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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 10, 2012

Posted: 10 Apr 2012 11:43:56
ARB News Clips for April 10, 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.


Toxic products in California nail salons under renewed scrutiny. 
As the manager of a nail salon in Brea, Phuoc Dam tries to buy
toxic-free nail polish. He makes sure the salon has fresh air and
that his workers wear gloves when necessary.  
Despite his efforts, Dam said he still worries about the
long-term effects of the nail products on his staff. His wife,
one of the salon's manicurists, has recurring headaches and
dizziness.  "I am really concerned about the health of all the
people who work in the salon, and my wife especially," said Dam,
58, a Vietnamese immigrant who has been in the business for 25
years.  Posted. 

Roadshow: How Air Resources Board helped clear things up.  Q How
did the California Air Resources Board get so much power over the
economy, and what scientific evidence or analysis is there that a
75 percent reduction in smog-forming emissions by 2025 is
justified? The last few times I've been to Los Angeles, the air
has been amazingly clean compared with what it was like when I
was a kid. How far does the air board want to go before it
declares victory?  Posted. 



Lush Walls Rise to Fight a Blanket of Pollution.  “We must
cultivate our garden,” Voltaire famously wrote at the end of
“Candide,” but even he could not have imagined this: a towering
arch of 50,000 plants rising over a traffic-clogged avenue in a
metropolis once called “Mexsicko City” because of its pollution. 
The vertical garden aims to scrub away both the filth and the
image. One of three eco-sculptures installed across the city by a
nonprofit called VerdMX, the arch is both art and oxygenator. It
catches the eye. And it also helps clean the air.  Posted. 


New science reveals agriculture’s true climate impact.  When I
examined the reasons agriculture often gets a pass in climate
negotiations recently, I pointed to the fact that precise
measurement of the climate impact of many industrial farming
practices remains difficult and controversial. This is especially
true when it comes to synthetic nitrogen fertilizer.  The effect
of excess fertilizer on our waterways gets much more attention
than it does when it enters the air. And for good reason. It’s
toxic to consume nitrates in your drinking water. We’re learning
that agricultural overuse of fertilizer has contaminated the
drinking water of whole regions of California. Meanwhile,
nitrogen that runs into the ocean causes oxygen-depleted “dead
zones” around the world. The dead zone in our own Gulf Of Mexico
(measured every summer) keeps getting larger — last year’s was
the size of New Jersey.  Posted. 

Q. Will climate change affect the incidence of diseases and
medical conditions?  A. Health experts say that global warming is
already causing more deaths in many regions of the world.  There
is increasing evidence of lives being lost both directly, to
causes like heart and respiratory ills, and indirectly, as the
animal vectors of disease spread to newly warmer areas, according
to a review article in the journal Nature in 2005.  While no
specific weather event can be directly linked to warming caused
by greenhouse gases, the authors cited a two-week heat spell in
Europe in the summer of 2003 that led to 22,000 to 45,000
heat-related deaths.  Posted. 

Some plants in S.J. not so green.  Power plants and landfills are
the largest single sources of greenhouse gas emissions in San
Joaquin County, recently released data shows.  The new
information allows the public to learn, for the first time, which
local facilities are having the greatest impact on global climate
change.  For years, the Environmental Protection Agency has
publicly identified facilities that create traditional pollution
in cities across the nation. 


Truckers are delivering better fuel efficiency.  Diesel prices
are at their highest level in nearly four years, topping $4 a
gallon, but trucking company executive Fred Johring is taking it
in stride.  Johring's Golden State Express has bought
low-emission, fuel-efficient diesel and natural gas rigs to
comply with a clean-truck mandate at Southern California's twin
ports — with the fortunate side effect of easing the pain of
high-priced diesel.  "We went from having one of the oldest local
fleets to one of the newest," said Johring, whose Rancho
Dominguez company sends trucks mainly on short-haul trips to and
from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach. "We have been
somewhat insulated from the changing diesel prices."  Posted. 


