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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 5, 2013 Posted: 05 Apr 2013 12:18:13
ARB Newsclips for April 5, 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 Beijing residents rethink life in the big smoke. A winter of terrible air pollution in Beijing is likely to be followed this summer by an exodus of expatriates fleeing the Chinese capital, according to senior executives, diplomats and businesses that cater to the expat community. But it is not just foreign residents who are contemplating leaving, and it is not just a couple of months of hazardous smog that has persuaded them to go. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/beijing-residents-rethink-life-in-big-smoke/2013/04/05/516f9ba6-9e02-11e2-a2db-efc5298a95e1_story.html South Coast air officials may force disclosure of fracking operations. On Friday, regional air regulators will consider a new rule that would force oil and gas companies to disclose more information about the extraction process known as fracking. The proposed rule would require oil and gas companies to notify air officials when fracking begins. They would also have to disclose which chemicals they’re using, and whether they’re toxic. (Formally known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking involves shooting a high-powered mix of water, sand, and chemicals into the ground to extract oil and natural gas.) Posted. http://www.scpr.org/blogs/environment/2013/04/04/13174/south-coast-air-officials-may-force-disclosure-of/ Air Quality Group: Spare the Air a Success. For five winter seasons and running, Bay Area residents have observed Spare the Air, curbing their wood- burning activities on select days to promote cleaner air. Has it worked? The Bay Area Air Quality Management District reviewed pollution levels from the last few years and concluded that Spare the Air, along with other factors, has pushed particulate matter levels (known simply as ‘PM’) lower each year for the last several. Posted. http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/local/Air-Quality-Group-Spare-the-Air-a-Success-201552491.html Home Depot settles Calif. pollution suits for $8M. Home Depot has agreed to pay $8 million to settle lawsuits alleging the company violated Southern California's regional air quality rules. The agreement announced Thursday settles lawsuits filed by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the district attorneys of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San Bernardino counties. The lawsuits alleged that at 15 Southern California stores between 2009 and 2012, Delaware-based Home Depot USA, Inc., sold thousands of gallons of paint, sealers and other liquids that contained volatile organic compounds, known as VOCs, in violation of regional regulations. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Home-Depot-settles-Calif-pollution-suits-for-8M-4411169.php http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/04/5317978/home-depot-settles-calif-pollution.html#storylink=misearch http://www.pe.com/local-news/topics/topics-environment-headlines/20130404-air-pollution-home-depot-to-pay-8-million-for-violations.ece CLIMATE CHANGE The Man Who Could Put Climate Change on the Agenda. Denis McDonough, the White House chief of staff, is best known for two things: his national security chops—he had key roles on the White House National Security Council—and the high regard in which he’s held by President Obama. McDonough has been part of Obama’s inner circle for nearly a decade, and the president has called his new chief of staff one of his “closest and most trusted advisers.” Posted. http://www.nationaljournal.com/magazine/the-man-who-could-put-climate-change-on-the-agenda-20130404 http://www.usatoday.com/story/theoval/2013/04/05/obama-dennis-mcdonough-climate-change/2055801/ Climate change will increase extreme precipitation levels. Rainfall or snowfall dumped by the most intense storms could grow significantly heavier in most of the United States by the final decades of the century, according to a new climate change study. The paper, written by a research team led by scientists from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, examines the effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions on factors that influence maximum precipitation. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-climate-change-extreme-precipitation-20130404,0,125887.story Hansen paper emphasizes importance of retention and expansion of nuclear power for health and climate reasons. A new study by James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha from the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute has found that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84 million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that would have resulted from fossil fuel burning. The estimated human deaths caused by nuclear power from 1971 to 2009 were far lower than the avoided deaths: 4,900, or about 370 times lower than the result for avoided deaths. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/04/hansen-20130404.html New study on CA's cap-and-trade and forest offsets. California's Global Warming Solutions Act created a voluntary cap-and-trade market in an effort to achieve a 30 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Some policymakers consider this program a test market for a national model, as well as a possible opportunity to use international forest offsets from REDD+ programs in developing countries. However, a new report points to significant problems that prevent REDD+ forest offsets from legitimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Posted. http://yubanet.com/california/New-study-on-CA-39-s-cap-and-trade-and-forest-offsets.php#.UV8TcVfeKoU HIGH-SPEED RAIL High Speed Rail Proposed Routes. The California High Speed Rail Authority addressed a crowd of more than 200 valley residents Thursday. Rail engineers recommended routes for the Chowchilla Wye and alignments that stretch between Fresno and Bakersfield. http://www.ksee24.com/news/local/High-Speed-Rail---MMU-201535161.html High speed rail extends contracts totaling $50 million. The California High Speed Rail Authority extended the contracts of two consulting firms, totaling nearly $50 million. Project leaders said the extensions were needed because of delays, and that the new expense was anticipated and budgeted according to guidelines approved by voters under Proposition 1A. High Speed Rail's Rob Wilcox said the project is still at the $68 billion total price tag. Posted. http://www.news10.net/news/article/239527/2/High-speed-rail-extends-contracts-totaling-50-million GREEN ENERGY The future of energy: More carbon dioxide? An FDR grandson and oilman is betting yes. Elliott Roosevelt Jr., a grandson of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, grins and leans toward visitors in his Dallas office to describe his biggest discovery in 53 years as an oilman. After nursing a single 10-barrel-a-day well in a desolate stretch of west Texas for two decades, Elliott Roosevelt, 76, is embracing a technique he says can liberate a third of the 1.8 billion barrels of petroleum stuck a mile below. He plans to inject carbon dioxide into limestone, potentially freeing oil valued at about $58 billion in early April — more than the gross domestic product of Bulgaria — and reaping this bounty from a 38-square-mile area drillers abandoned long ago. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/the-future-of-energy-more-carbon-dioxide-an-fdr-grandson-and-oilman-is-betting-yes/2013/04/04/1f95696e-9bb2-11e2-a941-a19bce7af755_story.html Green groups urge U.S. to back off Indian solar trade case. U.S. environmental groups are pressing President Barack Obama's administration to back off a World Trade Organization case against India they say threatens the ability of the world's second most populous country to cut greenhouse gas emissions. "We're really worried about this proliferation of trade cases on renewable energy," Ilana Solomon, trade representative for the Sierra Club, said in an interview on Thursday. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/04/usa-india-solar-idUSL2N0CR1K020130404 MISCELLANEOUS TEMECULA: Students encouraged to enter energy conservation contest. American Residential Services, a residential heating and air conditioning service company in Corona, has partnered with the Temecula Valley Foundation for Excellence in Education with a contest to get students to “think green.” Temecula Valley Unified School District students in grades four to 12 can submit their best ideas on how to reduce the load on the energy grid and share the type of impact their idea could have on the community. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/temecula/temecula-headlines-index/20130404-temecula-students-encouraged-to-enter-energy-conservation-contest.ece OPINION The limits of renewable energy. We’re losing the race against global warming. Worldwide coal production increased about eight times faster than solar- and wind-power generation last year. China added more new coal plants in 2011 than are running in Texas and Ohio, even as it leads the world in wind-power capacity. Meanwhile, the United States is only modestly cutting carbon emissions by transitioning from coal to natural gas, which is still a carbon-rich fuel. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/matthew-stepp-overlooking-the-limits-of-renewable-energy/2013/04/04/d6df6666-9adf-11e2-9a79-eb5280c81c63_story.html In the Pipeline: Air quality leaders' responses not based in facts. OK, hot off the presses, grim lowlights from the new Air Quality Management District (AQMD) staff report, published Wednesday, with proposed amended rules for 444, the beach bonfire ban. To anyone that has not quite grasped just how agenda-driven this organization is, and how intensely focused they are in imposing their draconian ban on beach bonfires, please take a moment to read some of their opinions following the meeting last Friday where many of us from Huntington Beach got up and spoke our minds — and common sense. Posted. http://www.hbindependent.com/opinion/tn-hbi-0411-pipeline-20130404,0,3718278.story BLOGS Whom Do You Trust on Climate Change? As the debate on global warming steadily drifts away from whether it is real toward how it will affect our future, a new British study looks at the sources people trust to stay informed on the issue. An online poll commissioned by the Carbon Brief, a British climate and energy news blog, found that 69 percent of respondents in the United Kingdom consider scientists the most trustworthy source on the issue (49 percent say they are ‘quite trustworthy’, while 20 percent say they are ‘very trustworthy’). Posted. http://rendezvous.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/05/whom-do-you-trust-on-climate-change/ Who’s Afraid of Environmental Regulations? (Not Small Businesses). There has been a lot of chatter about the burden of regulations on small businesses. It turns out that small business owners do worry about regulations a lot — but not so much environmental regulations. According to a new survey, what they really care about are licensing and tax regulations. Environmental regulations just don’t matter much. The Thumbtack internet site provides services to small businesses and conducts a business climate poll with support from the Kaufman Foundation. Their results reflect a roughly representative sample of over 7000 small business owners. Posted. http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/whos-afraid-of-environmental-regulations-not-small-businesses/ Some NY cabs could avoid hybrid ban. The Nissan NV200 is having a rough go of it as New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow. The Greater New York Taxi Association wants the van banned on the grounds that it isn't a hybrid, and has gone so far as to sue the city to keep the NV200 out of taxi fleets. According to The New York Times, the city has responded by proposing to allow taxi drivers to use certain hybrid vehicles. The Taxi and Limousine Commission's proposal would allow any vehicle with an interior volume of 138 cubic feet or more. Unfortunately, that excludes nearly every machine that isn't the size of the NV200. Posted. http://www.autoblog.com/2013/04/05/some-ny-cabs-could-avoid-hybrid-ban/