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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. AIR POLLUTION 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 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/science/earth/global-temperatures-highest-in-4000-years-study-says.html?ref=earth&_r=0 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. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/la-sci-climate-warming-20130308,0,1220004.story http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Recent-heat-spike-unlike-anything-in-11-000-years-4336659.php 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 more: http://www.sfgate.com/technology/dotcommentary/article/Wall-Street-banking-on-global-warming-4337317.php#ixzz2MyTNhoqA 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. http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Poland-aims-to-pave-way-for-2015-climate-deal-4339390.php#ixzz2MyUxLMOB http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/hoping-to-win-over-eu-critics-poland-aims-to-lay-ground-for-2015-global-climate-change-deal/2013/03/08/be188ab6-880d-11e2-b412-2e8596e7c927_story.html FUELS 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/08/us/as-fracking-in-texas-increases-so-do-water-supply-fears.html?ref=earth 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. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/EPA-fines-Wyoming-ethanol-plant-49-000-4339426.php#ixzz2MyUQTwm1 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. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/coal/sierra-club-slams-five-utility-money-wasters.html VEHICLES 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/us-autoshow-geneva-fuel-tech-idUSBRE9270S420130308 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/volkswagen-honeywell-refrigerant-idUSL6N0C09DG20130308 HIGH SPEED RAIL 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. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-gateway-20130308,0,3292721.story http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_22740411/hundreds-turn-out-port-los-angeles-hearing-bnsf?source=rss http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/mar/07/la-harbor-commissioners-ok-500m-rail-project/#ixzz2MxsLpQn1 GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/us-utilities-threat-idUSBRE92709E20130308 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/ceraweek-gates-nuclear-idUSL1N0C01HV20130308 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 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS 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. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Shale-drilling-workers-in-high-demand-4338007.php#ixzz2MySEAbGE 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. http://www.ocregister.com/news/san-498713-onofre-wear.html OPINIONS 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/08/column-wynn-climate-geoengineering-idUSL6N0BZ4EJ20130308 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 preventive…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/08/5243697/global-warming.html#storylink=cpy 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. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/pay-498500-one-roads.html 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. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/new-498198-car-average.html 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. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20130307/OPINION01/303070031/Debbie-Raphael-Watchdogs-learned-from-Mecca-stink?nclick_check=1 BLOGS 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. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/companies-collaborate-on-e-v-charging-for-all/?utm_source=ancala&utm_medium=twitter 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. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/07/fire-destroys-a-pioneering-plug-in-prius-conversion/ 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. http://blog.sfgate.com/energy/2013/03/07/charging-your-electric-car-in-public-just-got-easier/