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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 7, 2012.

Posted: 07 Mar 2012 12:19:02
ARB Newsclips for March 7, 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.


5 Scientists (and Dr. Oz) Make Clean Air Sense. Scientists are
not political big shots, or the rock stars of the environmental
movement. They are concerned citizens like you and I who set out
to systematically discover and document answers to pressing
scientific queries. Doctors, nurses, researchers and professors
devote their lives to making the world a better place for our
families. More than 2,500 U.S. scientists sent a letter to
members of Congress urging them to reject legislation that would
gut the EPA of its protective safeguards and ignore the human
toll that inaction would take on their citizens. Posted.


UC Merced Connect: Professor mimics global warming. Climate
change is leading to higher temperatures around the world,
forcing plants, trees and animals to adapt to new conditions or
relocate, often to higher elevations. But the process is gradual,
and the effects of climate warming can usually only be observed
over the course of years and decades. But UC Merced ecologist
Lara Kueppers is experimentally accelerating that process, using
infrared heaters to simulate warming in the mountains of
Colorado. Posted.

Carbon control takes new breed of specialists.  The business of
managing carbon — from carbon capture and sequestration (CCS)
projects in the oil and gas sector to taking carbon dioxide out
of the air — is an emerging field that’s opening up job
opportunities for engineers.  “It’s congruent with a lot of other
things that are happening in the oil industry,” says Rob Lavoie,
a reservoir engineering specialist with RPS Energy, who at one
time operated a company that focused on CCS.  Posted. 


Air board program helps business owners replace older diesel
trucks. The California Air Resources Board is offering a
lease-to-own financing program that encourages small business
owners to replace their older diesel trucks with clean, new
equipment. Officials said the objective is to encourage early
compliance with ARB's on-road diesel vehicle and tractor-trailer
greenhouse gas regulations. "This is a program that benefits
small fleets and owner-operators," said ARB Chairwoman Mary
Nichols. "It provides them with an additional way to pay for a
cleaner truck, even if their credit isn't stellar." Posted.

California Gives Navistar Green Light To Sell Truck Engines. 
California is allowing Navistar International Corp. (NAV) to sell
new heavy-duty trucks in the state as long as the company has
pollution credits to offset its engines' lack of compliance with
the federal standard for engine exhaust.  The decision last week
by the California Air Resources Board, or CARB, replaces the
agency's order in January prohibiting the sale of Navistar's
heavy-duty engines after the end of February in California and
nine other states that have adopted California's air-quality
regulations.  Posted.  BY SUBSCRIPTION. 


Natural gas drops to a 10-year low; oil rises.  The price of
natural gas has dropped to the lowest level in a decade as a mild
winter ends with an apparently huge surplus of the fuel on hand. 
Natural gas supplies typically drop in the winter as homes and
business crank up the heat. But relatively warm temperatures,
combined with a boom in production, has left storage facilities
bloated with more gas than normal.  The government said last week
that supplies were 45 percent larger than average for this time
of year.  Posted. 


More natural gas vehicles hitting the market.  More natural
gas-powered vehicles will hit the market soon, as rising gasoline
prices, booming natural gas production and proposed tax credits
make them a more attractive option. But they're a long way from
being a common sight in U.S. driveways.  Chrysler will sell a Ram
2500 Heavy Duty pickup that runs on compressed natural gas
starting in July. The truck has both a gasoline tank and a
natural gas storage tank, and its engine shifts seamlessly
between the two power sources. The truck can run for 255 miles on
natural gas and another 367 miles using gasoline.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:


A More Circumspect View of Electric Cars. After several years of
excitement over electric vehicles, the auto industry is facing a
new reality.General Motors’ decision last week to suspend
production of its Volt plug-in hybrid sedan because of slow sales
has renewed questions about whether customers were willing to pay
extra for new technology. Posted. 


Solar storm headed toward Earth may disrupt power. Washington—The
largest solar flare in five years is racing toward Earth,
threatening to unleash a torrent of charged particles that could
disrupt power grids, GPS and airplane flights. The sun erupted
Tuesday evening, and the effects should start smacking Earth
around 7 a.m. EST Thursday, according to forecasters at the
federal government's Space Weather Prediction Center. They say
the flare is growing as it speeds outward from the sun. "It's
hitting us right in the nose," said Joe Kunches, a scientist for
the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Posted.

