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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 21, 2012

Posted: 21 Feb 2012 11:01:26
ARB News Clips for February 21, 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.


Scientists Find New Dangers in Tiny but Pervasive Particles in
Air Pollution.  Fine atmospheric particles — smaller than
one-thirtieth of the diameter of a human hair — were identified
more than 20 years ago as the most lethal of the widely dispersed
air pollutants in the United States. Linked to both heart and
lung disease, they kill an estimated 50,000 Americans each year.
But more recently, scientists have been puzzled to learn that a
subset of these particles, called secondary organic aerosols, has
a greater total mass, and is thus more dangerous, than previously
understood.  Posted. 

L.A. Says $1.5 Billion Too Much For Dust Control.  The City of
Los Angeles claims that a demand for dust abatement at Owens Lake
could cost California's taxpayers $1.5 billion.  The city wants
to test the validity of Great Basins Unified Air Pollution
Control District's dust pollution control program under a section
of the Health and Safety Code. It says the program could cost
$1.5 billion, making it, "the most expensive dust control program
in the entire nation, and likely the world."  It asks the
Superior Court to order the State Air Resources Board to conduct
an independent hearing to review Great Basin's 2011 Supplemental
Control Requirements Decision (SCRD).  Posted. 


Activist Says He Lied to Obtain Climate Papers.  A prominent
environmental researcher, activist and blogger from Oakland
admitted Monday night that he had deceitfully obtained and
distributed confidential internal materials from the Heartland
Institute, a libertarian group based in Chicago devoted in part
to questioning the reality of global warming.  Peter Gleick,
founder and president of the Pacific Institute for Studies in
Development, Environment and Security, wrote in a statement
published on The Huffington Post that he had posed as someone
else to get the materials, which include fundraising and strategy
documents intended only for the board and top executives of the
group.  Posted.  



The inside story of climate scientists under siege.  It is almost
possible to dismiss Michael Mann’s account of a vast conspiracy
by the fossil fuel industry to harass scientists and befuddle the
public. His story of that campaign, and his own journey from
naive computer geek to battle-hardened climate ninja, seems
overwrought, maybe even paranoid.  But now comes the unauthorized
release of documents showing how a libertarian think tank, the
Heartland Institute, which has in the past been supported by
Exxon, spent millions on lavish conferences attacking scientists
and concocting projects to counter science teaching for
kindergarteners.  Posted. 

Shasta County releases third environmental report on proposed
power plant.  Shasta County officials have issued a third draft
of an environmental impact report for a proposed cogeneration
plant in Anderson, once again changing their stance on greenhouse
gases.  The report says the proposed Sierra Pacific Industries'
$40 million plant would not have a significant environmental
impact, even though it will release about 330,000 tons of
greenhouse gases annually from burning wood to generate
electricity.  Posted. 


Clean-air regs cost Nevada companies big bucks.  Nevada
transportation companies that do business in California are
finding it costly to comply with rules and regulations enacted to
clean up California’s air.  Beginning Jan. 1, new California Air
Resources Board rules require privately owned diesel trucks to be
retrofitted with exhaust filters to capture pollutants before
they are emitted to the air.  CARB regulations also stipulate
replacement of older vehicles beginning in 2015 so that from 2020
to 2023 all older vehicles would be upgraded to meet 2010 exhaust
emissions standards.  Posted. 

Truck Trailer Skirt Manufacturer TransFoil Systems Reports Spike
in Demand for Aerodynamic Trailer Side Skirts.  Georgia based
manufacturer TransFoil Systems reports seeing a recent spike in
demand for Aerodynamic Trailer Side Skirts. These side skirts,
also called aerodynamic skirts, wind skirts, or belly fairings,
are engineered to reduce the amount of wind turbulence underneath
semi trailers, refrigerated trailers, and container chassis. The
results have been so pronounced, says Lucas Stewart, president &
CEO of TransFoil Systems, that even he has been surprised. "We
have been receiving testimonials from TransFoil customers who
report saving as much ten or eleven percent on their overall
diesel fuel consumption. And these fleet operators are very
sophisticated.  Posted. 

