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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/14/childhood-asthma-air-pollution-epa-regulations_n_1342024.html 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. http://www.forbes.com/sites/kensilverstein/2012/03/14/coal-fired-utilities-blowing-smoke/ CLIMATE CHANGE 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. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SCI_SEA_LEVEL_RISE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/science/earth/study-rising-sea-levels-a-risk-to-coastal-states.html?scp=4&sq=climate%20change&st=cse http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/03/14/10680379-invisible-tsunami-of-rising-sea-levels-puts-us-coasts-at-risk-expert-says 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. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5in1GO9vtPC-5UFwq9AhoHtlZZYHg?docId=e16909dc332a4bb7b4ba06eda04f3db3 AP Newsbreak: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/03/14/2760130/poland-out-of-step-with-europe.html#storylink=misearch 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/business/global/airbus-and-european-airlines-seek-deal-on-emissions.html?_r=1&scp=10&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse FUELS 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-14/sierra-club-spurns-30-million-gift-after-fracking-turns-toxic.html VEHICLES 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. http://cleantechnica.com/2012/03/13/californians-can-now-drive-ford-focus-electric-in-hov-lanes/ 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. http://www.news10.net/news/local/article/184116/2/The-future-is-here-says-head-of-Fords-electric-division http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/future-low-emission-cars-already-here-says-ford-engineer-15298 http://www.nctimes.com/news/state-and-regional/the-future-is-here-says-head-of-ford-s-electric/article_8cb7fbda-c268-5026-81da-162d418e5c48.html GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/ben-goad-headlines/20120313-solar-energy-federal-loan-guarantee-program-faces-scrutiny.ece OPINIONS 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. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/opinion/letters/x1688918852/Truck-retirement-program-good-for-Central-Valley-air 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. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20120314/OPINION01/203130357/Our-Voice-Reducing-pollution-must-Sentinel-fee-s-goal 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. http://theenergycollective.com/john-m-decicco/79320/biofuels-and-climate-simple-troubling-view 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. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1074042_ronald-reagan-father-of-the-modern-electric-car 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. http://dailycaller.com/2012/03/14/at-the-epa-environmentalism-isnt-a-spectator-sport/ 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… Posted. http://grist.org/oil/5-is-the-new-4-how-high-do-gas-prices-have-to-go-to-change-behavior/ BLOGS 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/a-reminder-that-science-can-override-pressure/ 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/new-solar-panels-blossomed-despite-a-tough-year-for-the-industry/ 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. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/14/driving-rams-natural-gas-pickup-truck/?scp=4&sq=fuels&st=cse 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. http://economix.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/americas-fossil-fuels-jobs-boom/?scp=1&sq=fuels&st=cse 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. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/in-africas-vanishing-forests-the-benefits-of-bamboo/?scp=3&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse