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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for September 24, 2012.

Posted: 24 Sep 2012 15:32:36
ARB Newsclips for September 24, 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.


Breathing European air shortens lives: report. Air pollution is
shortening lives by almost two years in parts of the European
Union, the European Environmental Agency (EEA) said,
strengthening the case for a tightening of emissions restrictions
in the bloc. 
Legislation had managed to cut the amount of some toxins belched
out by exhaust fumes and chimneys across Europe, an EEA report
published on Monday said. But there were still dangerous levels
of microscopic particles, known as particulate matter and linked
to diseases such as lung cancer and cardiovascular problems, it
added. Posted.

Senate votes to shield US airlines from EU's carbon scheme. The
Senate unanimously passed a bill on Saturday that would shield
U.S. airlines from paying for their carbon emissions on European
flights, pressuring the European Union to back down from applying
its emissions law to foreign carriers. The European Commission
has been enforcing its law since January to make all airlines
take part in its Emissions Trading Scheme to combat global
warming, prompting threats of a trade fight. Posted.

Ex-EPA official says Texas court wins won't last. A former
Environmental Protection Agency administrator who resigned after
using the word "crucify" to describe his approach to violators
says recent court decisions striking down federal pollution rules
are delaying the inevitable. Al Armendariz, who was the Obama
administration's top environmental official in the oil-rich south
before resigning in April under pressure from Republicans, says
the EPA will simply rewrite and reapply cross-state air pollution
rules on coal plant emissions. Posted.

Smoke remains problem in E. Washington. Major wildfires on the
eastern slopes of the Cascade Range are relatively calm, but
smoke continues to blanket Eastern Washington communities. The
two biggest fires were reported as bigger in size on Monday, but
officials say that was due mostly to better mapping and the use
of burnouts to create fire lines. The Wenatchee Complex of fires
was reported Monday morning at 82 square miles, while the Table
Mountain fire was reported at nearly 57 square miles in size.

Criminal investigation at Chevron refinery. Federal authorities
have opened a criminal investigation of Chevron after discovering
that the company detoured pollutants around monitoring equipment
at its Richmond refinery for four years and burned them off into
the atmosphere, in possible violation of a federal court order,
The Chronicle has learned. Air quality officials say Chevron
fashioned a pipe inside its refinery that routed hydrocarbon
gases around monitoring equipment and allowed them to be burned
off without officials knowing about it. Posted.


Air-quality changes bring mixed reviews. The Valley's summertime
air is dangerous at times -- 91 ozone violations and counting
this year. And you're paying a $29 million annual fine for
failing to clean it up faster. So are you any better off now than
you were 10 years ago? Yes, say government watchdog agencies. Not
really, say environmentalists, health advocates and community
activist groups. More than 40% of a key ozone-making gas -- NOx
-- is gone now. Also gone are terrible years like 2002 when smog
sieges created a lung-searing 158 violations. Posted.


Acidifying seas threaten island nations' food security –study. 
Food security problems caused by climate change and ocean
acidification will hit small island and coastal nations hardest,
environmental group Oceana said on Monday. The Comoros islands in
the Indian Ocean headed the non-profit group's rankings of
nations most vulnerable to the combined effects of higher carbon
dioxide emissions and ocean temperatures, and the increasing
acidity of the world's water. Posted.

Boost for carbon capture from new non-toxic absorber. Researchers
have created a new material that could solve some of the problems
holding back projects to combat global warming by capturing and
burying carbon emitted from power stations. The material, made
from aluminium nitrate salt, cheap organic materials and water,
is non-toxic and requires less energy to strip out the carbon
when it becomes saturated, the scientists said. Posted.

COLUMN-U.S., China climate standoff returns: Gerard Wynn. Major
developing countries have dampened prospects for agreement on
international carbon emissions reduction targets by insisting on
distinguishing between the responsibilities of industrialised and
emerging economies to act on climate change beyond 2020. At a
meeting in Durban, South Africa, last December, ministers agreed
to negotiate a deal, for implementation from 2020, in which all
countries participated, boosting prospects for agreement on
medium-term climate targets. Posted.

Climate change will shift marine predators’ habitat, study says.
The top ocean predators in the North Pacific could lose as much
as 35 percent of their habitat by the end of the century as a
result of climate change, according to a study published Sunday
in the journal Nature Climate Change. The analysis, conducted by
a team of 11 American and Canadian researchers, took data
compiled from tracking 4,300 open-ocean animals over a decade and
looked at how predicted temperature changes would alter the areas
they depend on for food and shelter. Posted.

