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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 25, 2012.

Posted: 25 Jul 2012 12:17:40
ARB News Clips for July 25, 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.


Cut air pollution, buy time to slow climate change: U.S. Cutting
soot and other air pollutants could help "buy time" in the fight
against climate change, a senior U.S. official said on Tuesday as
seven nations joined a Washington-led plan. Air pollution, from
sources ranging from wood-fired cooking stoves in Africa to cars
in Europe, may be responsible for up to six million deaths a year
worldwide and is also contributing to global warming, the U.N.
Environment Programme (UNEP) said. Posted. 


With Warming, Peril Underlies Road to Alaska. In February 1942,
President Franklin D. Roosevelt gave the Army Corps of Engineers
an assignment: Build a road from British Columbia across the
Yukon to Alaska — in eight months, before winter sets in. Japan
had just destroyed much of the Pacific fleet at Pearl Harbor.
Alaska was vulnerable to invasion (in fact, the Japanese occupied
two Aleutian Islands that June). If Americans did not build a
supply road linking Alaska to the heart of North America, the
thinking went, invading Japanese would do it for them. Posted. 

Dramatic ice melt in Greenland. In a scant four days this month,
the surface of Greenland's ice sheet melted to an extent not
witnessed in 30 years of satellite observations, NASA reported
Tuesday. On average, about half of the surface of the ice sheet
melts during the summer. But from July 8 to July 12, the ice melt
expanded from 40 percent of the ice sheet to 97 percent,
according to scientists who analyzed the data from satellites
deployed by NASA and India's space research institute. Posted.

California a Step Closer to Carbon Cap and Trade. The California
Air Resources Board (CARB) has reached a crucial, if forbiddingly
wonky, milestone in its implementation of the state's Cap and
Trade program for carbon dioxide. California's largest emitters
of carbon dioxide now have a computerized tracking system to
allow them to trade carbon credits starting in 2013 -- but they
only have until the end of next month to sign up. Posted.


U.S. biofuel advocates urge Congress to continue Pentagon
funding. Military veterans and former lawmakers urged Congress on
Tuesday to continue funding the Pentagon's controversial biofuels
program, saying the failure to deal with U.S. dependence on
foreign oil was a key factor in the wars of the past 22 years.
"As long as U.S. and global economic security are dependent on
oil produced in volatile regions of the world, our military will
be required to continue deployments and dangerous missions to
ensure the ... security of vital energy resources," the group,
led by retired Republican Senator John Warner, said in a letter
to President Barack Obama and members of Congress. Posted.

Oil Group Files Second Lawsuit Over EPA Biofuel Standards. An oil
and gas industry trade association filed a second lawsuit
challenging U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations
governing fuel additives that include biological materials. The
American Petroleum Institute, in lawsuits filed yesterday and in
March, is seeking to overturn an EPA standard mandating the
purchase of fuels formulated in part from biological materials
including switchgrass, wood chips and agricultural waste. The
group claims the regulations include cellulosic fuels that don’t
exist. Posted.

Wrong valve cause of fire at AC Transit hydrogen station. The use
of an incorrect valve caused a May 4 Emeryville fire that caused
neighborhood evacuations and closed AC Transit's $10 million new
hydrogen fueling station for buses, federal investigators have
concluded. In an apparent slip up, a pressure relief valve at the
hydrogen fuel plant was made with a type of hard steel known to
crack and fail when exposed to hydrogen, Sandia National
Laboratories investigators said in a 33-page report released this
week. Posted. 


Teachers drill down to how oil gets produced. Aera Energy
engineer Matt Kedzierski explained Wednesday to a group of
teachers how the prices of oil barrels are set, how to calculate
the gravity of oil, and how much it costs companies to make a
single drill. "You can make a good math problem out of all this,"
said eighth-grade teacher Anna Zucker. Posted. 


France plans to save car industry by going green. Green
technology is the answer to the declining fortunes of France's
auto industry, according to a new government plan to turn the
sector around.  The strategy for France's carmakers was unveiled
Wednesday by the Ministry for Industrial Recovery—a government
department created by President Francois Hollande to put his plan
to "re-industrialize" France into action. Across Europe, lots and
factories are filling up with unsold cars. Industry executives
estimate factories have the capacity to build 20 percent more
cars than they are able to sell. Posted. 




Valley Air District wins award for car emissions tests, more. A
program that provides free emissions testing and car repairs to
Central Valley drivers earned the San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District a state environmental award, according
to a news release. The program, called Tune In, Tune Up, won the
annual Edmund G. "Pat" Brown Award given by the California
Council for Environmental and Economic Balance. Drivers
throughout the Central Valley can have their car emissions tested
at regular events. If the test determines the car would likely
fail a smog test, the driver is given a voucher for up to $500 in
repairs to make the car meet smog test standards. Posted. 


