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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 29, 2013 Posted: 29 Mar 2013 12:12:17
ARB Newsclips for March 29, 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 Birth defects linked to air pollution in new Stanford study. Here’s a new reason to dislike smog: Air pollution from traffic has been linked to birth defects in a large new Stanford study of women who lived in California’s smoggy San Joaquin valley during the early weeks of their pregnancies. Posted. http://scopeblog.stanford.edu/2013/03/28/birth-defects-linked-to-air-pollution-in-new-stanford-study/ http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-birth-defects-20130328,0,40297.story Air Pollution, Birth Defects, and the Risk in China (and Beyond). After one particularly prolonged spell of smoggy Beijing air in late January, the Atlantic Monthly’s James Fallows posted a provocative piece online titled, “China’s Pollution: The Birth Defect Angle.” In it, he quoted troubling anecdotal e-mails from readers suggesting that China’s degraded environment was taking a heavy toll on the living and the unborn alike. Yet the short piece ended with a question, not a scientific conclusion: Do we know if prolonged exposure to polluted air, water, or food causes birth defects? Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2013-03-28/air-pollution-birth-defects-and-the-risk-in-china-and-beyond Key air pollution benchmark drops near Port of Los Angeles. Data from four air quality monitoring stations at and near the Port of Los Angeles show concentrations of a key type of pollutant have fallen to their lowest levels since the port began tracking them in 2005, officials said Thursday. The data measures elemental carbon, an indicator of diesel particulate matter, which is produced by the combustion of diesel fuel. In Wilmington, elemental carbon levels have fallen 72 percent compared to 2006, the first full year of monitoring, according to port records. Posted. http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_22895074/key-pollution-benchmark-drops-near-port-los-angeles CLIMATE CHANGE Environmental groups pressure U.N. body for carbon aviation deal. Environmental groups have urged the United States to back a global deal to curb carbon emissions produced by planes, noting that global aviation emits more of the greenhouse gas than all but six of the world's nations. The groups, alarmed at scant progress toward an agreement within a United Nations aviation body, presented a petition with more than 60,000 signatures on Monday to a representative of the U.S. State Department. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/03/28/us-aviation-climate-idUSBRE92R12O20130328 Nobody is declaring a state of drought in California, but ... When snow surveyors headed into the Sierra Nevada on Thursday for the most important measurement of the season, they found only about half the snowpack that is normal for the date. It could have been a lot worse — considering that the last three months in California have been the driest of any January-through-March period on record, going back to 1895. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-water-dry-20130329,0,2408609.story A sensitive matter. Over the past 15 years air temperatures at the Earth’s surface have been flat while greenhouse-gas emissions have continued to soar. The world added roughly 100 billion tonnes of carbon to the atmosphere between 2000 and 2010. That is about a quarter of all the CO₂ put there by humanity since 1750. And yet, as James Hansen, the head of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, observes, “the five-year mean global temperature has been flat for a decade.” Posted. http://www.economist.com/news/science-and-technology/21574461-climate-may-be-heating-up-less-response-greenhouse-gas-emissions FUELS EPA takes aim at auto emissions, sulfur in gas. The Obama administration proposed new regulations Friday to clean up gasoline and automobile emissions, claiming the new standards would provide $7 in health benefits from cleaner air for each dollar spent to implement them. The costs likely would be passed on to consumers in higher gasoline and automobile prices. The Environmental Protection Agency said the new rule would reduce sulfur in gasoline and tighten automobile emission standards beginning in 2017, resulting in an increase in gas prices of less than a penny per gallon. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jh7rOlbWV09YmQsVX0hp5Od0g51w?docId=2e338ded41e7414585a3ae7690403a4c Other related articles: http://www.nytimes.com/2013/03/29/business/energy-environment/epa-wants-to-cut-amount-of-sulfur-in-gasoline.html?_r=0b http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/federal_government/obama-administration-says-proposal-will-reduce-sulfur-in-gas-slightly-raise-gasoline-prices/2013/03/28/1defc51c-980d-11e2-b5b4-b63027b499de_story.html http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-gasoline-standards-20130329,0,3690826.story?track=rss http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323361804578389023082314126.html?KEYWORDS=air+pollution http://www.sacbee.com/2013/03/28/5300994/epa-to-propose-rule-to-clean-up.html#storylink=misearch http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/EPA-takes-aim-at-auto-emissions-sulfur-in-gas-4393777.php VEHICLES Solar-Electric Cars Crush Biofuels In Efficiency. Climate Progress recently reported on a study that found both economic and environmental benefits if homes in the northeastern United States upgraded older heating systems by moving from heating oil to switchgrass. However, one point to emphasize was the findings were specific to those circumstances — the region, the homes, and that particular use. Switchgrass was not nearly as good an idea for electricity generation or transportation fuel. Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2013/03/28/solar-electric-cars-crush-biofuels-in-efficiency/ HIGH-SPEED RAIL Calif. High-Speed Rail Estimates Reasonable. The federal Government Accountability Office is giving generally good grades to the California High-Speed Rail Authority’s business plan to build a $68 billion bullet train. In a report given Thursday to members of Congress, the GAO says the authority’s ridership and revenue forecasts are reasonable. It could not assess whether the authority’s projected costs are feasible, but says the California agency is following most of the GAO’s best practices in making its predictions. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2013-03-29/gao-calif-dot-high-speed-rail-estimates-reasonable http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2013/03/28/gao-calif-high-speed-rail-estimates-reasonable/ Fewer Than Half of Californians Support High-Speed Rail. Back in 2008, California voters approved a $10 billion bond to plan and build a high-speed rail system across the state. Four years later, support for the high-speed rail has waned. Now that the estimated cost is $68 billion, a recent survey by the Public Policy Institute of California shows that only 43 percent of likely voters support the project. That number hasn’t changed since the last time the survey was conducted, about a year ago. Posted. http://transportationnation.org/2013/03/28/poll-fewer-than-half-of-californians-support-high-speed-rail/ Chowchilla gets a look at ideas for high-speed rail junction. Area residents got an up-close look Wednesday at the High-Speed Rail Authority's plan for the "Chowchilla Wye." Authority officials held a public meeting to discuss several alternative routes for the Y-shaped junction, all of which would fork off south of the city heading west to San Jose and north to Merced. The meeting was held in the Little Theater at the Chowchilla Fairgrounds at 1000 S. Third St. More than 100 people showed up at Galilee Missionary Baptist Church in Fairmead for a similar meeting March 20. Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/03/27/2908070/chowchilla-gets-a-look-at-ideas.html MISCELLANEOUS A Building That Neutralizes Surrounding Air Pollution. A decorative façade on a Mexico City hospital will be the first to be made of a material that absorbs pollutants from the air. The 100-meter long curved screen on the building, Torre de Especialidadesis, is made of Depolluting Quasicrystals - how's that for futuristic? Posted. http://www.sustainablebusiness.com/index.cfm/go/news.display/id/24715 BLOGS Is the EPA ready to tackle climate change? (VIDEO) The Environmental Protection Agency is proposing new rules to reduce the sulfur content of gasoline. Is that a sign that the EPA is about to unleash a flurry of new regulations in Obama’s second term, including much-anticipated moves to tackle climate change? Brad Plumer and Sarah Kliff discuss…Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/03/29/wonktalk-is-the-epa-ready-to-tackle-climate-change/