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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 16, 2012

Posted: 16 Apr 2012 13:57:57
California Air Resources Board News Clips for April 16, 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.


Prenatal exposure to air pollution linked to childhood obesity. 
Overall, 17% of children in the United States are obese, and in
inner-city neighborhoods, the prevalence is as high as 25%. While
poor diets and physical inactivity are the main culprits, there
is new evidence that air pollution can play a role.  A study by
Columbia University's Mailman School of Public Health finds that
pregnant women in New York City exposed to higher concentrations
of chemicals called polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, or PAH,
were more than twice as likely to have children who were obese by
age 7 compared with women with lower levels of exposure. PAH, a
common urban pollutant, are released into the air from the
burning of coal, diesel, oil and gas, or other organic substances
such as tobacco.  Posted. 

As ice cap melts, militaries vie for Arctic edge.  To the world's
military leaders, the debate over climate change is long over.
They are preparing for a new kind of Cold War in the Arctic,
anticipating that rising temperatures there will open up a
treasure trove of resources, long-dreamed-of sea lanes and a slew
of potential conflicts.  By Arctic standards, the region is
already buzzing with military activity, and experts believe that
will increase significantly in the years ahead.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:



Climate change scientists look back -- 3 million years -- to look
to future.  To figure out what is likely to happen to Earth's
climate this century, scientists are looking 3 million years into
the past.  They have concluded that the most revealing slice of
time is the Pliocene Epoch, a warm, wet period between 3.15
million and 2.85 million years ago, when the world probably
looked and felt much as it does now. Global temperatures and the
amount of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere were
similar to today's climate, according to the U.S. Geological
Survey.  Posted. 

Solar powered hydrogen fueling AC Transit fuel cell buses.  San
Francisco Bay area transit agency, AC Transit, recently
inaugurated on-site solar-powered hydrogen generation for fueling
for the agency's fuel cell buses, using electrolysis equipment
from Proton and a large 500 kilowatt solar power array.  For
years hydrogen fuel cell vehicles and the hydrogen economy were
to be the way to clean up the transportation system, because the
only exhaust from a fuel cell vehicle is plain old steam. 


How Green Are Electric Cars? Depends on Where You Plug In. IT’S a
lot like one of those math problems that gave you fits in sixth
grade: a salesman leaves home in Denver and drives his electric
car to a meeting in Boulder. At the same time, a physicist
driving the same model electric car sets out from her loft in Los
Angeles, heading to an appointment near Anaheim. For both, the
traffic is light, and the cars consume an identical amount of
battery power while traveling the same number of miles. Being
purely electric, they emit zero tailpipe pollutants during their
trips. Posted. 

Homegrown Power for Auto Plants. ACKNOWLEDGING that it makes
little sense to spend billions to develop electric cars if
charging their batteries produces roughly the same amount of
carbon dioxide as the most efficient gasoline models, some
European automakers are investing directly in renewable energy.
Wind farms, solar installations, hydroelectric power and
so-called e-gas plants are among the experiments intended to
demonstrate that zero-carbon transportation can be a viable
alternative. Posted. 

Hybrid and electric cars see record sales in March. Americans are
buying record numbers of hybrid and electric cars as gas prices
climb and new models arrive in showrooms, giving the vehicles
their greatest share yet of the U.S. auto market. Consumers
bought a record 52,000 gas-electric hybrids and all-electric cars
in March, up from 34,000 during the same month last year. The two
categories combined made up 3.64 percent of total U.S. sales,
their highest monthly market share ever, according to Ward's
AutoInfoBank. The previous high was 3.56 percent in July 2009,
when the Cash for Clunkers program encouraged people to trade in
old gas guzzlers for more fuel-efficient cars. Posted. 

Car-sharing program takes off. It's a Catch-22 for the carless
college student. No parents, no rules - and yet, no wheels. Now
University of the Pacific students can better enjoy their
newfound independence. What has been described as the world's
largest car-share program has parked itself at Pacific, where a
Ford Focus named "Fickle" and a Toyota Prius named "Portie" are
available for hourly or daily use by students, faculty and staff.

Green cars take top prize in U.S. racing series. The checkered
flag dropped at the Le Mans Series Toyota Grand Prix this
weekend, and the most efficient, least carbon-emitting cars
dominated the standings for the fourth year in a row. The Muscle
Milk Pickett Racing team won the race with its High Performance
Development Honda prototype and won the Michelin Green X
Challenge, an award given to one team at the end of every
American Le Mans Series (ALMS) race based on its vehicle's
environmental performance. Posted. 


S.J. County's green efforts are paying off. If you've got a
recycling bin someplace in your home or office, chances are
you're not moving as much paper as San Joaquin County government
did in 2011. The $1.2 billion agency shredded 302 tons' worth of
confidential documents among more than 500 tons of paper products
recycled in 2011, according to an annual report from the county's
"green" committee. It reports results from the county's policy
promoting the purchasing of environmentally sustainable products
and the collaboration of participating county departments in
efforts to develop environmental programs and practices. Posted. 

