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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 15, 2013.

Posted: 15 Apr 2013 12:31:22
ARB Newsclips for April 15, 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.


Hong Kong Pollution Hits Severe Level as Pollutants Trapped. Hong
Kong’s air pollution index reached the “severe” level for the
third time this year, triggering a government warning, as
pollutants from China were trapped by the lack of air flow. The
Air Pollution Index (HKAICEMA) reached 207 in the Central
business district and 203 at the Mong Kok roadside-monitoring
station as of 2 p.m. local time, according to the Environment
Protection Department. The index last registered similar readings
in March in the city’s Causeway Bay area. Posted.

E.P.A. Will Delay Rule Limiting Carbon Emissions at New Power
Plants. The Environmental Protection Agency said Friday that it
would delay issuance of a new rule limiting emissions of carbon
dioxide and other greenhouse gases from new power plants after
the electric power industry objected on legal and technical
grounds. The rule, proposed a year ago and scheduled to be
finalized on Saturday, would have put in place the first
restrictions on climate-altering gases from the power sector in
the United States. Posted.

Residents raise a stink at air pollution hearing for plant
permit.  Shasta County officials came under fire Thursday over a
proposal to renew an air pollution permit for a power plant in
Anderson.  Members of a group called Citizens for Clean Air said
the county Air Pollution Control District was illegally renewing
a permit that allows Sierra Pacific Industries to operate a 4
megawatt power plant in Anderson.  “They’re circumventing the
whole process,” Heidi Strand, a founder of Citizens for Clean
Air, said, referring to county officials who held a public
hearing Thursday on the permit.  Posted. 

APCD releases latest Annual Report about air quality in the San
Joaquin Valley (Photos).  The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution
Control District (APCD) today announced the release of its
2012-2013 Annual Report to the Community, a summary of efforts
taken to control and reduce air pollution in the eight county air
basin. The announcement was made via e-mail to interested
subscribers of the APCD's mailing lists.  Bakersfield residents
who would like to know just what the APCD does and how successful
it is will find this free publication useful. Posted. 

San Joaquin Valley air agency issues alert.  Officials with the
San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District are issuing a
health cautionary statement effective late today through Monday
night because of gusty winds expected to move through the area. 
Winds may produce areas of localized blowing dust, which can
result in unhealthy concentrations of particulate matter.  People
with heart or lung disease should follow their doctors' advice
for dealing with particulate exposure.  Posted. 


EU’s Hedegaard Urges Lawmakers to Stop Carbon-Market ‘Bleeding’
European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard pressed the
EU Parliament to endorse her proposal temporarily to curb the
supply of carbon-dioxide emission permits in a bid to boost their
prices. The proposal, known as backloading, would delay the
issuing of some new allowances in the 2013-2020 phase of the EU’s
emissions-trading system, which limits CO2 from about 12,000
power plants and factories to fight climate change. Posted.

California's carbon market may succeed where others have failed. 
Most weekdays, a long line of rail cars delivers thick slabs of
steel to a factory about 40 miles east of Los Angeles. Deep in
the bowels of California Steel Industries, the slabs are toasted
until they glow white-hot and then rolled into thin sheets used
to make shipping containers, metal roofing and car wheels.  The
plant churns out more than 2 million tons of flat rolled steel
each year, using enormous amounts of natural gas and electricity
and releasing over 190,000 metric tons of climate-altering carbon
dioxide annually. Posted. 

International cap-and-trade markets expanding – but still
contentious.  Nascent carbon emissions-trading exchanges in
several countries are increasingly looking at options to
interlink with one another, which advocates say would offer
investors long-term stability, increase revenues for the
development of renewable energy and strengthen corporate support
for climate policy.  Yet critics warn that so-called
cap-and-trade systems are inefficient and create incentives for
polluting industries to continue with business as usual. Posted. 

Linking by Degrees: Incremental Alignment of Cap-and-Trade
Markets. National and subnational economies have started
implementing carbon pricing systems unilaterally, from the bottom
up. Therefore, the potential linking of individual cap-and-trade
programs to capture efficiency gains and other benefits is of
keen interest. This paper introduces a two-tiered framework to
guide policymakers, with an interest in North American policy
outcomes. Posted.

