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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for May 29, 2013 Posted: 29 May 2013 12:51:23
ARB Newsclips for May 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 Study: Del. power plant not big air pollution risk. A small-scale study of people living near the NRG Energy power plant near Millsboro suggests that the plant is not a major source of particulate air pollution for area residents. The study released Tuesday instead suggests that the greatest risk of air pollution comes from upwind areas in other states in the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, and from indoor sources, such as tobacco smoke and cleaning products, within residents' own homes. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Study-Del-power-plant-not-big-air-pollution-risk-4554647.php#ixzz2UhGsr9b2 http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/study-nrg-energy-power-plant-not-a-big-particulate-air-pollution-source-for-nearby-residents/2013/05/28/42d54a5a-c7e2-11e2-9cd9-3b9a22a4000a_story.html CLIMATE CHANGE EU greenhouse gas emissions lowest to date. The EU's environmental agency says the 27-nation bloc's greenhouse emissions in 2011 were the lowest since it began monitoring them in 1990. The European Environment Agency says greenhouse gas emissions dropped 3.3 percent compared to 2010, and were 18.4 percent below 1990 levels. It cited a milder winter in 2011 as the main reason for the drop. Agency director Jacqueline McGlade said Wednesday the European Union was "making clear progress towards its emission targets." The agency said nearly two-thirds of the emission reductions came from Britain, France and Germany, while the largest increases were in Romania, Bulgaria and Spain. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/EU-greenhouse-gas-emissions-lowest-to-date-4557017.php#ixzz2UhHRbTBB http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/29/us-eu-emissions-idUSBRE94S0EV20130529 http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/may/29/eu-greenhouse-gas-emissions-lowest-to-date/ The California Carbon Challenge: Connecting Californians to Climate Solutions. California has long been a leader in its efforts to simultaneously address climate change and grow the economy. Starting today, Californians will be able to choose their favorite strategies to continue that progress, with a new, interactive online game called the California Carbon Challenge (www.cacarbonchallenge.org), created by Next 10 (www.next10.org), a leading nonpartisan, nonprofit research group. The California Carbon Challenge is the latest interactive Next 10 simulator. The California Budget Challenge (www.budgetchallenge.org) has allowed more than 340,000 users to create a state budget - virtually - by growing or cutting services and raising or reducing taxes. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/29/5455633/the-california-carbon-challenge.html#storylink=cpy Mount Everest region glaciers retreating as climate warms. Even the world’s tallest mountain – first conquered by man 60 years ago today – cannot escape climate change. A recent study led by a graduate student at the University of Milan in Italy reveals declining snow amounts and retreating glaciers in the Mount Everest region, reaffirming fears that many scientists hold – increasing global temperatures could cause irreversible damage. The research presented at an American Geophysical Union (AGU) conference in Mexico earlier this month, shows that the glaciers in the Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent over the last 50 years. The snowline has also moved uphill nearly 580 feet. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/05/29/mount-everest-region-glaciers-retreating-as-climate-warms/ FUELS Insight: California environmentalists fear frack fight a distraction. The state regulator is hammering out rules for hydraulic fracturing, while the legislature is debating 10 bills on the practice. The drilling technique known as "fracking" has caused so much concern about environmental problems that it is the subject of a Hollywood movie. But most Monterey drillers employ another technique using acid, and only one bill under consideration would regulate that method. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/05/28/us-california-oil-insight-idUSBRE94R0CO20130528?feedType=RSS&feedName=domesticNews&utm_source=feedly San Onofre breakdown: Boxer wants Justice Department investigation. Newly published documents stoked a high-powered standoff Tuesday over whether the operator of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station may have skirted the appropriate review of replacement steam generators that have sidelined the plant, and whether a restart can occur without trial-like public hearings. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., called on the Justice Department, along with state and federal regulators, to review whether the Rosemead-based utility misled nuclear safety officials about the extent of design changes in order to avoid a more rigorous regulatory review — forwarding correspondence by Edison dating back nearly to the outset of the equipment project. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/may/28/boxer-seeks-justice-investigation/?utm_source=feedly Letter shows Edison anticipated problems with San Onofre generators. A letter from a Southern California Edison executive shows the company became concerned about the potential for serious design flaws in replacement steam generators at the San Onofre nuclear plant as early as 2004. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), who released the letter Tuesday, said it showed that Edison misled regulators about the extent of differences between the old and new generators and said she will ask the U.S. Justice Department to investigate. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission's office of investigations and office of inspector general are already investigating whether there was any wrongdoing by Edison. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-0529-san-onofre-20130529,0,6869663.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedly New Mexico county first in nation to ban fracking to safeguard water. Sitting in the tidy living room of the home they built themselves, Sandra and Roger Alcon inventory what they see as the bounty of their lives: freedom, family, community, land, animals … and water. "We've lived off the land for five generations," said Roger Alcon, 63, looking out on a northern New Mexico landscape of high mesas, ponderosa pines and black Angus cattle. "We have what we need. We've been very happy, living in peace." Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-fracking-ban-20130529,0,4631146.story Some in Europe Are Rethinking Opposition to Fracking. In oil-rich parts of Texas, hydraulic fracturing has almost become a way of life. Drilling rigs and pumping equipment pepper the landscape, and enormous trucks carrying oil field supplies rumble down narrow, dusty roads. In Europe, things could hardly be more different. Opposition to hydraulic fracturing — the process of injecting water, sand and chemicals into the earth to blast apart rock and retrieve oil or natural gas — is widespread and entrenched. Some countries, including France, ban the practice, which is also known as fracking. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/30/business/energy-environment/30iht-green30.html VEHICLES Toyota Introduces 2013 Prius Plug-in MPG Challenge. The Challenge – which consists of five separate waves of competition, each with up to eight challengers – awards those participants garnering the highest overall MPG over the course of a 30-day period. It kicks off with an event today in West Caldwell, N.J., to hand off vehicles to the first wave of challengers. Participants will borrow a Prius Plug-in for 30 days. To be eligible to win, challengers must drive a minimum of 500 miles total and 75 miles each week. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/29/5455543/toyota-introduces-2013-prius-plug.html#storylink=cpy Prius remains best-selling car in California in first quarter. The Toyota Prius just barely maintained its status as the best-selling new car in California in this year's first quarter, according to the California New Car Dealers Association. The gas-electric Prius hybrid, which comes in multiple variations, rang up 15,661 registrations in the first three months of the year, just edging 15,369 registrations for the Honda Accord. Other top-sellers statewide in the first quarter included the Honda Civic (14,918), the Toyota Corolla (14,188) and the Toyota Camry (12,991). The Prius was the best-selling new car in California last year, with 60,688 registrations. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/05/29/5456054/prius-remains-best-selling-car.html#storylink=cpy GREEN ENERGY Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels. The solar panels covering a vast warehouse roof in the sun-soaked Inland Empire region east of Los Angeles were only two years into their expected 25-year life span when they began to fail. Coatings that protect the panels disintegrated while other defects caused two fires that took the system offline for two years, costing hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenues. It was not an isolated incident. Worldwide, testing labs, developers, financiers and insurers are reporting similar problems and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a quality crisis just as solar panels are on the verge of widespread adoption. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/business/energy-environment/solar-powers-dark-side.html?ref=earth&_r=0 Trina Solar Declines as Quarterly Loss Exceeds Estimates. China’s third-largest panel manufacturer, fell the most in a week as declining prices led to a first-quarter loss that exceeded expectations. The company’s American depositary receipts, each worth 50 ordinary shares, fell 14 percent to 5.84 at 11:09 a.m. in New York, the most intraday since May 22. Trina’s net loss more than doubled from a year earlier to $63.7 million, or 90 cents an ADR, Changzhou, China-based Trina said today in a statement. That was 21 cents more than the average of 12 analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales slumped 26 percent to $260.2 million. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-05-29/trina-solar-declines-as-quarterly-loss-exceeds-estimates.html OPINION LETTER: Nation needs tax on carbon use, now. Climate change isn’t “alleged,” it’s a fact (“Carbon dioxide gas levels worrying,” May 12). According to NASA, global surface temperatures have risen by about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Ice caps are melting faster. Sea levels are rising. The carbon dioxide concentration in the atmosphere has been recorded at nearly 400 parts per million, and many scientists foresee severe climate changes if it’s not brought down to 350 ppm. A carbon tax would at least compel those utilizing fossil fuels to pay some part of the costs involved. And it would encourage use of alternative sources of energy. Posted. http://www.pe.com/opinion/letters-to-the-editor-headlines/20130522-letter-nation-needs-tax-on-carbon-use-now.ece BLOGS Former EPA chief Lisa Jackson takes a job at Apple. Apple, after getting hit with criticism for using dirty energy at its data centers, has been increasingly drawing on green power — wind, solar, geothermal, and, now, former EPA Administrator Lisa Jackson. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday that Jackson, who served as Barack Obama’s top environmental official during his first term, will join the company as vice president for environmental initiatives. Posted. http://grist.org/news/former-epa-chief-lisa-jackson-takes-a-job-at-apple/ Coal is rebounding, natural gas prices are up, and the world’s oil cartel is quite content. Times are good for the merchants of fossil fuels. Coal is making a comeback in the U.S., natural gas prices are rising, and Saudis are living like kings off an oil market that is simply heavenly. Just last year, demand for coal had dropped deeper than a canary lowered down a mine shaft. Prices had been pushed down by the natural gas fracking boom. Posted. http://grist.org/news/coal-is-rebounding-natural-gas-prices-are-up-and-the-worlds-oil-cartel-is-quite-content/ Skipping the Gas Pump, and Getting Fuel From a Deep Fryer. Gerard Lynn says he has found a way to buck the prices at the gas pump. He makes his own biodiesel from the used cooking oil of a Bronx fish and chips restaurant. “This is before,” Mr. Lynn, the owner of Murlynn Air Compressor in Red Hook, Brooklyn, said recently as he held up a glass jar filled with a murky brown mixture, tiny particles of black, charred residue floating inside. “Those are bits of French fries.” “And this is after,” he said, proudly displaying a similar glass jar containing a clear liquid the color of golden amber. Posted. http://cityroom.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/05/29/skipping-the-gas-pump-and-getting-fuel-from-a-deep-fryer/ CLIMATE: Sobering graphics show Earth changes. The headline in The Atlantic Cities says it all: “A Terrifying, Fascinating Timelapse of 30 Years of Human Impact on Earth” A series of satellite images shows changes on the surface of the planet — from loss of rain forests to melting glaciers to expanding cities. The Atlantic Cities has a sampling of the time-lapse photos. You can find more at Google here and here. The opening sequence at that last link shows Las Vegas from 1984 to 2012. What’s also evident in that sequence is the shrinking of Lake Mead. Posted. http://blog.pe.com/environment/2013/05/28/climate-sobering-graphics-show-earth-changes/