Coal exports surge to highest level since 1991.  Government data
show U.S. coal exports reached their highest level in two decades
last year as strong overseas demand offered an outlet for a fuel
that's falling from favor at home.  U.S. Department of Energy
data analyzed by The Associated Press reveal that coal exports
topped 107 million tons of fuel worth almost $16 billion in 2011.
That's the highest level since 1991, and more than double the
export volume from 2006.  Much of the increase went to slake the
thirst of power-hungry markets in Asia, where rapid development
has sparked what mining company Peabody Energy calls a "global
coal super cycle" that heralds renewed interest in the fuel. 

AP Newsbreak:


Study Questions Natural Gas's Environmental Benefits.  As U.S.
lawmakers promote natural gas as a way to reduce air pollution, a
scientific study published this week questions the benefits of
the fuel when used to power vehicles and generate electricity. 
The study authors said methane leaks from the production and
transportation of natural gas should be studied in greater detail
before the U.S. adopts any major policy shifts.  The study,
co-written by scientists at several universities and the
environmental group Environmental Defense Fund, wades into an
increasingly murky area of energy research. In it, scientists
said the production of natural gas results in methane leaking
into the atmosphere, which contributes to climate change and
limits the environmental benefits of natural gas.  Posted. 


Salazar speaks on energy, water, conservation.  Interior
Secretary Ken Salazar is in Colorado to discuss energy, water and
conservation in the West.  Salazar is scheduled to speak Monday
evening at Colorado College, where students have been studying
how to preserve the health of the Colorado River Basin.  Salazar
is a graduate of Colorado College.  The Colorado River system
provides municipal water for more than 30 million people in
Arizona, California, Nevada, Colorado, Wyoming, Utah and New
Mexico, and it also benefits about 6 million Mexicans.  Posted. 



The Right Flames the Volt.  It was Thursday morning and several
dozen owners of the new Chevrolet Volt had gathered at a
restaurant overlooking the East River. Across town, the New York
International Auto Show was in full swing. The Volt, of course,
is the innovative electric car from General Motors, and G.M. was
using the occasion of the auto show to meet with Volt owners. 
Outside, a row of sporty Volts gleamed in the bright sun. On the
market for a little more than a year, the Volt is a different
kind of hybrid, containing both a 400-pound battery and a 9.3
gallon gas tank. The battery gets around 40 miles per charge, but
“range anxiety” isn’t the problem that it is for owners of a
purely electric car. When the Volt’s battery runs out of juice,
the car shifts to gasoline. It is really quite ingenious. 

SHANNON GROVE: California legislature should keep an open mind on
climate change policy.  A few weeks ago I had the great privilege
of hosting the Honorable Christopher Monckton, one of the world's
leading man-made climate change skeptics, at a legislative
hearing at the state Capitol as well as at community events in
Sacramento and Bakersfield. Monckton is a former advisor to
British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and was among the first
to advise her about the issue of global warming caused by
fossil-fuel related emissions. While Thatcher was originally
outspoken in warning of the dangers of global warming, she
eventually saw the flaws in climate change research and orthodoxy
and came to question its main scientific assumptions due in part
to Monckton's influence.  Posted. 

Climate change threatens all of civilization.  Isn't it
interesting that the Arab awakening began in Tunisia with a fruit
vendor who was harassed by police for not having a permit to sell
food — just as world food prices hit record highs? And that it
began in Syria with farmers who were demanding the right to buy
and sell land near the border, without having to get permission
from corrupt security officials? And that it was spurred on in
Yemen — the first country in the world expected to run out of
water — by a list of grievances including that top officials were
digging water wells in their own back yards just as the
government was supposed to be preventing such wildcatting? 


On Our Radar: Gas, Gas and More Gas.  With a mild winter in much
of the country having tamped down gas demand and with production
of natural gas thriving due to the success of hydraulic
fracturing technology, a.k.a. “fracking,” the country is running
out of storage space and as a result some producers are slowing
down, the Associated Press reports. But just as the market seems
saturated, and the Energy Department reports that prices are
extremely low, the Interior Department’s Bureau of Land
Management has issued new rules that will allow for another 3,600
wells in eastern Utah, the Salt Lake Tribune reports.  Posted. 

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