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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 22, 2012

Posted: 22 Feb 2013 11:19:16
ARB Newsclips for February 22, 2013. 

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.


Report: Unreliable data could hinder EPA efforts to control
pollution from natural gas boom.  Limited data and unreliable
estimates on air pollution from oil and natural gas production is
hindering the Environmental Protection Agency’s efforts to police
the drilling boom, the agency’s internal watchdog said in a
report released Thursday.  Inspector General Arthur Elkins Jr.
said the EPA has failed to directly measure emissions from some
pieces of equipment and processes, and some estimates it does
have are of “questionable quality.”  Posted. 


Second cap and trade auction needs big bucks.  In a private and
somewhat secret event on Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown's proposed
state budget inched a little more towards balance... or further
towards a multi-million dollar hole created by what's turned out
to be relatively low demand for greenhouse gas pollution credits.
 It was the second of three initial auctions of carbon dioxide
credits, and the first since November's offering came up
significantly short in revenues available to the state.  Posted. 

Ontario moving forward on cap-and-trade system.  Environmental
lawyers at Osler, Hoskin & Harcourt said that the Ontario
Ministry of the Environment’s posting of a discussion paper on
GHG emission reductions in January is a sign that a cap-and-trade
system is in the works for the province.  “This Discussion Paper
is the latest indication that the Ontario Government intends to
pursue a greenhouse gas reduction strategy that involves a
cap-and-trade system that may have far-reaching effects on
industry in the province,” write Daniel Kirby, Jack Coop,
Jennifer Fairfax and Patrick Welsh in the Osler Update. “The
Discussion Paper also makes it clear that the interests of
stakeholders, including Ontario businesses, will be considered.” 


EU member states say biofuels limit needs more thought.  Limits
must be imposed on the use of biofuels made from food crops,
leading EU member states France and Britain said on Friday, while
questioning the detail of a Commission proposal for a 5 percent
cap.  Concern that some biofuels create more problems than they
solve led to a major policy shift in September when the EU
executive announced plans to limit the use of crop-based
biodiesel and bioethanol to 5 percent of total transport fuel
consumption.  Posted. 

U.S. natural gas futures slip, cold trend limits selling. 
Front-month U.S. natural gas futures turned slightly lower on
Friday after some early buying, but the downside was limited by
fairly cold forecasts for the eastern half of the country in the
next two weeks that should stir more heating demand. Traders also
said that gas prices at current levels should continue to draw
support from some utilities opting to shun more-expensive coal
for power generation.  Posted. 

MIT study finds fuel economy standards are 6-14 times less cost
effective than fuel tax for reducing gasoline use.  In a study
published in the journal Energy Economics, MIT researchers have
found that a fuel economy standard is at least six to fourteen
times less cost effective than a fuel tax when targeting an
identical reduction in cumulative gasoline use (20% by 2050). The
researchers also found that a binding fuel economy standard,
combined with a cap-and-trade (CAT) policy, increases the cost of
meeting the GHG emissions constraint by forcing expensive
reduction in passenger vehicle gasoline use, displacing more
cost-effective abatement opportunities.  Posted. 


Electric-vehicle drivers outfit homes with specialized chargers. 
Fremont, Calif., resident Shinya Fujimoto bought his Nissan Leaf
during heady times for electric-vehicle fans.  It was spring
2011, when there was so much anticipation over a shipment of
these all-electric vehicles from Japan to the West Coast that
someone climbed aboard a chopper, shot photos of the cars on
shipboard on their way to Southern California and posted them on
a blog popular among plug-in vehicle owners.  Postd.

Workplaces offer electric car charging for employees.  Employees
at General Motors' plant in White Marsh, Md., have an unusual
workplace benefit: Anyone who drives an electric car can plug it
in to charge while they work.  At the plant, which produces
transmissions and electric motors, workers can park their
electric vehicles - or EVs - in any of eight spaces under two
solar-powered canopies in the employee lot.  Posted. 

WHAT OTHERS SAY: EPA botches oversight of car mileage claims. 
Indeed, the mileage claims made by automakers play a key role in
a multibillion-dollar industry that deserves close government
scrutiny. But what happens when the regulators fall down on the
job?  The federal Environmental Protection Agency has failed
consumers with its abysmal handling of a controversy involving
the fuel efficiency of some recent Hyundai and Kia vehicles. 

