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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for September 14, 2012.

Posted: 14 Sep 2012 13:05:26
ARB Newsclips for September 14, 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.


Let locals fix Salton Sea, Riverside County supervisor says. 
Riverside County Supervisor Marion Ashley, on Thursday, called
for state officials to step aside and let the Salton Sea
Authority lead efforts to restore the sea.  “Foul odors emanating
from the Salton Sea across the Inland Empire and Los Angeles area
early this week serve as a pungent reminder of the state’s
dereliction of duty toward this troubled ecosystem,” Ashley said
in a two-page statement released Thursday.  Posted. 

Chevron air monitoring program languishes.  Six air monitoring
stations that Chevron agreed to install at its Richmond refinery
in 2010 were not put in place, which might have slowed warnings
about the danger of pollutants released during the refinery’s
disastrous August fire, city officials and air quality regulators
say.  The company pledged to install the equipment as part of a
May 2010 agreement with the city of Richmond that settled a
dispute over how much the refinery owed in utility taxes. Posted.


Russia will not cut emissions under extended Kyoto climate pact.
Russia confirmed on Thursday it would not make cuts in greenhouse
gas emissions from 2013 under the U.N.'s Kyoto Protocol, joining
Canada and Japan in rejecting an extension of the plan for
fighting climate change. The foreign ministry said Moscow would
not join industrialized nations led by the European Union in
signing up for cuts beyond a first round of commitments ending on
December 31, 2012. Posted.


IMO set to collide with EU over vessel CO2 emissions. The
International Maritime Organization (IMO) is making little
headway on market-based measures to curb carbon dioxide emissions
from international shipping, putting it on a policy collision
course with the European Union, observers said. A committee of
the 170-member United Nations shipping body was unable to make
"tangible progress" after a week of talks that ended late on
Friday, a delegate told Reuters. An IMO spokeswoman said
discussions on market-based measures, such as a levy on CO2
emissions and a cap-and-trade scheme, will resume in October when
the Marine Environment Protection Committee meets again. Posted.

Ryder $1 Million Settlement to CARB to Help Pay for Education,
Natural Gas Service.  The California Air Resources Board
announced that Ryder System paid $1 million for failure to
conduct testing and maintain complete records of required annual
opacity tests on heavy-duty vehicles in its California fleet in
2008 and 2009.  Annual opacity tests, performed to determine
whether a truck produces visible smoke from its exhaust, and
related record-keeping are required under California law. Records
reviewed by CARB enforcement staff indicated that Ryder failed to
conduct tests and maintain records of the tests on vehicles that
were in service for four or more years.  


Higher gas prices fueled retail sales and inflation in August.
The gas pump helped the economy last month and also hurt it.
Retail sales jumped 0.9% in August, the biggest increase in six
months, driven by a rise in gasoline prices, the Census Bureau
said Friday. But the spike in fuel costs also caused the cost of
living to go up 0.6% last month -- the largest move since June
2009, according to the Labor Department. Gas stations saw their
sales rise 2.5% because of higher gasoline prices, which boosted
retail sales. Posted.


Car2go, say it ain't so: Rates rise on anytime electric cars. San
Diego's car2go network of anytime electric rental cars is
increasing its rates by $1 an hour starting Sept. 17. In an email
to customers, car2go cited rising operating costs for insurance
and parking, as well as investments in electric charging
infrastructure. Per minute rates will increase 11 percent to 38
cents a minute from 35 cents. Lengthier rentals will increase to
$13.99 an hour, or $72.99 a day. The petite two-seaters can be
rented on-demand and dropped off in public parking and some other
spots within an area stretching from Mission Bay to Petco Park.

