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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 4, 2012. Posted: 04 Jun 2012 15:12:57
ARB Newsclips for June 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. AIR POLLUTION Obama’s EPA Overstates Pollution From Gas Fracking, Groups Say. The Obama administration overstated the greenhouse-gas emissions from unconventional natural-gas production, the American Petroleum Institute and the America’s Natural Gas Alliance said today in a study. The two industry groups, which oppose U.S. regulation of hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from shale formations, found in the study that total-gas emissions during the process are about half the level estimated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-04/obama-s-epa-overstates-pollution-from-gas-fracking-groups-say.html North Richmond in shadow of poverty and pollution. North Richmond -- From the house where he was born, Henry Clark can stand in his back yard and see plumes pouring out of one of the biggest oil refineries in the United States. As a child, he was fascinated by the factory on the hill, all lit up at night like the hellish twin of a fairy tale city. In the morning, he'd go out to play and find the leaves on the trees burned to a crisp. "Sometimes I'd find the air so foul, I'd have to grab my nose and run back into the house until it cleared up." Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/04/BA361ORLKM.DTL&type=printable A smoggy month of May spurs group's call for tougher emission controls. The country's air contained higher concentrations of smog last month than it has during May the past five years, an environmental group said today. Clean Air Watch found that smog levels exceeded the 2008 U.S. EPA smog standard more often last month, based on a survey of state air websites and EPA's online air monitoring. In fact, the group found that the number of smog, or ozone, "exceedances" last month, 854, was more than double what was monitored in May 2011, 323. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/06/04/24 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY RIVERSIDE: Study shows open-fire smoke harms young brains. Spending too much time around a smoky fire is not only harmful physically, but mentally as well, according to a new study by two Inland professors. UC Riverside psychology professor Mary Gauvain conducted the research with Robert “Lee” Munroe, an emeritus professor of anthropology at Pomona’s Pitzer College. They determined that memory, problem solving and socialization in young children was hampered by prolonged exposure to the smoke from cooking fires fueled by wood, dung or straw. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20120603-riverside-study-shows-open-fire-smoke-harms-young-brains.ece HOME: This endless dust-up has clear winner, loser. Once a week, Diane Foernssler takes arms against the dust that invades her Darien, Ill., home, using everything from the vacuum cleaner to a special mop for blinds and baseboards. On those other six days, however, the dust wins. "It's everywhere and it never goes away," said Foernssler, a fitness trainer and mother of two. "It's a losing battle." Unfortunately, she's right. Experts said dust's constant accumulation on all those books, clothes and knickknacks has nothing to do with poor housekeeping. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/lifestyles/home-and-garden/home-this-endless-dust-up-has-clear-winner-loser/article_e0903465-7c6a-576c-a6a7-f09ce31b39c6.html CLIMATE CHANGE Canadian government overhauling environmental rules to aid oil extraction. For years, Canada has been seen as an environmental leader on the world stage, pushing other nations to tackle acid rain, save the ozone layer and sign global treaties to protect biodiversity. Those were the old days. The government of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper is rewriting the nation’s environmental laws to speed the extraction and export of oil, minerals and other materials to a global market clamoring for Canada’s natural resources. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/canadian-government-overhauling-environmental-rules-to-aid-oil-extraction/2012/06/03/gJQAyxx2BV_print.html Fourteen Programs Show CO2 Trade Taking Off: World Bank. New carbon programs in at least 14 emerging nations from China to Costa Rica show emissions trading may take off even as U.S. lawmakers focus on non-market-based regulations for climate protection, a World Bank official said. Seven countries including Mexico and Indonesia are considering emissions-crediting systems, five mull domestic carbon markets while India and South Africa are studying their own plans, Xueman Wang, team leader for the bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness program, said in an interview. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/89198?type=bloomberg Climate change causes nuclear, coal power plant shutdowns. Climate change, by warming water and reducing river flows, has caused production losses at several nuclear and coal-fired power plants in the United States and Europe in recent years and will lead to more power disruptions in the future, researchers report. The Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama, for example, had to shut down more than once last summer because the Tennessee River's water was too warm to use it for cooling. Posted. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2012/06/climate-change-makes-nuclear-coal-power-plants-vulnerable/1?csp=34news Climate and Clean Air Coalition Event. Remarks: Hillary Rodham Clinton, Secretary of State, Swedish Climate Ambassador Anna Lindstedt, Swedish Minister for the Environment Lena Ek Stockholm, Sweden June 3, 2012. Posted. http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2012/06/191694.htm FUELS Biox to Build Second Biodiesel Plant at New York Harbor. Biox Corp. (BX), a Canadian biofuels company, plans to build a 100-million liter (26-million gallon) biodiesel plant in Bayonne, New Jersey, at New York Harbor. The plant’s annual production capacity will be about 50 percent larger than the company’s existing facility in Ontario, according to a statement today. Demand for biodiesel in North American will grow because U.S. oil companies are mandated to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels with their fuel products by 2022, Biox said. “Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-04/biox-agrees-to-build-biodiesel-plant-at-new-york-harbor.html Burning wood for energy will hasten climate change – study. The best strategy for using forests to curb climate change is to leave them alone, a new study asserts. While this may seem intuitive to many, the best way to manage forests -- especially for the collection of biomass to be used for energy -- has been an elusive one. Although burning wood to produce electricity does emit the same carbon dioxide as burning fossil fuels, biomass energy proponents asserts that their power is carbon-neutral, as the growth of trees to maintain a steady supply of biomass will sequester an equivalent amount of CO2 that is burned. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/04/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY HIGH-SPEED RAIL California High-Speed Rail Losing Support, Poll Shows. A majority of voters no longer support building a $68 billion high-speed passenger rail system connecting California’s population centers, a new poll shows, even as Governor Jerry Brown is pushing the project forward. While 53 percent of voters approved a bond issue for the project in 2008, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll published in yesterday’s edition of the newspaper, found that 59 percent would oppose it if given another chance to vote. Brown, a 74-year-old Democrat, allocated some of the $9.95 billion of bonds for the system in his budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, even though a deficit in the spending plan has ballooned to $15.7 billion. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-06-03/california-high-speed-rail-losing-support-poll-shows.html http://articles.latimes.com/2012/jun/02/local/la-me-0603-bullet-poll-20120604 Jerry Brown moves to protect high-speed rail project from environmental lawsuits. The Brown administration, laboring to start building California's high-speed rail project by early next year, is preparing a proposal to insulate the project from environmental lawsuits, limiting circumstances in which a court may block construction of the line. The proposal, criticized by environmentalists as it emerged on Friday, would protect the $68 billion project from court-ordered injunctions that might otherwise be issued under the California Environmental Quality Act. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/02/4532775/jerry-brown-moves-to-protect-high.html What is PZEV anyway? It doesn't have anything to do with peace or electric vehicles. We'll dissect a Subaru Impreza Premium PZEV for answers to this conundrum of marketing, science, and politics. Mostly politics. It's likely you've seen the term "PZEV" on a vehicle recently. You might have even assumed it was some kind of hybrid or green vehicle. If you guessed the latter, you'd be close. The "EV" in the term PZEV doesn't stand for "electric vehicle" as we've come to know the acronym. Instead, PZEV stands for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. It's a sort of mashup category of cars created almost entirely through politics. Posted. http://www.torquenews.com/1080/what-pzev-anyway Chevy Volt Outsells Other Leading Plug-in Cars in May. ay was the second-highest sales month for the Chevrolet Volt since its launch in December 2010, with 1,680 units delivered, and exceeding numbers posted by ostensible rivals. The Volt’s all-time record was set in March this year, when Chevrolet sold 2,289 of the extended-range electric plug-in cars, topping a previous high watermark set in December of 1,529 Volts sold. Posted. http://www.hybridcars.com/news/chevy-volt-outsells-other-leading-plug-cars-may-46707.html Audi