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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 8, 2013.

Posted: 08 Mar 2013 12:56:55
ARB Newsclips for March 8, 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.


Neighbors express fears over toxic plume. EPA meets with
residents concerned about TCE dangers. In a meeting with
residents of Mountain View's Wagon Wheel neighborhood on Sunday,
EPA officials addressed fears about the cancer-causing toxics
recently found to be evaporating from the ground on Evandale
Avenue. EPA officials said residents in the area should only be
concerned about being exposed to toxic vapors trapped inside
buildings…Posted. http://mv-voice.com/news/show_story.php?id=6711

Scientists begin to quantify the impacts of brown carbon on the
atmosphere. Tiny carbon particles released from natural and
man-made processes float in the atmosphere and can influence
weather patterns around the world. Researchers modeling these
effects recently put a number on how much organic compounds
change the global climate, finding them to be more significant
than they expected. Smoke billowing into the sky from smoldering
forest fires and cookstoves contains carbon in its elemental
form, known as black carbon…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/08/5 BY


Global Temperatures Highest in 4,000 Years. Global temperatures
are warmer than at any time in at least 4,000 years, scientists
reported Thursday, and over the coming decades are likely to
surpass levels not seen on the planet since before the last ice
age. Previous research had extended back roughly 1,500 years, and
suggested that the rapid temperature spike of the past century,
believed to be a consequence of human activity, exceeded any
warming episode during those years. Posted.

Study of centuries of weather suggests record warming ahead. By
observing several indirect indicators, researchers looking at
weather patterns since the end of the last Ice Age predict that
average surface temperatures will be at their highest point in
human experience by the end of this century. First the good news:
In the last 11,300 years, humans have endured a planet warmer
than today's, even as they set about building their earliest
civilizations. Now the bad news: That will no longer be true 87
years from now…Posted.


Wall Street banking on global warming. As free-market think tanks
continue working to discredit solid science on climate change,
Wall Street itself is already busy exploiting the unfolding
tragedy. An infuriating Bloomberg Businessweek article published
Thursday revealed that hedge funds and other financial firms are
pouring money into ventures that stand to profit as the world
warms and oceans rise throughout this century.  Posted. Read

Poland aims to pave way for 2015 climate deal. Hoping to win over
EU critics of Poland's recent stance on climate change, the
environment minister said Friday that the coal-powered nation
will make every effort to pave the way for a lasting deal in 2015
when it hosts a U.N. global warming conference in November. Last
year, Poland vetoed the EU's road map for emissions reductions
beyond 2020, drawing sharp criticism from environmental groups
and EU officials. Poland relies on coal for more than 90 percent
of its electricity. Posted.


As Fracking Increases, So Do Fears About Water Supply. In this
South Texas stretch of mesquite trees and cactus, where the land
is sometimes too dry to grow crops, the local aquifer is being
strained in the search for oil. The reason is hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking, a drilling process that requires massive
amounts of water. “We just can’t sustain it,” Hugh Fitzsimons, a
Dimmit County bison rancher who serves on the board of his local
groundwater district, said last month as he drove his pickup down
a dusty road. Posted.

EPA fines Wyoming ethanol plant $49,000.  The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency has imposed a $49,000 fine on an eastern
Wyoming ethanol producer for violations of chemical handling
procedures. The EPA announced that an inspection last year found
officials at the Wyoming Ethanol plant in Torrington failed to
maintain a sufficient risk management program for the various
toxic and flammable chemicals. Posted.

Sierra Club Slams Five 'Utility Money-Wasters' A proposed Kern
County coal-fired power plant that would cost $3.15 billion tops
a list of five projects of California investor-owned utilities
singled out for criticism by the Sierra Club as expensive and
dirty. SCS Energy's proposed "Hydrogen Energy California"
coal-fired power plant in Tupman leads the list that also
includes the ailing San Onofre nuclear power plant, gas-fired
power plants operated by Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) and San
Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E), and an "archaic" billing system
that charges PG&E customers with solar panels $30 a month.


Carmakers think outside the box as electric dreams shatter.
Carmakers are going back to the drawing board in the hunt for
fuel-saving technologies as hopes that electric vehicles will be
the silver bullet for CO2 emissions look increasingly forlorn.
There is a growing awareness that conventional hybrids and
slow-selling battery cars simply won't be enough to meet rigid EU
emissions limits. Among those showing off new ideas at the Geneva
car show this week…Posted.

Volkswagen rules out Honeywell, DuPont refrigerant. Volkswagen,
the world's third largest carmaker, has joined compatriot Daimler
in deciding not to use a new air-conditioning refrigerant
developed by U.S. firms Honeywell and DuPont in its cars.
Volkswagen plans to roll out carbon dioxide-based air
conditioning systems throughout its entire fleet instead of the
Honeywell/DuPont refrigerant called HFO-1234yf, which was created
to meet more stringent environmental regulation. Posted.


L.A. harbor commissioners OK rail yard near port. The
International Gateway rail yard wins approval despite worries of
environmentalists and neighboring Long Beach about pollution.
Over the objections of environmentalists, community groups and
neighboring Long Beach officials, Los Angeles harbor
commissioners on Thursday approved a $500-million rail yard that
could dramatically boost business but also drive more noise and
dirty air into schools, parks and low-income neighborhoods.



Analysis: Renewables turn utilities into dinosaurs of the energy
world. Every new solar panel installed on European rooftops chips
away at power utilities' centralized production model. Unless
they reinvent themselves soon, these giants risk becoming the
dinosaurs of the energy market. The industry faces drastic change
as renewable energy turns consumers into producers and hollows
out the dominance of utilities. With their stocks at decade lows
and a millstone of debt around their necks, Europe's utilities
have little margin for error. Posted.

