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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for September 12, 2012. Posted: 12 Sep 2012 15:33:13
ARB Newsclips for September 12, 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 Lake Is Blamed for Stench Blown Across Southern California. Los Angeles — Across Southern California, as far afield as Ventura County to the north of here, Orange County to the south and San Bernardino to the east, residents awoke this week to an olfactory insult: a sulfurous smell, like rotten eggs, wafting across hundreds of miles, source unknown. Some people checked the eggs in their refrigerator; officials tested the air at landfills. In some places, the odor was so strong that people wondered if a sewer line had ruptured. “O.K., why does it smell like rotten eggs? I smelled it in Sylmar, San Fernando & Porter Ranch,” Jennifer Guzman wrote on Twitter before ending with a frustrated expletive. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/us/salton-sea-is-blamed-for-southern-california-stench.html?_r=1&ref=science http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-smell-20120912,0,6667164.story http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/rotten-egg-aroma-stretched-southern-california-salton-sea-air-quality-investigators-article-1.1157375#ixzz26HCTBoA9 http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Big-stink-in-L-A-may-be-dying-Salton-Sea-3858118.php http://www.foxnews.com/weather/2012/09/11/calif-officials-sniffing-out-source-stench-near-los-angeles-as-signs-point-to/ Slow economy, cleaner energy cut into carbon emissions. Los Angeles -- The amount of carbon dioxide emitted from energy production declined in the U.S. in 2011 - the third time in four years and the fourth time in the past six years that has happened, the Energy Department said Tuesday. As has been the case in previous years, there wasn't necessarily a lot of good economic news behind the positive result of reduced emissions. The Energy Department, for example, cited slower economic growth as one factor in the 2.4 percent drop in energy-related carbon dioxide emissions last year. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/11/4809936/slow-economy-cleaner-energy-cut.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy Europe mulls suspending airline emissions charge. Berlin -- European officials signaled Tuesday that they may recommend the suspension of the continent's carbon emission fees for airlines to avert a trade war with major economic powers such as China and the United States, allowing time to forge a global agreement on climate charges for the aviation industry. China and India have prohibited their airlines from participating in the European Trading System because it will require airlines that fly to and from Europe to buy permits for all the carbon they emit en route…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/11/4809234/europe-mulls-suspending-airline.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy EPA approves Colorado plan to reduce pollution. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has given final approval to Colorado's strategy to reduce pollution, which relies on switching some coal-fired power plants to natural gas. Gov. John Hickenlooper announced the decision on the regional haze plan Tuesday, praising it as a collaborative effort by utilities, environmentalists, the oil and gas industry and others. "We embrace this success as a model for continuing to balance economic growth with wise public policy that protects community health and our environmental values," Hickenlooper said in a statement. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/EPA-approves-Colorado-plan-to-reduce-pollution-3856747.php#ixzz26HXjpxim Court weighs challenge to EPA action on hazardous emissions. A federal appeals court today tackled a Sierra Club claim that U.S. EPA hasn't done enough to set emissions standards for three hazardous air pollutants. At issue in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit is EPA's 2011 issuance of what is known as the "90 percent notice," in which the agency says it has done its duty under the Clean Air Act to set standards for seven hazardous air pollutants. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/09/12/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE World's Top 10 Companies That Hide Their Emissions. The first step to reducing greenhouse gas emissions is to know where you're starting from. That's why the Carbon Disclosure Project works on behalf of investors to push companies to disclose their footprints. Today the CDP released its annual report, including a list of best performers and no-shows. First, the CDP's list of shame. Here are the world's largest companies that don't provide the requested emissions data: Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-09-12/world-s-top-10-companies-that-hide-their-emissions.html Climate group sees progress in U.S. board rooms. An organization promoting the reduction of greenhouse gases said its annual survey showed big U.S.