How to reach EV mass market by 2025.  “Increased adoption of
electric vehicles will improve California’s environment and
economy”, states the report. At stake is the future of the
electric vehicle market. California accounts for 11 percent of
the national market for annual new car sales, as well as more
than 20 percent of non plug-in hybrid vehicle sales in the US.
With such a significant market share and volume of cars,
California can help launch a sustainable and more robust electric
vehicle market, with the country and world benefitting as a
result.  Posted.  http://cars21.com/news/view/4933   


Fewer Californians Like High Speed Rail or Pension Law.  The
survey shows that more Californians are opposed to high speed
rail and think the recently-signed pension legislation doesn't do
enough to address unfunded costs.  The survey was conducted by
the California Business Roundtable and Pepperdine University.  It
showed that only 39-percent of voters support high speed rail.
43-percent oppose it.  Voters were given arguments from both
supporters and critics and asked to choose which one they agree
with.  Posted. 

Farmers criticize high-speed rail plan.  San Joaquin Valley
farmers have told the California High-Speed Rail Authority that
they are opposed to the planned transportation line.  Residents
have complained that the rail authority has ignored their
concerns about the project's potential disruption of farms,
businesses and neighborhoods.  The county and others are suing in
Sacramento to halt the project.  The Fresno Bee (bit.ly/No04FI)
says farmers told the authority board on Tuesday that high-speed
rail threatens agriculture, including the irrigation networks,
and they complained they are only getting vague answer to their
questions.  Posted. 


Energy officials plan for another summer without San Onofre. The
organization that runs California's energy grid is planning ahead
in case the San Onofre nuclear plant remains out of commission in
the summer of 2013. The organization responsible for overseeing
California's power grid is already developing plans to meet next
summer's electricity needs in Southern California if the San
Onofre nuclear plant remains offline. The plant's outage has now
stretched for more than seven months, forcing energy officials to
replace its 2,200 megawatts of power — enough to power about 1.4
million homes — in the heat of the summer. Posted.

House votes to end energy loan guarantee program. Republicans on
Friday pushed a bill through the House shining a campaign-season
light on the most conspicuous failure of President Barack Obama's
economic stimulus package. The bill would phase out federal loan
guarantees like those that went to the now-bankrupt solar power
company Solyndra LLC and left taxpayers on the hook for more than
$500 million. Posted.

GreenVolts halts operations in a solar company meltdown.
GreenVolts has suspended all manufacturing, marketing and sales
operations, effective immediately, dealing a fresh blow to the
Bay Area solar industry. Roughly three-quarters of the solar
company's staff -- 60 out of 80 employees -- has been dismissed
in the shutdown. The startup had been developing photo voltaic
systems using a new kind of technology to concentrate sunlight
onto solar cells. Posted.

Faulty solar panels pulled from 24 schools. Solar panels were
taken down from 24 San Diego Unified School District campuses
over the summer after the products were found to have defects
including premature corrosion causing a danger of roof fires. The
manufacturer of the panels, Michigan-based Solar Integrated
Technologies, has filed for bankruptcy protection. The district
expects to pay $400,000 more annually for energy in the coming
years because of the dismantling of the installations. The
panels, installed in 2005, were expected to last at least 20
years. Posted.


Body disposal technology widens green funeral choice. Burnt,
buried or frozen and turned to powder are some of the options for
dealing with the remains of a loved one whose last wishes include
lessening death's environmental impact. Our demise can have a big
environmental impact. Around three quarters of people in the
United Kingdom alone are cremated after they die but cremation
uses about the same amount of domestic energy as a person uses in
a month. Globally, cremation emits over 6.8 million metric tons
of carbon dioxide every year, accounting for around 0.02 percent
of world carbon dioxide emissions, experts estimate. Posted.

Death Valley takes hottest record. For exactly 90 years, it was
thought El Azizia, Libya, had recorded the world's hottest
temperature, a blistering 136 degrees on Sept. 13, 1922. Not so.
A team of atmospheric scientists, after a comprehensive review,
has concluded the reading is bogus. This means Death Valley's
weather station at Greenland Ranch, now Furnace Creek Ranch,
where the mercury soared to a scorching 134 degrees on July 10,
1913, now holds the distinction of having achieved the Earth's
hottest temperature. Posted.

