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newsclips -- Newsclips for September 131, 2012

Posted: 13 Sep 2012 16:21:19
ARB Newsclips for September 13, 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.


Record loss of Arctic ice may trigger extreme weather. Arctic sea
ice is shrinking at a rate much faster than scientists ever
predicted and its collapse, due to global warming, may well cause
extreme weather this winter in North America and Europe,
according to climate scientists. Last month, researchers
announced that Arctic sea ice had dwindled to the smallest size
ever observed by man, covering almost half the area it did 30
years ago, when satellites and submarines first began measuring
it. Posted.

Obama Administration's Carbon Cap and Trade Program.  The Obama
administration is developing a cap-and-trade program for reducing
carbon dioxide emissions. This is an important development for
the renewable-energy industry because carbon credits created from
the use of biofuels and wind energy will help meet established
national goals. It also is of concern for the northern Plains
because coal is used extensively for plant heating and electrical
generation, so any reduction in emissions will raise user costs. 

JUST ONE BREATH: Changing climate may expand valley fever's
impact.  Valley fever feeds on heat.  And as the average
temperature ticks up with each passing decade, experts are
concerned that the fungus' footprint and impact are expanding, as
evidenced by a rise in cases in areas far outside the hot spots
of the Central Valley of California.  In the soil, the cocci
fungus lives on dead organic matter. Less rainfall and higher
temperatures reduce overall vegetation, diminishing soil
competition for the hardy fungus, scientists say. Cocci spores
survive -- even thrive -- when the environment is drier and
hotter since other competitors die off.  BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY. 

Study: Sea otters' role in kelp forest health could aid in global
warming prevention. Santa Cruz -- Monterey Bay's main mascot may
turn out to be a secret agent in the fight against climate
change. It has long been known that sea otters, nursed back from
brink of extinction in the past several decades, provide huge
benefits for the vitality of undersea kelp forests. But a pair of
UCSC scientists recently found that those benefits extend into
the atmosphere, finding a strong connection between otters, kelp
and global warming. Posted.


Ryder settlement with state includes $1 million payment. The
California Air Resources Board said Ryder System Inc., the
Miami-based transportation and supply company, has paid more than
$1 million in a settlement for what ARB said was failure to
conduct testing and maintain complete records of required annual
"opacity" tests on heavy-duty vehicles in its California fleet in
2008-09.Opacity tests are performed to determine whether a truck
produces visible smoke from its exhaust. Posted.

Union Pacific to study low-emissions locomotives.  Union Pacific
said on Monday that it will spend $20 million testing
low-emissions locomotives in California.  The railroad may
eventually test up to 25 locomotives with various low-emissions
technology. They include one, to be based in Roseville, Calif.,
that will use several emissions-reducing technologies, including
recirculating its exhaust gasses.  The railroad and the
California Air Resources Board will analyze the emissions
reductions achieved by that locomotive over the next year and a
half.  Posted. 


4 Biofuels That Don't Take Food Off People's Tables.  As the fuel
versus food debate intensifies, Oilprice.com takes a look at the
top four advanced, non-food biofuels that may have a long-term
potential to become commercially, and hopefully environmentally,
viable.  The production of advanced biofuels was up this year by
some 437 million gallons over last year, but economic challenges
remain formidable and technology will be the key to unlocking
potential. Perhaps things are so great right now for the advanced
biofuels industry, but it will take time and patience to figure
out how to appease both the market and Mother Nature.  Posted. 


Nissan chief pitches electric taxis to Hong Kong.  Nissan
President Carlos Ghosn met Wednesday with Hong Kong’s leader to
pitch a proposal for the Japanese car maker to supply electric
taxis to the southern Chinese city.  Ghosn’s visit with Leung
Chun-ying is part of an effort to sell Nissan’s electric taxi
technology to cities around the world looking to upgrade their
taxi fleets to more environmentally friendly models.  Earlier
this year, New York City chose Nissan’s van-like NV200 to replace
older models starting October 2013, with an electric version on
the cards for 2017.  Posted. 

Other related articles:


New study sheds light on dark energy. Dark energy—the mysterious
and poorly understood force that scientists have proposed is
somehow causing the universe to expand at an accelerating rate—is
almost definitely real, according to a new study, which puts the
likelihood of its existence at 99.996%. In the mid 1990s, two
teams of scientists proposed the existence of dark energy when
they observed, while examining distant exploding stars called
supernovae, that some of them were less bright than expected.


Environmental Scientist Honored by California Environmental
Protection Agency Air Resources Board.  Janet Arey, a professor
in the Department of Environmental Sciences and the
Interdepartmental Program in Environmental Toxicology at
University of California, Riverside, has been awarded the
Haagen-Smit Clean Air Award for Air Pollution Research by the
California Environmental Protection Agency Air Resources Board
(ARB) in recognition of her lasting contributions to the health
and well-being of Californians.  Posted. 

