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newsclips -- ARB Newclips for November 28, 2012.

Posted: 28 Nov 2012 12:19:26
ARB Newsclips for November 28, 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.


The Worst Cities In America For Your Lungs. In 1965, the Mamas &
the Papas were dreaming about California. Living in New York,
where “all the leaves are brown, and the sky is gray,” they put
their thoughts of escaping to a west coast paradise to music.
They wound up scoring a hit song. Forty-seven year later, it’s
the California sky that’s brown. And gray. The Golden State is
now home to the seven worst cities for your lungs in America.

New lawsuit alleges negligence over Chevron refinery blaze.  Two
law firms announced Tuesday they have signed on 4,800 plaintiffs
to a new lawsuit alleging that Chevron's Richmond refinery was
negligent in maintenance practices and lax in alerting the
community to an Aug. 6 fire at a refinery crude unit.  The suit
expands on the legal action filed by Oakland-based attorney John
Burris less than two weeks after the blaze, which sent black
smoke wafting over the East Bay and sent thousands to area
hospitals seeking treatment.  Posted. 


Obama shields U.S. airlines from EU carbon fees. President Barack
Obama signed a bill on Tuesday shielding U.S. airlines from
paying for each ton of carbon their planes emit flying into and
out of Europe, despite a recent move by Europe to suspend its
proposed measure for one year. The carbon fee bill was the first
piece of legislation debated on the House floor after Congress
returned from recess on November 13, and had been cleared by the
Senate in September in a rare unanimous vote. Posted.

Climate talks buffeted by the force of Superstorm Sandy. More
than 17,000 people have converged on the Qatari capital for the
latest U.N. climate talks, but the most influential presence may
be Sandy. The superstorm that ravaged the U.S. Northeast a month
ago seared into the American consciousness an apocalyptic vision
of what climate change could look like. On the heels of
devastating wildfires, droughts and floods this year…Posted.

News Summary: Less permafrost, more global warming. CHANGE IN THE
AIR: Thawing permafrost covering almost a quarter of the northern
hemisphere could "significantly amplify global warming" at a time
when the world is already struggling to reign in rising
greenhouse gases, a U.N. report said. FOOD FOR THAWED: Permafrost
usually thaws on the surface during summertime, but now
scientists say thaws reach up to 10 feet deep due to warmer
temperatures. The softened earth releases gases from decaying
plants underground. Posted.

UN agency: 2012 warmer than normal despite La Nina. Despite early
cooling from La Nina, 2012 is on track to become one of the top
10 hottest years on record, with the U.S. experiencing extreme
warmth and Arctic Sea ice shrinking to its lowest extent, the
U.N. weather agency said Wednesday. In a statement released at
international climate talks in Qatar, the World Meteorological
Organization said the "alarming rate" of the Arctic melt
highlights the far-reaching changes caused by global warming.





United States Suspends BP From New Contracts. Government
officials have temporarily banned BP from new federal contracts
because of the 2010 Deepwater Horizon blowout and oil spill that
killed 11 workers and polluted hundreds of miles of Gulf of
Mexico shoreline. The Environmental Protection Agency said
Wednesday that it was taking the action because of BP’s “lack of
business integrity” demonstrated by the accident and the
company’s inability to curb the flow of oil into the gulf. BP
pleaded guilty earlier this month to federal criminal charges
arising from the disaster and agreed to pay $4.5 billion,
including $1.26 billion in criminal penalties. Posted. 

As Rationing Ends, Gas Stations Return to Normal. Last Sunday,
after the end of gas rationing in New York City, a slow, steady
stream of customers approached a cashier booth inside a Gulf gas
station at the intersection of Myrtle and Vanderbilt Avenues.
They slid coins and bills under the Plexiglas partition and left
after brief but polite conversation with the cashier, Shook
Kamar. The quiet station looked, heard and smelled nothing like
it did earlier this month, when Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath
turned it into an epicenter of social unrest. Posted.

GAS PRICES: Did oil firms manipulate market, senators ask. A
group of lawmakers including California Sens. Dianne Feinstein
and Barbara Boxer is calling upon federal authorities to launch
an investigation into possible market manipulation by oil
companies, following a pair of gas price spikes that drove fuel
costs above $4 per gallon across the West. In a letter sent
Tuesday, Nov. 27, to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder…Posted.


7 hot cars at Los Angeles Auto Show; redone Honda Civic and
carbon fiber BMW top list. The Los Angeles Auto Show opens to the
public Friday. Here are some of the most talked-about vehicles
that will be making their world debuts at the event: — TOYOTA
RAV4: The fourth-generation of Toyota’s RAV4, which practically
invented the crossover segment when it first went on sale nearly
20 years ago. The latest RAV4 has sharper, more aggressive
styling, better fuel economy (up to 31 mpg on the highway),



Energy Solution Faces Economic Obstacles. Until last month, the
Don Valley Power Project in northeast England looked like a
winner. In July it topped a shortlist for a share of as much as
€1.5 billion in E.U. funding for innovative low-carbon
electricity schemes. But then came a blow. When the British
government published its own selection of potential recipients of
a slice of £1 billion, or $1.6 billion, in funding in a national
competition for carbon capture and storage projects Oct. 30, Don
Valley was left off. Posted.

