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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 19, 2012

Posted: 19 Jun 2012 16:48:00
ARB Newsclips for June 19, 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.


Cities Lead Effort to Curb Climate Change as Nations Lag. New
York Mayor Michael Bloomberg is leading an effort by 58 of the
world’s largest cities to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions while
federal governments struggle to meet global targets following two
decades of discussions. The member-cities of the C40 Cities
Climate Leadership Group produce about 14 percent of the world’s
greenhouse-gas emissions. Their actions to improve energy
efficiency and invest in renewable power will reduce emissions by
248 million metric tons in 2020, Bloomberg said on a conference
call. Posted.

EPA Won’t Curb Greenhouse Gases From Ships, Off-Road Trucks. The
Environmental Protection Agency turned down a demand from U.S.
environmental groups that it curb greenhouse-gas emissions from
aircraft, ships or off-highway vehicles such as trucks used in
mining operations. The agency sent a court-ordered response today
to the Center for Biological Diversity and other groups, saying
that it wouldn’t issue regulations for those sources of carbon
dioxide anytime soon. Posted.

California Climate Rules Could Cause Fuel Supply Shortages by
2015 –Study. San Francisco--California could see gasoline
shortages as early as 2015 as new state rules aimed at cutting
greenhouse-gas emissions could shutter more than half the state's
refining capacity in less than eight years, according to a new
study commissioned by an industry group. The state's Low Carbon
Fuel Standard regulation could cause up to seven refineries to
shut, which could eliminate up to 65% of California's refining
capacity by 2020, according to the study. Posted.

WSPA Releases New Study: Market Impacts of California Fuels
Policies. California's multiple climate change regulations will
have serious unintended consequences for the state's
transportation fuel markets, including significant job losses,
disruptions to fuel supplies, and higher costs for businesses and
consumers, according to an unprecedented independent study
conducted by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) and released
today.  Posted. 

Amgen cuts funding to the Heartland Institute. Amgen has stopped
making political contributions to the Heartland Institute, a
conservative Chicago-based nonprofit that disputes global
warming. The Thousand Oaks-based biotech company most recently
contributed $25,000 to the organization, according to a news
release issued Monday by Forecast the Facts, a campaign group
launched to oppose those who deny climate change. Amgen issued a
statement Monday saying it has cut funding. Posted. 

Bill to clarify process for obtaining carbon offsets advances. 
Under California's market-based approach for reducing greenhouse
gas emissions, businesses will have two methods for buying ways
to produce more emissions than they have been allotted.  They can
buy additional credits at a cap-and-trade auction that will debut
this year or buy carbon offsets from a third party that will do
such things as plant trees in forests.  With the rules still
emerging on which offset practices will qualify, environmental
organizations such as …Posted. 

Scientists call for careful use of time scales, reference dates
and statistical approaches in analyzing climate change trends to
avoid distortion and hampering of response.  Demonstrating that
the use of different time scales, reference dates, and
statistical approaches can generate highly disparate results in
climate reports, scientists at the University of Alaska Anchorage
argue that careful use of these tools is critical for correctly
interpreting and reporting climatic trends in Alaska and other
polar regions.  Posted. 

Offsets bill eases through Calif. Legislature. A bill to regulate
approval of offset project types is on the move in the California
Legislature, backed by a coalition of environmental and industry
groups. A.B. 2563, sponsored by Rep. Cameron Smyth (R), would
require the state Air Resources Board to create a process to
decide which new project types to add to the list of technologies
and industries that are allowed to create carbon offsets under
state law. The Assembly Natural Resources Committee passed it
yesterday with no opposition. It could go to the Assembly floor
by August, legislative staff said. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/19/5 BY


Renewables no fix for U.S. military fuel woes: study. Renewable
fuels for U.S. military ships and jets are likely to remain "far
more expensive" than petroleum products absent a technological
breakthrough, a study for the U.S. Air Force found on Tuesday,
questioning a Pentagon push for alternative energy. The study by
the RAND Corporation think tank said that while the U.S. Defense
Department is a huge consumer of fuel at about 340,000 barrels
per day, that figure is a tiny fraction of the 87 million barrels
per day of global demand, too small to influence price
significantly. Posted.

Environmentalists Say UN Sustainability Pact Lacks Teeth. United
Nations envoys endorsed the broadest steps yet to harmonize
economic development with efforts to protect the environment,
measures that pressure groups say lack the teeth needed to force
change. Delegates from 190 nations put the finishing touches on a
draft text early this morning that addresses cuts in fossil-fuel
subsidies, support for the use of renewable energy and measures
to protect oceans, according to UN diplomats and Brazil Foreign
Minister Antonio Patriota at the talks in Rio de Janeiro. Posted.