RIVERSIDE: Loveridge receives energy award. The Southern
California Gas Co. recently recognized Riverside Mayor Ron
Loveridge for his leadership in promoting energy efficiency and
renewable energy in the Inland area. The “Energy-Efficiency
Champion” award was presented at the gas company’s Business Expo
in Pomona in front of 300 business representatives and community
leaders who gathered to learn about ways to save money and energy
through the latest green technologies and utility programs.

Solar rooftops sought in poor communities.  San Diego is home to
more than 2,600 solar residential rooftops – more than any other
California city – but in the neighboring lower-income community
of National City, there are only about a dozen.  A bill [PDF]
before the California Assembly Committee on Utilities and
Commerce this month seeks to equalize renewable energy
installation in the state by promoting small-scale solar rooftops
in the disadvantaged communities.  The bill targets neighborhoods
with high unemployment rates and those that “bear a
disproportionate burden from air pollution, disease, and other
impacts from the generation of electricity from the burning of
fossil fuels,” the bill said.  Posted. 


New High-Speed Rail Biz Plan Crashes into Reality.  What a train
wreck. Barreling down the tracks in one direction, on April 9 a
congressional committee launched a probe California’s high-speed
rail project over charges of conflicts of interest and
questionable spending of federal dollars. Barreling head-on
toward it from the other direction, on April 12 the California
High-Speed Rail Authority voted to approve its own revised
business plan.  The state action leaves only an up-or-down vote
from the state Legislature to break ground on a project the CHSRA
now pegs at costing $68.4 billion.  Posted. 

Another view: ARB twisted cap-and-trade into a job killer.  The
line is now forming for those who want a say in how to spend
billions of dollars from the Assembly Bill 32 cap-and-trade
program.  But first, how is this revenue "created"? For the
answer, look in the mirror. Every consumer, public agency,
manufacturer and small business will be paying higher prices for
electricity, natural gas, gasoline and other products to fill the
coffers of cap-and-trade as designed by the California Air
Resources Board.  This isn't what legislators intended when they
voted for AB 32. The Air Resources Board has turned what could
have been an effective and reasonable environmental program into
an energy tax machine that will threaten the California economy
for years to come. How we came to this dangerous point deserves a
closer look.  Posted. 

The ex-radical who heads air board's key panel. Change may be the
only constant in the real world but that doesn't seem to include
the Scientific Review Panel. Don't fret if you've never heard of
it. It's one of those obscure governmental "no-see-ums" that do
their business in relative anonymity and by the time you figure
out you've been stung, you're left swatting at empty air. It was
the Scientific Review Panel that first declared PM2.5 (tiny
particulate matter made up of dust and soot) in diesel exhaust a
dangerous air contaminant in 1998. Next thing you know -- ZAP! --
the California Air Resources Board cooked up the truck and bus
rules that are costing operators hundreds of thousands of dollars
as they're forced to buy expensive filtration equipment or
replace their fleets entirely in the next few years. Posted. 


More on the Link Between Earthquakes and Fracking. Scientists
from the United States Geological Survey have cautiously weighed
in on a subject that has sparked public concern in some parts of
the country: spates of small earthquakes in oil- and
gas-producing areas. In a report to be presented next week at a
meeting of seismologists in San Diego, the scientists say that
increases in the number of quakes in Arkansas and Oklahoma in the
last few years are “almost certainly” related to oil and gas
production. But in a summary of the report, they say they do not
know if seismic activity is increasing because companies are
taking more oil and gas from underground or because of “changes
in extraction methodologies.” Posted. 

Philadelphia Inks Historic Green Agreement with EPA. Taking a cue
from the growing green branding trend, the city of Philadelphia
seems intent on establishing itself as the East Coast’s
preeminent sustainable city. Last week, Philadelphia Mayor
Michael A. Nutter joined in an unprecedented 25-year agreement
with the U.S. EPA that will pump $2 billion into the city for new
investment in green infrastructure. While it won’t exactly remake
Philadelphia into an east-of-the-Mississippi Portlandia, the new
Green City, Clean Waters agreement will transform the city into a
massive laboratory and national model for  innovative, low cost
methods of dealing with stormwater runoff and restoring urban
waterways to good health. Posted. 

Hyundai will make 'limited' number of fuel-cell vehicles this
year, 'thousands' by 2014. Hyundai has confirmed that it will
make a "limited" number of hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicles
(FCEV) this year for testing purposes, with a goal of making as
many as 10,000 FCEVs annually by 2015. The South Korean automaker
is testing an FCEV based on the Tucson crossover which will be
part of test fleets around the world during the next couple of
years. Hyundai wasn't specific about how many units of the Tucson
ix Fuel Cell Electric Vehicle it will make this year. Posted. 

ARB What's New