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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 14, 2012.

Posted: 14 Mar 2012 12:32:43
ARB Newsclips for March 14, 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.


Childhood Asthma On The Rise As Political Battles Threaten EPA's
Air Pollution Rules. Asthma was once just an academic concern for
Sylvia Brandt, who has spent years studying the chronic lung
condition and calculating its tragic toll. Now, the threat is
personal. "One night I woke up and my daughter was really
struggling to breathe. I thought, 'This was it: This is really
the time that I might lose her.' It's an overwhelming feeling --
I can't describe it," said Brandt, a PhD research scientist at
the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Posted.

Coal-Fired Utilities Blowing Smoke. King Coal used to throw
around its weight and its money, typically getting friendly
legislation enacted and unkindly bills defeated. Not anymore.
Everything from a U.S. Supreme Court case to regulatory rulings
to the actions taken by the coal-burning utilities themselves is
supporting that supposition. Just this week, the U.S. Energy
Information Administration released its latest data showing that
while coal remains dominant here, its usage in the electricity
generation field fell below 40 percent in the last two months of
last year. Posted.


New figures: More of US at risk to sea level rise. Nearly 4
million people across the United States, from Los Angeles to much
of the East Coast, live in homes more prone to flooding from
rising seas fueled by global warming, according to a new method
of looking at flood risk published in two scientific papers. The
cities that have the most people living within three feet (one
meter) of high tide - the projected sea level rise by the year
2100 made by many scientists and computer models - are in
Florida, Louisiana, and New York. New York City…Posted.

Poland out of step with Europe on climate.  Frustrations with
Poland are growing in the European Union after the coal-powered
nation for a second time blocked the EU's long-term plans for
cutting carbon emissions.  As the lone dissenting voice, Poland
last week vetoed the EU's road map for emissions reductions
beyond 2020, drawing sharp criticism from environmental groups
and EU officials.  Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said the
EU's executive commission would press ahead with plans for a
low-carbon economy despite Poland's objections.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:

European Airlines and Airbus Seek to Ease Emissions Rule. Airbus
and Europe’s biggest airlines on Monday called on the European
Union to find a compromise on aviation carbon curbs, warning that
Europe’s emission limits on foreign carriers could lead to
retaliation. Airbus, the world’s biggest maker of civil aircraft,
and eight airlines including Air France-KLM, Lufthansa and
British Airways urged European leaders to “use their influence”
and push for a global agreement to tackle emissions …Posted. 


Sierra Club Spurns $30 Million Gift as Fracking Turns Toxic.
Environmental and health groups are calling for tougher U.S.
regulation of hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, turning on a
one-time donor to their causes: Chesapeake Energy Corp. (CHK) The
Sierra Club, the largest U.S. environmental group, is rethinking
early support of natural-gas development after activists and
scientists linked the drilling to tainted water and increased air
emissions, Executive Director Michael Brune said yesterday in an
interview. Posted.


Californians Can Now Drive Ford Focus Electric in HOV Lanes. 
Good news for Californians who own (or will soon own) a Ford
Focus Electric, a great electric vehicle we’ve featured here on
CleanTechnica a few times: Ford Focus Electric drivers can now
drive in California’s high-occupancy vehicle (HOV) lanes. The
California Environmental Protection Agency’s Air Resources Board
(CARB) approved this decision yesterday.  Now, for anyone who has
driven in California’s most traffic-congested regions, I think
you know this is a pretty nice perk.  Posted. 
Future of low-emission cars already here, says Ford engineer. As
California gas prices creep toward $5 a gallon and researchers
pronounce that just a modest global rise in temperature could
melt the Greenland ice sheet, engineers and transportation
designers are busy creating a fossil fuel-free future - or at
least one in which fossil fuels are used a lot less. As
California Watch reported last month, a team of engineers at
Stanford University has designed a prototype of a highway system
that would allow electric cars to wirelessly charge as they
travel the interstate system. Posted.


SOLAR ENERGY: Federal loan guarantee program faces scrutiny.
Lawmakers had some tough questions Tuesday about a federal loan
guarantee program that brought billions of dollars to solar
energy projects in Riverside and San Bernardino counties — and
lost hundreds of millions on the now-infamous Solyndra debacle.
In a lengthy and sometimes testy Senate hearing on Capitol Hill,
one legislator said the program has been mismanaged, and another
said the federal government should not be in the energy
investment business. Posted.


Truck retirement program good for Central Valley air. Regarding
the March 8 editorial "CARB misses the point with Harris
solution": Cleaning up the air in the San Joaquin Valley is a
challenge and requires the widest possible use of every tool the
California Air Resources Board has at its disposal. One of the
most effective tools is a pioneering program that uses taxpayer
money from a bond initiative to help reduce diesel pollution from
trucks. Posted. 