Underground carbon dioxide storage likely would cause
earthquakes. The notion of mitigating harmful carbon dioxide
emissions by storing the gas underground is not practical because
the process is likely to cause earthquakes that would release the
gas anyway, according to a commentary published Monday in
Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While the
scientists do not expect that the approach would cause any large
and dangerous seismic activity, they say it is likely that the
earthquakes would be severe enough to jeopardize the ability to
store the gas underground over the long term. Posted.

Backers, foes of natural gas storage plan tour Sacramento site. A
plan to store 7.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas below a
Sacramento neighborhood got a public airing Monday – just days
before utility regulators are to cast a pivotal vote on the
project. Most of the 50 people attending in the Coloma Community
Center did not talk publicly. But the information-gathering
session drew speakers from both sides of the debate about safety
issues and whether the project is necessary. Posted.  

Feds approve gas-drilling project in eastern Utah.  Federal land
managers approved another big natural-gas project Monday for
eastern Utah and said they persuaded the driller to pull back
from the wild Green River.  Environmental groups said drilling
will nibble away at a proposed wilderness area for Desolation
Canyon, which has seen little change since explorer John Wesley
Powell remarked on "a region of wildest desolation" while boating
the river in 1896. Posted. 


China eyes subsidies to develop energy-saving vehicles: paper.
China is considering tax exemptions and subsidies for buyers of
energy-saving vehicles in an attempt to boost its low-emissions
auto sector, the Shanghai Securities News reported on Tuesday.
The development plan submitted to the State Council is part of
broader efforts to upgrade China's fragmented automobile sector
and establish an early footing in the production of low-emission
and environmentally friendly vehicles. Posted.

Tesla has a lot riding on Model S sedan's success. On a gleaming
white factory floor in Fremont, workers buzz over freshly
assembled cars that represent the future of Tesla Motors. The
workers search for flaws. They check the paint, the wiring, the
fit of door against body. They run the cars over a bumpy indoor
track to simulate rough roads. They douse the cars with
pressurized water to make sure nothing leaks. The cars - sleek,
sumptuous and powered only by electricity - are the Model S. The
S is only the second model introduced by Tesla and the first that
the upstart automaker will build on its own.


U.K. Solar Industry Sidesteps Tariff Cut to Build Biggest Plants.
Solar-energy companies are applying to build the U.K.’s biggest
projects, sidestepping a cut in state subsidies aimed at limiting
new power plants by relying on a decade-old incentive program and
tumbling panel prices. The market for utility-scale projects,
stymied since the U.K. lowered feed-in tariffs paid to generators
in August, may as a result see as much as 600 megawatts of plants
built through April, the Solar Trade Association said. That’s
about four times the level of such installations now operating in
the country. Posted.

Rural Power Group Says EPA Rules Thwart Coal-Fueled Electricity.
An electricity supplier serving 1.5 million customers in four
rural states said separate regulations from the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency are thwarting plans to build
coal-fired power plants. Tri-State Generation and Transmission
Association Inc., a nonprofit in Westminster, Colorado, can’t
complete a proposed plant in Kansas because of the rules, one
aimed at curbing mercury pollution and another aimed at
greenhouse-gas emissions. Posted.

China to Encourage Local Private Investment in Energy Projects.
China pledged to increase participation by domestic non-state
companies in its energy industry to accelerate oil exploration
and electricity generation, which are dominated by state
enterprises. Private companies will be “encouraged” and “guided”
to invest in oil and natural gas ventures in China, including
unconventional resources such as shale gas and coal-bed methane,
the Ministry of Land and Resources said in a statement on its
website yesterday. Posted.

U.N. sees natural gas a key to forests, helping poor. Natural
gas, including non-traditional shale gas, should play a major
role in cutting greenhouse gases, protecting forests and
improving the health and living standards of the world's poor,
the co-head of a U.N. sustainable energy program said on Monday.
Without it, the U.N.'s Sustainable Energy for All Initiative will
have difficulty meeting goals of ensuring universal energy
access, doubling the world's share of renewable energy and
doubling the rate of improvement in energy efficiency by 2030,
Kandeh Yumkella, co-head of the initiative, told Reuters. Posted.

GE unveils new carbon capture technology. General Electric Co.
and Norway's Sargas have joined forces to launch a new carbon
dioxide emissions-capturing technology for power plants. The
technology would catch 90 percent of the output of CO2 from
natural gas-fired plants and use it to force more crude out of
oil fields. To start, the technology will be implemented by two
plants: one in Norway and one along the Gulf Coast of the United
States. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/06/19/20  BY


Governor seeks to cut toxic chemicals in furniture. Sacramento
--Gov. Jerry Brown ordered a revision Monday of a nearly
40-year-old California regulation that critics say has prompted
furniture manufacturers to apply toxic flame retardants on
products sold throughout the United States. Chemicals used to
meet California's flammability safety standard on furniture have
been linked to serious health problems and have been found in
high levels in the bodies of children and pregnant women. Posted.

