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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 4, 2012

Posted: 04 Apr 2012 13:12:24
ARB News Clips for April 4, 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.


Gov. Brown looks to global warming fees to pay for high-speed
rail. With a lower price tag and speedier plan to start zipping
bullet trains up and down California, Gov. Jerry Brown's
ambitious new high-speed rail proposal is still wobbly on one
vital ingredient: billions and billions of dollars. The state
still has no guarantee on where it will come up with about 80
percent of the funding needed for a project that high-speed rail
leaders announced Monday will cost at least $68 billion. Posted.

Poll: Many conservatives doubt global warming. The U.S. is not
alone in its skepticism that man contributes to global warming –
a 2009 Gallup survey found Denmark, the United Kingdom, Norway
and the Netherlands were other countries where less than half of
respondents blamed global warming on human activity. But there’s
a stark difference when you look at who in the U.S. – and Orange
County – is responsible for that skepticism. It’s not a
difference resulting from education level but by political party
affiliation. Posted.

California Lawsuit Challenges Foundation of Next-Stage Carbon
Offsets. Last week, two new challenges came into view for the
carbon offsets program that underlies the United States’ first
economy-wide GHG cap-and-trade program. Shortly after the
California Air Resources Board announced it would delay the
program’s first allowance auction, another first emerged – the
first of perhaps many legal challenges to the ARB’s offset
program design, and a challenge with implications for emerging
offset programs around the world.  Posted. 

Architects' answer to rising seas: Floating homes. A floating
mosque and golf course for the submerging Maldives islands.
Amphibious homes in the Netherlands lifted to safety as waters
surge beneath them. A hospital perched on 400 stilts to protect
patients from Thailand's devastating floods and the encroaching
sea nearby. Around the world architects and city planners are
exploring ways mankind and water may be able to coexist as oceans
rise and other phenomenon induced by climate change, including
extreme, erratic floods, threaten land-rooted living. Posted. 


Mendocino County companies say new truck regs will put them out
of business. The Mendocino County Board of Supervisors heard last
week from truckers and construction workers from throughout the
county who are concerned that state air quality regulations that
became effective in January would put them out of business. The
California Air Resources Board adopted a diesel retrofit program
in 2008, also known as the "Truck and Bus Regulation." Posted. 


Biofuel maker proposes Watsonville plant. New process transforms
animal waste to biodiesel. Watsonville -- A company with a new
process for turning animal fat into biodiesel wants to open its
first production plant here. The city Planning Commission will
review the proposal for 860 W. Beach St. on Tuesday. "Our
technology is what could be leading the industry into the next
decade," said Jim Levine, chief executive officer of North Star
Biofuels, a joint venture of R. Power Fuels LLC of Emeryville and
Agri Beef Co. of Boise, Idaho. Posted.

Journal article explores hybridized life cycle analysis method. A
recently published article in the peer-reviewed Journal of the
Royal Society Interface suggests that in order for life cycle
analyses (LCA) of biomass-based products such as biofuels to be
most accurately calculated, modelers should develop a hybridized
methodology that considers both direct and indirect effects, to
measure the carbon intensity of production. Posted.


U.S. Car Sales Keep Up Their Firm Growth. Automakers on Tuesday
reported strong sales across the board in March, pushing the
industry to its best quarter since before the recession, even
though gasoline prices climbed to more than $4 a gallon in many
states. Nissan, Hyundai and Kia each posted record sales last
month, while Chrysler and Volkswagen had gains of more than 30
percent compared with a year earlier. The Ford Motor Company had
its best month in five years. Posted. 

Car Charging Group expands presence in California, US. Car
Charging Group (CCGI), a provider of electric vehicle (EV)
charging services, has opened a new office in San Jose,
California, US, to expand its operations in the region. The new
California office will be led by the company's chief operating
officer (COO) Ted Fagenson, who will oversee operations, which
will include staff focused on local and regional sales, marketing
and web and mobile development. Car Charging Group chief
executive officer Michael Farkas said California…Posted.

