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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 27, 2012 Posted: 27 Feb 2012 14:21:38
ARB News Clips for February 27, 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 Valley under high pollution advisory, windy conditions likely. The Valley is under a high pollution advisory Monday with the anticipated arrival of wind gusts up to 40 miles per hour in an area that hasn't seen rain in two months. With the pollution advisory from the Arizona Department of Environmental Quality, the Maricopa County Air Quality Department has also put "no burn day" restrictions into place. Monday afternoon or evening, a dry, cold front is expected to move through the Valley. Posted. http://www.eastvalleytribune.com/local/article_1bead418-6164-11e1-896e-0019bb2963f4.html CLIMATE CHANGE EPA Plans to Keep Carbon Rules Limited to Top Polluters. The Environmental Protection Agency proposed keeping U.S. limits on permitting requirements for greenhouse-gas emissions to power plants and other sources that discharge more than 100,000 tons per year. The proposal, posted on the agency’s website on Feb. 24 without notification, would maintain standards established in 2010 for new or revamped plants. The rules require companies building qualifying plants to get state permits, and to use “best available” control technologies. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-02-27/epa-proposes-keeping-carbon-regulation-limited-to-top-polluters.html http://www.reuters.com/assets/print?aid=USTRE81Q1JG20120227 EU Lawmakers Seen Backing Moves on CO2 Market. BRUSSELS—European Union lawmakers are expected Tuesday to back the possible withdrawal of carbon-dioxide emissions permits from the EU carbon market, but are likely to soften the language from a previous proposal that had triggered a 30% jump in CO2 prices. The energy committee of the European Parliament, which is negotiating a draft energy efficiency law on behalf of the assembly…Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970204520204577249572893132652.html?link=sm_newsticker&_nocache=1330375962969&user=welcome BY SUBSCRIPTION Scientists say cassava will thrive in climate change, best bet for African farmers. Calling cassava “the Rambo of food crops,” scientists Monday said the long-neglected root becomes even more productive in hotter temperatures and could be the best bet for African farmers threatened by climate change. Cassava is the second most important source of carbohydrate in sub-Saharan African, after maize, and is eaten by around 500 million people every day, scientists said. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/africa/scientists-say-cassava-will-thrive-in-climate-change-best-bet-for-african-farmers/2012/02/27/gIQAdvDodR_story.html http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/02/27/international/i063422S70.DTL&type=science http://www.modbee.com/2012/02/27/2087879/scientists-cassava-will-thrive.html SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Much to Savor, and Worry About, Amid Mild Winter’s Early Blooms. At the New York Botanical Garden in the Bronx, an experimental plot was in full flower on a recent February afternoon, as the thermometer edged toward 60. The Japanese camellias, which typically bloom in early spring, have displayed their rose-hued flowers continuously since December. Honeybees, a rarity before late March, were nursing the tiny pink clusters on a Dawn viburnum, while the Adonis amurensis, a ground-hugging spring ephemeral, was a profusion of yellow. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/27/nyregion/amid-winter-blooms-wondering-what-that-means-for-spring.html?scp=6&sq=climate%20change&st=cse Global warming feeds bark beetles: Are they unstoppable? Hear the sound of chewing out in our vast forests of lodgepole pine, spruce and fir, the chewing that’s already destroyed half the commercial timber in important regions like British Columbia? That’s the sound of climate change, says biologist Reese Halter. Global warming in the form of a bark beetle. Halter’s short but disturbing new book, “The Insatiable Bark Beetle,” addresses one of the biggest and most visible issues facing global forests, and particularly the relatively large forests left in the U.S. and Canada. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-me-gs-global-warming-and-unstoppable-bark-beetles-20120226,0,5332608,print.story Students compete in environmental competition. Twenty-eight teams of students from seven schools are participating in the second Ventura County Idea to Impact competition. Idea to Impact originated when Edison International's Edison Challenge was discontinued in August 2010 and Ventura County teachers didn't want to tell the students, who had already come up with their topics. The Ventura County Office of Education and CSU Channel Islands created a version of their own, according to Debby West of the Oak Park Unified School District. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/feb/24/students-compete-in-environmental-competition/ EPA greenhouse gas rules face new legal challenges. U.S. limits on greenhouse gas emissions face a challenge in federal court this week from more than 100 industry groups and several U.S. states, the latest high-profile effort to halt or overturn the Environmental Protection Agency's rules. Three federal judges will hear arguments on Tuesday and Wednesday at the D.C. Court of Appeals from groups seeking to overturn the regulations and also convince the judges that the science used by the EPA is wrong. Posted. http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/feedarticle/10115841 Reducing Production of Super Greenhouse Gas Under Montreal Protocol Is Critical Climate Strategy. Phasing down the production and use of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) under the Montreal Protocol ozone treaty is one of the most effective climate protection strategies available to the world today: it could substantially eliminate emissions of one of the fastest growing greenhouse gases globally. Low-climate-impact substitutes for HFCs are already available and could be quickly adopted. Posted. http://www.enn.com/press_releases/3938/print FUELS Sweating Rocks for Oil Splits Shell, Environmentalists. A proposal to tap the world’s largest oil-shale deposits in the western U.S. by heating rocks until petroleum sweats out has become the latest election-year conflict over energy policy. Companies including Chevron Corp. (CVX), Royal Dutch Shell Plc (RDS/A), an Estonia utility called Eesti Energia AS, and a joint venture of Genie Energy Ltd. and France’s Total SA (FP), are seeking to tap into as much as 4.29 trillion barrels of oil. Posted. http://webfarm.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-02-27/sweating-rocks-for-oil-pits-shell-against-u-s-environmentalists.html Canadian firm to push ahead with part of Keystone pipeline. The Canadian firm hoping to build a massive oil pipeline from Canada to the U.S. gulf coast announced Monday that it will push ahead with plans to build a $2.3 billion segment of the pipeline running from Cushing, Okla., to Port Arthur, Tex., while submitting a separate permit application for the portion of the project running from the Canadian border to Steele City, Neb. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/canadian-firm-to-push-ahead-with-part-of-keystone-pipeline/2012/02/27/gIQAvJFtdR_story.html Keystone XL: Trans-Canada not giving up, forges ahead on 2 fronts. Reporting from Seattle— The Canadian pipeline company thwarted last year in its bid to build the 1,700-mile Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada to the Texas Gulf Coast hasn't given up. The company on Monday announced its intention to reapply for a permit for the project -- and to proceed immediately with plans to build the southern portion of the pipeline, from Oklahoma to the coast. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-keystone-xl-20120227,0,7186079.story http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/27/4294975/trans-canada-not-giving-up-on.html Gas prices soaring in Sacramento. Sacramento-area gasoline prices are in full flight. The average price of gas in the Sacramento area rose a whopping 24.6 cents to $4.19 a gallon over the past week, according to today's weekly report by www.SactoGasPrices.com, a www.GasBuddy.com website. That was on top of a nearly 20-cent increase the week before. Local pump prices are now 50.3 cents per gallon higher than one year ago, and 55.1 cents above last month. Nationally, the average price jumped 11.3 cents to $3.64 a gallon. That's 26.6 cents higher than last month and 29.8 cents higher than last year. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/02/27/4294498/gas-prices-rise-a-quarter-in-a.html Amyris captures $83.7 million in new financing to close cash flow gap, shares surge. Amyris has landed $83.7 million in additional financing, a combination of equity and debt, helping the Emeryville-based biofuels company to combat its woes in scaling up production, Amyris said Monday. The financing includes a $58.7 million private placement of stock by new investors, including a company owned by Qatar-based Sheikh Abdullah bin Khalifa Al-Thani, as well as existing investors such as France-based Total Gas & Power. Amyris also obtained $25 million in convertible debt that's due in 2017. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_20054409 VEHICLES Nissan recalling vehicles for possible gas leaks. Nissan says it is recalling more than 79,000 vehicles in the U.S. to fix possible gasoline leaks. The automaker is recalling certain Nissan Juke small crossover SUVs, Infiniti QX large SUVs and Infiniti M sedans from the 2011 and 2012 model years. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says on its website that fuel pressure sensors on the vehicles may not be tight enough and gasoline could leak and cause a fire. Nissan says no fires have been reported. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hdbdhyWXme7ssBTdfViUfqPysbpQ?docId=054e413c18b24593aecb5d8817e26277 AP Newsbreak: http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/02/27/financial/f061456S44.DTL http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/02/27/2738288/nissan-recalling-vehicles-for.html#storylink=misearch http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20053660?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com Tech companies taking a second look at county. When people think of the United Parcel Service, the international company's well-marketed catch phrase describing its brown delivery trucks likely comes to mind: "What can brown do for you?" Stockton's Electric Vehicles International company, however, had a different thought: "What can green do for brown?" EVI is hard at work building 100 electric delivery trucks under a multimillion dollar contract with UPS, a company that wants to modernize its California fleet. EVI Marketing and Sales Director Frank Jenkins said the brown trucks will go 90 miles per charge. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120226/A_SPECIAL13/202240304&cid=sitesearch Detroit automakers race to keep up with sales. Auto sales are growing so fast that Detroit can barely keep up. Three years after the U.S. auto industry nearly collapsed, sales of cars and trucks are surging. Sales could exceed 14 million this year, above last year's 12.8 million. The result: Carmakers are adding shifts and hiring thousands of workers around the country. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/business/detroit-automakers-race-to-keep-up-with-sales/article_2e2950d8-9bae-537d-99d7-4c066818bd8f.html#ixzz1nbdjlXDI Battery maker, Shanghai at odds over lead report. As Shanghai authorities and major battery maker Johnson Controls clash over what caused a spate of lead poisoning cases, families of the dozens of children recovering from the contamination are fretting over future risks from the heavy metal. Shanghai has prohibited the U.S. battery maker from resuming lead processing at its automotive battery plant in the city's outskirts following a probe that blames the company for excess lead emissionsPosted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/world/battery-maker-shanghai-at-odds-over-lead-report/article_d1258cb0-ff50-5825-8fc2-4af773247f5f.html#ixzz1nbdNt1Dq EVs in fleets: What are the benefits? "In the right circumstances EVs can provide a clear benefit for business now", reads a recently launched report "EV 20 Plugged-In Fleets" that provides a guidance to fleet managers on employing electric vehicles (EVs) in fleets. It demonstrates the economic and environmental advantages of EVs in the United Kingdom (UK) while considering their life cycle. Posted. http://www.cars21.com/content/articles/76220120227.php Tesla: Blogger's battery post sparks ‘irrational' fear over 'bricking'. Electric carmaker Tesla Motors Inc. said a blog post asserting Roadster batteries are at risk of failing if owners don't keep the cars plugged in stoked an "irrational" fear. "A single blogger is spreading a rumor about electric vehicles becoming inoperable," a condition referred to as "bricking," the Palo Alto, Calif.-based company said Friday on its website. Posted. http://www.autonews.com/article/20120225/OEM05/120229920#ixzz1nbkFefpJ GREEN ENERGY How Big a Battery Would It Take to Power All of the U.S.? Haresh Kamath of the Electric Power Research Institute in Palo Alto, Calif., says many factors will determine how much storage is needed. What penetration of renewables do people want? What level are they willing to pay for? How much transmission are they willing to live with? What kind of loads are they likely to use? And what level of reliability are they prepared to live with? Posted. http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=castelvecchi-how-big-battery-would-it-take-power-usa&page=2 MISCELLANEOUS Berkeley Law: environmental law. When Joe Sax joined the Berkeley Law faculty in 1986, he had already pioneered a new approach to protecting natural resources. His legal strategy found a receptive audience in the courts. Sax's "public trust doctrine" fueled a series of legal efforts by Californians to protect the state's streams, lakes and tidelands from pollution, overdevelopment and private exploitation. Sax's strategy helped save Tomales Bay in Point Reyes from commercial development. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/26/INNB1N9UKT.DTL&type=printable Cannella's hearing on ag hears from those affected by state regulations. Sen. Anthony Cannella (R-Ceres) held an informational hearing of the California Senate Committee on Agriculture, which he chairs. The hearing covered the impact the state’s regulations have on the agriculture industry. “Today’s hearing was a great opportunity for me to hear directly from those involved in the agriculture community exactly how they are impacted by state regulation,” Cannella said in a news release. Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/02/26/2245685/cannellas-hearing-on-ag-hears.html Big changes ahead at Port of Stockton. If Santa Claus came a little late to the Port of Stockton this year, nobody's complaining. Santa's sleigh, in the form of the U.S.-flagged Ocean Titan, arrived in the first week of January to deliver two giant harbor cranes. And those tagged to operate the state-of-the-art behemoths - each reaching as high as 220 feet and weighing 400 tons - couldn't be more pleased. "I love it," said Mike Holman, as he participated in operator training earlier this month. "I haven't been so happy in a long time." Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120226/A_SPECIAL13/202240306&cid=sitesearch OPINIONS Carbon emission policy could slash debt, improve environment. At the end of this year, the United States will confront a trifecta of difficult fiscal challenges: The Bush tax cuts will be set to expire; the defense budget and spending on civilian programs will face a $110 billion sequester; and a new extension of the federal debt limit will be looming. At the same time, the evidence will be clearer than ever that urgent action is needed to protect our nation and the world from irreversible climate change. The overwhelming scientific consensus will have grown even stronger. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/carbon-emission-policy-could-slash-debt-improve-environment/2012/02/13/gIQAQ0LZWR_story.html EDITORIAL: Global warming’s desperate caper. Climate scientist’s theft of Heartland document backfires. For believers in a science that supposedly is “settled,” global-warming advocates are awfully concerned about the need to silence dissent. Last week, the ethics chairman for the American Geophysical Union resigned in disgrace over his role in a black-bag job meant to intimidate the Heartland Institute, one of the most effective voices questioning the anti-carbon-dioxide orthodoxy. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/feb/23/global-warmings-desperate-caper/ Is the fight against global warming hopeless? IS THE FIGHT against global warming hopeless? It can seem so. The long-term threat to the climate comes from carbon dioxide, which lingers in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, locking in higher temperatures for generations. After decades of effort, only about one-tenth of America’s energy mix comes from renewable sources that don’t produce carbon dioxide. But two policies can buy the world more time to allow carbon-free technologies to catch up. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/is-the-fight-against-global-warming-hopeless/2012/02/17/gIQAhRAXaR_story.html Airlines, Emissions and Europe’s Sensible Plan. The carbon dioxide from airplanes accounts for about 3 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, a share projected to go up as air traffic rises. The European Union is now requiring airlines that fly into or out of Europe to pay a fee for these emissions. This is a smart response to an urgent problem. The United States and the other nations opposing the program should either come up with a better idea — soon — or drop their objections. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/27/opinion/airlines-emissions-and-europes-sensible-plan.html?scp=4&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse The greening of faith. Santorum is at odds with his own church on environmental issues. It has long been a maxim that mixing religion and politics can spell trouble. So when Rick Santorum told a partisan crowd in Columbus, Ohio, recently that President Obama's worldview was based on a "phony theology" that drives "radical environmentalists," he must have known his comments would reverberate far beyond his conservative political base. Santorum was speaking of efforts to forestall the worst effects of climate change through controls on greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuels, and policies aimed at encouraging the development of renewable sources of energy. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-stammer-santorum-and-religious-environmental-20120227,0,5583549.story CLIMATE CHANGE. Truth and denial. Scientist Peter Gleick has given climate-change deniers exactly what they wanted: something to focus on besides the reality of the overwhelming scientific consensus that the planet is warming at an alarming rate and that emissions generated by humans are a major cause. Don't look here for sympathy for Gleick, an oft-quoted source for stories on a wide array of water and science issues, an occasional contributor to our opinion pages and a regular blogger on SFGate's City Brights feature. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/02/26/INLN1MNTGK.DTL&type=printable Respected voice of climate change has his own meltdown. Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute and a prominent climate change expert, admitted recently that he lied. He pretended to be someone else to obtain documents from the Heartland Institute, which has challenged mainstream scientific consensus on the role of man in climate change. Earlier this month, Gleick was the chairman of the American Geophysical Union's Task Force on Scientific Ethics. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120227/A_OPINION0619/202270302&cid=sitesearch US energy independence requires a balanced strategy. Conserving energy and developing new energy sources. Those used to be "good things." But that was before this election year made them political footballs to be kicked around. I suppose if I wanted to, I could heat and cool my home and leave my lights burning without regard for how much energy I am consuming. And in truck-driving Kern County, I could join a lot of other people on the road, and roar between my home and downtown Bakersfield office in a four-wheel-drive gas-guzzler. Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community/x1801991690/US-energy-independence-A-political-football AB 32: A misguided state law based on a dubious theory. AB 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act, became a law in 2006 under Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. The law set a goal of greenhouse emissions reduction by 2020: bring carbon emissions down to 1990 levels and produce 30 percent of energy from "renewable sources." The California Air Resources Board has been given authority to develop a plan to reach this goal. The bureaucrats even formed an Environmental Justice Committee. Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/opinion/community/x2097370331/AB-32-A-misguided-state-law-based-on-a-dubious-theory REGION: Watts up? Mitsubishi volts into e-race. When I got the call, my reaction was decidedly low octane. I hemmed, hawed, hedged and hung up. A couple of days later, I paid $4.05 for gas. Five days later, the price was 30 cents a gallon higher. I really had to make a decision. Early Friday morning, a KNX radio announcer said something that sounded very much like, “Five dollars and nine cents for gas in LA.” That did it. All signs pointed to San Berdoo. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/columns/dan-bernstein-headlines/20120226-region-watts-up-mitsubishi-volts-into-e-race.ece 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. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/news/opinion/perspective/brown-pins-legacy-to-calif-high-speed-rail-plans/article_0ef82c39-7153-5db8-a52e-5cfc604c129b.html#ixzz1nbZn4vik BLOGS Will the EPA’s new climate rules get killed in court? Congress isn’t planning to tackle climate change anytime soon, which means the Environmental Protection Agency is now America’s last line of defense. But could the EPA’s new rules on carbon pollution get tossed out by the courts? We’re about to find out. To regulate or not to regulate? (David Spencer - Associated Press) On Tuesday, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit will hear two days of oral arguments from industry groups that are challenging the EPA’s authority to regulate carbon dioxide. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/will-the-courts-kill-the-epas-climate-rules/2012/02/27/gIQAa7rDeR_blog.html The Wages of Eco-Angst. The carbon dioxide from airplanes accounts for about 3 percent of the world’s greenhouse gas emissions, a share projected to go up as air traffic rises. The European Union is now requiring airlines that fly into or out of Europe to pay a fee for these emissions. This is a smart response to an urgent problem. The United States and the other nations opposing the program should either come up with a better idea — soon — or drop their objections. Posted. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/26/the-wages-of-eco-angst/?scp=5&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse A Second N.Y. Ruling Upholds Local Authority Over Gas Drilling. After two state judges upheld drilling bans established by two upstate towns in New York, the question becomes: how many more towns will go ahead and pass their own prohibitions on hydrofracking? A New York state judge ruled Friday that the town of Middlefield in Otsego County can ban natural gas drilling within its borders, the second time in a week that a state court has affirmed local authority over the drilling process known as hydrofracking. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/a-second-n-y-ruling-upholds-local-authority-over-gas-drilling/ Heartland Institute Reveals E-Mail Trail. For those following the tale of the documents stolen from the Heartland Institute, that organization has just posted what it describes as the e-mail trail by which the scientist Peter Gleick obtained material meant for Heartland board members. The posting includes screen shots of the e-mails with most identifying details blacked out. But it’s nonetheless easy to follow the chain of events. Heartland has a fresh statement about the e-mails. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/02/24/heartland-institute-reveals-e-mail-trail/ Hybrid Army tank renderings, some specs revealed. New renderings and some specifications for the hybrid-electric U.S. Army tank that's been in the works for more than four years have been revealed. BAE Systems, which demonstrated the first hybrid-drive ground-combat vehicle (GCV) in August 2007, says the tank is as much as 20 percent more fuel-efficient than conventional diesel-powered tanks and is quicker – relatively speaking, of course – off the line. The 70-ton tank has room for 12. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/27/hybrid-army-tank-renderings-some-specs-revealed/ Tesla libel suit against Top Gear fails again. Tesla and the company's lawyers are nothing if not determined. After a judge smacked down the electric vehicle manufacturer's libel suit against the BBC and Top Gear for comments made about the range of the Tesla Roadster, the automaker rallied with a second, amended lawsuit. It didn't take long for the same judge to nix the new case, too, saying the amendment was "not capable of being defamatory at all, or, if it is, it is not capable of being a sufficiently serious defamatory meaning to constitute a real and substantial tort." Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/02/24/tesla-libel-suit-against-top-gear-fails-again/ A New Battery of Tools to Fight Patent Pollution. The America Invents Act (AIA) of 2011 is the most sweeping reform of the US patent laws since 1952. The new law seeks in part to harmonize the US with the rest of the world by converting the US from a “first to invent” country to a “first to file” a patent application country. In addition, the AIA adds tools to the repertoire of accused infringers for challenging the validity of issued patents at the US Patent and Trademark Office (PTO). Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/02/a-new-battery-of-tools-to-fight-patent-pollution.html