Marine Diesel Engine Fuel Switch Problems Alleviated by New
Technology.  Diesel engine fuel switching from heavy oil to low
sulfur content marine distillates as ships enter the 24-mile
offshore Emission Control Area (ECA) of the California Air
Resources Board has not always gone smoothly. Now comes an
electronic control device, the Diesel Switch MK ll, culmination
of ten years' R&D by Swedish manufacturers JOWA Technology, a
tool designed to speed up the whole process while removing the
wrinkles from a procedure that demands meticulous attention by
ships' engineers. Earlier in the week the company, whose
technology has been given a stamp of approval by classification
society Germanischer Lloyd, reported orders for installation in
ten ships of Norway’s Jo Tanker fleet, as well as in its
newbuildings.  Posted. 


Brown pins legacy to Calif. high-speed rail plans.  Critics have
called it the train to nowhere and a $98 billion boondoggle. As
concerns mount over the practicality and affordability of
California's plan to build a high-speed rail system, even many
former supporters are beginning to sound skeptical.  Not so Gov.
Jerry Brown. He has emerged as the most vocal cheerleader of a
project that is as risky as it is ambitious.  Building a
first-in-the-nation project would provide a lasting legacy for
the 73-year-old Democratic governor as he moves into the twilight
of a long political career. His father is revered for promoting
the construction of California's comprehensive water system and
expanding the state's higher education system into a national
model.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:



California leads nation in green-tech venture capital funding.
When it comes to U.S. venture capital funding for the most
promising new green technology firms, there's California and
there's everybody else.  California companies raked in $2.8
billion, or 57%, of the $4.9 billion in venture capital offered
up in the so-called clean-tech category of funding nationwide
last year, according to a recently released analysis from Ernst &
Young.  Massachusetts companies were a distant second with $465.1
million, followed by Colorado companies, which pulled in $363.3
million.  Posted. 

Why the Clean Tech Boom Went Bust.  John Doerr was crying. The
billionaire venture capitalist had come to the end of his
now-famous March 8, 2007, TED talk on climate change and
renewable energy, and his emotions were getting the better of
him. Doerr had begun by describing how his teenage daughter told
him that it was up to his generation to fix global warming, since
they had caused it. After detailing how the public and private
sectors had so far failed at this, Doerr, who made his fortune
investing early in companies that became some of Silicon Valley’s
biggest names—Netscape, Amazon.com, and Google, among
others—exhorted the audience and his peers (largely one and the
same) to band together and transform the nation’s energy supply.
“I really, really hope we multiply all of our energy, all of our
talent, and all of our influence to solve this problem,” he said,
falling silent as he fought back tears. “Because if we do, I can
look forward to the conversation I’m going to have with my
daughter in 20 years.”  Posted. 


Car Stickers Reveal More.  Car shoppers have a new tool to
compare the fuel efficiency and cost of new vehicles.  All 2013
model vehicles, which are starting to come out as early as this
month, are required to have a revised fuel-economy sticker, says
Bo Saulsbury, a researcher at Oak Ridge National Laboratory,
which developed and maintains the fueleconomy.gov site for the
U.S. Department of Energy and the Environmental Protection
Agency.  Posted.  BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY. 


Air Resources Board chair to give Yale conference keynote.  The
chairman of the California Air Resources Board will give the
keynote address at the Yale Environmental Law Association’s
second annual conference on Saturday, Feb. 25, at the Yale School
of Forestry & Environmental Studies.  Mary Nichols, a Yale Law
School graduate and the board’s chairman since 2007, led the
implementation of California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions
Act, which will aggressively reduce the state’s emission of
greenhouse gases over the next decade. She also has been
responsible for efforts to curb diesel pollution at ports and to
pass regulations aimed at providing cleaner air for Southern
California and the San Joaquin Valley. Daniel Esty, commissioner
of the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental
Protection, will introduce her.  Posted. 


Concerned Scientists Reply on Global Warming.  The interest
generated by our Wall Street Journal op-ed of Jan. 27, "No Need
to Panic about Global Warming," is gratifying but so extensive
that we will limit our response to the letter to the editor the
Journal published on Feb. 1, 2012 by Kevin Trenberth and 37 other
signatories, and to the Feb. 6 letter by Robert Byer, President
of the American Physical Society. (We, of course, thank the
writers of supportive letters.)  We agree with Mr. Trenberth et
al. that expertise is important in medical care, as it is in any
matter of importance to humans or our environment.  Posted.  BY

Climate denial in the classroom.  The culture wars have been
fought in the classroom for decades, waged over such issues as
school prayer, the teaching of evolution and whether the Pledge
of Allegiance should include the phrase "under God." But the
conflict usually pits backers of religious instruction against
secularists. The latest skirmish, by contrast, is centered on a
scientific issue that has nothing to do with religious teaching:
climate change.  Posted. 



