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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 13, 2013. Posted: 13 Mar 2013 12:34:31
ARB Newsclips for March 13, 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 Inversions trapping unhealthy air in Fairbanks. The Fairbanks area is continuing to be plagued by air pollution despite relatively mild temperatures. Inversions occur when a layer of cold air is trapped below a layer of warm air. They normally occur in the Tanana Valley when it is colder, but inversions are continuing to be a problem in Fairbanks even this far into winter. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Inversions-trapping-unhealthy-air-in-Fairbanks-4351407.php#ixzz2NRZrkE70 State regulators weigh in on power plant upgrades. he Arizona Corporation Commission is criticizing recent actions by the U.S. Environmental Protection agency to clean up the state's power plants. The commission voted Tuesday to file an amicus brief in federal appeals court supporting the state's challenge to pollution control upgrades at three coal-fired power plants. The EPA partially approved Arizona's air quality plan for the Cholla, Coronado and Apache generating stations. But the agency set its own limits for nitrogen oxide emissions and gave the plants' operators five years to comply. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/State-regulators-weigh-in-on-power-plant-upgrades-4350548.php#ixzz2NRaKlqNP News Summary: China weighs economy vs environment. OUTRAGE, PRESSURE: Facing public outrage over smog-choked cities and filthy rivers, China's leaders are promising to clean up the country's neglected environment — a pledge that sets up a clash with political pressures to keep economic growth strong. INITIATIVES FLOATED: Possible initiatives have discussed by officials and state media ahead of this week's meeting of China's legislature include tightening water standards and taxing carbon emissions. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/News-Summary-China-weighs-economy-vs-environment-4348950.php#ixzz2NRaknaK3 HIGH SPEED RAIL Environmental group to appeal planned rail yard near Port of L.A. The Natural Resources Defense Council says the cargo complex would be near schools and residents who already breathe some of the foulest air in the region. A $500-million proposed rail yard near the Port of Los Angeles will face a challenge Wednesday from an environmental group that says the plans are a threat to civil rights and public health. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-rail-yard-20130313,0,652907.story CLIMATE CHANGE COLUMN-EU 2030 carbon cap could restore emissions trade: Wynn. The European Union has begun the process of agreeing a new carbon cap for 2030, with early signs that it could reinvigorate the emissions market and simplify low-carbon policy. The outcome will depend on horse-trading with skeptical carbon-intensive countries such as Poland and the eventual parceling of the cap between industry sectors. The target preferred by the European Commission would cut greenhouse gas emissions by 40 percent from 1990 levels. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/column-wynn-carbon-idUSL6N0C47VS20130313 Nestle sets social, environmental targets for 2020. Nestle, the world's biggest food company, published on Wednesday a raft of social and environmental targets it aims to meet by 2020, including better labeling of its products, only using sustainable palm oil and cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Nestle said the 30 goals it was setting included making sure all of its palm oil was responsibly sourced by the end of 2013, two years ahead of an initial commitment made in 2010 after campaigners Greenpeace targeted its KitKat chocolate brand. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/nestle-idUSL6N0C563120130313 Court rejects Iowa girl's plea for climate action. An appeals court declined Wednesday to order the Iowa Department of Natural Resources to adopt rules limiting greenhouse gas emissions, saying the agency does not have a legal duty to protect the atmosphere for future generations. The Iowa Court of Appeals declined to extend Iowa's public trust doctrine, which requires the state to protect lakes, rivers and nearby lands for public use, to include the air in the atmosphere. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Court-rejects-Iowa-girl-s-plea-for-climate-action-4351310.php#ixzz2NRd0xzRw DIESEL EMISSIONS Diesel plant opens today at Port of Stockton. Victory Blue, a Keller, Texas-based producer of diesel exhaust fluid used to reduce pollution from diesel engines, today will formally inaugurate its newest production and packaging facility, at the Port of Stockton. Tom Paquin, president of Victory Blue, said Tuesday in Stockton that the new, 40,000-square-foot facility will "have the capacity of producing millions of gallons of product each year." Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130313/A_BIZ/303130303&cid=sitesearch FUELS UPDATE 1-Exxon sees N.American oil and gas output up 45 pct by 2040. Exxon Mobil Corp expects oil and natural gas production in North America to rise 45 percent over the three decades to 2040, boosted by output from U.S. shale formations, Canadian oil sands projects and the Gulf of Mexico. Exxon and other global oil companies are increasing investment in North America, where reserves are easier to access and production is often cheaper. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/exxon-outlook-us-idUSL1N0C567A20130313 US crude oil supplies grew by 2.6 million barrels. The nation's crude oil supplies increased last week, the government said Wednesday.Crude supplies rose by 2.6 million barrels, or 0.7 percent, to 384 million barrels, which is 10.5 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report. Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/ci_22780093/us-crude-oil-supplies-grew-by-2-6#ixzz2NR9Bt5mM Higher oil prices drive up US import costs. Prices paid by U.S. importers rose in February for the second straight month, pushed up by higher oil prices. The Labor Department says import prices rose 1.1 percent in February after a 0.6 percent gain the previous month. Fuel imports jumped 4.9 percent. Excluding fuel, import prices were flat. Low import costs have helped hold down U.S. inflation. Even with the last two months of increases in oil costs, import prices have fallen 0.3 percent in the 12 months ending in February. They haven't recorded a year-over-year increase since last April. Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/ci_22779432/higher-oil-prices-drive-up-us-import-costs#ixzz2NR9VZZ4w VEHICLES Norway shows the way with electric cars, but at what cost? Norway's buzzing little market for pure electric cars has in its very success shown the severe drawbacks to a model that relies on public subsidies worth as much as $8,200 per car, every year. Car makers like Nissan, Mitsubishi, Peugeot Citroen and Tesla Motors see Norway and its 10,000 battery-powered vehicles as a reason for optimism in otherwise gloomy terrain. Pure electric cars made up 3.0 percent of February car sales in Norway, with a population of 5 million, compared to fractions of one percent in most nations. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/us-cars-norway-idUSBRE92C0K020130313 UPDATE 1-BMW investor Klatten to head SGL supervisory board. Susanne Klatten, Germany's richest woman and a major investor in carmaker BMW, is set to become head of the supervisory board at SGL Carbon, giving her more influence over the carbon fibre firm in which both BMW and rival VW have stakes. SGL said on Wednesday the supervisory board would ask shareholders at their April 30 annual meeting to approve Klatten as chairwoman. SGL was the subject of a headline-grabbing tussle between BMW and Volkswagen (VW) in 2011. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/sglcarbon-klatten-idUSL6N0C53VY20130313 GREEN ENERGY UPDATE 2-European Commission outlines 2030 green energy goals. The European Commission has outlined new targets for cutting greenhouse gas emissions and using more green energy by 2030, according to a policy paper seen by Reuters. The paper reflects industry demands that climate goals have to take account of the economic crisis but still presses for an economy that produces less carbon and is less dependent on expensive fossil fuel imports. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/12/eu-energy-idUSL6N0C456420130312 An Energy Coup for Japan: ‘Flammable Ice’ Japan said Tuesday that it had extracted gas from offshore deposits of methane hydrate — sometimes called “flammable ice” — a breakthrough that officials and experts said could be a step toward tapping a promising but still little-understood energy source. The gas, whose extraction from the undersea hydrate reservoir was thought to be a world first, could provide an alternative source of energy to known oil and gas reserves. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/13/business/global/japan-says-it-is-first-to-tap-methane-hydrate-deposit.html?ref=business Is General Electric Burning Bright or Burning Out? General Electric, founded by Thomas Edison, is the oldest company in the Dow. In the century since its first public listing, GE has evolved into one of the largest companies in the world, operating in over 100 countries with a widely diversified portfolio invested in aviation, healthcare, energy and home & business solutions - making it a bellwether of the global economy. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/fool/article/Is-General-Electric-Burning-Bright-or-Burning-Out-4351649.php#ixzz2NRcRDsFb Review: 'Smart' LED bulbs controlled by iPhones. LED bulbs seem to be the future of home lighting: They save electricity, they're durable and they don't contain mercury like compact fluorescents. But having them produce white light like any old light bulb is like using a computer as a doorstop. That's because each LED, or light-emitting diode, is a small chip, the product of the same sort of manufacturing process that spawned the digital revolution. The chips are backed up by more electronics in the stem of the bulb. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/technology/article/Review-Smart-LED-bulbs-controlled-by-iPhones-4351598.php#ixzz2NRb8FDyb Hawaii House committee OKs environmental bills. Members of the state House energy committee are moving forward several of Gov. Neil Abercrombie's environmental initiatives. The committee on Tuesday approved a bill to provide low-cost loans to help people afford solar panels and other equipment the bill calls "green infrastructure." Abercrombie says this will help the state reach its clean energy goals. The committee also approved Abercrombie's proposal to amend and expand the Electronic Waste and Television Recycling program. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Hawaii-House-committee-OKs-environmental-bills-4349601.php#ixzz2NRbsEImT Emission-free fusion could become commercial with $30B in U.S. funding – report. The United States could achieve commercialization of fusion energy 10 to 15 years early if the government commits $30 billion over the next decade to current research, according to a new white paper from the American Security Project. Fusion offers the hope of a nearly inexhaustible source of power with no emissions, threat of a nuclear meltdown or long-term radioactive waste. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2013/03/13/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Labor, environmental groups protest changes to CEQA. Labor and environmental groups rallied Tuesday on the steps of the Capitol to protest efforts to overhaul California's landmark environmental law. Representatives from unions and environmental organizations -- backed by dozens of supporters -- described the California Environmental Quality Act, or CEQA, as an "environmental bill of rights" that allows the public to weigh in on proposed development in their communities. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/political/la-me-pc-california-environmental-quality-act-protest-20130312,0,7357604.story http://www.news10.net/news/article/235256/2/Labor-environmental-groups-rise-to-defend-CEQA http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130312/A_NEWS/130319950/-1/A_NEWS14 http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/2013/03/13/11 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Management fight pushes Henrik Fisker from car company he founded. Henrik Fisker, the founder of Fisker Automotive Inc., resigned from the troubled maker of expensive hybrid vehicles Wednesday. Fisker, the executive chairman of the Anaheim company, said he left after disagreeing with the management team on the direction of the company. The automaker, which makes the $110,000 Karma plug-in hybrid sports car, has said it needs about $500 million to launch a second, less expensive model that would be made at a factory in Wilmington, Del. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-henrik-fisker-resigns-20130313,0,5030297.story http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Report-Co-founder-leaves-Fisker-electric-car-co-4351504.php How NASA Scientists Are Turning L.A. Into One Big Climate-Change Lab. Southern California’s Mount Wilson is a lonesome, hostile peak — prone to sudden rock falls, sometimes ringed by wildfire — that nevertheless has attracted some of the greatest minds in modern science. George Ellery Hale, one of the godfathers of astrophysics, founded the Mount Wilson Observatory in 1904 and divined that sunspots were magnetic. Posted. http://www.theatlanticcities.com/technology/2013/02/how-nasa-scientists-are-turning-l-one-big-climate-change-lab/4824/ OPINION COLUMN-Flammable ice: last hope or gravest threat? John Kemp. There is enough gas locked in ice-like crystals buried beneath the permafrost and trapped under the oceans to guarantee the world will not run out of fossil energy for centuries. This potential energy source will be irrelevant, however, to almost everyone for many decades to come, except perhaps Japan. For decades, scientists have been trying to figure out whether there is a commercial way to extract the gas from methane hydrates, nicknamed flammable ice. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/13/column-kemp-flammable-ice-idUSL6N0C5B2A20130313 The Facts on Fracking. OPPOSITION to fracking has been considerable, if not unanimous, in the global green community, and in Europe in particular. France and Bulgaria, countries with the largest shale-gas reserves in Europe, have already banned fracking. Protesters are blocking potential drilling sites in Poland and England. Opposition to fracking has entered popular culture with the release of “The Promised Land,” starring Matt Damon. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/14/opinion/global/the-facts-on-fracking.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 Ratepayers get the shaft in San Onofre fiasco. Nearly $1 billion was charged to ratepayers of Edison and San Diego Gas & Electric Co. over the last year, and the charges continue to mount as the nuclear plant sits idle. There are train wrecks, and there are train wrecks. Then there's San Onofre. You probably know San Onofre as the full-figured fiasco overlooking the Pacific Ocean near the Orange/San Diego county line. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hiltzik-20130312,0,1097805.column?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fbusiness+%28L.A.+Times+-+Business%29 Climate-minded shareholders ask how coal fares if regulation tightens. Two advocacy groups have come up with a new tactic to show how climate change - and laws to deal with it - could make investments in fossil fuel companies riskier and rock financial markets. In a pair of first-of-their-kind shareholder resolutions, the groups have asked two of the nation's largest coal producers to report to investors how much of their coal assets would be left "stranded" in the ground if the United States were to pass sweeping greenhouse gas regulations. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/12/5257195/climate-minded-shareholders-ask.html#storylink=cpy Air quality and tilting at windmills. I had a laugh at a recent commentary that tried to convince readers the United Nations was out to get us, in a conspiracy with local Air Pollution Control Districts and the Environmental Defense Center. This paranoid view reminds me of Don Quixote charging around the countryside challenging windmills, believing they were imaginary dragons. I was forced to close our small school in 1984 in Casmalia, where I worked as principal/superintendent, when cyanide fumes inundated the school from a toxic waste dump within a mile of the school. Posted. http://santamariatimes.com/news/opinion/editorial/commentary/air-quality-and-tilting-at-windmills/article_bac41bee-8ba7-11e2-aaf8-001a4bcf887a.html BLOGS What’s the best way to design a carbon tax? Lawmakers ask for suggestions. On Tuesday, four Democrats in Congress unveiled a brand-new proposal for a carbon tax. The set-up is simple: The U.S. government would slap a fee on fossil-fuel emissions and refund the revenue back to the public. But there’s a twist: The precise details of the carbon tax have yet to be thrashed out. The four lawmakers are soliciting public comments for how big the tax should be and how best to rebate the money. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/13/lawmakers-unveil-a-choose-your-own-adventure-carbon-tax/ http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/representatives-release-carbon-emissions-tax-plan/ Can Wind, Water and Sunlight Power New York by 2050? A group of scientists and energy analysts has laid out a path under which New York State could, in theory, eliminate its use of fossil fuels and nuclear power — including for transportation — by 2050. The graph above charts the contributions played by improved efficiency and adoption of renewable electricity sources as well as hydrogen fuel cells (with the hydrogen generated with renewable energy). Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/03/12/can-wind-water-and-sunlight-power-new-york-by-2050/