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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 8, 2012. Posted: 08 Jun 2012 14:28:58
ARB News Clips for June 8, 2012. This is a service of the California Air Resources Boardís Office of Communications. You may need to sign in or register with individual websites to view some of the following news articles. AIR POLLUTION EPA proposes approving Texas' clean air plan. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency suggested Thursday it would approve parts of Texas' clean air plan, a move that could help ease some of the strains between the state and the federal agency. The EPA said in a statement that it supported revisions submitted by the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality giving operating flexibility to some of the biggest air polluters, including the state's many refineries. The EPA indicated it would approve the plan once a 30-day public comment period ends. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_EPA_TEXAS_CLEAN_AIR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT CLIMATE CHANGE Weather center: 50 percent chance of El Nino later this year. There is a 50 percent chance the feared El Nino weather pattern which can trigger droughts in Southeast Asia and Australia and floods in South America may strike later this year, the U.S. Climate Prediction Center warned on Thursday. In its strongest prediction so far that El Nino could emerge, the CPC said conditions are still expected to be neutral between June and August, but there is a 50 percent likelihood that El Nino will develop in the remainder of the year. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/08/us-weather-elnino-cpc-idUSBRE85703E20120608 Warmest U.S. spring on record Ė NOAA. So far, 2012 has been the warmest year the United States has ever seen, with the warmest spring and the second-warmest May since record-keeping began in 1895, the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported on Thursday. Temperatures for the past 12 months and the year-to-date have been the warmest on record for the contiguous United States, NOAA said. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/07/climate-warmth-usa-idUSL1E8H7DLH20120607 Japan May Cut Greenhouse Gas Emissions by Up to 15%, Panel Says. Japanís greenhouse gas emissions may drop as much as 15 percent by 2020 from 1990 levels if the country increases the use of energy saving measures and clean energy, an environment ministry taskforce said. The taskforce debating Japanís low-carbon policies and measures after 2013 plans to propose six different scenarios for emission cuts to the government, according to a draft report released today. Japanís existing pledge is to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent from 1990 levels in 2020. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-08/japan-may-cut-greenhouse-gas-emissions-by-up-to-15-panel-says.html Earth may be near tipping point, scientists warn. A group of scientists warns that population growth, climate change and environmental damage are pushing Earth toward calamitous and irreversible changes. A group of international scientists is sounding a global alarm, warning that population growth, climate change and environmental destruction are pushing Earth toward calamitous ó and irreversible ó biological changes. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0607-global-tipping-20120607,0,4125302.story http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/07/MN1T1OT26G.DTL&type=science Mexico's president enacts climate change legislation. Mexican President Felipe Calderon has signed a law introducing binding targets on climate change. Mr Calderon said on Twitter that the law would make Mexico the "first developing country with integral legislation against climate change". The law, which sets targets on reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing the use of renewable energy, is only the second of its kind in the world. The measures had been passed by the Senate in April by 78 votes to nil. Posted. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-latin-america-18345079 FUELS News Summary: Airlines want govt biofuels support. NEED A LIFT: 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. COSTLY FLIGHTS: 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. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_AIRLINES_BIOFUELS_SUMMARY_BOX?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Shell Buys Jet Fuel in Europe; Diesel Barges Drop: Oil Products. Royal Dutch Shell Plc bought a cargo of jet fuel in northwest for the first time this month. Diesel barges fell as BP Plc sold six lots. Gasoil on the ICE Futures Europe exchange in London fell for a second day, trading at the lowest in 16 months after Brent crude plunged to less than $98 a barrel on concern that an economic slowdown in the U.S. and Europe will worsen, curbing fuel demand. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-08/shell-buys-jet-fuel-in-europe-diesel-barges-drop-oil-products.html China to Cut Fuel Prices by the Most Since 2008, C1 Says. China Petroleum & Chemical Corp. (600028) and PetroChina Co. (857), the nationís biggest refiners, face more losses from processing crude after the government cut fuel prices by the most since 2008 as global crude costs tumbled. State-controlled retail gasoline prices fall by 530 yuan ($83) a metric ton and diesel by 510 yuan starting today, the National Development and Reform Commission, the nationís top economic planner, said on its website yesterday. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-08/china-to-cut-fuel-prices-by-the-most-since-2008-c1-says.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/china-cuts-state-set-fuel-price-for-second-time-in-a-month-amid-effort-to-stimulate-economy/2012/06/08/gJQAk6h9MV_story.html Ethanol Advances on Concern China Rate Cuts to Lift Corn Demand. Ethanol futures advanced in Chicago on concern that interest rate cuts in China will boost demand for commodities such as corn. The biofuel gained 1 percent after the Peopleís Bank of China said the one-year lending rate will drop a quarter- percentage point to 6.31 percent starting tomorrow, stoking speculation that the country will boost corn imports. The grain is the primary ingredient in ethanol in the U.S. ďPosted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-07/ethanol-advances-on-concern-china-rate-cuts-to-lift-corn-demand.html VEHICLES GM Boosts 2013 Volt Mileage Rating, Beating Toyota Prius. General Motors Co. (GM)ís changes to the battery of the Chevrolet Volt will extend the 2013 modelís range beyond Toyota Motor Corp. (7203)ís plug-in Prius in miles-per-gallon equivalent. GM said the all-electric range of the 2013 Chevrolet Volt will be 38 miles (61 kilometers) on a single charge after the company increased battery storage capacity and changed the cellís chemistry. Thatís an increase of three miles. The modelís mpg-equivalent will rise to 98 miles from 94, the company said in a statement on its website. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-07/gm-boosts-2013-volt-mileage-rating-beating-toyota-prius.html Exclusive: Europe set to regulate for greener cars. The European Commission is set to propose tighter carbon emissions standards for new EU cars, according to a draft proposal that is likely to divide the auto industry. The proposal, expected to be made public next month, would make binding a 2020 goal to lower carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions to an average of 95 grams per kilometer (g/km). So far it is only a provisional, non-binding goal and compares with an existing, binding target of 130 g/km. Some industry representatives have said tougher binding standards would be extremely challenging. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/06/us-eu-cars-law-idUSBRE85511220120606 Cap-and-Trade for Electric Cars Gets Going in California. What a terrific idea! California's zero emissions vehicle (ZEV) law requires automakers to sell an increasing number of zero emission vehicles in the state - and those that can't meet their targets can buy "credits" from automakers who can. Automakers that can't meet their targets or don't buy enough credits face thousands of dollars in fines for each missed credit. The state can also ban the automaker from selling cars there. That sets up a nice incentive for producing ZEVs - an additional revenue stream. Posted. http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/23772 Cities learn the art of putting more cars on existing roads. Cars, highways and intersections across the United States are developing minds of their own. Indeed, the entire transportation network is getting smarter and learning to communicate so that people in increasingly congested cities can get where they need to go faster. These expanding "intelligent transportation systems" (ITS) encompass a new variety of technologies that boost safety, productivity and environmental protection by marrying communications-based hardware and software with transportation infrastructure and vehicles. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/08/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY China-U.S. Trade Tensions Rise as Renewable Energy Sags. When solar-panel maker Solyndra LLC collapsed in September after winning a $535 million U.S. loan guarantee, President Barack Obamaís administration blamed Chinaís even bigger aid for its renewable-energy industry. The China Development Bank Corp. in 2010 provided Solyndraís Chinese competitors more than $30 billion in credit, dwarfing U.S. support for solar manufacturers as the price of polysilicon, the main material in solar cells, plummeted, Jonathan Silver, the Energy Departmentís loan-guarantee chief at the time, told a House committee. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-07/china-u-s-trade-tensions-rise-as-renewable-energy-sags.html MISCELLANEOUS California Nuclear Plant to Stay Closed Through August. The San Onofre nuclear plant will remain shut down at least through August, Southern California Edison said, putting a big crimp in electricity supplies in the San Diego area this summer. The plant's two reactors remain idled while inspection teams investigate the reasons for premature aging of vital plant equipment. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission has sent extra inspectors to the plant but they haven't released their findings. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702303665904577453340514701950.html?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5 BY SUBSCRIPTION Scientist Is Reinstated After Deceit. A scientist who posed as a board member of a conservative organization to gain access to its confidential information has been reinstated as president of the Pacific Institute, the environmental research organization that he founded in California. The institute said Wednesday in a statement that an independent inquiry had confirmed the account offered by the scientist, Peter Gleick, of the false pretenses under which he obtained documents of the Heartland Institute in February. The documents contained details about the budget, strategy and donors to the institute, which disputes that global warming is under way. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/08/science/earth/scientist-peter-gleick-is-reinstated-after-deceit.html?_r=1 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/08/BAK51OUH3V.DTL&type=printable South Sacramento County to get aerial spraying in West Nile virus fight. Spells of warm weather in April and May coupled with late-spring rains are blamed for the early arrival of West Nile virus in Sacramento and Yolo counties this year. Citing high infection rates of birds and mosquitoes, the Sacramento-Yolo Mosquito & Vector Control District announced that it will conduct aerial spraying of 30,000 acres in south Sacramento County over two nights next week. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/08/4547107/south-sacramento-county-to-get.html Calif. blackouts possible with nuke plant offline. Los Angeles -- Southern California utility officials are warning that blackouts in the region are possible this summer as a result of the sidelined San Onofre nuclear power plant. The damaged plant is likely to remain sidelined until at least the end of August while investigators probe excessive wear in tubing that carries radioactive water, the plant's operator said Thursday. The officials say that if a heat wave hits while the twin-reactor plant is offline, rotating blackouts are a possibility. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/07/4546555/troubled-san-onofre-nuke-plant.html OPINIONS Drill for income with energy stocks. Whenever the threat of an economic slowdown starts hulking around like a cranky bear, I look to essentials that are important to me as a long-term investor, like energy. Then I consider what investors need most while they watch share prices dip, and that is steady dividends. Although I have severe reservations about energy companies' role in global warming - they can be doing much more to promote clean/alternative energy - energy companies that pay healthy, consistent dividends still make sense. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/08/us-column-wasik-energy-idUSBRE8570UJ20120608 Editorial: California also land of pricey energy. Government shares blame for costly gasoline and electric power. California, as just about everyone already knows, is among the nation's highest-taxed, most-regulated and most-expensive states to live in. Now, a report from the Small Business & Entrepreneurship Council, a Washington, D.C., advocacy group, shows California also has the sixth-highest energy costs among the states in 2012.Energy costs, like taxes, regulations and the cost of living, are direct consequences of meddlesome, overbearing government intrusion. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/energy-357885-cost-business.html If you remove traffic jams, will people drive more? Intelligent transportation systems (ITS) are designed to relieve congestion and reduce the greenhouse gas emissions that come with it. But there are doubts circulating as to just how effectively ITS can mitigate climate change. One of the problems with ITS is that by alleviating traffic and lowering the cost of travel, transportation technologies can actually attract more drivers to the road. This "induced demand" phenomenon can undo any environmental gains and force city planners to repair expensive, crumbling roads even sooner. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/08/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY BLOGS Romneyís conflicting remarks on Solyndra-like investments. Mitt Romney campaign adviser Eric Fehrnstrom squared off Sunday with President Obamaís deputy campaign manager, Stephanie Cutter, on ABCís ďThis Week,Ē with the two operatives defending their candidatesí records on clean-energy investments. Earlier in the week, Romney held a news conference at Solyndra, describing the collapse of that federally backed solar-panel maker as proof that the Obama administration was misguided in trying to create jobs with targeted government investments ó something the presidentís critics have described as crony capitalism. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/fact-checker/post/romneys-conflicting-remarks-on-solyndra-like-investments/2012/06/07/gJQABn0vLV_blog.html Peter Gleick Reinstated at Pacific Institute. The water and climate expert Peter Gleick, a scientist who masqueraded as a board member of a conservative organization to gain access to its confidential financial information, has been reinstated as president of the Pacific Institute, the environmentally minded think tank that he founded. The institute posted a notice at its Web site on Wednesday saying that an independent investigation had confirmed Dr. Gleickís account of the false pretenses under which he gained access to internal documents of the Chicago-based Heartland Institute in February. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/07/peter-gleick-reinstated-at-pacific-institute/ Are We Overestimating Biofuels' Benefits by Double Counting Emission Reductions? Enter here all who be wonks. Others, you've been warned. The popular argument goes that when calculating the emissions from biofuel powered vehicles you can ignore the emissions created by the vehicles burning them because the plants used to create biofuels already had sucked carbon out of the air and anything emitted by the car is just releasing it back into the atmosphere. Posted. http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/are-we-overestimating-biofuels-benefits-double-counting-emission-reductions.html