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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 16, 2012 Posted: 16 Feb 2012 11:30:44
ARB News Clips for February 16, 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 Worsening air pollution costs China dearly: study. China's worsening air pollution, after decades of unbridled economic growth, cost the country $112 billion in 2005 in lost economic productivity, a study by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has found. The figure, which also took into account people's lost leisure time because of illness or death, was $22 billion in 1975, according to researchers at the MIT Joint Program on the Science and Policy of Global Change. The study, published in the journal Global Environmental Change, measured the harmful effects of two air pollutants: ozone and particulates, which can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/16/us-china-pollution-costs-idUSTRE81F09M20120216 Hearts and air pollution: Five deadly air pollutants on five continents. Around the world, breathing a variety of air pollutants – in some cases for a single day – increases the chance that people will suffer heart attacks, according to a new analysis published Tuesday. For the first time, scientists analyzed previous studies from five continents to verify and quantify the links between air pollution and heart health. They found that short-term exposure – less than seven days – to all major air pollutants except ozone was associated with an increase in heart attacks. Posted. http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/hearts-and-air-pollution/hearts-and-air-pollution Air pollution tied to higher heart attack risk, stroke, memory loss. Researchers led by Hazrije Mustafic from the Paris Cardiovascular Research Center found that heart attacks were slightly more common at high levels of every main pollutant except ozone, the group reported in the Journal of the American Medical Association. They looked at 34 studies comparing the risk of suffering a heart attack, or myocardial infarction, at various levels of inhaling industrial and traffic-related air pollutants including carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide and very small soot-like particles. Posted. http://www.bworldonline.com/weekender/content.php?id=46886 Orange alert! Air quality in Chico took a nosedive this winter despite a new city ordinance. “You’d think being up here, away from the big cities, it shouldn’t be an issue,” said Monique Bird on a recent Sunday. She and Roylene Mahic were talking about Chico’s air quality, while sitting together not far from the head of the mosaic dragon in Lower Bidwell Park’s Caper Acres playground. Their sons, both 7, briefly checked in before darting off again at full speed to another part of the packed play area. Posted. http://www.newsreview.com/chico/orange-alert/content?oid=5172526 CLIMATE CHANGE U.S. Pushes to Cut Emissions of Some Pollutants That Hasten Climate Change. Impatient with the slow pace of international climate change negotiations, a small group of countries led by the United States is starting a program to reduce emissions of common pollutants that contribute to rapid climate change and widespread health problems. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton plans to announce the initiative at the State Department on Thursday accompanied by officials from Bangladesh, Canada, Ghana, Mexico, Sweden and the United Nations Environment Program. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/science/earth/us-pushes-to-cut-emissions-that-speed-climate-change.html?_r=1&scp=3&sq=climate%20change&st=cse U.S. Joins Effort to Fight Climate Change. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced Thursday the formation of a new global coalition to fight emissions other than carbon dioxide that contribute to climate change. The coalition—which includes Sweden, Mexico, Canada, Bangladesh and the U.S.—will be funded with $15 million, mostly from the U.S. It hasn't yet determined which actions it will take to reduce the emissions, nor has it identified specific reduction targets. Such precise goals will be developed in coming months, a senior administration official said on a call with reporters. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204792404577227134018262436.html?mod=googlenews_wsj NM regulators repeal carbon cap and trade rules. New Mexico's participation in a regional cap and trade program aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions became more unlikely Monday with a unanimous vote by state regulators. The decision by the Environmental Improvement Board to repeal the cap and trade rules came in response to petitions filed by New Mexico's largest electric utilities, oil and gas developers and others who feared the rules would push businesses and jobs to neighboring states. Gov. Susana Martinez, a critic of regulating carbon emissions at the state level, was pleased with the board's decision, spokesman Scott Darnell said. Posted. http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57372435/nm-regulators-repeal-carbon-cap-and-trade-rules/ DIESEL EMISSIONS Chinese VP set for 2-day Calif. Visit. Chinese Vice President Xi Jinping's visit to Los Angeles will be a reminder of his country's big footprint at the busiest port in the United States—nearly 60 percent of the imports moving through the Port of Los Angeles come from China, $120 billion worth of computers, TVs, sneakers and other goods last year. But the visit comes at a politically challenging time in U.S.