Our Voice: Reducing pollution must be the Sentinel fee's goal.
The Desert Sun loves the idea of the 54-mile Whitewater River
Trail for electric vehicles, bikers, hikers and horses from
Desert Hot Springs to Coachella. But we doubt it would be the
most effective way to mitigate the pollution that will be
generated by the Sentinel natural gas power plant under
construction west of Desert Hot Springs. Its eight 90-foot
smokestacks are expected to generate 1 million tons of carbon
dioxide a year. Posted.

Biofuels and climate: a simple but troubling view. If biofuels
benefit the climate, it's not when they're burned; those CO2
emissions are the same as from the fossil fuels they replace. Any
potential benefit is due to the CO2 uptake when plants are grown.
Society should maximize that uptake and, once carbon is absorbed,
do everything possible to keep it from getting back into the air.
This almost certainly means not burning biofuels.  Posted.

Ronald Reagan: Father Of The Modern Electric Car? With the
Chevrolet Volt having become such a punching bag of certain media
outlets lately, we found ourselves musing on a remarkable notion
in electric-car history: The father of the modern electric car is
none other than conservative icon Ronald Reagan. That idea came a
few weeks ago in an article posted on the Daily Caller, an online
news outlet launched by Tucker Carlson, the conservative
commentator, and Neil Patel, an aide to former vice president
Dick Cheney. Posted.

At the EPA, environmentalism isn’t a ‘spectator sport’. Lisa
Jackson’s Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is at it again.
Already having been called out on flawed science for its ground
water studies in Wyoming in the fight over the practice of
hydraulic fracturing, the agency is now clashing with the
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, which charges the EPA with
meddling, as the agency seeks to increase federal oversight of
the Marcellus Shale, a rock formation believed to hold the
largest reservoir of natural gas in the U.S. Posted.

How high do gas prices have to get to trigger behavior change? 
This week, an average gallon of self-serve regular is going for
$3.81. Is that enough to get Americans junking their minivans in
favor of cargo bikes, or ditching their exurban McManses for
walkable city living? In short: no. Still, two new polls offer a
little insight on gas prices and lifestyle changes.  A AAA survey
conducted at the beginning of the month found 84 percent of
respondents saying they have changed their driving habits or
lifestyle in some way in response to recent gas-price increases…


A Reminder That Science Can Override Pressure. The recent death
of F. Sherwood Rowland, who, working in 1974 with Mario Molina,
discovered that the ozone layer was endangered by a lucrative
class of chemicals, is a reminder of the perennial determination
of industries to undermine scientific findings that could cost
them money or markets. The best-known example is the cigarette
industry’s effort to marginalize the science linking tobacco to
deadly diseases like lung cancer. Posted.

New Solar Panels Blossomed Despite a Tough Year for the Industry.
Last year seemed like a dark one for the solar industry: stiff
competition from China drove American manufacturers to layoffs
and even bankruptcy, while the low price of natural gas and the
loss of a critical government subsidy weakened incentives for new
solar developments. And then there was the long shadow of
Solyndra, whose bankruptcy after receiving federal loans cast a
pall over other green-energy endeavors. Posted. 

Driving Ram’s Natural Gas Pickup Truck. Chrysler’s Ram division
claims to have built the first factory-direct pickup to run on
gasoline and compressed natural gas, an alternative fuel that
Fred Diaz, Ram’s president and chief executive, described as “a
near-term, viable option for lessening this country’s dependence
on crude oil.” The three-quarter-ton Ram 2500 Heavy Duty CNG
pickup, which will be available to fleet customers for $47,500,
starts up on gasoline, then switches over to compressed natural
gas. Posted. 

America’s Fossil-Fuels Jobs Boom. With gasoline prices spiraling
higher and weighing on economic confidence, President Obama
called over the weekend for further investment in a “clean-energy
future.” But there is a flip side to that increasing pain at the
pump: a huge jobs boom in fossil fuels industries. Rising global
demand – along with, more recently, concern over the situation in
Iran – has driven gasoline prices higher. Posted. 

In Africa’s Vanishing Forests, the Benefits of Bamboo. In the
district of Asosa, the land is thick with bamboo.   People plant
it and manage the forests. They rely on its soil-grabbing roots
to stabilize steep slopes and riverbanks, cutting erosion. They
harvest it to burn for fuel, to make into charcoal sticks to sell
to city dwellers and to build furniture. Asosa is not in China,
not even in Asia.    It is a district in the west of Ethiopia, on
the Sudanese border.   Posted. 

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