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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/24/us-climate-pollution-idUSBRE86N15220120724 CLIMATE CHANGE 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/science/with-warming-peril-underlies-road-to-alaska.html?scp=2&sq=climate%20change&st=Search 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/25/v-print/4657166/dramatic-ice-melt-in-greenland.html http://www.nctimes.com/news/science/nasa-strange-and-sudden-massive-melt-in-greenland/article_dfdee449-a023-5420-b304-1575ab36391a.html http://www.dailynews.com/ci_21147274/nasa-strange-and-sudden-massive-melt-greenland?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com 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. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/policy/california-a-step-closer-to-carbon-cap-and-trade.html FUELS 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/25/us-usa-navy-biofuels-idUSBRE86O01A20120725 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-25/oil-group-files-second-lawsuit-over-epa-biofuel-standards.html 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. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21149278/wrong-valve-cause-fire-at-ac-transit-hydrogen?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21149278/wrong-valve-cause-fire-at-ac-transit-hydrogen?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com 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. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/business/x160346155/Teachers-drill-down-to-how-oil-gets-produced VEHICLES 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. http://www.dailynews.com/ci_21153343/france-plans-save-car-industry-by-going-green?IADID=Search-www.dailynews.com-www.dailynews.com http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21153343/france-plans-save-car-industry-by-going-green?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21153343/france-plans-save-car-industry-by-going-green?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/07/25/2921580/france-plans-to-save-car-industry.html#storylink=misearch 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. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x475201557/Worth-noting-Valley-Air-District-wins-award-for-car-emissions-tests-more SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0725-solar-zones-20120725,0,5295805,print.story 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. http://business-news.thestreet.com/mercury-news/story/solar-expected-make-40-percent-pges-renewable-portfolio-2020-0/1 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. Posted. http://www.examiner.com/article/leed-release-delayed-amid-controversy MISCELLANEOUS 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. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Sen-Boxer-pushes-for-tougher-toxics-law-3732565.php 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. http://www.mercurynews.com/peninsula/ci_21154169/redwood-city-firm-sued-over-dumping-toxic-waste OPINIONS 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. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/opinion/letters/x1626241730/Soot-risks-and-CARBs-truck-and-bus-regulation SUBSCRIPTION ONLY 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. http://www.presstelegram.com/opinions/ci_21150798/thomas-d-elias-states-open-government-rules-take 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/24/hunger-population-and-climate-change/ BLOGS 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. http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/the-recycling-reflex/?scp=4&sq=air%20pollution&st=Search 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. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/25/heartland-droughts-and-global-warming/?scp=3&sq=climate%20change&st=Search 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. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/university-of-texas-will-review-fracking-study/?scp=2&sq=air%20pollution&st=Search 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. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/g-m-tests-smart-grid-features-in-master-planned-community-with-chevy-volt/?scp=1&sq=vehicles&st=Search 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/24/interior-names-solar-hot-spots-out-west/?scp=2&sq=green%20energy&st=Search 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. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/rhwang/fuel_efficiency_driving_onshor.html Tom Bowman Launches Blog to De-Politicize Climate Change Discussion. For more information contact: Tom Bowman, TomBowman.com (562) 494-3400 or firstname.lastname@example.org FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Tom Bowman Launches Blog to De-Politicize Climate Change Discussion TomBowman.com explores shared values that drive effective climate response 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 Edison. 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.