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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for May 23, 2013.

Posted: 23 May 2013 12:40:56
ARB Newsclips for May 23, 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.


Utilities Tap Cheaper Compliance Option With UN Carbon Banking.
Utilities and refineries have retained the most flexibility among
European Union industries to use lower-cost United Nations carbon
offsets to comply with the bloc’s emissions caps from 2013 to
2020, according to EU data. The industry groups used the smallest
share of their quota of UN credits in the five years through
2012, Bloomberg New Energy Finance analysis of the EU data show.

Climate Scientist Hansen Turns Activist, Advocates 'Fee' on
Carbon Pollution. James Hansen, the former NASA climate scientist
who first brought climate change to the attention of Congress in
the 1980s, stepped down as head of the agency's Goddard Institute
for Space Studies last month. That hasn’t stopped him traveling
the globe to lobby for climate protection measures, while
remaining an adjunct professor for Earth and Environmental
Studies at Columbia University. Posted.

U.K. Climate Adviser Says Low-Carbon Mix Saves $150 Bln. Britain,
under pressure to build new power stations, could save as much as
100 billion pounds ($150 billion) through 2050 by spending on
wind, nuclear and carbon capture rather than gas, the
government’s climate adviser said. Investing in low-carbon power
is a “low-regrets strategy with potentially significant
benefits,” a report from the Committee on Climate Change shows.

Impact of carbon tax depends on how it's done – CBO. The effects
of a carbon tax on the environment and the economy would depend
heavily on how its revenue was spent, according to a report
released yesterday by the Congressional Budget Office. The report
echoed many of the same points that have been made over the past
year by economists on both the left and the right who have
remained interested in the concept of a carbon tax despite the
long odds it would face in today's Congress. Posted.

British insurer tries to fix perceived risk in provisions of
Calif. offset rules. A British insurance firm is trying to fix a
perceived flaw in California's cap-and-trade system with another
market-based solution. Parhelion Underwriting Ltd. announced
yesterday that it would offer insurance for California carbon
offset credits, which businesses can use to comply with the
state's economywide greenhouse gas trading program that began in
January. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059981672/print BY


China plans tougher quality standards for coal to tackle
pollution.  China may impose higher quality standards for
imported and locally traded coal to cut air pollution, two
sources said, in a move that could slash imports while boosting
the fortunes of a faltering domestic industry.  The National
Energy Administration (NEA) held a meeting with major state-owned
coal producers earlier this month to discuss the new

EU deal on airline emissions tax could take until 2016.  As
countries and airlines grapple with reducing greenhouse-gas
emissions, European Union officials acknowledge that their
pioneering program to curb airline emissions will be delayed,
perhaps until 2016. The European program, called the Emissions
Trading Scheme, aims to reduce airplane emissions and fine
airlines that produce too much on flights to and from Europe.
This month the European Commission, which proposes and implements
legislation for the member countries…Posted.


Gov. Brown keeps pressing climate change crusade. Gov. Jerry
Brown kept crusading Thursday for climate change, joining
scientists who released a 20-page call to action on environmental
problems such as pollution, extinctions and population growth.
Brown appeared with Silicon Valley leaders and climate scientists
at a conference at NASA Ames Research Center focusing on climate
disruption. Posted.



Heat-related deaths may increase with climate change.
Heat-related deaths in New York City's borough of Manhattan may
rise about 20 percent over the next decade, according to a new
study. Researchers at Columbia University in New York analyzed
the relationship between daily temperatures and
temperature-related deaths across all seasons between 1982 and
1999 in Manhattan, which comprises the most densely populated
county in the United States. Posted.