Santa Barbara conference tackles skepticism about global warming.
 An oceanographer and former Navy rear admiral said Friday that
rising sea levels driven by global warming are now considered a
serious threat to national security, but the nation is beginning
to get a handle on the issue. “We may do it with duct tape. It
may take a new kind of disaster, such as Atlanta running out of
water, to fully get our attention, and we’ll probably spend more
money on it than we need to,” David Titley said at a conference
on sea level rise at UC Santa Barbara. “But in the end, I think
we’ll figure this out.” Posted.

U.S. and China pledge 'large-scale cooperative action' to reduce
emissions. Secretary of State John Kerry signed climate change
agreements with China and Japan over the weekend, making the
issue he championed in the U.S. Senate a centerpiece of his first
Asia tour. Both declarations of cooperation stressed practical
measures aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions and mostly
ignored the contentious U.N. climate change negotiations. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/15/1  BY

Better indicators needed to rank climate vulnerability, experts
say. The U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change commits
developed countries to financially support developing countries
that are "particularly vulnerable" to climate change. But what
makes a country "particularly vulnerable"? Between
drought-stricken Burundi or flood-prone Bangladesh, which should
be prioritized when allocating aid? Policy analysts and
scientists say the question is complicated. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/15/7  BY


California needs to bolster regulation of fracking, report says.
Report by UC Berkeley Law School says that new technology could
sharply increase use of the controversial method of oil and gas
extraction and that state regulators aren't equipped to handle
it. California needs to strengthen regulation of hydraulic
fracturing, according to a UC Berkeley Law School report that
identified a number of shortcomings in state oversight of the
controversial practice. Posted.

Methane, HFCs and soot reduction could cut projected sea-level
rise by half – study. Restricting global warming to 2 degrees
Celsius above preindustrial levels and cutting projected
sea-level rise for 2100 by as much as half can be done by
reducing short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs) along with carbon
dioxide. A new study published yesterday in Nature Climate Change
shows that cutting back on methane, tropospheric ozone,
hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and black carbon, starting as soon as
in 2015, could rein in warming enough to decrease sea-level rise
by 30 percent from where it would be if emissions continued as
they are now.  Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/15/2  BY


Mono County: expensive vehicle replacement.  California Air
Resources Board diesel emission requirements will ultimately cost
Mono County, and many others, millions in equipment replacement.
Though deadlines do not start until 2019, the Mono Supervisors
want to address the problem now.  When they met on Tuesday, the
Board heard from Acting Public Works Director Jeff Walters. He
had said that Mono County has 68 diesel-powered heavy equipment
vehicles that must comply with Air Board rules by 2019 and 2025. 


Vehicle Rebate Project Gets Funding Boost To Help Californians
Buy Environmentally Friendly Cars.  To continue a program that
has successfully issued approximately 20,000 rebates to
individuals, businesses and organizations that have purchased
zero-emission vehicles (ZEVs), the California Air Resources Board
(ARB) and the Clean Energy Commission (CEC) recently allocated a
combined $10.5 million. That influx of cash is expected to extend
the Clean Vehicle Rebate Project until next year’s funds are
available.  Posted. 

GM, Ford agree to jointly develop fuel-saving transmissions.
General Motors Co. and Ford Motor Co., the two largest U.S.
automakers, have agreed to jointly develop a new line of nine-
and ten-speed automatic transmissions to boost the fuel economy
and performance of their lineup, the companies said on Monday.
The pact marks the third time in the last decade that the two
automakers have collaborated on transmissions. The joint effort
allows GM and Ford to bring the transmissions to market more
quickly and at a lower cost than if they worked alone. Posted.


Rail bid lower than state's estimate. A trio of American
companies outbid four other teams vying to build the first
segment of California's proposed high-speed train system – and
for several hundred million dollars less than state engineers
estimated. The consortium of Tutor Perini Corp. of Sylmar, Zachry
Construction Corp. of Texas and Parsons Corp. of Pasadena offered
the low bid of less than $1 billion. Five construction teams
submitted bids in January to the California High-Speed Rail
Authority for the first stretch of the rail line from east of
Madera to the south end of Fresno. Posted. 


