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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 17, 2012 Posted: 17 Feb 2012 13:18:10
ARB News Clips for February 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 An Upside to China’s Air Pollution: More Snowfall in the Sierra Nevada. A storm of yellow dust darkens the skies above Beijing, an increasingly familiar phenomenon blamed on the disappearance of Asian forests. A week later, in California’s Sierra Nevada mountain range, where annual precipitation levels are expected to decline as the climate changes, a snowstorm delights skiers. The storms are starkly different and separated by thousands of miles, but scientists have discovered that they are linked. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/science/earth/chinas-air-pollution-brings-snowfall-to-sierra-nevada.html?scp=3&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse Republicans use rare tactic to block 2 Obama rules. Republicans in Congress are launching bids to nullify Obama administration rules that would speed up union elections and set new air pollution standards for the nation's oldest and dirtiest power plants. The rarely used tactic requires a simple majority for passage. Both have a chance at clearing the Senate, but a vote would force some Democrats to take a public stand on two volatile issues in an election year. AP NEWSBREAK: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/02/16/national/w100352S60.DTL#ixzz1mf1JKVOk http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19979313?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19979313?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/16/2724744/republicans-use-rare-tactic-to.html#storylink=misearch LIBERTY QUARRY: Supervisors turn down mine, 3-2. Seven years of debate over a proposed Temecula-area rock quarry came down to a tense hearing and a swing vote as Riverside County supervisors voted 3-2 Thursday to reject one of the most divisive land-use projects in recent memory. Cheers erupted, tears flowed and orange hats were waved by orange-clad Liberty Quarry opponents as the Board of Supervisors denied an appeal by quarry developer Granite Construction. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/temecula/temecula-headlines-index/20120216-liberty-quarry-supervisors-turn-down-mine-3-2.ece http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/swcounty/region-controversial-quarry-voted-down-by-board/article_4374b39c-0aa1-51f0-a271-2f6967ec94ea.html CLIMATE CHANGE EU to persevere with airline carbon emissions tax. Governments opposed to the European Union's new carbon emissions tax for airlines should not underestimate its determination to curb climate-changing gases, the EU's climate chief warned Friday. Connie Hedegaard, the European commissioner for climate action, also challenged nations that don't like the EU program to propose their own ways of cutting carbon emissions, rather than just criticizing the plan which went into effect on Jan. 1. AP NEWSBREAK: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/02/17/international/i053944S74.DTL#ixzz1mf22JoGB http://www.dailynews.com/ci_19987654?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19987654?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19987654?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/17/2725950/eu-to-persevere-with-airline-carbon.html#storylink=misearch http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/ap-interview-eu-will-persevere-with-new-carbon-emissions-tax-for-airlines/2012/02/17/gIQA9CNXJR_story.html http://www.nctimes.com/business/eu-to-persevere-with-airline-carbon-emissions-tax/article_eaca22c5-d2a1-5353-affc-82b16b2c5165.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/02/17/2073683/eu-to-persevere-with-airline-carbon.html EU's Airline-Emissions Fees Face Challenge. Diplomats from countries opposed to the European Union's levies on airline emissions plan to meet in Moscow next week to discuss responses and potential retaliation, according to a draft agenda. The group of more than 25 countries, including the U.S., Russia, China, India and Brazil, contends that the EU is exceeding its legal authority by imposing emissions charges on airlines for portions of flights outside the 27-country bloc. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204059804577227173526305492.html?KEYWORDS=air+pollution 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?scp=4&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?KEYWORDS=climate+change Climate change doubter Heartland Institute documents leaked. Once in a while, there comes along a reason to believe in karma. Earlier this week, the Heartland Institute, a self-described “free-market think tank” that pilloried climate scientists whose stolen emails were released in 2009 as part of the so-called Climategate flap, found itself duped out of several confidential fundraising documents that were then distributed widely over the Internet, offering a glimpse of its priorities. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-climate-deniers-heartland-institute-documents-leaked-20120216,0,3932985.story Leaks show group's climate efforts. Leaked documents from a prominent conservative think tank show how it sought to teach schoolchildren skepticism about global warming and planned other behind-the-scenes tactics using millions of dollars in donations from big corporate names. More than $14 million of the money used by the Chicago-based Heartland Institute would come from one anonymous man, according to the documents prepared for a meeting of the group's board. AP NEWSBREAK: http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_19982821?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19982821?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.modbee.com/2012/02/16/2072570/influence-game-leaks-show-groups.html Bay Area Climate Change Plans Lack Regional Cooperation. New York City has a plan to keep the subways from flooding. Queensland, Australia, has a plan to keep agricultural lands from drying up. Chicago has a plan to cope with higher temperatures. In the Bay Area, where climate change is expected to cause flooding, shoreline erosion, heat waves, water shortages and a spread of exotic infectious diseases, it seems as if people are drowning in plans — but with little regional coordination. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/science/earth/bay-area-climate-change-plans-lack-regional-cooperation.html?scp=3&sq=climate%20change&st=cse Downtown housing goal slashed by 90%. The number of new downtown homes envisioned in a draft plan to combat climate change has been slashed by 90 percent, alarming those who say the new target is not ambitious enough. Until recently, development of the city's climate plan centered on building 3,000 new housing units downtown by 2020. But the draft plan, released earlier this month, aims for 300 units. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120217/A_NEWS/202170318&cid=sitesearch FUELS Report: natural gas could help Fairbanks. A study on building a natural gas distribution network in the Fairbanks area has some good news for residents. The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner ( http://bit.ly/xZccKM) says the study finds that bringing natural gas to the area would help residents with their heating bills and improve air quality in Alaska's second largest city. Once fully rolled out, the study says natural gas is estimated to reduce the borough's fine particulate pollution by as much as 93 percent. The study says it also would result in anywhere between $800 and $2,700 of yearly savings for home heating, depending on the final price of gas. Posted. http://www.dailynews.com/ci_19987498?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19987498?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19987498?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com GREEN ENERGY Kennedy High receives green-planning grant. Kennedy High School is receiving a $15,000 planning grant from the state Clean Technology and Renewable Energy California Partnership Academy program. The money is being used to plan the Green Technology Academy at Kennedy, in collaboration with the Mission Valley Regional Occupational Program, to educate and train students for opportunities in the industry. "Students will benefit from real world learning opportunities through internships, technical lectures from trade experts, job shadowing, hands-on projects, and community-based learning," Mission Valley ROP Superintendent Pete Murchison said in a statement. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_19982074?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_19982076/kennedy-high-receives-green-planning-grant?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Industry petitions U.S. to ease grid limits. The Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) is sending a petition today to federal regulators proposing a solution to a standard that has limited the amount of solar power that can be added to homes in booming regions like California, Hawaii and New Jersey. These states have seen solar panels, boosted by falling prices and generous subsidies, bloom on rooftops at a record pace. The surge has come so quickly, in fact, that sections of the grid have run into what's known as the 15 percent rule, a standard that has effectively capped rooftop solar installations, frustrating consumers and retailers alike. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2012/02/16/1 VEHICLES Resurgent General Motors posts record $7.6-billion profit for 2011. Three years after nearly collapsing into liquidation, a resurgentGeneral Motors Co.has posted its best annual profit, surpassing what it earned during its heyday in the mid-1990s. In earning $7.6 billion last year, the automaker demonstrated how it has capitalized on its 2009 bankruptcy reorganization and federal bailout to shed brands, slash debt, rewrite union contracts and close surplus factories. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-autos-gm-comeback-20120217,0,5227978.story Chrysler Pulls Loan Request. Chrysler Group LLC on Thursday withdrew its application for a $3.5 billion low-interest loan from the U.S. Department of Energy to be used to fund research and tooling for more fuel-efficient vehicles. "The DOE's proposed terms were very restrictive and compliance would have negatively affected our operational flexibility," a Chrysler spokeswoman said on Thursday. The decision won't impact Chrysler's ability to achieve its previously announced business targets, she said. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204792404577227532209697696.html?KEYWORDS=vehicles http://www.modbee.com/2012/02/16/2072846/chrysler-pulls-request-for-35b.html OPINION Did not mislead. Your Feb. 13 editorial concerning the small-claims court case brought against Honda is based on an erroneous assertion - that Honda misled its customers by advertising the U.S. EPA fuel economy ratings of the Civic Hybrid. The fuel economy numbers issued by the U.S. EPA that are at the center of this debate were established to help consumers make apples-to-apples comparisons between competing vehicles, based on a federal government standard for the measurement and certification of every new vehicle's fuel economy. Posted. http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_19983533?IADID=Search-www.dailybulletin.com-www.dailybulletin.com BLOGS Brown's budget can't count on cap-and-trade revenue, analyst says. In another blow to the state budget, the state's Legislative Analyst's Office said Gov. Jerry Brown should not count on $500 million in revenue from California's controversial cap-and-trade emissions control program to help balance the budget. Only one-fifth of that sum could be spent without major hurdles, the nonpartisan office concluded in a report issued Thursday. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/02/jerry-brown-budget.html For Mexico City, a Repurposed Landfill. In developing countries, closing a landfill often means just that: locking the gate and walking away. But when Mexico City’s government shut down the giant Bordo Poniente landfill last December, officials announced that they had a full-blown plan for the site. As I write in Friday’s Times, the city aims to capture the methane gas produced by the landfill to fuel a power plant that could supply electricity to as many as 35,000 homes. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/17/for-mexico-city-a-repurposed-landfill/ Future Fuel Economy Mandates, Part II: Ford. In response to my last column on this subject – Future Fuel Economy Mandates, Part I: 54.5 mpg is going to be hard to reach – commenter TxPatriot wondered why (non-hybrid) modern cars can't deliver the 53-58-mpg fuel economy he says his 1989 Geo Metro does. "I've yet to receive a satisfactory answer to this question," he wrote. Well, for starters, that 23-year-old econobox did not have to carry the structure and all the equipment necessary to meet 2012 federal safety, damageability and emissions standards, or the suite of comfort, convenience and infotainment features even today's small econocars must have to compete. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/17/future-fuel-economy-mandates-part-ii-ford/ 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/