RS5 Convertible on its Way to the US. A roofless version of the Audi RS5 is heading to the US. This information has been revealed in images the German car company filed last fall at the European design patent office. Car and Driver obtained the pictures from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The pictures reveal the model is heading to the US. The CARB organization certifies vehicles as being compliant with the state’s emissions standards, and is required for any vehicles that will be sold there. Posted. http://www.gtspirit.com/2012/06/03/audi-rs5-convertible-on-its-way-to-the-us/ Calif. governor seeks help steering bullet train around CEQA. The California governor's office is negotiating with green groups and legislative aides to shield high-speed rail from the state's tough environmental law. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's senior policy adviser Ken Alex this week is expected to show green organizations a draft bill that would limit how much the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) applies to the bullet train, those involved in talks said. Although the exact language remained in flux late last week, some environmental groups said they feared the $68.4 billion train development was seeking to circumvent resource protections. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/06/04/4 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY Sacramento scales back solar project at Sutter's Landing Park. When Sacramento officials proposed putting solar panels on an old city landfill two years ago, they did so with the intention of providing clean energy to thousands of homes. However, in a twist that surprised many at City Hall, the people who might be expected to celebrate such a green venture ended up being the plan's loudest critics. Environmentalists and wildlife advocates argued that the field in Sutter's Landing Park – sitting atop a mound of buried trash that boasts majestic views of the downtown skyline – is a key feeding ground for the threatened Swainson's hawk. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/04/4535725/sacramento-scales-back-solar-project.html#mi_rss=Top%20Stories Hewlett-Packard develops 'net-zero' data center. Computer giant Hewlett-Packard Co. last week joined the ranks of energy-conserving information technology firms by rolling out the architecture for its new Net-Zero Energy Data Center. The new architecture, built around energy efficiency measures and the incorporation of on-site renewable power supplies, could allow the data centers to run virtually off the grid much of the time, said officials with the company's research division in Palo Alto, Calif. The efficiency steps alone should allow data centers to reduce their energy consumption by 30 percent, according to company officials. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/04/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Sun-powered 'boosters' to increase output at fossil-fueled power plants. Intermittent sources of renewable energy are sometimes coupled with burning fossil fuels to regulate power output, but Areva Solar is turning that relationship around and using renewable energy to augment electricity generation at fossil fuel plants. The Silicon Valley-based company, part of the French multinational conglomerate Areva SA, is promoting its solar booster technology as an affordable way to increase renewable energy production at existing coal- and gas-powered facilities. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/04/6 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY OPINION An eco-stadium? Promises, promises. The Natural Resources Defense Council had backed streamlining the environmental review for a downtown football venue, gathering pledges from Anschutz Entertainment Group to 'green' the stadium. Let the disputes begin. Feelings of betrayal dividing friends, lovers, and political allies have provided grist for Shakespeare and Verdi, among other great scrutinizers of the human condition. It's intriguing to ponder what they would have made of the breakup between the Natural Resources Defense Council and Anschutz Entertainment Group, the would-be developer of a downtown Los Angeles football stadium. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20120603,0,1294415.column Editorial: PUC should say no to gas project. The California Public Utilities Commission is set to decide Thursday whether to authorize Sacramento Natural Gas Storage to store approximately 8 billion cubic feet of repressurized natural gas under a residential neighborhood at the southeastern corner of Sacramento. One commissioner has issued a proposed decision to grant the permit. Another commissioner recommends denial. This decision should not be even a close call. The PUC should deny the permit. The gas storage project is simply too dangerous and there is no urgent need for it. Posted. . http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/03/4532475/puc-should-say-no-to-gas-project.html STATE: To prosper, California should cut tax rates. Revenue