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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for November 9, 2012. Posted: 09 Nov 2012 12:30:49
ARB Newsclips for November 9, 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. CLIMATE CHANGE Maya civilization's collapse linked to climate change: study. For a clue to the possible impact of climate change on modern society, a study suggests a look back at the end of classic Maya civilization, which disintegrated into famine, war and collapse as a long-term wet weather pattern shifted to drought. An international team of researchers compiled a detailed climate record that tracks 2,000 years of wet and dry weather in present-day Belize, where Maya cities developed from the year 300 to 1000. Using data locked in stalagmites - mineral deposits left by dripping water in caves - …Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/09/us-maya-climate-idUSBRE8A71DE20121109 Australia to sign up to new Kyoto climate commitment, NZ out. Australia will sign up to the second round of Kyoto climate commitments, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said on Friday, but the push for global emissions cuts remained divided with New Zealand joining major countries to opt out of the Kyoto scheme. With new U.N. climate negotiations due to start in Qatar this month, Australia joins Europe and a handful of other nations engaged in the second phase of emissions reductions. The first Kyoto period is due to end on Dec. 31, with the new commitment period starting on Jan. 1, 2013. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/09/kyoto-climate-australia-newzealand-idUSL3E8M90S620121109 U.S. weather forecaster drops El Niño watch. The U.S. national weather forecaster has called off its El Niño watch five months after raising the alert as it is now less likely that the much-feared phenomenon that can wreak havoc on global weather will emerge. Since June, the weather forecaster had predicted that El Niño conditions, essentially a warming of waters in the equatorial Pacific Ocean that can cause a major drought in Asia, would develop gradually during the Northern Hemisphere winter. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/weather-elnino-cpc-idUSL1E8M85SP20121108 Long-shot carbon tax suddenly part of fiscal cliff debate. A potential tax on big polluters, a taboo subject in the United States in recent years, has come back into the spotlight as some sense potential for a revenue windfall at a time lawmakers look for ways to the so-called "fiscal cliff" of tax rises and spending cuts due in early 2013. The aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, which devastated parts of the U.S. East Coast last week, has raised fresh questions about the links between climate change and extreme weather events, which also makes the idea of a carbon tax more appealing. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/us-carbon-tax-fiscal-cliff-idUSBRE8A71IU20121108 California Carbon ‘Crippled’ by Buyer Hesitation: Energy Markets. California carbon is trading at a record low as legal threats, political opposition and rule changes plague the days leading up to the first auction of permits under the state’s greenhouse-gas program. Less than a week before the first allowance sale, the program is facing scrutiny from legislators, economists and companies such as San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp., whose chief executive officer described the regulations last week as being “hijacked” by academics and extremists. Posted. http://sfgate.ldc.bloomberg.wallst.com/SFChronicle/Story?docId=1376-MD4UFL6TTDUG01-6V0HVGMN1KULUUJV9SF3K2GAEH UN: Sandy shows need for action on climate change. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says one of the lessons from Superstorm Sandy is the need for global action to deal with future climate shocks. A new round of global climate talks starts in Doha, Qatar on Nov. 27, and Ban urged nations to reach a binding agreement by 2015 to curtail emissions of heat-trapping gases in order to stop the planet from overheating. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/11/09/4973684/un-sandy-shows-need-for-action.html#storylink=cpy Climate change may come faster than predictions made by most computer models. Climate change is likely to be worse than many computer models have projected, according to a new analysis. The work, published yesterday in Science, finds evidence that Earth's climate is more sensitive to the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than some earlier studies had suggested. If the new results are correct, that means warming will come on faster, and be more intense, than many current predictions. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/11/09/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY California Carbon Credits May Benefit Vt. In January, California will begin enforcing a carbon cap and trade system. Polluters in that state will be able to buy carbon offset credits from landowners anywhere in the U.S. and some forest owners in Vermont are already signing up for this new marketplace. Others are watching very closely. Bill Keeton is a professor of Forest Ecology and Resources at the University of Vermont. He spoke with Vermont Edition about how Vermonters could take advantage of a California program. Posted. http://www.vpr.net/news_detail/96469/california-carbon-credits-may-benefit-vt/ VEHICLES Electric vehicle prices must fall for sales to take off –study. U.S. sales of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles are rising, but they won't gain real traction until manufacturers lower prices and demonstrate clear economic benefits, market researcher J.D. Power and Associates said in a study released on Thursday. Sales of plug-in vehicles, such as General Motors Co's Chevrolet Volt and Nissan Motor Co's Leaf, rose to 37,361 through October, but that represents only 0.3 percent of total industry sales. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/08/autos-ev-study-idUSL1E8M8DE820121108 GREEN ENERGY LightSail raises $37 million from Bill Gates and others to back company's cleantech energy storage system. LightSail Energy, a developer of new technologies for energy storage, has landed $37.3 million in Series D venture capital financing. Investors Bill Gates, Peter Thiel. Khosla Ventures, and Innovacorp were among the notable financiers that participated in the venture funding round. Founded in 2009, LightSail Energy has developed technologies to make renewable energy such as solar and wind power available at times when the power is needed, rather than only when they are available. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_21960863/lightsail-raises-37-million-from-bill-gates-and What will the election mean for renewable energy? Tuesday’s election was a pivotal moment for renewable energy in America. During President Barack Obama’s first term, the amount of electricity generated through renewable sources doubled. On Tuesday the President was re-elected; Democrats increased their numbers in the Senate; and in many states Democrats won governorships and took control of state legislatures. What will that mean for renewable energy? Posted. http://www.examiner.com/article/what-will-the-election-mean-for-renewable-energy MISCELLANEOUS Salinas Valley man faces prison time for falsely labeling chemical-based fertilizer as organic. The former president of Salinas Valley farming company has been sentenced to nearly a year in prison after pleading guilty to falsely labeling chemical-based fertilizer as organic. Federal officials say Peter Townsley, who formerly operated California Liquid Fertilizer in Gonzales, was sentenced to 364 days in prison and fined $125,000 Wednesday in federal court. He had earlier pleaded guilty to two counts of fraud. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/green-living/ci_21964230/salinas-valley-man-faces-prison-time-falsely-labeling New judge appointed in low-carbon fuel case. A federal appeals court has appointed a judge to sit on a panel considering the lawfulness of California's low-carbon fuel standard after one died and her replacement recused himself. Judge Ronald Gould, who was appointed by President Clinton, will replace the late Judge Betty Binns Fletcher, the President Carter pick who died at age 89 just days after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard arguments in the case Oct. 16 (Greenwire, Oct. 24). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/print/2012/11/08/2 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Air Force ships Calif. radioactive waste to Idaho landfill. After California regulators refused to allow the U.S. Air Force to label residue from radioactive aircraft instruments as “naturally occurring” – declaring it unsuitable for a Bakersfield-area dump – the military turned to Idaho with the same story. There, military officials met with success. The Air Force is now sending radioactive waste from Sacramento County’s McClellan Air Force Base to a Grand View, Idaho, hazardous waste landfill. This solution involved a bit of legal semantics rejected in California despite 10 months of Air Force lobbying: Posted. http://californiawatch.org/dailyreport/air-force-ships-calif-radioactive-waste-idaho-landfill-18655 OPINIONS U.S. carbon tax works, with support: Wynn. Academics and lawmakers have proposed a U.S. carbon tax to curb carbon emissions and trim the debt pile, but the idea depends on prominent Republican support, so far absent. Without a deal on cutting the fiscal deficit the United States faces a $600 billion package of automatic tax increases and spending cuts which could tip the country back into recession. While that is clearly a step too far, the consensus is that a more gradual combination of spending cuts and/or tax hikes is required to avoid a borrowing crisis. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/09/us-column-wynn-carbon-tax-idUSBRE8A80WJ20121109 California's Model Climate Policies Will Maintain Momentum in Obama Second Term. A second Obama White House guarantees California a federal supporter in its crusade to slow global warming. For decades, California has been the engine of growth behind America's sputtering clean energy economy—adopting groundbreaking clean air and climate policies as federal efforts lagged behind. The hope was that California's initiatives would become the template for a national law to slow global warming. Posted. http://insideclimatenews.org/news/20121108/obama-second-president-epa-california-cap-and-trade-low-carbon-fuels-global-warming-greenhouse-gases-solar-energy?page=show BLOGS Science Panel Warns Spy Agencies Are in the Dark on Risks from Warming. For years, there’s been a building chorus of warnings on the looming prospect of “climate conflict” and “global warring” that might be set off as greenhouse-driven warming disrupts longstanding weather patterns in already-turbulent parts of the world (think sub-Saharan Africa) or rising seas dislocate coastal populations (think Bangladesh). Solmon Hsiang of Princeton and Matthew Burke of the University of California, Berkeley, generated a graph of data showing a relationship between conflict rates (vertical axis) and periods of unusual warmth in East Africa (horizontal). Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/09/science-panel-warns-spy-agencies-are-in-the-dark-on-risks-from-warming/?ref=science Will Storm’s Wall Street Impact Influence U.S. Carbon Policy? I encourage you to read Tina Rosenberg’s Fixes post, “A Change in the Weather on Wall Street.” The piece nicely summarizes why this storm, unlike other recent weather disasters with a climate-change component, has prompted so many politicians, including President Obama, to end their self-imposed silence on global warming. One reason, she writes, is that it disrupted the lives of Wall Street titans along with the common folk in the region. That cut through the reality of the rich-poor “climate divide.” Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/08/will-storms-wall-street-impact-influence-u-s-carbon-policy/ Turning Wood Chips into Gasoline. KiOR, a renewable fuel start-up based in Pasadena, Tex., said Thursday that it had produced a crude oil made from wood chips at a plant in Mississippi and expected to refine it into gasoline and diesel and sell it commercially later this month. That would be a first for the cellulosic biofuel sector. In a conference call with investment analysts, company executives would not say just how much they had made at the conversion plant, in Columbus, Miss., or how well it was running. But they said the remaining step, refining the oil into products, would involve standard technology. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/08/turning-wood-chips-into-gasoline/ Warmer still: Extreme climate predictions appear most accurate, report says. Climate scientists agree the Earth will be hotter by the end of the century, but their simulations don’t agree on how much. Now a study suggests the gloomier predictions may be closer to the mark. “Warming is likely to be on the high side of the projections,” said John Fasullo of the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., a co-author of the report, which was based on satellite measurements of the atmosphere. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/warmer-still-extreme-climate-predictions-appear-most-accurate-study-says/2012/11/08/ebd075c6-29c7-11e2-96b6-8e6a7524553f_story.html How to press for climate change progress. The past week has been huge for people who want to see the United States go big on climate change. First Hurricane Sandy vaulted climate change back into the public debate. Now the reelection of Barack Obama means that there will be someone in the White House who cares strongly about the issue. The combination creates an opportunity to press for climate action. That makes it all the more critical for people who care about climate change to get things right. If they remember one thing, it should be this: they will need to build coalitions if they want to go big. Posted. http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2012/11/09/how-to-press-for-climate-change-progress/ Voters Chose Leaders Who Will Confront Climate Change. This election was a resounding victory for climate action. Americans were presented with the clearest choice yet on global warming, and they chose the presidential candidate who confronted the climate threat, not the one who turned it into a punch line. Voters made the same choice in Congressional races across the country. They overwhelmingly favored leaders who called for more clean energy and other climate solutions. Let's be clear here. The issue of climate change appeared throughout this election. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/peter-lehner/voters-chose-leaders-who-_b_2094688.html Delhi Journal: Five Ways to Avoid the Pollution. Air pollution in New Delhi has reached “unheard of” levels, experts say. The air quality index for PM10 (particles with a diameter of 10 microns or less) touched 1,000 in areas of the city earlier this week. To put that in perspective: PM10 levels above 301 are considered “hazardous” to health, by U.S. government standards. In 2010, the capital’s PM10 averaged 249, making it the most polluted city in India. Early Friday, PM10 levels in Delhi ranged from 600 to 800, with a few areas in the north of the city exceeding 900, according to government data. Posted. http://blogs.wsj.com/indiarealtime/2012/11/09/delhi-journal-five-ways-to-avoid-the-pollution/ California leads in green car sales, but there are surprises on the lists. A recent study of new car registrations by Edmunds reveals that some big car-buying states aren't as interested in electric or gas-electric hybrids as other states. It's no surprise that California – the Number One car-buying state – is the top green car buyer as well. A large number of "early adopters," strong local incentives and access to High Occupancy Lanes with a single person in the cab likely tilted a large number of buyers into alternative power trains, experts said. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/11/09/california-leads-in-green-car-sales-but-there-are-surprises-on/