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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 27, 2012. Posted: 27 Aug 2012 15:51:28
ARB Newsclips for August 27, 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 TVA plans pollution reduction at Gallatin plant. The Tennessee Valley Authority expects to spend as much as $1 billion to reduce harmful emissions from a coal-fired power plant by up to 95 percent. According to The Tennessean (http://bit.ly/MVmo9x ), the work at the Gallatin Fossil Plant, northeast of Nashville, is projected to be completed by 2017. Four large scrubbers are planned at the plant, which burns 13,000 tons of coal per day and generates enough electricity to power 300,000 homes. Some environmental groups, however, say TVA should instead invest in energy efficiency, saving enough power to shut down the plant. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/TVA-plans-pollution-reduction-at-Gallatin-plant-3817900.php#ixzz24lgLJ2RA Greener cars have improved L.A. air quality. Smog-producing compounds in Los Angeles are down 98 percent since the 1960s. They're down by half just since 2002, thanks to higher-mileage cars. Given the length of time the U.S. Government is taking to set new gas mileage standards for 2025, you’d be forgiven for thinking the only benefit from driving a high gas-mileage car is the savings you make at the pump. Posted. http://www.csmonitor.com/Business/In-Gear/2012/0825/Greener-cars-have-improved-L.A.-air-quality Chevron’s Richmond Refinery Fire: Another Case of Environmental and Community Destruction. Chevron’s Richmond Refinery – the company’s second largest refinery – recently spewed toxic smoke over Richmond and San Pablo sending more than 14,000 people in the East Bay to medical facilities with smoke-related complaints. This is but the latest in Chevron’s legacy of environmental and community destruction. Chevron is the second largest oil company in the United States and the third largest corporation in the U.S. with $26.9 billion in 2011 profits. Posted. http://www.fogcityjournal.com/wordpress/5016/chevrons-richmond-refinery-fire-another-case-of-environmental-and-community-destruction/ Court further splits challenge to mercury rule. In deciding how to handle various complicated challenges to U.S. EPA's mercury and air toxics rule, a federal appeals court has decided to separate out another of the issues, meaning it will now hear three separate cases on the matter. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued an order Friday stating it will hear as a separate case revisions to new source performance standards that were included as part of the new rule, known in EPA parlance as the MATS rule. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/08/27/23 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE Nobody's Forcing Anybody to Disclose CO2 Emissions: Steer. Resources are all the rage. With the world population headed toward 9 billion people by 2050, from 7 billion today, companies and governments are eager to ensure they have access to strategic and industrial materials, now and for all time. The problem is that resources are becoming more expensive as the global middle class expands and is able to buy more stuff. The Goldman Sachs Commodities Index (now the Standard & Poor's GSCI) has risen by about 3.5 times between early 1991, when it launched, and today (It closed at 670.51 on Friday). Greater competition for fewer resources doesn't mean that everything is at risk of running out next week, or even "peaking." Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-27/nobody-s-forcing-anybody-to-disclose-co2-emissions-steer.html Intriguing Habitats, and Careful Discussions of Climate Change. Boston — Sitting on an artificial mangrove island in the middle of the ray and shark “touch tank,” Lindsay Jordan, a staff member at the New England Aquarium, explained the rays’ eating habits as children and their parents trailed fingers through the water. “Does anyone know how we touch these animals when we are not at the aquarium?” she asked. The children’s faces turned up expectantly. “The ocean absorbs one-third of the world’s carbon dioxide emissions,” Ms. Jordan said, explaining that it upsets the food chain. “When you turn on your car, it affects them.” Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/science/earth/zoos-and-aquariums-struggle-with-ways-to-discuss-climate-change.html?pagewanted=print On Glaciers, Balls of Dust and Moss Make a Cozy Home. Life has a habit of turning up in the most unlikely of places. Geysers, desert cliffs, even heaps of dung are environments that at least a few creatures call home. Now balls of moss on glaciers are joining this strange list. The clumps, known as glacier mice, have been found to contain miniature ecosystems. And even in freezing temperatures, scientists found, the inhabitants manage to thrive. In high winds glacier mice, which form when clumps of dust and organic debris develop a layer of moss over time, hop across vast sheets of ice. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/28/science/earth/glacier-mice-offer-a-micro-habitat.html?pagewanted=print Warm Arctic sets record for summer sea ice melt. Scientists say critical ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to record low levels this overheated summer. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported Monday that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to 1.58 million square miles and is likely to melt more in the coming weeks. That breaks the old record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007. Figures are based on satellite records dating back to 1979. Data center scientist Ted Scambos says the melt can be blamed mostly on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Warm-Arctic-sets-record-for-summer-sea-ice-melt-3817773.php#ixzz24lgjA4JQ Scientists look at genetic crops to beat drought. Colorado scientists are looking at genetically modified crops as a way farmers can beat the drought as worries continue about the safety of eating altered foods. Colorado State University professor Phil Westra says attitudes are changing toward crops that have been altered to resist drought and pests because of a continuing drought that has slashed harvests and increased the price of food. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Scientists-look-at-genetic-crops-to-beat-drought-3817945.php#ixzz24leYN4ul RIVERSIDE: Utilities officials fear state rules could spike rates. Riverside Public Utilities officials and some other municipal electric providers worry that customers could see their electric bills spike when the state’s cap-and-trade program takes effect next year. The program is designed to reduce California’s greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 by issuing a set number of pollution credits to industry and utilities — the “cap” — and holding auctions for the credits — the “trade.” Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20120824-riverside-utilities-officials-fear-state-rules-could-spike-rates.ece Carbon efficiency failing to fight warming: study. A surge in carbon emissions from power demand in the developing world is overwhelming progress by nations including China and the United States in improving efficiency, new research shows. Seeking to cut costs, numerous nations in recent years have scaled back or revamped the dirtiest plants that use coal, which among major forms of energy is the highest emitter of carbon blamed for the planet's rising temperatures. Posted. http://news.yahoo.com/carbon-efficiency-failing-fight-warming-study-190740830.html Final Test Before California's Cap-and-Trade Program Kicks Off. Next week’s scheduled practice auction of greenhouse gas allowances for California’s largest polluters will provide an important first look into how the state’s cap-and-trade program, a key element of the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), will work going forward. With millions of dollars worth of allowances planned to be auctioned in the coming year, and everyone watching to see whether California can successfully implement the nation’s first economy-wide cap-and-trade program, it’s important to get this right. Posted. http://theenergycollective.com/kristineberhard/106281/final-test-californias-cap-and-trade-program-kicks FUELS Gas prices rise as refineries shut for Isaac. Pump prices are heading higher as Tropical Storm Isaac forces several major refineries along the Gulf Coast to halt production in preparation for high winds and heavy rains. Fear of reduced gasoline supplies sent wholesale gasoline prices up 7.7 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $3.155 per gallon Monday. The average retail price for a gallon of gasoline in the U.S. rose to $3.75 on Monday, and it could pass $3.80 by Labor Day weekend, says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OIL_PRICES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT&CTIME=2012-08-27-15-10-08 Most Coal-to-Gas Switching in U.S. Permanent, Moody’s Says. Coal won’t win back much of the share of electricity generation that it has lost to natural gas in the U.S., Moody’s Investors Service said. “Coal will regain a bit of market share as natural gas prices recover somewhat, but most coal-to-gas substitution to date will be permanent,” Anna Zubets-Anderson, a Moody’s vice president and senior analyst, wrote in the report. Production from shale has boosted gas inventories and coal has faced more scrutiny from environmental regulators. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-27/most-coal-to-gas-switching-in-u-s-permanent-moody-s-says-1-.html GREEN ENERGY Private sector must fund bulk of green energy: EIB. Most of the funding for Europe's push into green energy needs to come from the private sector, the president of the EU's long-term lending arm said on Monday, adding that the continent's credibility hinged on its ability to manage the shift. "If we want to switch to renewables in Europe on a permanent basis, the lion's share (of investment) needs to come from the private sector," Werner Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), said at the annual Handelsblatt renewable energy conference. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/08/27/us-eib-hoyer-renewables-idUSBRE87Q0O220120827 Energy use low, expectations high for La Valentina housing project in Sacramento. The La Valentina project, a new 81-home mixed-use "green" development at the corner of E and 12th streets in Alkali Flat, opens to high expectations today. Many hope the $25 million project, billed as the new wave of downtown development, will be a model for Sacramento. "La Valentina represents what is possible in the central city," said Meea Kang, president of Domus Development. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/27/4759362/energy-use-low-expectations-high.html#storylink=cpy Miners occupy coal mine in Sardinia in protest. Some 100 miners are occupying a coal mine on Sardinia island to press for state funds for a clean energy project they say will provide new jobs. Miners at the Carbosulcis mine told Sky TG24 TV on Monday that they want the government and Parliament to quickly approve funding for a project to capture and store underground carbon dioxide that otherwise would add to polluting greenhouse gases. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Miners-occupy-coal-mine-in-Sardinia-in-protest-3817679.php#ixzz24mIGzESy MISCELLANEOUS Canada Says ‘Anonymous’ May Attack Energy Firm Computers. Canadian security agencies have warned energy companies such as Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO) their computers may be attacked by the Anonymous hacker group because of the industry’s work developing Alberta’s oil sands, government documents show. The Royal Canadian Mounted Police, public safety department and Communications Security Establishment Canada all investigated threats against the industry between the start of 2011 and mid-March, according to documents obtained this month by Bloomberg News under freedom of information laws. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-08-27/canada-says-anonymous-may-attack-energy-firm-computers.html Critics fight New Mexico plutonium plan. Nuclear watchdogs are fighting a proposal to ship tons of plutonium to New Mexico, including the cores of nuclear warheads that would be dismantled at an aging and structurally questionable lab atop an earthquake fault zone. Opponents voiced their opposition at a series of public hearings that opened this week on the best way to dispose of the radioactive material as the federal government works to reduce the nation's nuclear arsenal. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Critics-fight-New-Mexico-plutonium-plan-3808744.php#ixzz24lh9knBc DEQ fines helps purchase new equipment. Criminal fines are allowing the state Department of Environmental Quality and state police to buy air monitoring equipment, vehicles, clothing, safety goggles and first aid kits. Tim Knight, administrator of DEQ's assessment division, tells The Advocate (Http://bit.ly/SHncRv) the $1 million in fines allows the state to purchase the items. The money comes from a federal judge's order last year that Houston-based Pelican Refining Co. pay $12 million for violating the U.S. Clean Air Act and obstructing justice. The fines stemmed from broken or poorly functioning pollution-control equipment at the company's Lake Charles refinery and the filing of false reports. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/DEQ-fines-helps-purchase-new-equipment-3817778.php#ixzz24mJGJiDu OPINIONS Carbon Tax Silence, Overtaken by Events. DON’T expect to hear much about climate change at the Republican and Democratic conventions. Yes, there will be plenty of speeches about unemployment, budget deficits and other immediate problems. But the threats posed by global warming are decades away — or so we have been told repeatedly in recent years. Many climate scientists, however, are now pointing to evidence linking rising global temperatures to the extreme weather we’re seeing around the planet. The United States has just endured its hottest 12-month period on record. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/26/business/carbon-tax-would-have-many-benefits-economic-view.html?src=recg&pagewanted=print Staying Cool in the Developing World. To the Editor: “The Cost of Cool” (Sunday Review, Aug. 19), about the exorbitant — and rapidly rising — costs of air-conditioning in the increasingly crowded cities in the tropics, where cool living and working conditions appear to be a prerequisite to economic development, points to an urgent need for family planning. Three inexorable global trends — climate change, resource depletion and population growth — are on a catastrophic collision course. Although substituting clean energy sources — solar, wind, tidal — for reliance on fossil fuels may have promise in some undefined future, the only practical immediate course is to limit population growth. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/opinion/staying-cool-in-the-developing-world.html?pagewanted=print Another View: AB 32 will add costs, hurt California economy. Californians are tired of divisive politics taking the place of meaningful policy debates. But in their Aug. 16 Viewpoints article "Clean energy law drives innovation, creates jobs, attracts investments," W. Bowman Cutter and Matthew E. Kahn do just that and distract from the real discussion surrounding AB 32. Despite their claim that it will produce tremendous economic benefits for California, many studies have found that AB 32 will harm California's economy; the only debate is how much. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/26/4755388/ab-32-will-add-costs-hurt-california.html#storylink=cpy Cap and trade is a good thing. Re "Will jobs be lost with cap and trade?" (Dan Morain, Aug. 19): As a local businessman with strong community ties, I support California's efforts to implement AB 32, specifically the cap and trade program. Instead of buying into the opposition's sky-is-falling argument, let's focus on the facts. California's clean energy policies are attracting clean technology investments, creating jobs and reducing our reliance on imported energy. By putting a cap on carbon, we can reduce air pollution and other threats attributed to climate change including forest fires and sea level rise. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/25/4745427/response-to-dan-morains-editorial.html#storylink=cpy Cap and trade threatens food production. Re "What will be price of cap and trade?" (Dan Morain, Aug. 19): I wish you had placed the article "rediscovering nature's food emporium," by Stuart Leavenworth on the front page below the cap and trade article. Maybe people would get the linkage: if the government runs the processors of locally grown food, such as Pacific Coast Producers, out of the state or country, we'll all need to be trekking off to the Sierra to collect gooseberries or green yampa flowers. That will be in the afternoon after we've, hopefully, caught a salmon in the morning. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/25/4742769/regulations-will-backfire-on-local.html#storylink=cpy Editorial: CEQA end run could come back to haunt the Delta and Sacramento. When making sausage, competent chefs know they can't rush the process – unless they want to risk their fingers getting stuck in the meat grinder. Up until Thursday, it appeared that the sausage makers of the Legislature were prepared to make a bloody mess of a dish with a last-minute overhaul of the California Environmental Quality Act. Fortunately, Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg intervened, meaning that the upper house will not take up the measure before the session comes to a merciful end this week. As we've said in previous editorials, CEQA is ripe for manipulation and needs updating. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/26/4755382/ceqa-end-run-could-come-back-to.html Dan Morain: City of Davis, military join to lobby for solar. The U.S. Navy has come to the defense of the ecotopian college town of Davis, where streetlights have been adjusted to make stargazing more productive. Defense Department representatives have been walking the Capitol halls advocating for a bill that could help Davis and any other town or military base in the state become more energy independent, while permitting civilians to more easily plug in to solar power. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/26/4755368/city-of-davis-military-join-to.html#storylink=cpy Sacramento needs to become more bike-friendly. Sacramento is more than 20 years behind Portland and other cities in the Bicycling Magazine Rating. For some people, a bike is transportation. For others, it is a form of recreation and fitness. Sacramento planners need to view the needs of pedestrians, mass transit and bicycling as being interconnected. Agencies need to coordinate their efforts. Many city governments have made a radical cultural shift away from the automobile culture embracing the bicycle.—Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/08/26/4752807/bicycling-in-sacramento.html#storylink=cpy If we ruin the air, what will our children breathe? Watching the sun set into the Pacific Ocean from a hotel tucked in among the dry scrub hills of San Diego, I have a chance to reflect on life here in Southern California, on climate changes and on what's in store for future generations. I'm here with a group of 22 Japanese university students who will spend a month studying English at San Diego State University, and I'll stay a week while they settle into their classes and host families. As always, I'm charmed by the students' optimism and contagious excitement. Posted. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fe20120826sh.html The Apocalypse of Overpopulation and Climate Change : Fighting for Water and Food. As we are coming closer to December 21, 2012, anxiety is building up for many. It is of course the prediction of the Mayan calendar, the one of Nostradamus, and the belief of Christian fundamentalists that the fateful “judgment day” phase has already begun with a few potential candidates playing the role of the anti-Christ. As a rationalist, I can not adhere to any of this and especially not the part of the return of Jesus. Posted. http://newsjunkiepost.com/2012/08/25/surviving-the-man-made-apocalypse-will-we-fight-for-water-and-food/ BLOGS For Climate Change, a Possible Trial Could Echo the Scopes Monkey Case. Eighty-seven years ago, people and organizations who believed in freedom of scientific inquiry arranged for a test case of Tennessee's law against teaching the theory of evolution. The result was theater so cogent that it was later distilled as the play "Inherit the Wind." Now the climate scientist Michael E. Mann may be laying the groundwork for his own version of that trial, threatening to sue National Review for defamation. The offending piece was a blog post by Mark Steyn, which described Dr. Mann as "the man behind the fraudulent climate-change 'hockey-stick' graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring circus." Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/a-scopes-monkey-trial-for-climate-science/?ref=energy-environment&pagewanted=print From Katrina to Isaac – How Much Has Hurricane Forecasting Improved? With the tropical storm that will soon be Hurricane Isaac heading in the general direction of New Orleans seven years (possibly to the day) after Hurricane Katrina topped the flood protections there, I looked back at the archived track forecasts for the 2005 storm and posted the link on Twitter and Facebook. The Facebook entry elicited a notable response from Marshall Shepherd, the director of the program in atmospheric sciences at the University of Georgia. In comparing the track forecasts for Isaac with that for Katrina, he noted how much of what is called the “cone of uncertainty” – the wide area over which the track could range — had shrunk in comparing the forecasts seven years apart. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/27/from-katrina-to-isaac-how-much-has-hurricane-track-forecasting-improved/ Will Emissions Disclosure Mean Investor Pressure on Polluters? A new financial tool developed by the investment firm South Pole Carbon, in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, provides greenhouse gas emissions profiles of more than 40,000 publicly listed companies. This index is aimed at encouraging greater disclosure from companies while, hopefully, also pushing investors to build more responsible portfolios. “Investors have long been aware that the greenhouse gas profile, especially of major emitters like electric utilities, is a potential liability,” said Paul Bledsoe, a senior adviser on energy issues at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/24/will-emissions-disclosure-mean-investor-pressure-on-polluters/