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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for December 4, 2012. Posted: 04 Dec 2012 14:14:00
ARB Newsclips for December 4, 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 Yolo air quality officials call for no-burn night Tuesday. The Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District has called a Don't Light Tonight advisory for Tuesday due to forecasted higher pollution levels. The Yolo-Solano AQMD asks that residents do not burn wood in their fireplaces or woodstoves on Tuesday. Wood smoke contributes to fine particulate pollution. Certain weather conditions, such as those expected to be present in the Yolo-Solano area on Tuesday, keep smoke in neighborhoods and elevate pollution concentrations. Posted. http://www.dailydemocrat.com/news/ci_22120682/yolo-air-quality-officials-call-no-burn-night CAP AND TRADE RIVERSIDE: Rule tweak exempts utility from carbon auction. Riverside Public Utilities officials are breathing a sigh of relief that, thanks to a minor rule change, they don’t have to participate in carbon auctions that are part of the state’s greenhouse gas reduction strategy. City electric utility officials were worried that having to buy and sell carbon credits in a newly created market would essentially force them to gamble with ratepayers’ money and potentially raise rates to cover price fluctuations. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20121203-riverside-rule-tweak-exempts-utility-from-carbon-auction.ece CLIMATE CHANGE UN chief urges faster response to global warming. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged governments to speed up talks to forge a joint response to global warming, describing it as an "existential challenge for the whole human race." Ban addressed the opening of the high-level segment of annual U.N. climate talks, involving environment ministers and climate officials from nearly 200 countries. They're discussing future emissions reductions and climate aid to poor countries. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/12/04/3088367/un-chief-urges-faster-response.html#storylink=misearch http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_22120312/un-chief-urges-faster-response-global-warming?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/un-chief-urges-faster-response-to-global-warming/article_2019e754-dd50-5c3c-8849-207daca1e943.html FUELS Fossil fuel subsidies in focus at climate talks. Hassan al-Kubaisi considers it a gift from above that drivers in oil- and gas-rich Qatar only have to pay $1 per gallon at the pump. "Thank God that our country is an oil producer and the price of gasoline is one of the lowest," al-Kubaisi said, filling up his Toyota Land Cruiser at a gas station in Doha. "God has given us a blessing." To those looking for a global response to climate change, it's more like a curse. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/03/us-envoy-hits-chinas-stand-in-un-climate-talks/#ixzz2E6evR8Vo Hazardous Air Pollutants Detected Near Fracking Sites. InsideClimateNews.org -- For years, the controversy over natural gas drilling has focused on the water and air quality problems linked to hydraulic fracturing, the process where chemicals are blasted deep underground to release tightly bound natural gas deposits. But a new study reports that a set of chemicals called non-methane hydrocarbons, or NMHCs, is found in the air near drilling sites even when fracking isn't in progress. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-12-03/hazardous-air-pollutants-detected-near-fracking-sites EPA approves ethanol made from grain sorghum. U.S. EPA has found that ethanol produced from grain sorghum, a high-energy and drought-tolerant crop, achieves enough greenhouse gas emissions reduction to count toward federal biofuel mandates. The decision opens the door for refiners to use grain sorghum ethanol to receive credit under the renewable fuel standard, which requires that 36 billion gallons of biofuel be blended into the nation's fuel supply by 2022. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/12/04/14 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES L.A. Auto Show: Are electric vehicle prices about to drop? Don't be surprised to see a decline in electric car prices over the next several months. When Chevrolet introduced its Spark EV at the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, it said the car will sell for less than $25,000 after a federal tax rebate. That would be lower than the prices of electric vehicles on the market now, although there are attractive lease deals. The Leaf starts at $28,550 after the federal tax credit. California buyers get an additional $2,500 state rebate. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-electric-vehicle-price-drop-20121130,0,780652.story Fuel economy of cars sold in October at record level. Americans continue to look for fuel-efficient vehicles when they go car shopping. The average fuel economy -- what is on the window sticker of a new car -- of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in October was 24.1 miles per gallon, the highest level yet. It was up 4 mpg, or 20 percent, from October 2007, according to the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_21943178/fuel-economy-cars-sold-october-at-record-level?