-listed companies making progress in disclosure and in their carbon emission reduction goals, even as lawmakers hesitate to regulate. The Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) said its 2012 survey showed a growing number of top-tier executives and company boards of the 500 top publicly traded U.S. companies were directly overseeing their firms' climate change strategies. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/11/usa-emissions-companies-idUSL1E8KBNVV20120911 UC Connect: Studying Sierra snowpack. From the white, sugary sands of Hawaii to the white, powdery slopes of the Sierra Nevada, natural sciences professor Stephen Hart has his eye on climate change. For the past two years, the professor, who's affiliated with the Sierra Nevada Research Institute, has worked with student researchers at remote sites in the mountains. They manipulate the snowpack to see the effects of early snowmelt on the forest, from how it affects the nutrients in the soil and plant growth to how greenhouse gases are emitted from the soil. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/12/4811473/uc-connect-studying-sierra-snowpack.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy Tree Deaths Linked to Climate Change. Hot and dry conditions triggered by climate change are killing the world's trees, according to a new report which examines dozens of scientific articles on the subject. Stanford University graduate student William Anderegg has seen this forest die-off firsthand. His doctoral thesis documents the impact of drought on trembling aspen, the most common tree in North America. “Posted. http://www.voanews.com/content/tree-deaths-linked-to-climate-change/1505844.html DIESEL EMISSIONS ARB slaps truck rental firm with $1MM fine despite 53 year history of compliance. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) today announced that a fine of $1,031,000 was paid by Ryder System, Inc., a provider of transportation and supply chain management solutions, for failure to conduct annual testing and maintain associated test records. The penalty resulted after an ARB review of records for heavy-duty vehicles that were in service in 2008 and 2009. The large fine was imposed despite the fact that this was Ryder's first ever ARB violation since it began California operations 53 years ago. Posted. http://www.examiner.com/article/arb-slaps-truck-rental-firm-with-1mm-fine-despite-53-year-history-of-compliance FUELS Taxes Show One Way to Save Fuel. Just the other day, President Obama unveiled another example of how our hostility to anything that even remotely looks like a tax is leading us down the wrong path, ultimately making us worse off. The president proudly announced energy-efficiency standards negotiated with the nation’s carmakers, which will have to nearly double the average fuel economy of cars and light trucks sold, hitting 54.5 miles a gallon in 2025. “It’ll strengthen our nation’s energy security, it’s good for middle class families and it will help create an economy built to last,” he said in an official statement. The rules are a significant step in the battle against global warming. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/business/fuel-efficiency-standards-have-costs-of-their-own.html?pagewanted=all&pagewanted=print Board: Chevron failed to check bad pipe. There is no evidence that Chevron conducted a crucial inspection last year of the segment of the pipe that later ruptured at its Richmond refinery, leading to a fire that destroyed part of the plant, federal investigators said Tuesday. Given the deteriorated condition of the pipe - which had retained only 20 percent of its original wall thickness - Chevron would have been obligated to replace it to comply with the company's own standards, said Don Holmstrom, Western regional office director of the Chemical Safety Board. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Board-Chevron-failed-to-check-bad-pipe-3858143.php#ixzz26GmR5c4I Chesapeake Energy selling some assets for $6.9B. Oklahoma City -- Chesapeake Energy Corp. is selling the vast portion of its land and infrastructure in west Texas for nearly $7 billion as the company unloads debt and shifts more of its focus to drilling for oil, rather than natural gas. The assets in the oil and gas-rich Permian Basin are being sold in a series of deals to Royal Dutch Shell PLC, and Chevron Corp., and in a previously announced sale to affiliates of EnerVest Ltd. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/12/4811894/chesapeake-energy-selling-some.