U.S. solar plan creates energy zones, excludes sensitive lands.
The federal government offers incentives to place facilities in
17 designated areas in six Western states, including 154,000
acres in California. The Obama administration unveiled plans
Tuesday to ramp up solar energy production, offering incentives
for solar developers to cluster projects on 285,000 acres of
federal land in the western U.S and opening an additional 19
million acres of the Mojave Desert for new power plants. The
long-awaited plan also appears to rewind previous land-use
decisions by the federal government. Posted.

Solar expected to make up 40 percent of PG&E's renewable
portfolio by 2020. Solar power, which makes up a tiny part of
California's overall energy mix, will account for the biggest
piece of the state's renewable energy pie by the end of the
decade, according to the state's largest utilities. Last year,
Pacific Gas & Electric got most of its renewable energy from
wind, bioenergy, geothermal and small hydropower dams. Solar
accounted for about 1 percent. But that mix is quickly changing,
and by 2020, the San Francisco-based utility expects solar to
account for 40 percent of its renewable portfolio. 
California's aggressive "Renewable Portfolio Standard" law
requires utilities to purchase 33 percent of their electricity
from renewable sources by 2020. Posted.

LEED Release Delayed Amid Controversy. The U. S. Green Building
Council announced last week that it will delay release of Version
4 of its environmental rating system for construction projects,
and extend the comment period through December 10, 2012, due to
an unprecedented level of 22,000 comments on the current draft.
After further comment, voting on the new version will likely be
delayed until next June. USGBC has already certified 40,000
construction projects in 130 countries worldwide, and it says 1.5
million square feet of new building space is certified daily.


Sen. Boxer pushes for tougher toxics law. Retired San Francisco
fire Capt. Tony Stefani, who contracted a rare form of pelvic
cancer, told a Senate committee Tuesday that there is evidence
that flame retardants and other chemicals used in household
products expose firefighters to a "toxic soup" after they
extinguish fires. Stefani founded the San Francisco Firefighters
Cancer Prevention Fund in 2006 after two other firefighters he
worked with also contracted the cancer, known as transitional
cell carcinoma, in its more common form of bladder cancer. Since
then, his foundation has been involved in three studies of
environmental exposure to chemical toxins. Posted.

Redwood City firm sued over dumping of toxic waste, The San Mateo
County District Attorney's Office has filed a civil complaint
against a Redwood City construction company that allegedly
disposed of toxic chemicals in a Dumpster, causing three garbage
workers to be hospitalized from exposure. The complaint alleges
that some time around Dec. 26, 2011, Arron John Pellarin -- owner
of Pellarin Construction Company -- assigned three of his
employees to conduct various improvements at its Redwood City
facility, located at 1520 Main St., Deputy District Attorney Todd
Feinberg said. Posted.


Soot risks and CARB's truck and bus regulation. The California
Air Resources Board is committed to cleaning up the air and
protecting public health by getting the oldest, dirtiest diesel
trucks off the road. Unfortunately, The Californian's July 18
editorial "Flexibility in rollout of AB 32 makes sense"
mistakenly identified AB 32 as the state measure that will
accomplish that goal. In fact, it is the truck and bus
regulation, a measure that is specifically designed to lower
diesel soot and smog-forming emissions by introducing, on a
staggered schedule, progressively cleaner trucks over the next
decade. Posted. 

Thomas D. Elias: State's open-government rules take a hit under
one-party rule. MUCH has been made - and rightly so - of the
"budget trailer" bill passed swiftly and without public hearings
earlier this summer. It allows virtually complete secrecy to the
new semi-governmental corporation that will administer
California's upcoming cap and trade program for reducing air
pollution and greenhouse gases. That measure, known as SB 1018,
allows directors of the new corporation to do anything it likes
in secrecy. The corporation will eventually levy heavy fees
against businesses that emit more than the prescribed level of
pollutants. Posted.

Hunger, population and climate change. The international news
warns that Somalia again faces starvation, this despite last
year's famine only recently being declared over. While mothers
hold healthy infants kept alive by supplies from outside, the
U.N. spokesman cautions that their situation is unsustainable.
This year's harvest is already doomed by returning drought and
war. He fears the world's compassion will tire. He offers no
solution. Posted. 

The Recycling Reflex. What if there were something that could
create 1.5 million new jobs, reduce carbon emissions equal to
taking 50 million cars off the road, cut dependence on foreign
oil, increase exports, save water, improve air quality and reduce
toxic waste? What if it were low-cost and readily implemented?
Wouldn’t everyone do it? At a time of wildfires, droughts and
persistent unemployment, wouldn’t it be a centerpiece of the
presidential campaign? Posted. 
Heartland Droughts and the Greenhouse Effect. Brad Plumer of The
Washington Post has written the best primer I’ve seen yet this
summer on “What We Know About Climate Change and Drought.”  He
smartly writes that there are no simple answers, but does offer a
succinct summary:  Droughts have multiple causes. The United
States has suffered worse droughts in the past. It’s not yet
clear whether we’ve reached the point where global warming is
making droughts worse again, at least in North America. Posted. 