Pollution, Poverty, People of Color: Warnings about contaminated
fish fail to reach people most at risk. Trey Mackey expertly
baits his fishing hook with a live worm, sits down on a folding
chair and casts a line into the waters of Monona Bay. He’s driven
up from Chicago for a day of fishing that could provide a fresh,
tasty dinner of blue gill. But unbeknownst to Mackey, consuming
fish from the bay carries a significant health risk. Posted.


On natural gas, green groups can’t make up their minds.  Gas is
the new coal. At least that’s what the Obama administration seems
to think. In accepting his nomination to run for a second term,
President Obama pledged to “continue to reduce the carbon
pollution that is heating our planet,” and to create 600,000 new
jobs in the natural gas industry.  The two goals are directly
related in the administration’s policies; in March 2012, the
Obama EPA announced new emissions rules for power plants that
meant no new coal plants will be built in the U.S. Posted. 


San Onofre months from restarting reactors. The darkened San
Onofre power plant will not restart even one of its two reactors
for months, the head of the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission
said Wednesday. In the meantime, anti-nuclear advocates stepped
up pressure to keep the plant shut down, with the release of an
analysis showing that the issues with San Onofre’s steam
generators are among the worst in the industry. Posted.

Academy Finds Mixed Climate Impacts on Himalayan Glaciers, Water
Supplies.  Given all the oversimplified assertions over the years
about Himalayan glaciers in a warming global climate, it’s great
to see a committee assembled by the National Academy of Sciences
weigh in on the question with some data-based findings in a new
report, “Himalayan Glaciers: Climate Change, Water Resources, and
Water Security.” The bottom line — in sync with other recent
analysis — is that the region is seeing a mix of changes, with
glaciers growing in some places and shrinking in others and
impacts on water supplies mostly inconsequential for decades to
come.  Posted. 

Hybrids still account for fewer than 2% of new vehicles sold. 
It's either a drop in the bucket or a segment with lots of room
to grow. Which aspect an advanced-powertrain vehicle advocate
chooses depends on how he sees the challenge that hybrids face in
the marketplace. Given a new study that once again shows that,
after more than ten years on sale, gas-electric models still
account for just a small fraction of the global light-duty
vehicles made, we're inclined to see it both ways.  Worldwide
vehicle production could reach a record 80 million units this
year, up at least 4.2 percent from 76.8 million last year,
according to Washington, D.C.-based sustainable industry advocate
Worldwatch Institute. But, hybrids will account for fewer than
one in every 50 vehicles produced, according to the survey, or
less than two percent. Electric vehicle production? That's at
"barely perceptible levels," the report said.  Posted. 

Biofuels supporters buoyed after meetings with lawmakers. 
Biofuels supporters who swarmed Capitol Hill offices this week
feel confident they have sufficient congressional commitment to
preserve a fuel rule critical to the industry.  The meetings come
after biofuels groups hired a lobby firm to deflect attacks from
some lawmakers and livestock and poultry groups against the
portion of that rule that buoys corn ethanol production.  Tom
Buis, the CEO of biofuels industry group Growth Energy, said the
“170-some appointments” biofuels proponents held Monday through
Wednesday assured him of bipartisan and administration commitment
to the renewable fuel standard (RFS).  Posted. 

Ford says consumer green attitude shift justifies drive to fuel
efficient cars.  Ford says the company's major push into high
fuel efficiency vehicles is justified by market research showing
consumers are already taking steps to increase fuel efficiency,
and are willing to pay a bit more for higher MPG's.  Buying an
electric and hybrid cars generally means paying the "hybrid
premium" bump in price for the vehicle. For example the 2013 Ford
Fusion SE has an MSRP of $23,495 whereas the hybrid model carries
a $4,000 price premium for an MSRP of $27,495. Ford Motors
released a info from a survey today showing the majority of
American's will pay more for green products, and a slightly
smaller majority is taking measures to drive more efficiently. 

How Are You Going Green? Study Suggests 25% Of Drivers Want
Hybrids.  Pretend for a moment that you're walking down the
street, minding your own business, when a stranger approaches and
offers you $1,000 cash. The money is yours for the taking -- no
questions asked, no illicit activities involved -- but you have
to spend it on energy savings. What would you do with it?  That's
the question that polling firm Penn Schoen Berland posed to
consumers, and the results were interesting, to say the least. 
Given the circumstances, you might imagine that a substantial
portion of respondents would choose to spend the money on savings
to benefit their homes. And in fact, 25% did, saying that they'd
use the $1,000 to replace old appliances with energy-efficient
models or that they'd purchase solar panels to cut down on
electric consumption.  Posted. 

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