CERAWEEK-Gates favors nuclear power to help limit climate change.
Microsoft Corp co-founder and Chairman Bill Gates said that
expanding nuclear power and making it safer was the most economic
way to ward off climate change. In an address to the IHS CERAWeek
conference of international energy company executives, he said
safe and reliable reactors were the best option and dismissed
wind and solar energy as less practical. "The only way to solve
the climate challenge is have some source of energy that's
economic," Gates told the gathering on Thursday evening. Posted.

Republican mayor pushes climate action, wants solar on new homes.
A Republican mayor in Southern California who sees climate change
as an urgent threat wants to mandate solar on new homes. Mayor R.
Rex Parris of Lancaster, Calif., pushed for the requirement --
believed to be the first of its kind in the nation -- because
"there isn't any greater crisis facing the world today" than
global warming.  "We really are facing a species extinction
potential because of global warming," Parris said. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/08/1 BY


Shale-drilling workers in high demand. After spending years
searching for enough crude to pump, the U.S. oil and natural gas
industry now is struggling to find and pay for enough skilled
workers to tap the abundant supply in shale rock, putting $100
billion in planned petrochemical projects at risk. Engineers and
similar professionals earned an average $183,000 to $285,000 in
2012 depending on their position and background, a 20 percent to
50 percent jump since 2009, NES Global Talent data show. Posted.

NRC: San Onofre getting more inspections. A year-end report on
the San Onofre nuclear plant shows it is among 14 across the
nation that will receive additional inspections to resolve minor
issues that arose in 2012.  In San Onofre's case, issues center
on how requirements for compliance with procedures are
communicated to employees. All are considered to be of low safety
significance, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission said in a
statement released Thursday. Posted.


COLUMN-Climate fixes need cautious consideration: Wynn. Recent
extreme heat waves reinforce concerns that the slow pace of
action against climate change is inadequate, raising interest in
new fixes called geoengineering, but this warrants caution.
Proposed geoengineering fixes fall broadly between reflecting
sunlight and heat back into space, or sucking carbon dioxide out
of the atmosphere. Perhaps the biggest concern among its
detractors is the danger of distracting from the main task of
cutting greenhouse gas emissions…Posted.

Prepare for unpreventable global warming. Re “In climate debate,
what are costs of being wrong?" (Viewpoints, March 5): Bruce
Maiman wrote a nice column on global warming. Unfortunately it's
basically irrelevant. Let's examine causes and actions to be
taken from all perspectives: First, warming is a natural cycle.
Nothing we can do will prevent it so spend our resources
preparing for it. Second, it is man caused. With China opening a
new coal fires power plant a week and the rest of the developing
world such as India also pumping tons into the atmosphere

Liisa Ecola: Does U.S. gas tax still make sense? For the second
year in a row, the cost of gasoline has seen an unusual spike,
with prices climbing more than 40 cents per gallon within a
month. How much of that increase goes to improve America's roads?
None. Because the federal government and most states levy fuel
taxes only on a set cents-per-gallon basis, increases in the
per-gallon price do nothing to help meet transportation budget
shortfalls. Increases in the cost of gasoline can actually
contribute to a decline in transportation funds because they
discourage driving and mean fewer gallons consumed. Posted.

Katie Tubb: CAFE rules make cars more expensive. The average
price of a new car in 2012 was $30,500. Wondering why? One
contributing factor is the new Corporate Average Fuel Economy
standards. All models from a single manufacturer must reach an
average of 35.3 miles per gallon (mpg) by 2016 and 54.5 mpg by
2025. The current average is 29 mpg. We already knew federal fuel
efficiency standards don't reduce global warming, considering
that not even cap and trade would have. We knew they don't reduce
dependence on foreign oil. And now, if we didn't know it before,
we know that they don't help make cars affordable. Posted.

Debbie Raphael: Watchdogs learned from Mecca stink. The Desert
Sun’s editorial regarding oversight of Western Environmental Inc.
(WEI) accurately points out that prior to April 2011, our
department’s response to the concerns in Mecca about odors and
toxic exposures was inadequate. We have said as much, and in the
summer of 2011 published findings of an internal audit that
pointed out, among other things, that we should have responded
much sooner to bring the facility under control. Posted.


Companies Collaborate on E.V. Charging for All. One of the best
things about automated teller machines is that they accept cards
from many different banks, a convenience not available to
electric car owners plugging in at some fee-based public
chargers. Public charging companies tend to develop their own
billing networks, smart card access and other features, so an
E.V. driver who is running on empty can be out of luck if the
only available station is operated by an “out of network”
provider. Posted.

Fire Destroys a Pioneering Plug-In Prius Conversion.  A 2004
Toyota Prius that had been converted to run on grid-supplied
electricity caught fire at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday night in Corte
Madera, Calif., according to The Marin Independent Journal and
other Bay Area news outlets. Nobody was hurt, but the fire killed
a cat and caused about $250,000 worth of damage to the owner’s
condominium. The cause of the fire was unknown. Posted.

Charging your electric car in public just got easier. Two rival
Bay Area companies that install public charging stations for
electric cars have decided to link their networks so customers
can use both. ChargePoint and ECOtality have formed a joint
venture that will tie together roughly 90 percent of all the
nation’s public charging stations — more than 15,000 in all. Each
company’s customers will be able to use the other’s chargers, in
much the same way that one bank’s customers can use another’s
ATMs. Posted.

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