for California’s government appears to have dried up. The nonpartisan Legislative Analyst’s Office recently announced that personal income tax receipts are now $3 billion behind schedule. By the end of the fiscal year, on June 30, the tax take may fall even further. Dwindling tax revenues are a product of Californians’ declining incomes. And with unemployment at 11 percent, incomes probably won’t head north soon. But if history is any guide, California may be on the cusp of another economic boom. Posted. http://www.pe.com/opinion/local-views-headlines/20120603-state-to-prosper-california-should-cut-tax-rates.ece California as a model for climate policy. California, long America's environmental trendsetter, is once again pushing the envelope. This month, the state required large insurance companies to provide detailed information about the financial risks that climate change poses, not only to the companies themselves but also to their customers and investors. The insurance industry is the biggest in the world; globally, its companies control an estimated US $16 trillion worth of assets, a sum greater than the gross domestic product of the United States. Posted. http://www.aljazeera.com/indepth/opinion/2012/05/2012528134259936541.html BLOGS Even our power plants are vulnerable to climate change. Most modern power plants have a hidden weakness. They need water to stay cool. Lots of water. In the United States, coal, gas and nuclear plants account for roughly 40 percent of the nation’s freshwater use, drawing from rivers and lakes to prevent their turbines from overheating. Sweet, sweet cooling water. (Susan Montoya Bryan - Associated Press) Yet this water could prove increasingly hard to come by. Over the next 50 years, if global warming proceeds apace, many rivers will get warmer or reduce their flow. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/even-coal-and-nuclear-plants-are-vulnerable-to-global-warming/2012/06/04/gJQAQOH0DV_blog.html Climate Change Threatens Power Output, Study Says. As the climate gets warmer, so do the rivers and lakes that power plants draw their cooling water from. And that is going to make it harder to generate electricity in decades to come, researchers report. In an article in the journal Nature Climate Change, scientists measured temperatures now and projected what they would be at midcentury. The temperatures vary according to the time of year, and, even if the extremes remain similar, they will be more frequent — meaning that the water will be too warm to allow full power production, they predict. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/04/climate-change-threatens-power-output-study-says/ The new new hydropower: Small-scale turbines have big potential. Canals are ecologically barren channels built for the utilitarian purpose of draining rainwater and snowmelt away from rivers and delivering it to farmers, factories, and homes. But something unusual has been lurking in an irrigation canal in rural Washington that promises to turn these concrete water conveyors into climate-friendly power plants. Posted. http://grist.org/renewable-energy/the-new-new-hydropower-small-scale-turbines-have-big-potential/ Global Temperatures Rising on a Trajectory That is Devastating. Many governments do not appear to be implementing policies to meet their 2020 emission reduction pledges, and could increase – not shrink, the gap between real emissions and what’s needed to keep global temperature rise to 1.5 or 2 degC, according to the Climate Action Tracker , a joint project of Climate Analytics, Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. Posted. http://www.celsias.com/article/global-temperatures-rising-trajectory-devastating/ How Cheap Will Algae Biofuel Really Get? A bit energy wonky but interesting: The Oil Drum has a breakdown of a recent Department of Energy presentation on current cost of various renewable fuels and how inexpensive DoE thinks those analyzed might get over the next five years. What caught my attention most is the state of algae biofuels (mostly because I've been thinking about how we're ever going to be able to keep flying without fossil fuels and algae is one of the few biofuels still in the running without serious land use and/or human rights and/or yield issues). Posted. http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/how-cheap-will-algae-biofuel-get.html Energy Efficient LEDs Displace Conventional Technology and Costs Shrink Overall. Improving lighting efficiency is an investment in the future. Yet costs have been prohibiting many people from becoming early adaptors of energy efficient commercial lighting such as LED lighting. This is finally starting to change as we now have research that shows the costs of LED lighting is finally coming down, according to a recent report from Pike Research, LEDs will displace more than 52 percent of the global market for lamps in commercial buildings by 2021. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/06/energy-efficient-leds-displace-conventional-technology-value-shrinks/