posted. 

Air Pollution Linked to Heart and Brain Risks. It may be time to
start paying more attention to those local air pollution alerts.
That is the message of three new studies this week that found,
collectively, that people exposed to higher levels of air
pollution have a greater risk of stroke, heart attacks and
cognitive deterioration. The impact of pollution on the heart and
brain was seen over both the short and the long term. Posted.

Road Use by E.V. Drivers: To Tax or Not to Tax? Drivers of purely
electric vehicles avoid paying the gas taxes included in the cost
of a petro-product fill-up. Consequently, if E.V.’s were to
become widely adopted, less money could flow into accounts that
pay to build and maintain roads. That possibility is the impetus
behind the efforts of some states to impose alternative forms of
taxation on E.V. drivers, like flat annual fees or levies based
on the miles traveled. Posted. 

MRI Reveals Mysteries Inside Batteries for Gadgets and Electric
Cars. The ability to make batteries lighter, cheaper and longer
lasting is crucial to the development and adoption of
next-generation electronics—from mobile phones and tablets to
electric cars. Advances in lithium ion batteries have helped slim
down smart phones and put cars like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy
Volt on the road. Yet lithium can also be volatile and has been
accused of causing electrical fires in gadgets and even Volt test
vehicles. Posted. 

Pike forecasts worldwide revenue from fuel cells and hydrogen
will reach $785M million in 2012; interest in fuel cell vehicles
re-emerges. The total size of the global hydrogen and fuel cell
market—including revenues from fuel cells and from hydrogen for
fuel cells and internal combustion engines (ICEs)—will reach $785
million in 2012, according to a new white paper from Pike
Research. The white paper describes ten key trends for the
hydrogen and fuel cell industry in 2012. Posted. 

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