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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2012309140039 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. http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/chevron-air-monitoring-program-languishes-18003 CLIMATE CHANGE 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/13/us-russia-kyoto-idUSBRE88C0QZ20120913 DIESEL EMISSIONS 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/14/us-shipping-carbon-idUSBRE88D0Y520120914 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. Posted. http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/news-detail.asp?news_id=77999 FUELS 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. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-retail-sales-autos-20120914,0,5781064.story VEHICLES 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. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/14/san-diego-car2go-raises-rates/ 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 HIGH-SPEED RAIL 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. http://www.capradio.org/articles/2012/09/13/fewer-californians-like-high-speed-rail-or-pension-law 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. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/09/12/4812424/farmers-criticize-high-speed-rail.html GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0914-san-onofre-20120914,0,4575898.story 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. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/House-votes-to-end-energy-loan-guarantee-program-3865745.php#ixzz26SsJINiF 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. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_21536586/greenvolts-halts-operations-solar-company-meltdown 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. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/sep/13/sun-sets-on-solar-panels-at-24-schools/ MISCELLANEOUS 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/09/14/us-death-funerals-idUSBRE88C0HA20120914 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. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Death-Valley-takes-hottest-record-3864466.php#ixzz26StX5z92 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. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/SF-car-sharing-revs-up-but-hits-bumps-3864454.php#ixzz26T4hhwiL OPINIONS 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. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/S-F-floats-risky-bet-on-green-power-3864288.php#ixzz26SrMTk5S 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. http://mg.co.za/article/2012-09-14-00-climate-change-carbon-market-needs-efficient-global-rules 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. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/energy-democracy-three-ways-to-bring-solar-to-the-masses/ BLOGS 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/09/14/why-the-recent-plunge-in-u-s-carbon-emissions-may-not-last/ 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/14/an-argument-over-wind/ 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. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/california-politics/2012/09/california-senate-leader-pledges-reform-state-environmental-laws.html 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. Posted. http://www.justmeans.com/Social-Innovation-First-California-Electric-Vehicle-Survey-Shows-Benefits/55900.html