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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 7, 2012. Posted: 07 Jun 2012 12:00:55
ARB News Clips for June 7, 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. CLIMATE CHANGE UN report warns environment is at tipping point. The earth's environmental systems "are being pushed towards their biophysical limits," beyond which loom sudden, irreversible and potentially catastrophic changes, the United Nations Environment Program warned Wednesday. In a 525-page report on the health of the planet, the agency paints a grim picture: The melting of the polar ice caps, desertification in Africa, deforestation of tropical jungles, spiraling use of chemicals and the emptying out of the world's seas are just some of myriad environmental catastrophes posing a threat to life as we know it. Posted. http://www.usatoday.com/weather/climate/story/2012-06-06/un-environment-report/55431404/1?csp=34news http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/06/06/international/i153040D68.DTL http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/the_americas/un-report-warns-global-environment-is-near-tipping-point-calls-for-urgent-action/2012/06/06/gJQAO0m7IV_story.html Climate change message needs to be closer to home to hit home, say researchers. In a project that aimed to analyse public perceptions of global warming, the researchers focused on ‘psychological distance’ in prompting people to go greener and the significance of uncertainty as justification for inaction. The study, led by Dr Alexa Spence, found that in general the closer people felt to the problem, the more concerned about climate change they were. It also recommends that more needs to be done to communicate the global impacts of climate change and highlight the severity of the problem. Posted. http://phys.org/news/2012-06-climate-message-closer-home.html China's ambitious carbon trading proposals may be shelved. China will continue to keep electricity prices stable depite the effect on the country’s efforts to reduce energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions, Reuters reported, citing an official from the National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC), China’s state planning agency. Speaking at the release of an International Energy Agency study on power sector participation in emissions trading, Sun Cuihua, vice-head of the climate change department of the NDRC, on Wednesday said China's power sector will be excluded from a proposed national carbon trading scheme. Posted. http://morningwhistle.21cbh.com/html/2012/PoliticsSociety_0607/212555.html FUELS Airline group says biofuels need govt support. Airlines need government support to lower the cost of biofuels that could help to reduce pollution and carbon emissions, the head of the global aviation industry group said Thursday. Airlines have flown some 1,500 commercial flights using fuel made from plants, but supplies are limited and costly, said Tony Tyler, chief executive of the International Air Transport Association. "We need governments to adopt policies to help support commercialization of biofuels to bring up the volume and bring down the price," Tyler said. He was in Beijing for IATA's annual general meeting, due to be held next week. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jGXU-kDdvgd3S_PrTWXfBKMKIC2Q?docId=d8180f284c5749c787b1e93726b23a94 AP Newsbreak: http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-06/D9V857280.htm http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/airline-group-says-biofuels-for-aviation-need-government-support-to/2012/06/07/gJQAosmBKV_story.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/06/07/2864529/airline-group-says-biofuels-need.html#storylink=misearch http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_20802079/airline-group-says-biofuels-need-govt-support?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com Companies turn to bioplastics to eliminate oil from operations. After months of crude prices above $90 a barrel, many companies are trying to wring the oil out of their operations. Ford Motor is using soybean foam in its upholstery. McDonald's is testing paper cups for hot drinks in place of polystyrene containers, which start out as petroleum. Coca-Cola and PepsiCo are becoming bioplastic bottlers. And a California cleaning products manufacturer has set out to eliminate diesel from its fleet. "When oil was cheap, it became pervasive throughout our economy in hundreds and hundreds of invisible ways, as a raw material," said Daniel Yergin, an energy consultant who wrote a Pulitzer Prize-winning history of the oil industry. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_20798461/companies-turn-bioplastics-eliminate-oil-from-operations?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com VEHICLES Electric car fuel savings at a glance. A car that gets 118 miles per gallon sure sounds nice, but to figure out how much money you will save, you have to look a little closer.The Environmental Protection Agency has come up with a measurement called "miles per gallon-equivalent." It measures how much energy it takes to move an electric car. But that energy — electricity — is priced very differently than gasoline. At a national average retail price of electricity of 11.6 cents per kilowatt hour, and a national average retail price of gasoline of $3.57 per gallon, electric vehicles can save about $1,000 in fuel costs per year. The higher price of the electric vehicle, though, means it can take more than 10 years of fuel savings to make up the difference. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/06/06/financial/f155240D74.DTL Car manufacturers to get new targets that will cut driving costs. The European Commission is next month to propose tighter carbon emissions standards for new European cars with a 2020 target of 95gm CO2 per kilometre, that will cut costs for motorists by 25%. But the Commission has not decided whether to make the target binding, and there are calls for the target to be even stiffer in order to save drivers even more on fuel costs. Currently, manufacturers have to reach a binding target of 130gm CO2/km by 2015, which they are on target to attain. Fines for failure are presently €95 for every gram over the target per vehicle and these would be kept at the same level in the future. Posted. http://www.eaem.co.uk/news/car-manufacturers-get-new-targets-will-cut-driving-costs Driving a PHV will not always make sound environmental sense. In January 2012, Toyota started selling its latest next generation vehicle, the Plug-In Hybrid (PHV) Prius. Response’s editor-in-chief Kazuya Miura put the car through its paces during a 3-month field test. During this period the vehicle drove a total of 3756 km and consumed 117 ltrs of gasoline and 220 kWh of electricity, averaging a respectable 3.1 ltrs of fuel for 100km. Based on the Japanese fuel consumption database “eNenpi”, the previous model of Prius would for the same distance use 172.77 ltrs of gasoline or use 4,6 ltrs of fuel for 100 km. Using this information, Response calculated corresponding equivalent CO2 emissions to compare the two Prius models from ecological perspective. Posted. http://cars21.com/news/view/4692 Waste Management launches compressed natural gas fleet. Waste Management GI Industries is operating cleaner and greener with the addition of 23 new Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) waste collection vehicles to its fleet in Ventura County. These next generation CNG waste collection vehicles boasts several benefits: The CNG engines are 50% quieter than comparable diesel engines and emit 95% less particulate matter (PM) also known as soot and 90% less carbon monoxide (CO) than their diesel counterparts. They are also cleaner burning than "low sulfur" diesel engines. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/06/waste-management-launches-compressed-natural-gas-f/ GREEN ENERGY Americans rank saving energy ahead of vacations. As summer beckons, it seems Americans are thinking more about the stifling cost of energy than about making tracks to the beach. Cutting energy bills and use is a bigger deal to them than taking a vacation or scoring the latest smartphone or tablet, according to a survey by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research that asked people to choose priorities. Not even 1 in 5 ranked a summer trip or the latest gadget as a priority, while majorities said reducing electricity use and making homes energy-efficient are important. But in typical American fashion, by far the highest priority was having a reliable set of wheels. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hvFpd5iiNTvxhJ0wavzCd6mGGFcQ?docId=9dc8febe0cc342d5998a95900123346d AP Newsbreak: http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/06/07/2864534/americans-put-saving-energy-ahead.html#storylink=misearch http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_20798461/companies-turn-bioplastics-eliminate-oil-from-operations?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com Europe Calls for Green Goals Beyond 2020. As if Europe’s member states did not have enough pressure from above these days, yesterday saw European Commission Energy Commissioner Günther Oettinger push for greater cooperation and immediate action to carry the region beyond the EU’s 2020 goals. Adopted in 2009, the European Union’s Renewable Energy Directive includes a binding agreement for 20 percent dependence on renewable energy sources, a 20 percent reduction in carbon emissions and a non-binding 20 percent decrease in energy consumption, all appropriately by 2020. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/christophercoats/2012/06/07/europe-calls-for-green-goals-beyond-2020/ Fish Heads Turned Into Electricity Cut Wal-Mart's Bills: Energy. Fish heads and chicken fat are being turned into electricity by the U.K.'s largest retailers including Wal-Mart Stores Inc. that ship food waste to power plants to reduce garbage-removal fees. Tesco Plc, Britain's biggest supermarket chain, along with Marks & Spencer Group Plc, John Lewis Partnership Plc's Waitrose, William Morrison Supermarkets Plc and J Sainsbury Plc are testing how meat and fish, cooking oils and leftover sandwiches can lower energy bills and landfill costs when they're transported to plants for converting into power. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2012/06/06/bloomberg_articlesM46DDO07SXKX01-M56ZX.DTL MISCELLANEOUS Walnut Creek School Notes: Buena Vista Elementary wins national green award. A team of students from Buena Vista Elementary School were among the winners of the "Siemens We Can Change the World Challenge" a nationwide sustainability challenge. The Buena Vista team dubbed "What a Waste!" and its mentor Kari Stewart won third place in the grades 3-5 elementary school division of this year's challenge for their project on food waste. Students were tasked with identifying an environmental issue at their school and creating a green solution. More than 27,000 students participated nationwide. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20796268/walnut-creek-school-notes-buena-vista-elementary-wins?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Urban wasteland: World Bank sees global garbage crisis. The world's city dwellers are fast producing more and more trash in a "looming crisis" that will pose huge financial and environmental burdens, the World Bank is warning. Urban specialists said the growing pile of trash from urban dwellers is as daunting as global warming and the costs will be especially high in poor countries, mainly in Africa. In a report on "a relatively silent problem that is growing daily," released on Wednesday, the World Bank estimated city dwellers will generate a waste pile of 2.2 billion tonnes a year by 2025, up 70 percent from today's level of 1.3 billion tonnes. Posted. http://www.france24.com/en/20120607-urban-wasteland-world-bank-sees-global-garbage-crisis OPINION Champagne: Alberta is a leader on climate change policy. Simon Dyer from the Pembina Institute states that on climate change policy, “Alberta is not a leader.” This follows a recent David Suzuki Foundation report ranking the provinces for their leadership efforts on climate action. Ontario, Quebec and B.C. were ranked as “very good,” while Alberta was rated “worst.” While I have tremendous respect for Pembina and the David Suzuki Foundation — and believe B.C. and Quebec should be lauded for their respective initiatives, here are five reasons that if there is any leader on climate action in North America, it is Alberta. Posted. http://www.calgaryherald.com/opinion/op-ed/Champagne+Alberta+leader+climate+change+policy/6741474/story.html DRIESSEN: Wind down wind subsidies. A growing national coalition opposed to perpetuating industrial wind giveaways and mythical wind-power benefits has inspired thousands of Americans to call their senators and representatives - and defeat four different subsidy bills. A shocked American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) began aggressively recruiting well-connected political operatives and co-sponsors, Republican and Democrat alike, who introduced more proposals to extend the production tax credit (PTC). It also launched parallel efforts in many state legislatures. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/jun/6/wind-down-wind-subsidies// Climate Change: Brand or Be Branded. It is very difficult to understand the climate change denial platform on a purely philosophical and scientific level. Climate change is a rather obvious aspect of the history of the Earth and clearly man interacts with climate in an increasingly dynamic manner. That this is even debated appears on the surface to be not a little ridiculous—somewhere on the level of discussing whether the Earth is round or flat. It is the semantics of it all, which, when combined with politics and the necessary religio-political elements, muddies the waters. Posted. http://oilprice.com/The-Environment/Global-Warming/Climate-Change-Brand-or-Be-Branded.html Climate change’s worst enemy is its first victim: The city. This is a gorgeous infographic. Go look at it. Scroll through. Savor. Appreciate the design — but pay attention to the point. The presentation is by C40, a group of 58 cities that work together to share information and best practices about addressing climate change. (Here’s previous Grist coverage of the group.) Key points from the presentation, quoted directly…Posted. http://grist.org/news/climate-changes-worst-enemy-is-its-first-victim-the-city/ BLOGS Around the world, cap-and-trade is still alive and kicking. When the climate bill died in the U.S. Senate in 2010, most observers assumed that was the last dying gasp for “cap-and-trade” as a policy for tackling global warming. Around Washington D.C., it’s hard to find an environmentalist or Democrat who will even whisper the phrase anymore. Yet cap-and-trade is very far from dead. Across the globe, dozens of countries are either enacting or studying cap-and-trade programs for their heat-trapping greenhouse gases, according to the World Bank’s 2012 Carbon Market Report. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/around-the-world-cap-and-trade-is-still-alive-and-kicking/2012/06/05/gJQACSKVGV_blog.html U.S. completes warmest 12-month period again, record repeat. The period from June 2011 to May 2012 was the warmest 12-months since records began (in 1895) in the continental United States. This unprecedented stretch of warmth bests the previous 12-month record, established just one month ago. NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center also reports today that: the year-to-date period (January-May) has been the warmest on record, 5 degrees above average, the spring period (March-May) was warmest on record in the U.S., crushing the previous warmest spring (1910) by 2 full degrees and an impressive 5.2 degrees above the 1901-2000 average. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/us-completes-warmest-12-month-period-again-record-repeat/2012/06/07/gJQAOC1CLV_blog.html EU considering lowering CO2 emissions targets. One of the reasons that automakers are working so diligently on making more fuel efficient vehicles is because we're forcing them to. We, through our elected officials, have set certain standards that they have to meet in order to sell their wares. One of the strongest is the CO2 emissions limits set by the European Commission in 2008: 130 grams of CO2 per kilometer by 2015. The bad news? The EC might be backpedaling. According to Reuters, the EC might allow the rules to expand a bit to take things other than a car's simple emissions number into account. Those things include "infrastructure, driver behaviour and other measures," and the idea comes from documents written up by policy group CARS 21. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/06/07/eu-lower-co2-emissions-targets/ Imagine a Pollution Monitor That Checks Your Vital Signs. A bus just passed by. I think I have a headache. This is the sort of inane information that the most tweet-happy among us rush to share with the rest of the indifferent world. But when collected in a detailed, systematic manner and compiled in a central database, it’s also the sort of information that the Environmental Protection Agency desperately needs to get a handle on to fully understand the links between air pollution and public health. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/07/a-pollution-monitor-that-checks-your-vital-signs/ Are We Nearing a Planetary Boundary? The earth could be nearing a point at which sweeping environmental changes, possibly including mass extinctions, would undermine human welfare, 22 prominent biologists and ecologists warned on Wednesday. Acknowledging in a new paper that both the likelihood and timing of such a planetary “state shift” were uncertain, the scientists nonetheless described warning signs that it could arrive within a few human generations, if not sooner. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/06/are-we-nearing-a-planetary-boundary/ Waffling on climate change? Consult friends, not science. Ever since climate scientist James Hansen first testified before Congress about global warming in 1988, the scientists, advocates, academics and former vice-presidents who work to stop climate change have presumed that the science matters. Hansen began his testimony by telling the assembled senators: “The earth is warmer in 1988 than at any time in the history of instrumental measurements,” in full confidence that instrumental measurements would matter more than the weather outside the politicians’ front doors. Like Al Gore in An Inconvenient Truth, Hansen depended on graphs (he called them “viewgraphs”) and numbers to help make his case. Posted. http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate/2012/06/07/waffling-on-climate-change-consult-friends-not-science/ 2013 Chevy Volt increases range to 38 electric miles, 98 MPGe. And thus the mid-cycle product refresh – so common to computers and cellphones – comes around again to GM's plug-in hybrid. The new EPA sticker for the 2013 Chevrolet Volt has been released, and with it comes a fresh set of numbers. The highlights are an improved all-electric range and miles per gallon equivalent (MPGe) rating: 38 miles and 98 MPGe – that's three miles of additional electric range and five more MPGe than last year. GM said in a statement today that "minor changes to the material composition of the battery cell chemistry" and a boost in overall battery capacity from 16 kWh to 16.5 are responsible for the increase. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/06/07/2013-chevy-volt-increases-range-to-38-electric-miles-98-mpge/ Honda finds that $5-plus gas is 'tipping point'. Do $6-a-gallon gas and electric vehicles go hand in hand? Well, it may be a stretch to conclude that from a two-minute fifty-second man-on-the-street video posted by Honda, but it may not be far off. Honda said it polled 1,000 Americans about their attitudes towards both buying more fuel-efficient vehicles and potential advanced powertrains and interviewed a handful of men and women to see if their views were consistent with the larger poll. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/06/06/honda-finds-that-5-plus-gas-is-tipping-point/ Honda Fit EV: Most Fuel-Efficient Car Ever? If EPA electric equivalency ratings are any guideline, the little Honda is tops. At the risk of sounding like a marketing flack, we'll just say it: The Honda Fit EV is the most fuel-efficient vehicle ever rated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The electric Fit, set to debut this summer in California and Oregon before heading to the East Coast in 2013, set 118 combined electric miles per "gallon," or MPGe. MPGe is the EPA's way of rating electric cars in the same fashion as gasoline models, by converting electricity's equivalent energy, in kilowatts, to a gallon of gasoline. Posted. http://editorial.autos.msn.com/blogs/autosblogpost.aspx?post=f0e6a2f3-c47a-42c8-bf59-54cd6a0737aa