University of Texas Will Review Gas Study After Conflict
Questions Raised. There have been several developments following
the disclosure of a substantial unstated financial relationship
between Charles Groat, who supervised a University of Texas
Energy Institute study of environmental impacts of gas drilling,
and a drilling company. In an e-mail exchange with a reporter for
StateImpact Texas, Groat said his industry relationships had no
bearing on the analysis, which he did not directly work on. 

G.M. Participates in a Test of Smart-Grid Features in
Master-Planned Community. On Tuesday, General Motors and its
OnStar division announced they would partner with Pecan Street
Incorporated to conduct a smart-grid demonstration project in
Mueller, a master-planned community roughly three miles from
downtown Austin, Tex. The Chevrolet Volt will play a key role.
The project, supported b a $10.4 million grant from the Energy
Department and more than $14 million in matching funds from
project partners, is intended to test an integrated clean-energy
smart grid in a 700-acre urban neighborhood developed on the site
of a shuttered airport. Posted. 

Interior Names Solar ‘Hot Spots’ Out West. After more than two
years of study and public comment, the Interior Department on
Tuesday identified 17 sites on 285,000 acres of public land
across six Southwestern states as prime spots for development of
solar energy.  Agency officials said the government would
fast-track applications for large-scale solar energy
installations at those sites in the hope of speeding construction
of thousands of megawatts of renewable, nonpolluting electricity
generation. Posted. 

Fuel Efficiency Driving Onshoring. Lost in the current debate
about “offshoring” is the remarkable story of the “onshoring” of
fuel-efficiency manufacturing.  Thanks in large part to stronger
standards, American drivers no longer have to buy foreign if they
want to trade in their gas guzzler for gas sippers.
Fuel-efficiency is driving sales and jobs growth in the auto
industry.  And as demand grows, so does the business case to make
fuel efficient cars and components in America. Hybrid productions
exemplify this trend.  With U.S. hybrid sales booming (up 63%
this year), Toyota and Honda are bringing production to the U.S. 

Tom Bowman Launches Blog to De-Politicize Climate Change
Discussion. For more information contact: Tom Bowman,
TomBowman.com (562) 494-3400 or tom@tombowman.com FOR IMMEDIATE
Tom Bowman Launches Blog to De-Politicize Climate Change
TomBowman.com explores shared values that drive effective climate
July 25, 2012 – Signal Hill, CA – Tom Bowman, a small business
entrepreneur and one of the premier interpreters of climate
science and green business strategies, has created a new blog to
examine public attitudes about climate change and the core values
that motivate people to engage in climate response. Using an
exploratory approach, the TomBowman.com blog will go beyond the
simplistic, highly partisan rhetoric that typifies climate change
discussions to reveal what Americans are already doing in
response to the climate challenge—and why.
The TomBowman.com blog will also include “The Climate Report with
Tom Bowman™,” an audio program that features in-depth interviews
with a variety of business, communications, policy, science and
other experts. By discussing how to address climate change from
different perspectives, Bowman will reveal unique insights that
yield effective solutions. 
Bowman says his goals are to encourage people to engage and to
help readers make informed choices about their future. "This blog
will be a place to explore some of things that keep people on the
sidelines, such as our unconscious preconceptions and core
values. I’ll also highlight practical actions that people in all
walks of life are already taking—actions that unlock even more
possibilities," says Bowman. 
Bowman’s twenty five years as a successful small business owner,
a communications expert and an informal science educator is the
basis of his interdisciplinary approach to a wide variety of
topics. Sought after as a “public intellectual,” Bowman has
earned the respect of the scientific community with his firm’s
award-winning exhibitions, including Global Warming: Facts & Our
Future at the Marian Koshland Science Museum of the National
Academy of Sciences, Ocean on the Edge for the Aquarium of the
Pacific and the Smart Energy ExperienceTM for Southern California
As a social entrepreneur driven to effect wide-scale change,
Bowman created the Climate Solutions Project, a touring festival
and exhibition designed to engage the public with the risks and
potential solutions to climate change. Cited for its innovative
approach, the Climate Solutions project was selected as a
finalist for the Buckminster Fuller Challenge. In 2008, Bowman
convened a groundbreaking meeting to assess public attitudes
about global warming and authored its influential summary report,
early evidence of his exploratory approach to learning.
Bowman’s green business expertise has been recognized with three
awards earned for implementing a cost-effective plan that slashed
his firm’s greenhouse gas emissions by 65% in less than two
years.  In addition to being published in Science and the
International Journal of Sustainability Communications, Bowman
writes a monthly green business column, www.GreenExhibiting.com.
A sought-after advisor and communicator on climate and energy
issues, Bowman has consulted for NOAA, the White House Council on
Environmental Quality, and the National Science Foundation and
contributed to the federal Climate Literacy education guide. 
The TomBowman.com blog will be launched on July 25, 2012 and is
available using the link www.tombowman.com.

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