Viewpoints: State should tap into 'biogas' as a clean energy
source.  References to "biogas" in the political arena are likely
to elicit jokes about the seemingly endless speeches during this
election year. But in 2012, I plan on leading California in
establishing a more sensible policy toward the real thing. 
Biogas, also known as bio-methane, is natural gas produced by
decomposing matter. In other words, it's a byproduct of many
regular activities. Landfills, water treatment plants and dairy
farms all generate biogas during the regular course of business.
Biogas can be burned instead of natural gas in
electricity-producing facilities, natural gas-powered vehicles
and home appliances. It also generates just a quarter of the
lifetime emissions of "regular" natural gas, a fossil fuel. 

Dan Walters: Big green needed to ‘go green'.  California has made
a full-blown commitment to reducing reliance on fossil-fuel
energy and other limited resources.  The state is mandating that
automakers dramatically ramp up sales of battery-powered and
other low-emission cars. It is imposing new cap-and-trade
emission controls on business with hefty fees.  Utilities are
required to use solar, wind and geothermal sources for a third of
their electricity supply by 2020, while owners of homes and
businesses are being urged to install solar panels.  Posted. 



Europe's Cap-and-Trade Lesson for California.  In October of last
year, a unanimous vote by the Golden State’s “Air Resources
Board” gave California the nation’s first ever state-administered
cap-and-trade program. According to the Los Angeles Times, the
board’s plan—slated to go into effect this year—was inspired by
European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme.  The California
program’s European roots may be an inspiration to some here in
the states. But in light of recent reports regarding the current
status of the EU’s cap-and-trade program, such connections should
instill concern rather than confidence amongst many Americans. 


The Quest for ‘Hydricity’.  In the 1980s and ’90s, hydrogen fuel
cell technology seemed like a strong candidate for use in cars
and stationary applications, converting hydrogen to electricity
with no emissions beyond a puff of antiseptic water vapor. 
Geoffrey Ballard, founder of Ballard Power Systems, coined a term
to describe the new system, “hydricity,” a fusion of hydrogen and
electricity. Surplus electricity could be used to split water
molecules into hydrogen and oxygen, with the hydrogen stored for
reconversion into electricity.  Posted. 

Indirect Carbon Emissions and Why They Matter.  According to our
recent research, a combination of regulation and consumer demand
means that 93% of multinational companies are now taking steps to
address carbon emissions directly related to their business. More
companies are recognising that lowering their carbon emissions
leads to reputational and efficiency gains, which means savings
to the bottom line and ultimately increased revenue.  There is
also an increasingly pressing need to address a bigger challenge
– ‘scope 3’ or indirect emissions that are a consequence of the
activities of the reporting company, but occur at sources owned
or controlled by another organisation – including both upstream
and downstream of companies along the value chain.  Posted. 

EVs Charged Up for $10K Rebate.  Those thinking about jumping
into the EV market might have a nice new incentive in the form of
a $10,000 rebate, which is part of President Obama’s Fiscal Year
2013 budget plan.  The proposal is a boost and a change in
direction – buyers of electric vehicles currently are eligible
for a $7,500 tax credit for the tax-filing year, while the new
rebate program would allow consumers to slice $10,000 off the top
of an EV at the time of purchase.  Posted. 

Renewables Are a Reality: How We Can Ditch Fossil Fuels Without
Any Help From Congress.  Amory B. Lovins is fond of referring to
the Rocky Mountain Institute, where he serves as chairman and
chief scientist, as a “think and do” tank, and it’s clear that to
Lovins the doing is every bit as important as the thinking.
Hardly lacking in confidence or ambition, Lovins — in conjunction
with his colleagues at the institute — has published Reinventing
Fire, his step-by-step blueprint for how to transition to a
renewable energy economy by mid-century.  Posted. 

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