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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/tomvanriper/2012/11/28/america-worst-cities-air-quality/ 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. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_22077418/richmond-new-lawsuit-alleges-negligence-over-chevron-refinery CLIMATE CHANGE 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/11/27/us-usa-airlines-emissions-idUSBRE8AQ1AR20121127 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-climate-change-doha-20121127,0,7288262.story 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/nov/27/news-summary-less-permafrost-more-global-warming/#ixzz2DXV56mbI 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. Posted. http://fresnobee.com/2012/11/28/3081210/un-agency-2012-warmer-than-normal.html#storylink=misearch http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/un-agency-warmer-than-normal-despite-la-nina/article_2019e754-dd50-5c3c-8849-207daca1e943.html http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_22080033/un-agency-2012-warmer-than-normal-despite-la?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_22080033/un-agency-2012-warmer-than-normal-despite-la FUELS 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/business/energy-environment/united-states-suspends-bp-from-new-contracts.html 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. http://fort-greene.thelocal.nytimes.com/2012/11/27/as-rationing-ends-gas-stations-return-to-normal/ 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. http://www.pe.com/local-news/politics/ben-goad-headlines/20121127-gas-prices-did-oil-firms-manipulate-market-senators-ask.ece VEHICLES 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), Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/7-hot-cars-at-los-angeles-auto-show-redone-honda-civic-and-carbon-fiber-bmw-top-list/2012/11/28/f27f6112-3984-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-autos-laas-toyota-rav4-debut-20121128,0,5016315.story GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/29/business/energy-environment/29iht-green29.html?pagewanted=print 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. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/a-startup-that-squeezes-electricity-out-of-city-water/2012/11/28/a62574dc-38ee-11e2-9258-ac7c78d5c680_story.html 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. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/policy/study-california-could-replace-san-onofre-nuke-with-renewables.html MISCELLANEOUS 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/environment/la-gs-flame-retardants-in-couches-20121128,0,4366710.story OPINIONS 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-helvarg-planning-climate-change-sea-level-20121126,0,5137531.story 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. http://www.examiner.com/article/the-sin-of-california-carbon-trading BLOGS 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/11/28/understanding-the-doha-climate-talks-in-three-charts/ 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. http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/11/28/the-costs-of-burying-carbon-emissions/?smid=tw-share 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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/11/28/cap-and-trade-epa_n_2203200.html?view=print&comm_ref=false 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. http://grist.org/news/tobacco-companies-ordered-to-admit-deception-heads-up-coal-industry/ 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. http://grist.org/cities/carbon-zero-sidebar-1-consumption-based-footprinting/ 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. http://grist.org/news/sea-levels-are-rising-60-percent-faster-than-expected/