A startup that squeezes electricity out of city water.  The water
that sloshes through city pipes can both quench your thirst and
generate electricity. However, the latter is far less common. But
that's the proposition from startup Rentricity, which has
developed equipment that uses water pressure to produce
electricity and helps water suppliers reduce their energy costs. 

Study: California Could Replace San Onofre Nuke With Renewables.
As the long process of diagnosing the damages San Onofre Nuclear
Generating Station on the San Diego coast becomes longer, chances
increase that the 2.2-gigawatt nuclear power plant could be out
of commission as late as next summer. Going without that power
generating capacity puts the state at greater risk of brownouts.
But a study just released by a renowned alternative energy
thinktank holds that the state could make up for lost power from
San Onofre by conserving energy and increasing our use of easily
implemented renewable energy such as rooftop solar. Posted.


Toxic flame retardants common in household couches. The vast
majority of couches tested as part of a new study contained
chemical flame retardants, including toxic chemicals that have
been linked to a variety of health problems. Comparing sample
results from older and newer couches, research published
Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science & Technology
indicates that the presence of flame retardants in furniture foam
has increased in recent years. Of 102 residential couches
purchased in the United States from 1985 to 2010, 85% had been
treated with chemical flame retardants. Posted.


California confronts a sea change. The state isn't waiting to
plan for rising sea levels. In Superstorm Sandy's wake, other
states should look west for inspiration on how to prepare.
Governors Andrew Cuomo of New York and Chris Christie of New
Jersey don't need to wait on gridlocked Washington to confront
future risks from climate-change intensified storms. They can
instead look at how California is already moving forward on
common-sense adaptations, and do it themselves. Posted.

The sin of California carbon trading. California's first carbon
auction raised $245 million for the state. The Golden State
government created an easy money scheme based on an inert
molecule labeled as a pollutant and charged businesses for the
privilege to emit it. Ultimately, the sin of carbon trading is
paid for by the people. California’s cap and trade law, Global
Warming Solutions Act of 2006--also known as AB 32-- enabled the
collection of tax from carbon emitters. Posted.


Understanding the Doha climate talks, in three easy charts.  The
U.N. climate talks are currently underway in Doha, Qatar, and
expectations have already been dialed way down: “negotiators and
experts all warned that the two-week session would only lay the
groundwork for a potentially ambitious global-warming pact by the
end of the decade.” Not auspicious.  Posted. 

The Costs of Burying Carbon Emissions. My green column this week
looks at a technology called carbon capture and storage. CCS
removes the carbon dioxide created in burning fossil fuels to
generate electric power or from produced natural gas and stores
it underground — perhaps in depleted oil and gas reservoirs. A
few years ago CCS was supposed to be a major weapon in the
arsenal for mitigating climate change. It has been slow, though,
to develop. One reason is cost. Posted.

Group Signals Plan To Sue EPA To Force Cap-And-Trade Scheme For
Vehicle Emissions. Another in what will likely be many legal
maneuvers aimed at either expanding or contracting the regulatory
reach of the Environmental Protection Agency over the next four
years is expected to land Wednesday morning, as a New York-based
policy reform group files notice of intent to sue the agency to
force it to create a market for carbon emissions tied to cars,
planes and other mobile sources. Posted.

Tobacco companies ordered to admit deception. Heads up, coal
industry.  Yesterday, a federal judge ruled that tobacco
companies will have to pay for an advertising campaign admitting
that they lied for years about the health impacts of cigarettes.
From Reuters:  [U.S. District Judge Gladys] Kessler's ruling on
Tuesday, which the companies could try to appeal, aims to
finalize the wording of five different statements the companies
will be required to use.  Posted. 

Consumption-based footprinting: ‘Carbon Zero,’ sidebar 1. 
"Consumption-based footprinting" is a mouthful, but while it may
not flow smoothly off the tongue, it’s an elegant concept -- and
an important way of looking at our problems.  A footprint, of
course, is the measurement of the total impacts of a thing, be it
a building, business, or ballgame. Consumption, of course,
describes the things we use.  Posted. 

Sea levels are rising 60 percent faster than expected.  One thing
that can be said categorically about Hurricane Sandy is that
sea-level rise was a key factor in the damage the storm caused.
New York Harbor is 15 inches higher than it was in 1880, eight of
which are due directly to human-made climate change. A 2007
report suggested that by 2100 the seas could be at least 7 inches
higher still.  Posted. 

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