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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. CLIMATE CHANGE 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-06-19/cities-lead-effort-to-curb-climate-change-as-nations-lag.html http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/major-cities-tackle-climate-change-while-rio-summits-outcome-remains-uncertain/2012/06/18/gJQAzSzrmV_story.html 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-06-18/epa-won-t-curb-greenhouse-gases-from-ships-off-road-trucks-1-.html 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. http://www.firstenercastfinancial.com/news/story/48994-california-climate-rules-could-cause-fuel-supply-shortages-2015-study DOW JONES WIRE – BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY 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. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/wspa-releases-new-study-market-impacts-of-california-fuels-policies-2012-06-19 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/18/amgen-cuts-funding-to-the-heartland-institute/#ixzz1yG3soUpU 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/18/bill-to-clarify-process-for-obtaining-carbon/ 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. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/06/alaska-20120619.html 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 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/19/us-usa-defense-energy-idUSBRE85I06120120619 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-06-19/environmentalists-say-un-sustainability-pact-lacks-teeth.html 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-carbon-storage-may-cause-earthquakes-20120618,0,5073255.story 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/19/4571989/aaskdf-kjasdfh-asdkfjh-asdfkjh.html 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. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-06-18/feds-approve-gas-drilling-project-in-eastern-utah http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20884763/feds-approve-gas-drilling-project-eastern-utah?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com VEHICLES 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/19/us-china-cars-idUSBRE85I02J20120619 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. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/18/MNEH1P2SC5.DTL#ixzz1yG3FIYhV GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-18/u-k-solar-industry-sidesteps-tariff-cut-to-build-biggest-plants.html 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-18/rural-power-group-says-epa-rules-thwart-coal-fueled-electricity.html 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-19/china-to-encourage-local-private-investment-in-energy-projects.html 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/19/us-energy-un-yumkella-idUSBRE85I02M20120619 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 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS 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. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/19/BA0P1P3UGR.DTL&type=printable 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. http://news.yahoo.com/fueling-ca-hosts-first-kind-symposium-californias-low-120411050.html 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. Posted. http://www.thebusinessjournal.com/news/energy-and-environment/2250-perea-to-hold-cap-and-trade-forum-in-fresno 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. http://grist.org/news/japan-turns-reactors-back-on-but-bulks-up-on-solar/ OPINIONS 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/business/media/american-lung-association-seeks-younger-donors-with-new-ad-and-an-app.html?_r=1&pagewanted=print 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/19/v-print/4571721/gov-brown-takes-needed-action.html 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/opinion/rio-isnt-all-lost.htm l 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/18/elias-state-squelches-dubious-hydrogen-grant/#ixzz1yG4drTgB 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. http://grist.org/news/if-we-cant-end-climate-change-in-one-grand-effort-maybe-we-can-do-it-in-21-little-ones/ BLOGS 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/19/activist-artist-vs-pipeline/