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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 18, 2012 Posted: 18 Jul 2012 12:26:54
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 White House weakened EPA soot proposal, documents show. The White House recently modified an Environmental Protection Agency proposal to limit soot emissions, according to documents obtained by The Washington Post, inviting public comment on a slightly weaker standard than the agency had originally sought. The behind-the-scenes tweaking of the proposed soot standards, which affect particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter, sparked criticism that the White House was interfering with science-based decisions. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/white-house-weakened-epa-soot-proposal-documents-show/2012/07/17/gJQANH3yrW_story.html Nefarious forces hampering Shellís Arctic drilling include air, water, ice. Guys, I have some bad news. Shellís attempts to drill exploratory wells in Alaska arenít going that great. Cue the Shell-denfreude. First, there was that ship that tried to escape, only to be dragged back into servitude. Then the company had to go hat-in-hand to the Environmental Protection Agency, asking if maybe, just this once, the agency would be cool with a little more air pollution coming from their drilling rig. Posted. http://grist.org/news/nefarious-forces-hampering-shells-arctic-drilling-include-air-water-ice/ Green streets can cut pollution, says study. The creation of "green walls" in urban areas could cut pollution by up to 30%, scientists have suggested. UK researchers say more trees and other vegetation at street level would clean air in areas that are normally exposed to higher pollution levels. Plants in towns and cities have been shown to remove nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM), both of which are harmful to human health. The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Posted. http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-18873391 Expert paints bleak air pollution picture to children's asthma group. While politicians like to tout improvements in pollution and air quality, that's not the world that scientists like John Froines see. "Air pollution is not getting better, it's getting worse," said Froines, a retired UCLA professor and director of the Southern California Particle Center. Speaking at a meeting Tuesday of the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma, Froines said the more that scientists learn about air pollution and its effects, the more alarming the picture becomes. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/california/ci_21097605/expert-paints-bleak-air-pollution-picture-childrens-asthma Earth Log: Bad ozone day renews debate about warnings. The air turned scary corrosive for two hours in Fresno last Thursday. Even in the San Joaquin Valley, where breathing bad air is a way of life, this was dangerous. The ozone overload on a steamy, windless day was the highest in nearly two years. And it triggered a now-familiar debate. How are we supposed to know when ozone is that high? Ozone is not like dust or smoke, which you can see and smell. By comparison, ozone is odorless and invisible. Kevin Hall, who heads the Central Valley Air Quality Coalition, says there should be some kind of warning system above and beyond the air district's everyday forecasts and publicity campaign. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/17/2912947/earth-log-bad-ozone-day-renews.html#storylink=misearch CLIMATE CHANGE Average Chinese person's carbon footprint now equals European's. The average Chinese person's carbon footprint is now almost on a par with the average European's, figures released on Wednesday reveal. China became the largest national emitter of CO2 in 2006, though its emissions per person have always been lower than those in developed countries such as Europe. But today's report, which only covers emissions from energy, by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) show that per capita emissions in China increased by 9% in 2011 to reach 7.2 tonnes per person, only a fraction lower than the EU average of 7.5 tonnes. Posted. http://www.guardian.co.uk/environment/2012/jul/18/china-average-europe-carbon-footprint U.S. leads the world in cutting CO2 emissions ó so why arenít we talking about it? Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is making progress on climate change. We have cut our carbon emissions more than any other country in the world in recent years ó 7.7 percent since 2006. U.S. emissions fell 1.9 percent last year and are projected to fall 1.9 percent again this year, which will put us back at 1996 levels. It will not be easy to achieve the reductions Obama promised in Copenhagen ó 17 percent (from 2005 levels) by 2020 ó but that goal no longer looks out of reach, even in the absence of comprehensive legislation. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-policy/u-s-leads-the-world-in-cutting-co2-emissions-so-why-arent-we-talking-about-it/ Slow Ride Stories: Kick-starting conversations about climate change. The climate is a-changiní ó but the debate on climate change isnít. As a result, climate scientists and environmental advocates appear to be fighting a losing battle: A recent poll of American attitudes toward climate change, put out in March by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, revealed that the number of climate skeptics in America is growing, and fewer voters view climate change as a scientifically affirmed or politically important issue. With this news in mind, a two-man film crew has hit the back roads of America to, in their words, kick-start a new national conversation about climate change ó one that might circumvent heated politics by focusing on local perspectives. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/slow-ride-stories-kick-starting-conversations-about-climate-change/ FUELS MIT study questions fuel savings from ethanol blending. The renewable ethanol fuel blended into the United States' gasoline supply does not lower prices at the pump as advocates have claimed, according to a study released this week by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The paper critiques earlier studies sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA), which found that mixing ethanol with transportation fuel reduced gasoline prices by 89 cents in 2010 and $1.09 in 2011. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/18/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY HIGH-SPEED RAIL AM Alert: Jerry Brown to sign funding bill for high-speed rail. Gov. Jerry Brown will be in Los Angeles this morning and in San Francisco this afternoon as he signs legislation authorizing funding to start construction of the state's controversial high-speed rail project. The Los Angeles ceremony is scheduled for 10 a.m. at Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., and the San Francisco event is set for 2 p.m. at Transbay Transit Center construction site on Howard Street between First and Second streets. Senate Bill 1029 squeaked out of the Senate earlier this month with the bare minimum of votes to authorize $5.8 billion to begin construction in the Central Valley. Posted. http://blogs.sacbee.com/capitolalertlatest/2012/07/am-alert-jerry-brown-to-sign-high-speed-rail-funding-senate-bill-1029.html VEHICLES Electric Cars Charged Without Cables, Without Touching. When it comes to introducing risk free electric cars into the mainstream, car rental is a no-brainer. Wireless charging systems could be just the right push to increase the adoption and convenience. Wireless Charging Saves The Day. If youíve been reading our latest electric car articles on TorqueNews.com lately, youíll probably have noticed we are slightly enamored with the promise of ease and convenience when it comes to the wireless charging of electric cars. Posted. http://www.torquenews.com/1079/helping-electric-car-rental-wireless-charging GREEN ENERGY County protects farmland from solar development. The Kern County Board of Supervisors approved a compromise plan Tuesday that will guide solar project developers who want to build large-scale sun farms on valley farmland. Some solar power developers and farming interests grudgingly supported the policy, developed by the Kern County Planning Department, which would set up a pathway for developers and planners to follow to determine what farmland is best to build solar power plants on. Posted. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x920646520/County-protects-farmland-from-solar-development Lodi gathering input toward a greener future. Lodi officials are searching for community input into how the city can lower greenhouse gas emissions and incorporate environmentally friendly features to its infrastructure. The city has hired Los Angeles-based consulting firm AECOM to create a climate action plan that will outline how the city can incorporate more public transit, offer residents the opportunity to include more energy-efficient features into their homes and how to ensure that industrial businesses are operating in a way that limits their carbon footprint. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120718/A_NEWS/207180313&cid=sitesearch Life Tech to install electricity-generating Bloom Fuel System at its headquarters. Life Technologies Corp. will install a fuel cell system to provide electricity for its headquarters, manufacturing and distribution center, the company said Wednesday. The 1 megawatt Bloom Energy fuel cell system will reduce Life Tech's carbon emissions by 30 percent, increase energy reliability and reduce costs when it begins operating in August, the biotech and instrumentation products company said in a press release. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/blogsnew/business/energy/life-tech-to-install-electricity-generating-bloom-fuel-system-at/article_fbe324f3-c669-5d58-be11-b6f164e93825.html Power play: Can utilities turn energy efficiency into fun and games? At any given moment, Collin Faunce can see exactly how much energy heís using in his house. When he turns on the dishwasher, his consumption spikes on the colorful head-up display on his computer monitor. If he and his wife, Erica, set the air conditioning just a few degrees higher, they can watch the dollars spared tick upwards in real time. They donít have to wait for the monthly bill to understand their savings, and when a gadget siphons away precious energy, the Faunces can immediately identify the culprit. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/power-play-can-utilities-make-energy-efficiency-fun/ OPINIONS Not so fast on blaming global warming. CAN YOU BLAME the scorching weather on climate change? Not really. Or at least not yet. In a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) report released last week, researchers attempted to determine how much they could attribute six extreme weather events last year to human-caused global warming. Even now, months on, some experts worry that drawing conclusions is precipitous. Figuring out what caused a flood in Thailand or a drought in Texas is hard. Doing it quickly is harder. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/not-so-fast-on-blaming-global-warming/2012/07/17/gJQAHIl2rW_story.html Viewpoints: Join fight for cleaner air in EPA proposal. My daughter was 8 when she was hospitalized because of a severe asthma attack. Air pollution had long been a professional concern for me, but this experience elevated the issue to a highly personal and very frightening level. Although the quality of the air we breathe has improved significantly since 1970, when a bipartisan Congress passed the Clean Air Act, millions of Americans are still experiencing for themselves variations of my family's story Ė and not always with a happy ending. Fortunately, there's something that we can do. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/18/4638126/join-fight-for-cleaner-air-in.html My Word: Who better than an Eagle Scout to show bold initiative on carbon pollution. Boy Scout spirits will soar Aug. 1 during the centennial celebration for Eagle Scouts everywhere. Please join me in encouraging Eagle Scout -- and Boy Scouts national President and Exxon Mobil CEO -- Rex Tillerson to play a prominent role. I have asked him to change the course of human history with true climate solutions leadership this year. Eagle Scouts should live by "We leave our campsites cleaner than we found them" as well as the Scout Law and Scout Oath. We share reverence for God; our family, neighbors and society; and our environment, which supports life for all species. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21096566?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21096566/my-word-who-better-than-an-eagle-scout?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com BLOGS EC proposes 30% stricter emissions standards for 2020. As they do with fashion and culinary wonders, the Europeans are continuing to take the lead in tightening fuel-economy standards as well. The European Commission (EC) has proposed fleetwide greenhouse-gas emissions standards for cars that are about 30 percent stricter by the end of the decade than they were last year. Van emissions standards would be tightened by about 20 percent, Green Car Congress reports. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/18/european-commission-proposes-stricter-car-emissions-standards/ Bloomberg says buyers, not automakers, should get more federal funding for plug-in vehicles. The U.S. government would be more effective at spurring plug-in vehicle sales if it provided more financial incentives to consumers instead of automakers. At least, that's the opinion in a Bloomberg News editorial. Saying that finding alternatives to gasoline "a worthy public goal," Bloomberg says the government should expand purchasing incentives beyond the $7,500 it provides for buyers of some plug-ins and hybrids. President Obama has said he wants 1 million plug-in vehicles to be on U.S. roads by 2015; the Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards he proposed last year would mandate about a 70 percent fuel economy improvement by 2025. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/17/bloomberg-buyers-not-automakers-more-federal-funds/ Wireless EV Charging Mats on the Horizon. Several automakers are developing technology that would help alleviate drivers' range anxiety. What if you could charge your Nissan Leaf while stopped at a red light? Several automakers are developing cordless charging mats that would, in theory, allow drivers of electric vehicles to do just that. The idea is that when the car is positioned over the charging mat, coils on the car's undercarriage would engage with the charger. Posted. http://editorial.autos.msn.com/blogs/autosblogpost-tech.aspx?post=9710f2b5-ae04-4de9-93c7-bde683327a63&icid=autos_3161