SF car sharing revs up but hits bumps. San Francisco's quest to
cut down on private car travel, car sharing is becoming
increasingly important - and popular. While San Francisco may be
a transit-first city, taking Muni or BART isn't always a viable
option. Sometimes hauling groceries, making a trip to Ikea or
just getting across the city quickly requires a car, even for
people who don't want to own one. With a pioneering nonprofit
operation - City CarShare - and two private car-sharing outfits -
Zipcar and BMW's recently launched DriveNow…Posted.


S.F. floats risky bet on green power. San Francisco's persistent
fascination with public power is up for another test. On Tuesday,
the Board of Supervisors will consider an attractive but flawed
plan to offer clean energy and shake up the utility landscape.
At issue is a long-studied proposal that tests the public
appetite for going 100 percent renewable on electric power, an
option not offered by the city's only provider, Pacific Gas and
Electric Co. The proposal is public-power-lite, afforded by a
state law that allows a city to line up renewable energy as a
consumer option. Posted.

Climate Change: Carbon market needs efficient global rules.  The
world stands at a ¬critical juncture. The effects of climate
change are accelerating and the predicted rise in global
temperatures will have an increasingly devastating impact on food
security, human settlement and our ability to survive as a people
and a planet. But global action to address this looming crisis
falls far short of what is needed. This lack of action to cut
carbon dioxide emissions (referred to as "mitigation" in climate
jargon) is also having an impact on carbon markets. Posted. 

Energy democracy: Three ways to bring solar to the masses.  
Pollution is not the only thing wrong with the U.S. power system.
It is also governed by inconsistent rules and opaque,
unaccountable organizations. The average citizen has little
understanding of how it works, who is in charge, or how it might
change for the better. The financial benefits of electricity,
like power generation itself, tend to be centralized,
concentrating in the hands of shareholders and executives. 


Why the recent plunge in U.S. carbon emissions may not last. 
Over the winter, the United States reached what seemed like an
encouraging milestone. Carbon dioxide emissions from energy
sources dropped to their lowest levels in 20 years. At first
glance, the country looked like it was making progress in reining
in its planet-warming greenhouse-gas emissions.  But some experts
now argue that the carbon drop might just be a blip, an
aberration due to one-time factors such as a warmer winter and
unsustainably cheap natural gas prices. Posted. 

An Argument Over Wind.  With the wind industry facing the
expiration of a production tax credit at the end of the year, the
sector’s main trade association is facing off against Exelon, the
big power generation company, over whether the tax break should
be renewed. Last week, the Wind Energy Association expelled
Exelon as a member because the company opposed a renewal of the
credit.  The association says that if the tax credit expires,
some 17,000 jobs will be eliminated next year and that deliveries
of new turbines will spiral to zero.  Posted. 

California Senate leader sets in motion reform of state
environmental laws. A month after quashing a rushed attempt to
overhaul the state’s environmental laws, Senate President Pro Tem
Darrell Steinberg (D-Sacramento) said Thursday he is convening
meetings with all the parties involved in the issue in the months
before the Legislature reconvenes in December. Steinberg also
said he is appointing the author of last month’s environmental
bill, Sen. Michael Rubio (D-East-Bakersfield), as chairman of the
Senate Committee on Environmental Quality for the upcoming
legislative session. Posted.

Social Innovation: First California Electric Vehicle Survey Shows
Benefits.  The California Centre for Sustainable Energy, with the
California Air Resources Board, has conducted the largest social
innovation plug-in electric vehicle (PEV) owner survey in the
state's history. Recording date from more than 2,500 Californian
PEV owners, the results have been released. The survey shows that
nine out of ten owners said these vehicles represent their
primary car though almost all had a second, conventional car.

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