Antarctic marine sanctuary plans falter. Antarctica's Ross Sea is
often described as the most isolated and pristine ocean on Earth,
a place where seals and penguins still rule the waves and humans
are about as far away as they could be. But even there it has
proved difficult, and maybe impossible, for nations to agree on
how strongly to protect the environment. The United States and
New Zealand have spent two years trying to agree on an
Alaska-size marine sanctuary where fishing would be banned and
scientists could study climate change. Posted.

AB 32 and Cap and Trade Design Basics. California, the world’s
fifth-largest economy and 18th in total carbon emissions if it
were a separate country1, is rapidly moving forward with the
development of its cap and trade program scheduled to be
implemented in 2013. This has drawn a lot of attention from
businesses generating high quantities of carbon emissions or who
consume large amounts of energy or fuel. Carbon futures linked to
Californian’s cap and trade program slipped recently2, but after
a test auction in late August 2012, news articles reported that
major banks are weighing whether to wade into the California
carbon market, which experts believe could grow into a $40
billion-a-year market by 2020. Posted.


Trucks Will Roll Down an E-Highway In California Test.
Trolley-like system could let people breathe easier amid
congestion. Los Angeles-area officials are betting that one route
to cleaner air in the smog-choked region might be a so-called
e-highway for commercial trucks. Within the next few years they
plan to test a trolley-like system developed by Siemens AG that
relies on overhead electric wires to power specially equipped
freight trucks down roadways. Posted.


Gas drilling protests held in US, other countries. Demonstrators
in the United States and other countries protested Saturday
against the natural gas drilling process known as fracking that
they say threatens public health and the environment.
Participants in the "Global Frackdown" campaign posted photos on
social media websites showing mostly small groups. Posted.

Mine closings not likely to turn Va. Elections. In southwestern
Virginia's hardscrabble coal fields, the closure of three mines
announced last week is like a death in the family. Yet try as
they will, Republicans will have a hard time making it the potent
issue they hope it will be in this swing state. Coal giant Alpha
Natural Resources is closing three mines in Virginia and five
elsewhere in West Virginia and Pennsylvania. Company officials
ascribed the shutdowns and a 16 million ton reduction in domestic
production to electrical utilities converting coal-fired
generating plants to cheaper…Posted.

Decades of federal dollars helped fuel gas boom. It sounds like a
free-market success story: a natural gas boom created by drilling
company innovation, delivering a vast new source of cheap energy
without the government subsidies that solar and wind power
demand. "The free market has worked its magic," the Barnett Shale
Energy Education Council, an industry group, claimed over the
summer. The boom happened "away from the greedy grasp of
Washington," the American Enterprise Institute, a think tank,
wrote in an essay this year. Posted.


Battery overheating stalls Chrysler plug-in hybrid tests.
Chrysler Group LLC said it has temporarily sidelined 109 trucks
and 23 minivans in plug-in hybrid test fleets due to overheating
batteries in some of the pickup trucks. Three of the Ram Truck
1500 pickup trucks in a fleet of 109 equipped with plug-in hybrid
powertrains sustained damage when their prototype lithium-ion
batteries overheated, Chrysler said. There were no fires or
injuries and the incidents occurred when the trucks were
unoccupied, the automaker said. Posted.

Toyota drops plan for widespread sales of electric car. Toyota
Motor Corp has scrapped plans for widespread sales of a new
all-electric minicar, saying it had misread the market and the
ability of still-emerging battery technology to meet consumer
demands. Toyota, which had already taken a more conservative view
of the market for battery-powered cars than rivals General Motors
Co and Nissan Motor Co, said it would only sell about 100
battery-powered eQ vehicles in the United States and Japan in an
extremely limited release. Posted.


Silicon Valley electric car show leaves the hobbyists behind. On
National Plug In Day, the newest in electric vehicles were on
display Sunday at De Anza College in Cupertino. What used to be a
gathering of geeks who built eccentric vehicles in their garages
has become more like a regular, commercial car show. "I don't
know where all the hobbyists went," said Frank Bletsch, who sat
quietly behind his hand-built "Electric Urban Micro Hauler," a
tall, three-wheeled contraption with a short cargo bed. "It's
become more commercial." Posted.