Obama talks energy, jobs in NC a day after primary. President
Barack Obama will outline incentives to promote development of
more fuel-efficient cars and to make it easier for people to buy
and operate next-generation vehicles during an election-year
visit to a North Carolina truck plant. The morning after Super
Tuesday voting, Obama picked up his schedule of weekly visits to
politically important states with his trip to a Daimler truck
plant in Mount Holly, N.C. With the price of gasoline at its
highest levels for this time of year, Obama once again will
promote policies he says will result in less foreign oil
dependency over the long term. Posted. 

Rooftop revolution: How to get solar onto 100 million U.S. homes.
That’s from a new report by John Farrell at the Institute for
Local Self-Reliance called “Rooftop Revolution: Changing
Everything with Cost-Effective Local Solar.”  It’s about the
spread of “solar grid parity” over the next 10 years, where grid
parity is defined as “when the cost of solar electricity —
without subsidies — is equal to or lower than the residential
retail electricity rate.” People often talk about grid parity as
if it’s some magic moment, but in fact it will happen in
different places at different times, depending on local
conditions and electricity prices. Posted. 


The threat of carbon emissions on the world’s oceans.  AS THE
REPUBLICAN presidential primary race drags on, the politics of
global warming seem ever more divorced from scientific reality.
The process of scientific inquiry, meanwhile, offers yet more
warnings about what might happen if fractured climate politics
stymie long-term action.  Emitting massive amounts of carbon
dioxide doesn’t just change the chemistry of the atmosphere; it
makes the oceans more acidic.  Posted. 

SADAR: Slap-shot climate science.  Perhaps no climate science
icon is more recognizable than the “hockey stick” graph
originally produced by Michael E. Mann and his colleagues in the
1990s and first published in the prestigious journal Nature in
1998. This icon quickly became the feature diagram in the 2001
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Third Assessment Report
summary document for policymakers. The graph was instrumental in
convincing many in government to buy into the idea that
human-related emissions of carbon dioxide were causing an
unprecedented increase in global temperatures and so drastic
action was needed to once again save the planet.  Posted. 

Jack Broadbent: Bad air days in Bay Area send emergency room
admissions skyrocketing. It's the end of another Winter Spare the
Air season, one that taught us some important lessons about
wood-smoke pollution. It was a tough winter for air quality and
public health. Dry, cold weather and high pollution levels led
the Air District to call 15 Winter Spare the Air Alerts, the most
since our wood burning rule was passed. We ended up exceeding the
federal air pollution standard on 10 days, and came dangerously
close on nine other days. Posted.


Meet Jonathan Foley, ‘Climate Pragmatist’. Late in 2010, Jonathan
Foley, who directs the Institute of the Environment at the
University of Minnesota, wrote “Becoming a Climate Pragmatist,”
an essay published online then and the following spring in the
institute’s magazine, Momentum. You can get a feel for his work
and views in the video above in which he explains 2009 research
on “planetary boundaries.” I also encourage you to read his 2011
paper, “Solutions for a Cultivated Planet.” Posted. 

New York Seeks Waste-to-Energy Proposals. New York City is
soliciting proposals for trying out new technologies that turn
garbage into energy. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced on
Tuesday that the city was looking for a pilot “state of the art
facility” that could handle a maximum of 450 tons of trash a day
— out of a total of 10,000 tons currently in need of disposal —
with plans to double that capacity if successful. The plant,
which must be in New York City or no farther than 80 miles away,
would be privately built and operated. Posted. 

Ford, Odyne introduce monster F750 plug-in hybrid work truck.
Odyne Systems is known for making big honking hybrid vehicles,
things like the Dueco work truck we first saw in 2008. At the
2012 Work Truck Show in Indianapolis this week, Ford is
showcasing the biggest plug-in hybrid vehicle with a J1772
connector that we know of: a PHEV F-750. Yes, that's a big one.
Odyne adds its plug-in architecture to work vehicles after the
fact. Posted. 

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