-China relations, with the White House sending stern messages on currency and trade policies and Republican presidential candidates charging President Barack Obama isn't doing enough to keep America competitive with the Chinese economy. Posted. AP Newsbreak: http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-505245_162-57379253/chinese-vp-set-for-2-day-calif-visit/ http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/16/2724283/chinese-vp-set-for-2-day-calif.html#storylink=misearch http://www.modbee.com/2012/02/16/2071809/chinese-vp-set-for-2-day-calif.html http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19977099?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19977099?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.nctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/chinese-vp-set-for--day-calif-visit/article_b645e907-4ab0-5b43-99db-9dd98d3cb711.html 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. http://www.pe.com/local-news/topics/topics-environment-headlines/20120214-rail-yards-clean-up-plan-prompts-contempt-allegation.ece FUELS Time for an oil change: Americans strongly oppose fossil fuel subsidies. As part of the fiscal year 2013 budget [PDF] released on Feb. 13, President Obama proposed to eliminate $40 billion in tax breaks for oil and gas producers over the next 10 years. Yesterday, the Yale Project on Climate Change reiterated its recent finding that Americans of all political stripes oppose subsidies for “coal, oil, and natural gas companies.” They oppose these subsidies by 70 percent to 30 percent — better than two to one. Republicans oppose these subsidies by 67 percent to 34 percent (reflects rounding of percentages). Posted. http://grist.org/fossil-fuels/time-for-an-oil-change-americans-strongly-oppose-fossil-fuel-subsidies/ GREEN ENERGY City moving forward with manure-to-power project. A Southern California city known as Horsetown USA because of its equestrian lifestyle is moving forward with a proposed $36 million manure-to-power conversion plant. The Norco City Council voted Wednesday to go ahead with an environmental impact report. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/02/16/state/n085252S36.DTL VEHICLES Tesla will help develop new electric Mercedes-Benz. Electric car company Tesla Motors Inc. announced that it has a deal to provide the powertrain for a new Mercedes-Benz vehicle, even as it moves closer to manufacturing its own vehicles later this year. The Palo Alto automaker also said Wednesday that it expected revenue to roughly triple this year, when it will begin selling the Tesla Model S sedan, its first ground-up design. The company is about to launch production of the Model S at its factory in Fremont, Calif. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-tesla-mercedes-20120215,0,2550206.story Personal car-sharing is a new twist on auto rentals. Emily Castor's metallic gray Honda has been driven by dozens of people she's never met. They treat it well, pay any tickets they get and do the dirty work of finding a legal parking spot when they return it to her neighborhood near Golden Gate Park. Castor, 29, is pulling in hundreds of dollars each month through one of several personal car-sharing companies that have burgeoned in the Bay Area over the last year. For $8 an hour or $45 a day, renters can climb behind the wheel of her Civic. Insurance is included. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-personal-car-sharing-20120215,0,4712879.story No free rides: States consider taxing electric cars. Electric cars are finally picking up speed on American roads after being stalled out for a decade or two. The new cars are zippy, they corner like they’re on rails, and they’re a hell of a lot cheaper to drive than the gas burning kind. But that last part might change: Several states, including Washington and Arizona, are now considering taxing electric vehicles. And while many electric car drivers seem game, others are concerned that a tax could bomb a nascent industry on the runway, just as it is finally about to take off. Posted. http://grist.org/transportation/no-free-rides-states-consider-taxing-electric-cars/ Electric vehicle market: myths and facts in 2012. Prior EV market predictions by leading consulting and research institutes have been proven wrong by the slow sales of EVs in the market. Analysts have now begun to re-evaluate their judgements for market trends, presenting a more realistic view that the global EV market will probably endure a slower growth in the near future. Many consultancies, market research institutes and EV websites have released their predictions regarding the EV market growth during the past few years. Most of these forecasts seemed to suggest that