Obama admin aims to improve efficiency, adapt to climate change
by releasing data. Rather than simply throwing money at problems,
federal officials are now releasing a flood of data as a means to
address the nation's issues, including areas like climate change.
Earlier this month, the White House released a tsunami of
government-held data to the public in more easily accessible
formats under a new open data policy. In an executive order,
President Obama said revealing this information…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059981669/print BY


State fines truck firm for smog violations. The California Air
Resources Board has fined Mex-Cal Truckline Inc. of Otay Mesa
$300,000 for violating state air pollution laws by dispatching
noncompliant vehicles serving regulated intermodal railyards in
2011 and 2012. The Otay Mesa office is south of downtown San
Diego, just north of the state's border with Mexico. Under terms
of a settlement, Mex-Cal will pay its fine to the California Air
Pollution Control Fund to support air quality research. Posted.



House passes GOP bill to speed pipeline approval. House
Republicans pushed through a bill Wednesday to bypass the
president to speed approval of the Keystone XL oil pipeline from
Canada to Texas. Democrats criticized the legislation as a
blatant attempt to allow a foreign company to avoid environmental
review. The bill was approved, 241-175, largely along party
lines. Republicans said the measure was needed to ensure that the
long-delayed pipeline, first proposed in 2008, is built. Posted.


In top coal state, gas to fuel next power plant. The next major
power plant to be built in the nation's top coal-mining state
will be fueled by natural gas. Black Hills Corp. subsidiaries
Cheyenne Light, Fuel & Power and Black Hills Power held a
groundbreaking ceremony Wednesday for the Cheyenne Prairie
Generating Station on the outskirts of Cheyenne. Work on the
132-megawatt power plant — on track to be Wyoming's largest
gas-fired plant — began a few weeks ago. Posted.

Limiting Methane Leaks Critical to Gas, Climate Benefits. Knowing
how much methane is leaking from the natural gas system is
essential to determining the potential climate benefits of
natural gas use. Our extensive review of the publicly available
studies finds that a pervasive lack of measurements makes it
nearly impossible to know with confidence what the average
methane leak rate is for the U.S. as a whole. More measurements,
more reliable data, and better understanding of industry
practices are needed. Posted.


Volkswagen to put special fuel caps on diesels. Volkswagen is
replacing the fuel tank covers on more than 200,000 of its diesel
vehicles sold in the U.S. and Canada to remind owners to fill
their tanks with diesel - not gasoline. The company said Tuesday
it's taking action after getting a small number of reports of
drivers filling diesel tanks with gas. Using the wrong fuel can
damage the engine. Volkswagen will alert affected customers.
Dealers will put on a new fuel cap with yellow "Diesel" lettering
for free. Posted.

To Spark Buyers for Electric Cars, Drop the Price to Nearly $0. A
new round of discount leases on plug-in cars combined with
electric-vehicle incentives, could make a battery-electric car
extraordinarily economical. This car deal sounds too good to be
true: Drive a car, almost free. To entice drivers to try
electric-powered cars, auto makers are lowering the price of
entry to the zero-emission lifestyle. Posted.


Is the Electric Car Right for You? Steep discounts and public
subsidies have more and more consumers considering electric cars.
Eyes on the Road columnist Joe White Joins Lunch Break with a
look at how going electric could end up putting money in drivers'
pockets. Posted.

Electric automaker Tesla pays off its federal loan early. In a
huge boost for the Obama administration and clean-energy firms,
electric vehicle maker Tesla Motors Inc. announced Wednesday that
it is paying back its $465 million government loan in full – and
nine years early. The Department of Energy oversees $34 billion
in taxpayer-funded loans for clean energy and other projects, but
Tesla, based in Palo Alto, is the only United States car company
in the vast portfolio of 33 projects to pay back its loan.




Retiring coal-fired plants in Nevada passes Senate. The Nevada
Senate endorsed NV Energy Inc.'s plan Wednesday to retire
coal-fired power plants and pave the way for the state's biggest
electrical utility to transition to more renewable sources. After
several revisions, SB123 was approved unanimously and now moves
to the Assembly. Under the bill, NV Energy will eliminate at
least 800 megawatts of coal-fired electric generating capacity by
Dec. 31, 2019. Posted.