Hyundai increases fuel efficiency and all-electric operation in
2013 Sonata Hybrid.  The 2013 Hyundai Sonata Hybrid offers
increased fuel efficiency and operation in all-electric mode more
often and for longer periods of time, with an advanced version of
the brand’s Hybrid Blue Drive architecture.  The improved 2013
Sonata Hybrid will offer two different model grades: Sonata
Hybrid and Sonata Hybrid Limited. The Hybrid has estimated EPA
fuel economy ratings of 36 mpg city, 40 mpg highway and 38 mpg
combined (6.5, 5.9, and 6.2 l/100 km, respectively). The Hybrid
Limited model carries estimated ratings of 36 mpg city, 40 mpg
highway and 37 mpg combined.  Posted. 


Bill would ensure no new tracks for Peninsula high speed rail. 
State Senator Jerry Hill unveiled legislation Friday that would
ensure that California's proposed high speed rail project will
not include a new set of tracks through the Peninsula.  Hill's
bill has specific language to guarantee the high speed rail would
run on the two existing tracks, sharing them with Caltrain.  High
speed rail officials have already promised Hill they would not
add two additional tracks, making it a total of four on the
Peninsula, where many neighbors oppose the idea.  Posted. 


Analyst wants competitive process for clean-energy money.  The
Legislative Analyst's Office is turning up its criticism of Gov.
Jerry Brown's plans for clean energy funding.  Brown wants to
increase energy efficiency at thousands of local schools with
$450 million generated by Proposition 39, which changed the
corporate tax code. But legislative analysts say that may not
achieve the goal of maximizing energy savings.  The analysts
originally expressed their concerns in a January report and
expanded upon them in a new report released Thursday.  Posted. 

Unsubsidised roof-top solar power grows competitive.  Roof-top
solar power is increasingly cost-competitive with retail power
prices, with far-reaching implications for solar manufacturers,
utilities and rival generation technologies.Data gathered from
U.S. installations by the Department of Energy suggests it is
cheaper to generate electricity from roof-top solar panels than
to purchase power from electric utilities, if applied to European
retail power prices.  Posted. 

Solar company acquired.  Aztec Solar Inc., a Rancho Cordova
company specializing in residential and commercial solar water
heating, solar electric and solar pool heating installation and
service, recently acquired Solahart Services of Stockton.  Ed
Murray, president of Aztec Solar, said the acquisition will
expand Aztec's base in the Sacramento Valley.  Posted. 


Climate Change Poll: Americans Think Government Can Affect The
Climate.  A week after Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) responded to
President Barack Obama's climate change push by arguing that "the
government can't change the weather," a new poll shows that most
Americans think the U.S. government can make some difference in
combating climate change. But polls also show that people
consider climate change to be a relatively low priority,
underscoring the political difficulty of taking action on the
issue.  Posted. 

Keystone XL decision will define Barack Obama's legacy on climate
change.  Very few of us have the opportunity in life to look
forward to our legacy. However, sometimes events occur that we
just know will shape how history will judge us.  One of those
events is about to happen to President Barack Obama. This year,
his administration is expected to make a decision on whether to
allow the construction of a massive pipeline that would be used
to export tar sands from Alberta, Canada. The so-called Keystone
XL pipeline would essentially bisect the United States to bring
the tar substance (bitumen) to refineries on the Gulf of Mexico.
From there, it could be exported around the world.  Posted. 

Study of California cap-and-trade system suggests refinements. 
In the absence of federal action to create a national greenhouse
gas emission "cap-and-trade" system, states are taking the lead.
Last month, California launched the world's first economy-wide
greenhouse cap-and-trade system, which affects power plants and
other major greenhouse gas producers like refineries, cement and
glass manufacturers.  California's system builds on lessons
learned by other pioneering systems, including the nation's first
cap-and-trade system for greenhouse gas emissions, which began in
2008 and incorporates more than 200 power plants in nine
Northeastern states that make up the Regional Greenhouse Gas
Initiative.  Posted. 

Louisiana may see the highest-rising seas in the world.  As
Hurricane Katrina approached, many Americans for the first time
learned about New Orlean’s precarious, below-sea-level
orientation. The city is described as “bowl-like,” rimmed by
levees and natural structures that might not hold back surging
storm water — and might make drying out nearly impossible. It
turned out that the analogy was imperfect. New Orleans is more
like a TV dinner tray, and only the Ninth Ward ended up flooded. 

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