TEMECULA: City holds first Electric Vehicle Expo. Someday finding
a place to charge an electric car may be as common as spotting a
gas station, and less scary. "These people don't worry about gas
prices," said organizer Taylor York, city captain for the Western
Riverside County Clean Cities Coalition, pointing to a row of six
gleaming electric cars parked, hoods up and trunks open, as part
of Temecula's first-ever Electric Vehicle Expo, held Sunday in
Old Town in conjunction with National Plug-In Day. Posted.

National Plug In Day comes to Santa Rosa. Odie Weir asked the car
salesman to pop open the little gas-cap-type door so he could see
the strange-looking plug for charging the 2013 Toyota RAV4
all-electric vehicle. Weir, of Angwin, was checking out the new
vehicle at a special gathering of car dealers and electric
vehicle owners Sunday at Santa Rosa's Coddingtown Shopping
Center. "I want to be less dependent on the Middle East," Weir
said of his interest in the electric vehiclesPosted.


Power, Pollution and the Internet: If it’s really bad, let’s tell
it like it is. The New York Times has published an in-depth piece
today that purports to document how wasteful the Internet
industry is, but some critics say the report is misleading. The
industry’s data centers “consume vast amounts of energy in an
incongruously wasteful manner,” the Times writes, summarizing the
findings of its year-long investigation. “Online companies
typically run their facilities at maximum capacity around the
clock, whatever the demand. As a result, data centers can waste
90 percent or more of the electricity they pull off the grid,” it
said. Posted.

Energy Upgrade falls far short of goal. Backed by $146 million
from President Obama's stimulus, California last year launched an
effort to help as many as 100,000 homeowners save energy by
providing rebates for new insulation, windows and furnaces. The
stimulus money has been spent, but as of July, just 5,130 homes
received upgrades or qualified for rebates, according to the
California Energy Commission. The money also funded 3,728
energy-efficiency projects at businesses through May - mostly
improvements to ventilation systems and lighting controls.

ENERGY: Sun ready to set on state solar subsidy in San Diego
County. California's solar panel subsidy will end for San Diego
County residents by the end of the year, but Southwest Riverside
homeowners will get two more years to bask in its glow, utility
and program officials said this week. The California Solar
Initiative, launched in 2007, provided a declining scale of
subsidies to people who bought solar panels for their homes or
businesses. Posted.


How ‘Silent Spring’ Ignited the Environmental Movement.  On June
4, 1963, less than a year after the controversial environmental
classic “Silent Spring” was published, its author, Rachel Carson,
testified before a Senate subcommittee on pesticides. She was 56
and dying of breast cancer. She told almost no one. She’d already
survived a radical mastectomy. Her pelvis was so riddled with
fractures that it was nearly impossible for her to walk to her
seat at the wooden table before the Congressional panel. To hide
her baldness, she wore a dark brown wig. Posted.

 House moves to quash Obama coal, gas rules. House Republicans
voted Friday to cramp President Barack Obama's environmental
policies in favor of increased coal production, in a parting jab
before returning home to campaign. The bill would bar the
Environmental Protection Agency from restricting greenhouse
gases, quash stricter fuel efficiency standards for cars and give
states control over disposal of harmful coal byproducts. Posted.


Is It a Car? Is It a Boat? Well, Yes. The quest to mass produce a
successful amphibious automobile has been going on since
Volkswagen first rolled its Schwimmwagen into the water more than
70 years ago during World War II. The vehicle, used by the German
army, cruised on land and in water, where the wheels acted as
rudders and a three-blade propeller pushed the vehicle along.
More than 15,000 Schwimmwagens are said to have been built,
making it the most-produced amphibious car in history. Trouble
was, the cars took a long time to build and had a life span of
only six weeks. Posted.

EDITORIAL: Sunday pops.  Writing at Forbes.com, James Taylor
notes that Antarctic sea ice continues to set records -- not for
melting but for increasing. In fact, he says such sea ice "has
been growing since satellites first began measuring the ice 33
years ago and the sea ice has been above the 33-year average
throughout 2012." Throw another log on the fire, honey, it's
getting cold outside. ... From the University of California,
Riverside, Department of We Have Nothing Better to Study:
Commercially cooked hamburgers cause more air pollution than
diesel trucks. Posted.