Will Solar Power Doom PG&E? A report on the industry thinktank
website The Energy Collective suggests that Pacific Gas &
Electric might be the first U.S. power company to fall to
competition with increasingly cheap rooftop solar. In his report,
analyst Douglas Short points out that a confluence of factors
contribute to what he sees as a bleak outlook for PG&E's future,
including the utility's retail price structure for power, state
laws, and good old California sunshine. Posted.

With new tax incentives, DOE boosts wind power growth estimates
by 34%. The U.S. wind energy sector could add as much as 20,000
megawatts of new generation between 2012 and 2016 as developers
take advantage of new Treasury Department rules that make new
wind farms eligible for federal tax benefits through the end of
2013. The projections, released yesterday by the Department of
Energy's Energy Information Administration, account for January's
extension of the production tax credit for wind power…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059981670/print BY


New rules for disposing old thermostats. California took an
aggressive step on Wednesday to ensure that mercury-laden
thermostats in homes and businesses do not wind up in landfills
and pollute the environment with the hazardous toxin. The
Department of Toxic Substances Control released new regulations
requiring manufacturers of thermostats to significantly increase
the safe disposal of those products that contain mercury. The
regulations take effect July 1. Posted.

S.F.'s new tack in fighting metal theft. San Francisco
prosecutors have opened a new front in the battle against copper
theft, filing a $10 million lawsuit against a scrap-metal
recycler that allegedly chose to shut down and trash its files
rather than comply with a city subpoena seeking sales records.
The unusual suit against J&S Recycling, which until March
operated out of a 20,000-square-foot warehouse on the city's
southeastern shore, accuses company owners of directing employees
to empty file cabinets and toss computers after learning of the
subpoena. Posted.
Buyer Liability Insurance Now Available for California's
Cap-and-Trade Offset Program. 
In a unique alliance, Parhelion offers insurance on compliance
offset credits that originate from the Climate Action Reserve.
The Climate Action Reserve, North America's premier carbon offset
registry, and Parhelion Underwriting Ltd., the leading innovator
for carbon market insurance products, today announced a unique,
strategic alliance to support the delivery of the first insurance
product for compliance offset credits in California's
Cap-and-Trade Program. Posted.


Congress must quit dithering on climate change.  Regarding the
May 20 op-ed by Rep. Lamar Smith, “Let’s cool our rhetoric on
climate change”:  Apparently, Mr. Smith (R-Tex.), the chairman of
the House Committee on Science, Space and Technology, has little
use for the conclusions of the overwhelming majority of climate
scientists, at least insofar as they conflict with the short-term
interests of the petroleum and coal industries. Posted. 

Oil severance tax would increase cost of producing oil. Re
"Forces join to push for energy tax" (Page A1, May 20):
Proponents of this new $2 billion annual tax claim it is
justified because California is the only state without a
severance tax. What they don't tell you is that California taxes
oil differently than other states. In fact, oil companies pay
some of the highest taxes on oil production in the country due to
higher corporate tax rates…Posted.


Seeking Clarity on Terrible Tornadoes in a Changing Climate. As I
explained earlier this week, questions related to any impact of
human-driven global warming on tornadoes, while important, have
almost no bearing on the challenge of reducing human
vulnerability to these killer storms. The focus on the ground in
Oklahoma, of course, will for years to come be on recovery and
rebuilding — hopefully with more attention across the region to
developing policies and practices that cut losses the next time.

Science Group Criticizes Politicians for Global Warming
Distortions. It’s great to see the Union of Concerned Scientists
offering nonpartisan criticism of elected officials for
distorting — in both directions — what’s known about the role of
human-driven global warming on several fronts, from tornado
ferocity to hurricane losses. Here’s the statement the group
circulated to reporters this morning: We recently noticed a small
flurry of policymaker statements on climate change that struck us
as inaccurate or misleading. Posted.

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