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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.


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. 


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. 

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. 


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. 


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. 

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. 


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. 

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. 


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. 

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. 

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. 


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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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