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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for February 4, 2013.

Posted: 04 Feb 2013 14:46:42
ARB Newsclips for February 4, 2013. ARB Newsclips for February 4,

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.


Politics of pollution: China's oil giants take a choke-hold on
power. The search for culprits behind the rancid haze enveloping
China's capital has turned a spotlight on the country's two
largest oil companies and their resistance to tougher fuel
standards. Bureaucratic fighting between the environment ministry
on the one hand and China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) and
Sinopec Group on the other has thwarted stricter emission
standards for diesel trucks and buses -- a main cause of air
pollution blanketing dozens of China's cities. Posted.


Coal-burning utilities seek a role in EPA rule-making on
greenhouse gas emissions.  Lobbyists for coal-burning utilities
such as Southern Co. and Duke Energy are consulting environmental
advocates and holding strategy sessions as they seek a role in
shaping President Obama’s plan to combat climate change.  Obama’s
emphasis on global warming in his inaugural address last month
has led power and coal producers, which have fought regulation of
greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, to begin crafting
their own proposed rules.  Posted. 

Republican energy plan calls for more drilling, nothing to rein
in greenhouse gases.  The Senate’s top Republican on energy
issues, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, has crafted a blueprint for
U.S. energy policy that calls for increased drilling while
opposing laws to cap greenhouse gases that are blamed for global
warming.  "Energy 20/20" is a signal of how the Republicans want
to proceed on energy policy in the coming years as the nation
wrestles with contentious debates over oil drilling, fracking and
climate change.  Posted. 


FEDS: Climate change imperils snow-loving wolverines. The
tenacious wolverine, a snow-loving carnivore sometimes called the
“mountain devil,” could soon join the list of species threatened
by climate change — a dubious distinction putting it in the ranks
of the polar bear and several other animals that could see their
habitats shrink drastically due to warming temperatures. Federal
wildlife officials on Friday proposed Endangered Species Act
protections for the wolverine in the Lower 48 states. That’s a
step twice denied under the Bush administration. The Associated
Press obtained details of the government’s long-awaited ruling in
advance of Friday’s announcement. Posted.

Experts say human impacts of climate change need prompt
attention. When they picture the adverse effects of climate
change, public health scientists hope the American public won't
think of them as something that happens to glaciers or polar
bears, but turn the focus more on themselves. "The face of
climate change ought to be people," epidemiologist George Luber,
associate director for global climate change at the Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, said in an interview last week.
"We ought to kind of internalize it." Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/3 BY


Vast Oil Reserve May Now Be Within Reach, and Battle Heats Up.
Secure in this state’s history and mythology, the venerable
Midway-Sunset oil field near here keeps producing crude more than
a century after Southern California’s oil boom. Many of its
bobbing pump jacks are relatively short, a telltale sign of the
shallowness of the wells and the ease of extracting their prize.

Sacramento gas prices soar. Gasoline prices have taken flight
over the past week.
In its weekly report released today, national gas price tracker
GasBuddy.com put the average price of gas in the area at $3.74 a
gallon, up 21 cents from the previous week. That's on top of a
6-cent rise the previous week. GasBuddy data are based on a
survey of 720 stations in the area. The current at-the-pump price
is 6.2 cents per gallon higher than a year ago and 26.8 cents
higher than last month. Posted.

Energy industry develops nontoxic fracking fluids. The oil and
gas industry is trying to ease environmental concerns by
developing nontoxic fluids for the drilling process known as
fracking, but it's not clear whether the new product will be
widely embraced by drilling companies. Houston-based energy giant
Halliburton Inc. has developed a product called CleanStim, which
uses only food-industry ingredients. Other companies have
developed nontoxic fluids as well. Posted.


Americans spent 4 percent of household income on gas in 2012.  In
2012, Chevron made $26.2 billion in profits. Exxon, $44.9
billion. Shell, $26.59 billion. At today's prices, that's enough
to buy almost 25 billion gallons of gas in California.  Last
year, Americans paid record-high average gas prices, a fact that
is certainly linked to the oil companies' massive profits. 


Insight: Electric cars head toward another dead end. Are electric
cars running out of juice again? Recent moves by Japan's two
largest automakers suggest that the electric car, after more than
100 years of development and several brief revivals, still is not
ready for prime time - and may never be. In the meantime, the
attention of automotive executives in Asia, Europe and North
America is beginning to swing toward an unusual but promising new
alternate power source: hydrogen. Posted.

Five take-aways from the Washington Auto Show’s energy efficiency
policy summit.  Automakers debut new car models at Detroit’s
North American International Auto Show, but they come to the
Washington Auto Show to talk green technology and energy policy. 
Last week, Energy Secretary Steven Chu delivered the show’s
keynote, highlighting the Energy Department’s “EV Everywhere
Grand Challenge” — an initiative aiming to make electric vehicles
more affordable by 2022.  Posted. 

DOE seeking input on proposed automotive fuel cell cost and
durability targets.  The US Department of Energy (DOE) is issuing
a Request for Information (RFI) (DE-FOA-0000855) seeking input
from stakeholders on proposed cost targets for fuel cells
designed for automotive applications. The purpose of this RFI is
to solicit feedback from developers, manufacturers, end users,
and other stakeholders on proposed cost and durability targets
for automotive fuel cell systems. Posted.