EDITORIAL: Energy: Sunshine patriots. We had to laugh when we
read some of the gripes about Dominion Virginia Power's new
solar-generation project. The company is planning to build 30 to
50 facilities that will, combined, generate about 30 megawatts of
power. Dominion says it will add about 20 cents to the cost of a
monthly residential bill. 
A Sierra Club honcho says the group is "in favor of it," but "we
think the price is too high." Another Sierra Clubber said the
utility "must do more." Talk about wanting to have your cake and
eat it, too. No matter which source you go to, you'll find that
solar power ranks among the most expensive of energy sources.

EDITORIAL: Ameren gets a pass from cowed Illinois regulators. The
Illinois Pollution Control Board's decision to let Ameren Corp.
slide until 2020 on its promise to cut sulfur dioxide emissions
from its coal-fired power plant in Newton, Ill., is a glowing
example of what lawyers, money and power will get you. Ameren,
via its retinue of lawyers, began backpedaling soon after
agreeing in 2006 to spend $1.6 billion to cut emissions of key
pollutants at the plant, about 126 miles east of St. Louis, by
2015. Posted.

Ignore polluting industries on cap-and-trade Re "California
businesses want changes to cap-and-trade market" (Business, Sept.
20): Old manufacturing and dirty energy industries, represented
by their high-paid lobbyists, are doing their best to derail AB
32, the state's clean energy law. Voters said "no" when they made
similar attempts in 2010 with the defeat of Proposition 23.
Lawmakers said "no" when they tried to pass a law to get more
freebies. Posted.

WHY IT MATTERS: Global warming. The issue: People love to talk
about the weather, especially when it's strange like the
mercifully ended summer of 2012. This year the nation's weather
has been hotter and more extreme than ever, federal records show.
Yet there are two people who aren't talking about it, and they
both happen to be running for president. Where they stand: In
2009, President Barack Obama proposed a bill that would have
capped power plant carbon dioxide emissions and allowed trading
of credits for the right to emit greenhouse gases…Posted.


Carbon Taxes: A Bipartisan Threat to Liberty That Won't Stay
Dead.  With the economy sputtering toward what can at best be
described as a meager recovery, it seems like an obviously poor
time to consider raising taxes on any form of energy. That’s
particularly true when it comes the gasoline which fuels not only
our cars, but also the nation’s economic engine. Yet that is also
precisely what an unholy coalition of big spending liberals and
misguided conservative economists is proposing – to raise taxes
on carbon and send the economy spiraling toward another
recession. Posted.


Wind Sprints to the Cliff. The wind industry’s main trade
association is predicting that new installations will fall to
zero without a renewal of the production tax credit, which
applies only to projects finished by New Year’s Eve. Since
renewal is iffy, some wind machine factories are already shutting
down, as my colleague Diane Cardwell reported on Friday. From
another perspective, this is the moment for the feast before the
famine: the impending deadline means that a surge of projects are
approaching completion. Posted.

Al Gore Sees ‘Dirty Weather’ Ahead.  On Sunday, Al Gore was in
New York — well, he appeared in a video screened there — to
promote the second iteration of “24 Hours of Reality,” an event
streamed online to help people connect the dots between climate
change and its diverse impacts around the globe. This year’s
version, scheduled for Nov. 14-15, is titled “24 Hours of
Reality: The Dirty Weather Report.” “The weather’s just that –
dirty,” Mr. Gore said in the video, which was shown at the
three-day Social Good Summit conference. “It’s fueled by dirty
fossil fuel and misinformation.” Posted.

Scientists: Climate bias at Fox, WSJ ‘far exceeded’ rest of
media. The Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) has just published
a study criticizing Fox News Channel and the Wall Street
Journal’s opinion section for misleading coverage of the climate
change issue. Jumping straight to the key findings: • Over a
recent six-month period, 93 percent of Fox News Channel’s
representations of climate science were misleading (37 out of 40
instances). • Similarly, over the past year, 81 percent of the
representations of climate science in the Wall Street Journal’s
opinion section were misleading (39 out of 48 instances). Posted.

Greenpeace questions California's global carbon offset plans.
California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger speaks as US governors and
international leaders convene at the Governors' Global Climate
Summit 2 on September 30, 2009 in Century City, California. A
collaboration of 14 states and provinces from 5 countries,
including officials from California, will meet in the Mexican
state of Chiapas this week. They’re trying to develop ways to cut
carbon pollution together. But some people are skeptical about
the project. Posted.

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