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy VEHICLES Supercar makers adjust to environmental concerns. Automakers, like Aston Martin and Lamborghini, respond to rising gas prices, awareness of global warming. As America scrambles to pay for ever-more expensive gas and abandons buying new SUV guzzlers in favor of smaller, more fuel-efficient vehicles, automakers are scrambling even harder to produce the high-mileage, lower-emissions vehicles they think people will buy. But how are the makers of supercars, whose engines environmental experts say emit about three times the amount of carbon dioxide as everyday passenger vehicles, responding? Posted. http://www.nydailynews.com/autos/supercar-makers-adjust-environmental-concerns-article-1.1157731#ixzz26Hj6vWG9 Coda Cranks Up Battery-Car Sales After ‘Soft’ Start. Coda Automotive Inc., a Los Angeles-based electric-car maker, is boosting production of its namesake sedan and building a 30-dealer network to compete with larger competitors in the slow-growing rechargeable vehicle market. The Coda sedan by next year will compete outside of California in states including Oregon and Florida with Nissan Motor Co. (7201)’s Leaf…Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-09-12/coda-cranks-up-battery-car-sales-after-soft-start.html HIGH-SPEED RAIL High-speed rail agency tries to ease farmers' fears. Sacramento -- Will high-speed trains blow away honeybees? Will the state's proposed rail system throw a monkey wrench into ag irrigation systems up and down the Valley? Will the roaring trains stress out cows so much they'll produce less milk? Those were some of the questions the California High-Speed Rail Authority took a shot at answering at Tuesday's board meeting. West side farmer John Diener, chairman of the Agriculture Working Group, an advisory panel for the authority, presented a series of six reports. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/09/11/2987804/high-speed-rail-agency-seeks-to.html#storylink=cpy GREEN ENERGY SF clean-energy program may profit Shell. In an ironic twist, San Francisco's effort to go green with its own clean-energy program could wind up adding tens of millions of dollars to the coffers of one of the biggest oil companies in the world - Shell. Under the terms of the CleanPowerSF program now before the Board of Supervisors, the city would contract with Shell Energy North America - a subsidiary of Shell Oil - to provide households and businesses with 100 percent renewable electricity. The original idea was simple enough: Buy five years of clean energy on the open market and resell it to locals who want to go green. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/matier-ross/article/SF-clean-energy-program-may-profit-Shell-3857981.php#ixzz26GmkKYZS Plasma Gasification Raises Hopes of Clean Energy From Garbage. David Robau tours the country promoting a system that sounds too good to be true: It devours municipal garbage, recycles metals, blasts toxic contaminants and produces electricity and usable byproducts — all with drastic reductions in emissions. Mr. Robau, an environmental scientist for the Air Force, has been promoting a method that was developed with the Air Force to dispose of garbage with neither the harmful byproducts of conventional incineration nor the environmental impact of transporting and burying waste. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/science/plasma-gasification-raises-hopes-of-clean-energy-from-garbage.html?ref=science E.P.A. creates mapping tool for renewables development in California. An online mapping tool which enables users to find contaminated or degraded properties that can be converted to renewable energy redevelopment has been launched by the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy’s National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Called the Renewable Energy Siting Tool, it screens an estimated 11,000 contaminated, degraded or cleaned up federal and state sites in California using aerial perspectives while overlaying streamlined information on the site’s clean energy development potential. Posted. http://www.ecoseed.org/politics/15582-e-p-a-creates-mapping-tool-for-renewables-development-in-california GE Recycles 100,000 Refrigerators Using Emissions-Busting Technology. Large appliances, like refrigerators, air conditioners, and freezers are considered hazardous because they contain refrigerants that can contaminate our air, water, and soil. These "white goods" are perfectly safe to use at home, of course, but when it comes time for them to be replaced, their chemical components make it hard to dispose of them safely. Recycling of white goods is a difficult process, as they must be broken down carefully to conserve reuseable parts while preventing the release of harmful substances. Posted. http://www.treehugger.com/clean-technology/ge-recycles-100000-refrigerators-using-emissions-busting-technology.html OPINIONS Doug McIntyre: Big stink has nothing to do with Salton Sea. I'm not buying it. The South Coast Air Quality Management District has a theory on what caused that horrible stench that wafted over Southern California for days. "A fish kill," they said. "From the Salton Sea," they said. Yeah, right. Dead fish from 160 miles away made the Valley stink? I have a different theory. One closer to home. Like Spring Street. The latest proposal from Richard "The Mustache" Alarcón to further embed illegal immigrants into the fabric of the city stinks to the high heavens, so of course it'll be quickly embraced by his colleagues on the council as well as the mayor should he ever find himself in Los Angeles. http://www.dailynews.com/columnists/ci_21518931/doug-mcintyre-big-stink-has-nothing-do-salton Editorial: Alarmism, not climate, grows more extreme. There have been fewer climate-related disasters; despite what the president says. For years, President Barack Obama has been curiously low-key about global warming, or climate change, as politically correct terminology now prefers. Perhaps that's because, when running for office in 2008 he overpromised, declaring that his nomination would mark "the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow, and our planet began to heal." It wasn't quite passing the buck, but the president altered his climate-change rhetoric slightly last week in accepting the Democratic Party's nomination for a second term. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/climate-371063-global-change.html Google's Business Is Booming, Its Carbon Emissions Are Not. Google’s carbon footprint is growing but not as fast as its business, the search giant said Wednesday. “Our carbon footprint per million dollars of revenue – a measure of carbon intensity commonly used to track corporate sustainability – has decreased by an average of 10% each year since 2009,” Rick Needham, Google’s director of energy and sustainability, wrote in a blog post disclosing the company’s 2011 carbon emissions. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddwoody/2012/09/12/googles-business-is-booming-its-carbon-emissions-are-not/ Climate Change Giveth and Taketh (But Mostly Taketh). Climate Denial World is a strange and wonderous place. The inhabitants of Climate Denial World live in an atmosphere unrestrained by facts, science, or statistical likelihood. Here on Planet Earth, our climate scientists are virtually unanimous in their assessment of climate change, and time proves their research to be eerily accurate. The effects of climate change are increasingly extreme and unprecedented. Residents of Climate Denial World have a sunnier disposition; climate change is a good thing. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/neil-wagner/climate-change-giveth-and_b_1869568.html?utm_hp_ref=green BLOGS Corporations Slow to Act on Climate Change, Report Says. While many continue to argue, along with Milton Friedman, that "the business of business is business," more and more publicly traded companies around the world have been embracing sustainability as a long-term strategic asset in the face of climate change. But not enough of them are doing so, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Carbon Disclosure Project, a British nonprofit group that gathers information for investors about the environmental policies of large companies and the environmental risks they face. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/corporations-slow-to-act-on-climate-change-report-says/?ref=science&pagewanted=print An Ounce of Prevention in New York City. As I note in my article about climate change, rising seas and the risks for New York City, many local governments in the United States are drafting contingency plans to address the prospect of more severe flooding in coming decades. “Different cities are ahead in different things,” said Vicki Arroyo, executive director of the Georgetown Climate Center, a think tank that assists cities in adapting to climate change. Still, she said, few municipalities feel fully prepared, and most struggle to come up with the funds they need to shore up their resistance. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/an-ounce-of-prevention-in-new-york-city/ The Growing Might of Solar Power. From California to New Jersey, the summer sun was hot this year — and so was the solar industry. While the business of solar energy is still small enough and young enough to record firsts at the fearsome pace of a toddler, the milestones are getting more substantial. For instance, in mid-August California’s utility-scale solar generating stations combined to put out the same amount of energy — one gigawatt — as a substantial nuclear or coal-fired power plant. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/the-growing-might-of-solar-power/ A 210-Million-Year-Old Puzzle. It is often said that geological and paleontological investigations are like trying to put together a puzzle with many of the pieces missing. Yet, while we can’t travel back in time to observe every detail, the geologic record contains a rich archive of past life and its environments. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, we’re interested in not only in the animals and plants that lived 210 million years ago, but also their physical and climatic surroundings. Posted. http://scientistatwork.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/12/a-210-million-year-old-puzzle/