Nissan plans to triple number of EV quick-chargers. To fuel
consumer interest in plug-in vehicles, Nissan Motor Co. and NRG
Energy Inc. plan to build at least 500 quick-charging stations
across the country in the next 18 months, tripling the number of
quick-chargers available today. Research shows that the vast
majority of electric vehicle (EV) owners charge up at home, but
knowing there's a network of charging stations out on the road
helps alleviate range anxiety and boost consumer interest.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/8 BY


Losing rail bidders will get $2M each. Only one out of five
bidders to design and build the first phase of California’s
high-speed rail project will win the $1.8 billion contract — but
they will all get paid. The California High-Speed Rail Authority
has agreed to issue a $2 million “stipend” to all four of the
losing bidders, an obscure practice used for some large-scale
construction projects. Bullet train officials say the incentive
was designed to attract bidders and therefore spur better, more
competitive proposals. Posted.


Beer will help power Alaska brewery. The Alaskan Brewing Co. is
going green, but instead of looking to solar and wind energy, it
has turned to a very familiar source: beer.
The Juneau-based beer maker has installed a unique boiler system
in order to cut its fuel costs. It purchased a $1.8 million
furnace that burns the company's spent grain - the waste
accumulated from the brewing process - into steam which powers
the majority of the brewery's operations. Company officials now
joke they are now serving "beer-powered beer." Posted.

Nuclear-plant foes celebrate anniversary of its shutdown.
Environmental group San Clemente Green and other opponents of the
San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station gathered Saturday night at
the San Clemente Community Center to celebrate the first
anniversary of the closure of the plant, which they hope will be
permanent. A small leak of radioactive gas in a steam-generator
tube in one of San Onofre's two reactors led to the plant's
shutdown Jan. 31, 2012. Posted.

Are Mini-Reactors The Future Of Nuclear Power? The U.S.
government is investing millions of dollars in what it considers
a promising new industry for American manufacturing: nuclear
reactors. The plan is to build hundreds of mini-reactors, dot
them around the U.S. and export them overseas. Development of
these reactors are already in the works, and at one office park
in Lynchburg, Va., where one of these reactors is being
assembled, the traditional signs of nuclear reactors are nowhere
to be found. Posted.

Energy secretary to step down, after creating a large suite of
clean energy policies. Trading his suit and tie for a lab coat
and goggles, Energy Secretary Steven Chu announced his decision
to step down last week and return to academia. In his wake, the
Nobel Prize-winning physicist will leave a gulf of technical
expertise, a volatile energy market and an administration in flux
on how to address climate change. Chu pushed aggressively for new
science and technologies to solve America's energy issues, at
times palpably excited by new findings, while making politically
and financially risky bets on new technologies. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/1 BY

China's wind and solar programs expand at world-beating pace, but
grid connection remains a problem. Despite a slowdown in growth
and investments, China still installed more wind turbines than
any other nation last year, according to a report issued today by
Bloomberg New Energy Finance.  China installed 15.9 gigawatts of
onshore wind turbines in 2012 -- equal to more than one-third of
all new capacity worldwide, the report says. This was the fourth
successive year China has led the field since overtaking the
United States in 2009. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/2 BY

2 big utilities accelerate shutdowns of older, coal-fired power
plants. The Southeast's two largest investor-owned utilities last
week shifted their generation plans away from coal, reflecting
what many believe to be a regional sea change that moves them
away from carbon-intensive fossil fuels toward more
climate-friendly energy sources. The sweeping changes were
reflected in Georgia Power Co.'s latest 20-year ásource plan
(IRP), which among other things calls for the retirement of
nearly 2,100 megawatts of coal- and oil-fired generating units
across the utility's 2.5-million-customer service territory.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/04/6 BY


AQMD votes to increase environmental oversight of Los Angeles,
Long Beach ports. Over the objections of officials at Los Angeles
and Long Beach harbors, a regional air quality board moved Friday
to increase its environmental oversight at the nation's largest
port complex. By a vote of 8-3, the South Coast Air Quality
Management District board advanced a so-called "backstop measure"
that would kick in only if the ports don't meet their own
emission-reduction goals. Posted.

Flame retardants may leach from your walls. Couches throughout
the nation have become notorious for containing flame-retardant
chemicals that may do more harm than good. Now, it turns out,
those chemicals may also be leaching from the walls that surround
you. Because of laws passed in the 1970s, many homes and
workplaces built in the United States since then contain foam
insulation doused with flame retardants. 


Phil Serna will do much good on state Air Resources Board. 
Congratulations to Sacramento County Supervisor Phil Serna, who
was appointed this week to serve on the California Air Resources
Board. Serna's unique blend of public and private sector
experience give him a great perspective on how local land-use
decisions can affect regional air quality and quality of life. He
also serves as chairman of the California State Association of
Counties' Housing, Land Use and Transportation Policy Committee. 
Posted.  http://www.sacbee.com/2013/02/03/5156152/phil-serna.html


A Cry of Frustration at Delhi’s Sustainable Summit. Once more,
frustration with stymied efforts on climate change has emerged as
a major theme at an international conference on the planet’s
health. Opening the 13th annual Delhi Sustainable Development
Summit conference this week, India’s prime minister noted that
similar sentiments surfaced last year at the United Nations
Rio+20 meeting, which marked the two-decade anniversary of a
landmark Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro. Posted.

Cap And Trade Schemes Hurt Green Consumerism.  There is a reason
for the disparity between charitable giving among people who
advocate smaller government and larger government; people who
advocate larger government already feel like they are doing their
part by paying more in taxes, so they give less to charity.  That
same mindset limits green consumerism, says economist Dr. Grischa
Perino from the University of East Anglia (UEA).  Posted. 

Solar Development Absorbing California Farmland. There's a land
rush of sorts going on across the nation's most productive
farming region, but these buyers don't want to grow crops. They
want to plant solar farms. With California mandating that 33
percent of electricity be generated from renewables by the end of
the decade, there are 227 proposed solar projects in the pipeline
statewide. Coupled with wind and other renewables they would
generate enough electricity to meet 100 percent of California's
power needs on an average summer day, the California Independent
System Operator says. Posted.

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