Fueling CA Hosts First-Of-Its-Kind Symposium on California's Low
Carbon Fuel Standard Program. Fueling California -
www.fuelingcalifornia.org - today hosted a symposium that brought
together leading voices from regulatory agencies, industry
leaders, environmental organizations, government, alternative
energy companies and academia to discuss and educate key
stakeholders on California's Low Carbon Fuel Standard Program
(LCFS). The symposium provided an overview of the LCFS regulation
and where we are today; discussed the realities of the
implementation; and the goals of the standard and possible
solutions to achieve them. Posted.

Perea to hold cap-and-trade forum in Fresno. California's
landmark program to curb greenhouse gas emissions from large
factories and power plants will be explained in detail during a
forum on June 29 at Fresno City College. The California Air
Resources Board adopted the rule last October requiring 600 of
the state's largest stationary sources of pollution pay for every
ton of pollution they emit beyond a certain cap. A system of
auctions begins next year giving cement manufacturers, power
plants, oil refineries and other facilities the chance to buy
allowances for emissions they're not able to mitigate otherwise.

Japan turns reactors back on – but bulks up on solar.  Japan’s
announcement over the weekend that it would restart two nuclear
reactors caused no small amount of consternation within the
country and abroad. Seventy-one percent of the country opposes
turning the reactors back on. They point out that the country has
been meeting power demands just fine without the reactors online,
and also note some of the challenges of using nuclear power. Such
as earthquake/tidal wave combos that knock out power plants and
lead to radiation leaks. That has happened before. In recent
memory.  Posted. 


A Public Service Ad About Air, and an App. “I MEAN, yeah, you can
say it’s an unusual hobby,” says a man in his 20s wearing
oversize glasses in a quirky new public service announcement from
the American Lung Association. “I’ve had people laugh at me, but
I don’t care. I just love collecting air.” The words “Alvin
Grimes, Air Collector” appear on the screen, and the camera draws
back to show him sitting before a wall of jelly jars. Posted.

Editorial: Gov. Brown takes needed action on toxic flame
retardants. For years, the chemical industry has fought to stop
statewide bans on certain toxic chemicals, arguing that such
decisions are best left to federal authorities, such as the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. Yet the chemical industry's
credibility has been seriously undermined by a recent
investigative series in the Chicago Tribune on the subject of
flame retardant chemicals in furniture and baby products. Posted.

Rio Isn’t All Lost. IN June 1992, world leaders, including
President George Bush, agreed to combat climate change at the
Earth Summit meeting in Rio de Janeiro. This week, at “Rio+20,”
leaders, experts and activists will once more gather to ponder
the fate of the planet. Optimism will be in short supply. Since
the first conference, global carbon emissions have increased by
some 50 percent — an outcome that those who were present 20 years
ago would surely have seen as disastrous. And we are continuing
this sorry trend: As the Arctic becomes ice-free, we can expect
that it will be drilled for oil. Posted. 

Elias: State squelches dubious hydrogen grant policy. Less than
two weeks after this column exposed a situation where tens of
millions of state tax dollars were given to billion-dollar
corporations — but only with approval from other billion-dollar
corporations — the California Energy Commission suddenly ended
that practice. In a message sent late May 25, the commission said
it "is canceling its grant solicitation for hydrogen fueling
stations to revise solicitation protocols. The commission will
issue a new solicitation at a future date." Posted. 

If we can’t end climate change in one grand effort, maybe we can
do it in 21 little ones.  This week, representatives of nearly
every country in the world are in Rio de Janeiro attending a
meeting hosted by the United Nations that happens once every 10
years. While there, the world could come together and agree to a
plan that will effectively reverse decades of carbon pollution. 
It won’t. There are a lot of reasons why no grand accord will
result from Rio: politics, economics — every nation, it seems,
has its own reasons. But perhaps the problem isn’t the
convocation. Perhaps the problem is the expectation that there’s
a climate change silver bullet.  Posted. 


Activist Artist vs. Pipeline. An illustrated article that takes a
leaf from “Alice in Wonderland” has gained something of an online
following, prompting thousands of people to urge the Canadian
government to halt development of the Northern Gateway oil
pipeline. In this “visual essay,” posted by the Canadian activist
Franke James at her Web site, Alice poses a series of questions
about the pipeline’s environmental risks to the Canadian prime
minister, Stephen Harper, and his minister of natural resources,
Joe Oliver, in brightly illustrated cartoon-like frames. Posted. 

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