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Berkeley Lab team develops high-performance lithium sulfide-carbon composite cathode materials for high-energy batteries targeting EVs. Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed nanostructured lithium sulfide/carbon (Li2S–C) composite cathodes that show promise for use in high-energy batteries. The paper on their work, published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, follows shortly after an earlier report from a Stanford team led by Yi Cui on another approach to using lithium-sulfide materials to build rechargeable batteries with specific energies…Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/12/cai-20121204.html Research in rare earth-free technology pushed by governments and OEMs. In view of the increased interest in electrically-powered vehicles, car manufacturers, research institutes as well as governments are looking to reduce their dependency on rare earth minerals. Investments are channelled to research and development of technologies that reduce the use of rare earth metals or that completely avoid their use, but maintain the efficiency of the EV motor. The market for rare earth minerals like neodymium, cerium, lanthanum and praseodymium, which are commonly used in high-efficiency permanent magnet electric motors, is overwhelmingly dominated by China. Posted. http://cars21.com/news/view/5059 Ford Super Duty to Get Natural Gas Engines. Westport Innovations Inc. announced that it will expand its product offerings with the introduction of natural gas powered versions of the Ford F-450 and F-550 Super Duty trucks in mid-2013. The new product additions will complement the Westport WiNG System powered Ford F-250 and F-350 trucks. "Our CNG bifuel systems for Ford F-250 and F-350 trucks have been very well received and as a result, our customers are making increasing requests for customized options and natural gas trucks with higher gross weights," said John Lapetz, vice president, North America Vehicle Programs, Westport LD. Posted. http://www.truckinginfo.com/news/news-detail.asp?news_id=78690 Electric vehicles can play strong role in achieving energy security – experts. Electric vehicles received strong endorsements from business and political leaders at an energy security event yesterday, despite the fact that alternative vehicle sales remain low. Sen. Alexander Lamar (R-Tenn.), who owns a Nissan Leaf all-electric car, said it was essential to invest in research and development to bring down the prohibitive costs of electric vehicles (EVs). Plug-in vehicles currently represent less than 1 percent of all U.S. sales. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/12/04/8 BY SUBSCRIPTION GREEN ENERGY State lacks strategy on alternative energy, report says. The 2020 deadline on using more renewable sources could mean high bills for electrical customers and damage to the environment, study finds. California's push to add wind and solar energy to its existing power grid could saddle ratepayers with soaring electrical bills and despoil the state's environmental resources unless officials act soon, according to a report released Monday by a government watchdog agency. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-1204-hoover-energy-20121204,0,7773457.story Group issues warning about Calif. energy plan. A California watchdog group says the state's clean energy strategy will saddle ratepayers with soaring utility bills unless officials act soon to organize state energy agencies. In a report released on Monday, the nonpartisan Little Hoover Commission lauded California's effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. But it described the state's collection of energy agencies as dysfunctional and balkanized and said their lack of organization threatened to make the state's clean energy push an expensive failure. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/12/04/3088333/group-issues-warning-about-calif.html#storylink=misearch http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_22121071/group-issues-warning-about-calif-energy-plan?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_22121071/group-issues-warning-about-calif-energy-plan?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Report says California's green transformation could push up energy prices. California's aggressive plans to build a clean-energy economy could mean higher energy prices for consumers and businesses, according to a report released Monday by the Little Hoover Commission. The report largely focuses on California's so-called renewable portfolio standard, which requires utilities to obtain a third of their electricity from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020. Utilities like PG&E are well on their way to meeting that goal. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/politics-government/ci_22115192/californias-green-energy-transformation-could-push-prices-up?source=rss MISCELLANEOUS BARSTOW: EPA to remove contaminated soil. Crews have begun excavating chemical-laden soil in and around a Barstow property believed to be the source of contamination that forced a shutdown of the city’s drinking water supply in late 2010. The property was once occupied by the owner of the now-defunct Mojave Pyrotechnics Inc., a fireworks manufacturing company that operated in the 1980s. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20121203-barstow-epa-to-remove-contaminated-soil.ece Cupertino: Open space district files lawsuit against county over Lehigh Cement's EIR. The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space District is filing a lawsuit challenging the environmental impact report for a recently approved reclamation plan for Lehigh Southwest Cement's Permanente Quarry near Cupertino. The district's lawsuit is against Santa Clara County and the county's board of supervisors over their late-June decision to approve the long-awaited reclamation plan. "Our deep concerns for the quarry's air and water quality impacts, hazardous materials and related recreational impacts remain unaddressed," district board president Curt Riffle said. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_22117868/cupertino-open-space-district-files-lawsuit-against-lehigh OPINIONS The road to a climate change deal goes through Doha. CLIMATE CHANGE is global. Unless enough big-emitting nations stop pumping carbon into the atmosphere, no single country’s efforts will matter much. That is why, despite the many unmet deadlines, petty squabbles and dashed hopes, it is still important for world leaders to gather and work toward a climate deal, as they have done many times in the past two decades and as they have been doing in Doha, Qatar, since last Monday. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/the-road-to-a-climate-change-deal-goes-through-doha/2012/12/03/03d88826-3d09-11e2-ae43-cf491b837f7b_story.html U.S. energy revolution transforms climate debate. The last few years have seen the beginnings of an energy revolution in the U.S. The coming of shale gas and now shale oil has transformed not just its energy outlook, but also the climate change debate. The game has changed: Energy independence, the goal first set by Nixon in the early 1970s, looks like being achievable, at least for the North American continent. Posted. http://www.cnn.com/2012/12/04/opinion/helm-us-energy-climate-change/index.html BLOGS Want to slow Arctic melting? Stop flying over the North Pole. As the world keeps warming up, sea ice in the Arctic has been disintegrating rapidly. It’s reached the point where scientists are now debating whether it will take four years or 40 before we start seeing ice-free summers up north. So is that it? Is the Arctic doomed? Perhaps not quite yet. A new study suggests one way that humans could slow the melting of the sea ice — by preventing international flights from crossing over the Arctic circle. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2012/12/04/want-to-slow-arctic-melting-stop-flying-over-the-north-pole/ E.P.A. Updates a Decades-Old Water Quality Standard. Last week the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new set of water quality guidelines for monitoring bacterial outbreaks in inland and coastal waters used frequently by recreational swimmers. The standard was last updated in 1986. The move was prompted by a federal court order and a requirement of the Beaches Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/03/e-p-a-updates-a-decades-old-water-quality-standard/?smid=tw-nytimesscience&seid=auto A Climate Scientist Proposes a ‘Fair Plan’ for Limiting Warming. Michael Schlesinger, a climatologist at the University of Illinois, has been immersed in both climate science and policy analysis for decades. Lately he has been working with younger researchers on papers aiming to clarify some of the basic questions about the human contribution to recent warming and to find a way for established and emerging industrial powers to divvy up the task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/04/a-climate-scientist-proposes-a-fair-plan-for-limiting-warming/ Bumps on the road to EV infrastructure in California. About a third of the electric cars in the U.S. are spinning on California roads, but the state still has much work to do to build the charging infrastructure to support them. There are about 1,000 public chargers in the state right now, and New Jersey-based NRG is poised to install 200 fast chargers and the wiring for 10,000 more regular chargers throughout the state by 2016. Posted. http://grist.org/news/bumps-on-the-road-to-ev-infrastructure-in-california/ Fossil fuels beat renewables in race for state and local incentives. Over the weekend, The New York Times launched a series considering how state and local incentives to private business benefit the localities that bestow them. The bottom line seems to be: not much. Incentives frequently fail to prevent companies from relocating or going out of business, and often cost huge amounts of money while returning very little value to the public. Posted. http://grist.org/news/fossil-fuels-beat-renewables-in-race-for-state-and-local-incentives/ The Most Successful Electric Car Cities. Electric vehicles (EVs) are becoming increasingly popular as cities all over the world started recognizing their advantages and introducing initiatives to promote the use of the plug-in transport. Although EVs are still largely considered to be somewhat ‘cars of the future’, there’s a rising global movement committed to making these electric cars a reality of today. Posted. http://www.greenerideal.com/vehicles/1202-most-successful-electric-car-cities/