we have moved into the decade of EVs. However, slow sales growth of EVs in the market defied these predictions. Leading analysts have begun to re-evaluate their judgements for the EV market in the future. Posted. http://www.cars21.com/content/articles/75520120215.php?AlertDate=2012-02-14 BLOGS On Our Radar: Climate Change and Curriculums. The unauthorized release of financial and other documents from the conservative Heartland Institute revives a controversy over efforts by climate denialists to influence school curriculums. [The New York Times] The Texas Forest Service says that the current drought has killed 5.6 million trees in the state’s cities alone. [The Austin Amefrican-Statesman] Environmental regulators in Michigan reach a deal under which Dow Chemical will clean up to 1,400 residential properties in Midland, the site of its corporate headquarters and a plant that polluted the area with dioxin for much of the past century. [Associated Press] Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/16/on-our-radar-climate-change-and-curriculums/ The Heartland Files and the Climate Fight. The Heartland Institute, a private group backed by industry and independent donors opposed to government regulation, has for years supported an array of efforts fighting restrictions on greenhouse gases. There’s no great secret there. A blog storm began building Tuesday and broke on Wednesday as environmental groups posted a batch of documents — ranging from tax forms to lists of donors to a 2012 Heartland “climate strategy” — that appeared to expose the group’s game plan, budgets and backers in remarkable detail. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/15/documents-appear-to-reveal-broad-effort-to-amplify-climate-uncertainty/ EVs in China create more pollutants than gas-powered cars. The University of Tennessee has just come up with a theory about China electric vehicles that may have some believing that there was a little too much of the local whiskey involved in the process. According to a report released by the university, EVs in China are more environmentally harmful than gas-powered vehicles when factoring in how electricity is produced. The study claims that, when calculating "well-to-wheel" emissions, EVs can be just as harmful as – wait for it – diesel buses. The study, which calculated five types of vehicles and their effect on air quality in 34 Chinese cities, factored in all particulate matter produced in the electricity production process, including dust particles, metals, organic chemicals and acids. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/16/evs-in-china-create-more-pollutants-than-gas-powered-cars/ Washington State senate passes $100 annual fee for electric vehicles. Washington State's senate has passed a bill that would impose an annual fee of $100 to electric-vehicle drivers in an effort to compensate for the gas taxes that EV drivers don't pay, the Associated Press reported. The fee, which doesn't apply to hybrids or neighborhood-electric vehicles, will be used for road services that would be otherwise paid through gas taxes. Washington charges 37.5 cents a gallon in fuel taxes. The bill, which passed by a two-to-one margin, will next be voted on by the state's house of representatives, the wire service said. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/15/washington-state-senate-passes-100-annual-fee-for-electric-vehi/ Methane, Soot Are Targets Of New U.S. Climate Initiative. The United States and five other nations are embarking on a new program to limit pollutants connected to global warming. But they're not targeting carbon dioxide with this effort — instead, they're looking at methane gas, and soot. NPR's Richard Harris filed this report for our Newscast desk: "Secretary of State Hillary Clinton says the U.S. is teaming up with Canada, Mexico, Sweden, Ghana and Bangladesh to get countries thinking about some potent contributors to climate change." Posted. http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/02/16/146988856/methane-soot-are-targets-of-new-u-s-climate-initiative No light at the end of the tunnel, as regulators and railroads are still fighting about air quality. Railyard companies are asking a federal court to find the executive director of this region's air quality management district in contempt, according to lawyers familiar with the case and news reports out of the Inland Empire. The move comes in a court battle over rules governing idling locomotives California and regional air regulators tried to make. The California Air Resources Board and the South Coast Air Quality Management District want to limit diesel particulate pollution from trains because that kind of pollution is associated with way higher cancer rates in fence line neighborhoods. Railroads have long claimed that California can't do that, because federal law precludes the state from regulating matters of interstate commerce. In 2007, a federal district court judge agreed. And so since then, the air district hasn't tried to enforce those rules. Posted. http://www.scpr.org/blogs/environment/2012/02/16/4703/night-time-switchyard-and-regulators-and-railroads/