Japanese develop prototype EV that can travel 350 km on a single
charge.  The latest Edition of Electric Japan Weekly describes
how 34 organisations collaborate to develop the next prototype EV
that will be able to travel over 300km on single charge and
SIM-Drive engages in infrastructure deployment, teaming up with
home building companies. Meanwhile, the Japanese Ministry of
Half-bike, half-car Velomobile goes 80 miles on 6 cents of
electricity.  Velomobiles are reclining bicycles with fiberglass
shells on top, to make you super aerodynamic, weatherproof and
sort of whimsical.  The only thing better than a Velomobile is an
electric Velomobile, which is the exact same thing, but with the
addition of a kit to electrify the bike.  We bought an electric
bike in lieu of a second car, and I am telling you now, until
you’ve gone 20 MPH uphill on a brushless 750-watt motor, the wind
in your hair, your fuel and insurance cost reduced to zero, you
are living a poor simulacrum of the life you could have.  Posted.


A Satellite System That Could End Circling Above the Airport.
Capt. Mike Adams demonstrated what the future will look like at
the nation’s airports as he pulled back on the throttles of his
Boeing 737 flight simulator, setting the engines on idle to glide
smoothly from his cruising altitude all the way down to the
runway. Starting in June, that’s exactly what actual Alaska
Airlines flights will be doing when the airline begins testing
the use of satellite technology to land at Seattle-Tacoma
International Airport — all in the hope of saving fuel and
reducing delays. Posted. 


Earth Log: Is California's cap-and-trade actually pay-to-pollute?
Raise your hand if you have strong feelings about cap-and-trade
for climate-warming carbon emissions. Now, raise your hand if you
really don't understand what it is. My hand went up both times. I
have strong feelings -- mostly anxiety about explaining
cap-and-trade in stories. Bee reporter Tim Sheehan explained it
on Sunday in a story about funding for high-speed rail. State
authorities say cap-and-trade is a possible source of money for
high-speed rail. Posted.

Brown steals from most Californians to give to wealthy electric
car owners.  There was applause from environmentalists when Gov.
Jerry Brown and the state Public Utilities Commission late last
month accepted a $120 million settlement from NRG Energy Inc. for
the part it and the bankrupt former electric generator Dynegy
Inc. played in the power crisis that afflicted California 11
years ago.  To be paid over four years, that settlement will see
NRG spend 80 percent of the money on a network of electric-car
charging stations along major highways and in the state's biggest
cities. Only 20 percent will go to consumers in the form of very
small rate reductions.  Posted. 

Could - and Should - Cap and Trade Revenues Pay for High-Speed
Rail?  If the federal money never shows up, the project's budget
could have a multi-billion dollar hole to fill each year starting
in 2015 (see Exhibit 7-10 in Chapter 7, Page 15 of the California
High-Speed Rail Authority's newly-revised business plan). But by
then, says Tiffany Roberts with the non-partisan Legislative
Analyst's Office, auctioning off greenhouse gas emissions could
raise between $3 billion and $14 billion a year (see page 13 of
this LAO report).  Posted. 

Editorial: New train promised to be cheaper, sooner, longer,
slower. High-speed rail devotees issue fresh set of promises;
reality remains that project should die. Desperate to spend
billions rather than allow taxpayers to keep their money, the
California High-Speed Rail Authority boasted Monday that it has
cut costs, scaled back and speeded up the construction schedule
of a train that should never be built. Posted.


Chevy Hunts Generation Y, With Help From MTV. Chevrolet is out
for young blood. The brand set up shop at the Classic Car Club in
Manhattan on Tuesday afternoon to detail its efforts to capture
behavior patterns of so-called millennials, those young Americans
who came of age with the Internet. As previously reported by The
Times, the automaker hired consultants from MTV Scratch, a unit
of Viacom that consults with brands about connecting with
consumers. Posted. 

California Charges Forward on EVs. As you may have seen,
California Governor Jerry Brown announced a $120 million
settlement last week with utility company NRG. The funds will be
used to develop a large scale infrastructure effort for electric
vehicles. This statewide charging network will include at least
200 fast-charging stations and another 10,000 plug-in units at
1,000 locations across the state. Posted. 

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