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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 12, 2012 Posted: 12 Apr 2012 10:51:55
California Air Resources Board News Clips for April 12, 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 Texas takes lead as states, EPA head to court over air pollution rule. Texas will take aim in a federal appeals court Friday at a controversial rule that requires aging power plants to sharply reduce emissions that cause smog and soot in neighboring states. The latest round in the state's fight with the Environmental Protection Agency will be heard by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, often considered the nation's most influential after the Supreme Court. In the case, industry groups and 14 states, led by Texas, are challenging the legality of the Cross-State Air Pollution Rule, which imposes caps on nitrogen oxide and sulfur dioxide from coal-fired power plants in eastern states. Posted. http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/Texas-takes-lead-as-states-EPA-head-to-court-3475916.php CLIMATE CHANGE Nichols Brushes Aside Doubts About California's Cap and Trade System. The chair of the California Air Resources Board, yesterday brushed away concerns that the state's cap and trade program had failed to give the energy industry enough market certainty. Mary Nichols told delegates at the Navigating the American Carbon World conference in San Francisco yesterday said she saw no problem with traders in the US power markets adopting a "wait and see mode" on whether the pioneering scheme would begin next year. "I'm not sure what they're waiting for since there's nothing for them to do at this moment but I would encourage them to look at the trajectory and see that we have been marching forward at a steady pace. Posted. http://energy.aol.com/2012/04/12/nichols-brushes-aside-doubts-about-californias-cap-and-trade-sy/ California Braces for the Complex World of Carbon Markets. As chair of the California Air Resources Board, Mary Nichols is presiding over the nation's first comprehensive cap-and-trade program. When its nascent cap-and-trade program ramps up later this year, California will be the first state in the nation to reduce greenhouse gases by making a broad spectrum of big polluters buy permits to exceed their allotted emissions. Other governments, industry and scientists will be watching, but there’s still a lot to sort out. That much has been evident at this week’s carbon market and policy conference in San Francisco, “Navigating the American Carbon World.” Posted. http://www.npr.org/local/stories/KQED/150460246 VEHICLES California Energy Commission awards more than $2.6M for natural gas vehicles. The California Energy Commission approved funding of $2,604,000 to help bring more buses and trucks powered by natural gas to the state’s highways. The awards are expected to support the purchase of more than 125 new natural gas vehicles; funding comes from the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program. The Energy Commission previously awarded approximately $29 million to help buyers afford new, alternative-fueled passenger vehicles, buses, and trucks. These awards help to pay the difference between the cost of conventional gas- or diesel-powered vehicles and new ones that use propane or natural gas. Eligible vehicles meet all the emission requirements of the Air Resources Board and are fully warranted by their manufacturers. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/04/cec-20120412.html GREEN ENERGY States seek to ease financing for energy-efficient upgrades. Millions of New Yorkers are stuck on an energy-finance treadmill. They manage to meet their monthly expenses, but they can't afford home upgrades that would save energy and lower costs. For those living in New York's poorest 450,000 households - those that earn below half of the federal poverty level - energy payments have in recent years eaten up more than 40 percent of income, according to a 2011 report commissioned by the state. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/04/12/4408619/states-seek-to-ease-financing.html#storylink=misearch People power: Crowdfunding fires up local solar projects. Here’s a not-terribly-novel idea: Get a bunch of people together, pool your money, and invest it in a project or a business that will make enough money to pay you back — hopefully with interest. Banks do it, right? And it seems like a decent way to fund promising green technology like solar power. Or you’d think so, anyway. Banks will fund huge commercial solar projects, but when it comes to community-level solar installation, they won’t touch it, says Billy Parish, president of Solar Mosaic, a Berkeley, Calif.-based company that seeds local solar projects. “When we were first getting started, we went looking for funding from banks,” he says. “Wells Fargo told us, ‘Come back to us when you have a book of $50 to $100 million worth of projects.’” Posted. http://grist.org/business-technology/people-power-crowdfunding-fires-up-local-solar-projects/ MISCELLANEOUS Approval for California high-speed rail plan? High-speed rail officials are expected today to approve a business plan that details how they hope to pay for a proposed passenger train line between San Francisco and Los Angeles. The California High-Speed Rail Authority board will meet in San Francisco to hear testimony about the 212-page plan — a revised blueprint of expected costs for construction and operation, as well as anticipated revenue and ridership. The business plan will be closely scrutinized by California legislators, who are being asked to OK about $2.7 billion in bonds to help pay for the initial construction in the San Joaquin Valley. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2012/04/11/2154126/approval-for-high-speed-rail-plan.html Sacramento listed No. 12 on green buildings. Sacramento ranks 12th on a federal Environmental Protection Agency list of U.S. metropolitan areas with the largest number of energy-efficient buildings. The agency said the Sacramento area had 151 buildings with the EPA's Energy Star designation in 2011. Sacramento ranked ahead of numerous large metro areas, including Phoenix, Philadelphia, Miami and San Diego. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2012/04/12/2154524/sacramento-listed-no-12-on-green.html OPINION Why Trees Matter. TREES are on the front lines of our changing climate. And when the oldest trees in the world suddenly start dying, it’s time to pay attention. North America’s ancient alpine bristlecone forests are falling victim to a voracious beetle and an Asian fungus. In Texas, a prolonged drought killed more than five million urban shade trees last year and an additional half-billion trees in parks and forests. In the Amazon, two severe droughts have killed billions more. The common factor has been hotter, drier weather. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/opinion/why-trees-matter.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=air%20pollution&st=cse HuffPo science editor asks readers: Is climate science true? Hey, Huffington Post: I’m not one to tell you how to do your business — your budget for the time it takes me to write this sentence is bigger than Grist’s budget for the year, so you must be doing something right — but maybe it would be a good idea to hire a science editor who’s familiar with, like, science? By way of background: One of the favorite games of evolution and climate deniers is to round up a group of scientists (or “scientists”) or members of some important-sounding organization who agree with their denialism, have them all sign on to a letter or document, and release it with great fanfare to show that “the science isn’t settled.” Posted. http://grist.org/media/huffpo-science-editor-asks-readers-is-climate-science-true/ Airing grievances. Back in 2011, the San Luis Obispo County Air Pollution Control District (APCD) Board raised the fees it charges businesses and farmers by 5.2 percent for permits and inspections. It justified the increase on the basis that the money was needed to cover its employees’ increased salary and pension costs. Apparently the agency had enough funding (not withstanding its pleas for more revenue) to develop a whole new regulatory scheme that will suppress economic recovery. The same regulatory muggers who are promulgating the dunes dust ATV riding ban in Oceano and who levy fees on wineries based upon the amount of gases generated by fermentation (and we thought the aroma was part of the allure) voted six to five to adopt so-called “greenhouse gas threshold” requirements for new construction. Posted. http://www.newtimesslo.com/commentary/7611/airing-grievances/ BLOGS Study Links Raised Carbon Dioxide Levels to Oyster Die-Offs. Oyster hatcheries along the Washington and Oregon coastlines began experiencing calamitous die-offs beginning in 2006. Scientists suspected they were due to increased carbon dioxide levels in the air that were causing ocean acidification. That theory has now proved out, according to a study just published by the journal Limnology and Oceanography. Researchers studied oysters at Oregon’s Whiskey Creek Hatchery in 2009 after the hatchery reported that oyster production had declined by as much as 80 percent in recent years. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/study-links-raised-carbon-dioxide-levels-to-oyster-die-offs/ Signs Europe Bending on Airline Carbon Fee. The European Union, heading for a trade war over a new toll on the greenhouse gas emissions of international airlines using European airspace, has been warned that the measure could wreck the prospects for global action on climate change. In the latest assault on a measure that came into force on Jan. 1, Jayanthi Natarajan, India’s environment minister, said Wednesday that the E.U.’s Emissions Trading System, which requires airlines to buy carbon permits to cover excess emissions, was a “deal-breaker” in the context of international efforts to curb global warming. Posted. http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/12/signs-europe-bending-on-making-airlines-pay-carbon-charge/ Global warming alarmism becoming much less alarming. We’ve noticed a growing trend: global warming alarmism is becoming much less alarming. Maybe it’s the Cry Wolf syndrome. Maybe it’s just taking notice of reality. Maybe it’s only a fad that’s run its course. Nevertheless, there’s more evidence every day: From the Oregonian newsapaper: “For people who want more action on global warming, an inconvenient truth has arisen over the last decade: Annual average temperatures stayed relatively flat globally — and dropped in the United States and Oregon — despite mankind’s growing release of greenhouse gases…” Posted. http://orangepunch.ocregister.com/2012/04/11/global-warming-alarmism-becoming-much-less-alarming/69067/ N2O Analyzer Gives Scientists New Insight into Agriculture, Ecosystems & Climate Change. Carbon dioxide (CO2) garners the lion’s share of attention when it comes to humanity’s greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and rightly so. The concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere has increased about 35 percent since the beginning of the Industrial Age, to about 390 parts per million by volume. At around 27 billion metric tons per year, man-made, or anthropogenic, CO2 emissions are some 130 times greater than than that emitted by volcanoes, the largest natural source. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/04/nitrous-oxide-n2o-analyzer-gives-scientists-new-insight-agriculture-ecosystems-climate-change/ Algae-based Biofuel: Pros And Cons. Algae–based biofuel is a new energy source that has been getting a lot of attention lately. Certain types of algae contain natural oils that can be readily distilled into a vegetable oil or a number of petroleum-like products that could serve as drop-in replacements for gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel. But because it’s a bio-fuel, it is essentially carbon-neutral because the carbon emitted when it is burned had just recently been absorbed as food, which means that the net CO2 emission is essentially the same as if the algae had never been grown. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/04/algae-based-biofuel-pros-cons/