Clean Energy Investment Falls 22% as Subsidy Cuts Stall Projects.
Clean energy investment slid 22 percent to its lowest level in
four years as nations pared subsidies for technologies from wind
turbines to solar power and financing in China and Brazil
stalled. The $40.6 billion invested in the industry in the first
three months of this year was lower than any quarter since 2009
and compares with $52 billion in the same period last year,
according to data compiled by Bloomberg New Energy Finance.

Vestas Wind Loses Second CFO as Turbine Maker Seeks Turnaround.
Vestas Wind Systems A/S (VWS), the Danish turbine maker seeking a
turnaround, said Dag Gunnar Andresen resigned, the second chief
financial officer to quit in less than 18 months. Andresen will
leave for personal reasons by the end of the month, the
Aarhus-based company said today in a statement. He will be
replaced by Marika Fredriksson from May 1. Posted.

NW Pa. wind farm plan has backers, opponents.  Some northwestern
Pennsylvania residents want limits placed on the size of wind
turbines that can be built in their area and a ban on commercial
windmills within a mile of any neighborhood. Neighbors For A
Responsible North East also wants developers required to set
aside money to cover any depreciation in private property after a
wind farm is built and the cost to remove nonfunctional turbines,
The Erie Times-News said. Posted. 


Though Brown touts progress, China's environmental issues
persist. It’s easy to feel good traveling through China with Gov.
Jerry Brown this week. Multimillion-dollar business deals between
Chinese and California companies have been announced, and
cooperation on environmental policy is pledged at every turn from
top Communist Party and California officials. At night, the state
is celebrated at lavish dinners where the California wine flows
freely. Posted.

Chicago activist wins Goldman Environmental Prize. As a young
community organizer, Kimberly Wasserman went door to door in her
working-class neighborhood to learn about residents' concerns.
What she found set her on a decade-long mission to close
Chicago's last two coal-fired power plants, a task that required
taking on a major corporation and, ultimately, City Hall. Now,
seven months after Midwest Generation closed its power plants in
Chicago's two largest Hispanic enclaves, Wasserman will be
honored Monday in San Francisco as the 2013 North American winner
of the Goldman Environmental Prize. Posted.


Toward a brighter future.   First we all lit our homes with
incandescent bulbs. Then we started shifting to compact
florescent bulbs. And now there are LEDs. Each shift meant higher
initial costs but long-term savings, because each represented a
significant reduction in energy use (and that's before we
consider cutting powerplant pollution to generate the electricity
to light up the bulbs). Posted.


Climate Change Didn’t Cause the Big Drought.  The Hague — During
his most recent State of the Union Address, President Obama cited
the Great Plains drought last year as an example of extreme
weather caused by climate change. According to a U.S. government
report, things are not so simple. A new report by the Drought
Task Force found that the central Great Plains drought, the worst
drought in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas, Nebraska, South Dakota and
North Dakota since record keeping began in 1895, was mostly not
the result of climate change. Posted.

California seeks to export clean and green technology. California
certainly likes to think of itself as an environmental
trailblazer, and our state’s record in cleaning dirty air,
tackling carbon pollution and enacting laws to require at least a
third of our electric energy come from renewable resources,
certainly puts us ahead of many states (and nations). Now the
state is moving to capitalize on those efforts. Gov. Jerry Brown
is visiting China this week to, among other things, peddle
California green and clean technology exports. Posted.

New Study Says CA High-Speed Rail Will Lose Up To 373 Million
Annually.  I voted NO on Proposition 1A, because I didn't believe
they could deliver on their promises.  According to a new study,
done by the libertarian Reason Foundation, the California
High-Speed Rail System will result in annual losses between $124
- $373 million.  The study says that exaggerated rider estimates
and slower-than-promised trip speeds make the California bullet
train project a big financial loser for taxpayers.  Posted. 

8 Ways that California and China Can Work Together to Reduce
Pollution and Protect the Climate.  I was delighted to see that
California Governor Jerry Brown has made climate change and
environmental protection a key focus of his visit to China this
week. In addition to discussing with China's Premier Li Keqiang
the importance of collaboration between California and China on
renewable energy and climate change, Governor Brown:  Signed a
landmark agreement with China's Ministry of Commerce and six
Chinese provinces and regions to expand trade and investment,
particularly in the sectors of new energy, environmental
protection and infrastructure…Posted. 

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