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newsclips -- Newsclips for May 30, 2013

Posted: 30 May 2013 11:36:09
ARB Newsclips for May 30, 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.


Pollution Concerns Could Douse California Beach Fires. For
generations, California’s beaches have been an international
symbol of free living and youthful exuberance, where Gidget met
Moondoggie and the Beach Boys had fun, fun, fun. But these days,
a blizzard of restrictions — on everything from dogs to playing
horseshoes — is being imposed on beach activities up and down the
coast, turning beaches into sanitized zones that longtime
beachgoers say barely resemble the freewheeling places they once
knew. Posted.

UN Urges Deeper Pollution Cuts in Biggest Challenge for Humanity.
Governments worldwide must step up efforts to save the planet
from global warming in the biggest challenge humanity has ever
undertaken, according to United Nations’ climate chief Christiana
Figueres. Developing and industrialized nations aren’t doing
enough to prevent the global temperature rising 2 degrees Celsius
(3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) from pre-industrial times, Figueres said
in an interview during the Carbon Expo conference in Barcelona
yesterday. The global average has already risen by about 0.8 of a
degree in the past century, according to the National Research
Council in Washington. Posted.


Chris Christie: Climate change a ‘distraction’.  New Jersey Gov.
Chris Christie was soaking up the revelry around the Jersey
Shore’s post-Hurricane Sandy reopening this Memorial Day,
ceremoniously cutting a monstrous ribbon and leading President
Obama and packs of cameras around the boardwalk.  Christie’s
handling of the superstorm earned him bipartisan praise and
record-high popularity, but now almost eight months out since
Sandy struck New Jersey’s coast, Christie’s response to the storm
is taking shape on political sides.  Posted. 

REGIONAL: Program to focus on desert climate change. On June 4,
the San Gorgonio chapter of the Sierra Club will hold its monthly
meeting at the San Bernardino County Museum in Redlands at 7:30
p.m. This month’s program is titled: “Climate Change and
Effective Conservation in the California Desert,” an illustrated
presentation by Cameron Barrows of UC Riverside’s Palm Desert
campus. Barrows developed this talk for presentation to the
Sierra Club National Board of Directors and the Trustees of the
Sierra Club Foundation at their joint meeting in Palm Springs in
March. His presentation emphasizes the value and uniqueness of
the California desert landscape, its wildlife and plant life.


Climate change to impact B.C. agriculture: study.  British
Columbia needs to produce more food while contending with rising
seas, diminishing water resources and changing patterns of rain
and drought, according to a new report by the Pacific Institute
for Climate Solutions.  The idea that climate change will expand
agricultural opportunities for B.C. farmers is false, says Erica
Crawford, lead author of the report Strengthening BC’s
Agriculture Sector in the Face of Climate Change.  Posted. 


Poet LLC Asks Court to Overturn California Low-Carbon Fuel Rule. 
Poet LLC, the second-biggest U.S. ethanol producer, will try to
persuade a California appeals court the state’s low-carbon fuel
standard should be thrown out because its environmental effects
weren't adequately studied.  Poet, based in Sioux Falls, South
Dakota, lost its lower-court challenge to the California Air
Resources Board’s requirement that companies selling
transportation fuel in the state reduce their product’s “carbon
intensity” by 10 percent in the next seven years.  Posted. 


Automakers cut electric car lease prices, add goodies to boost
sales of new technology.  Auto companies are lowering lease
prices for electric cars as they try to jump-start slow sales in
a competitive market.  Honda announced Thursday that it’s
slashing the monthly lease cost of its tiny Fit EV by one-third
to $259 a month. Honda also is throwing in other goodies such as
a free home charging station and unlimited mileage.  Posted. 

Tesla soars as green startups not backed by Elon Musk flounder. 
Tesla stock hits a new high, but seems to be a green-energy
outlier. Tesla Motors continued its incredible May on Tuesday, as
investors pushed the Palo Alto electric car maker's stock higher
than $100 for the first time amid even more optimism for the
company's future. Failures from other companies attempting to
function in the clean-energy space continues, however, which
could leave Tesla and Elon Musk's other Silicon Valley venture
alone as green success stories. Posted.

Google’s Self-Driving Cars Get Boost From U.S. Agency.
Self-driving cars being developed by Google Inc. (GOOG) and some
automakers are getting a lift from U.S. auto-safety regulators
eager to accelerate automation that they predict could prevent
many crashes. Transportation Department regulators today released
a policy intended to advance testing of self-driving cars and to
encourage development of precursor technologies, such as
vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems and brakes that apply
themselves when a crash is sensed to be imminent. Posted.

Tesla Motors to dramatically expand network of Superchargers.
Tesla Motors (TSLA) CEO Elon Musk announced that the electric-car
company is expanding its network of "Supercharging" stations
across the country, so that Model S owners can drive from Los
Angeles to New York just using Tesla's network of fast charging
stations.  More details will be provided Thursday, but Musk let
the cat out of the bag during an on-stage interview at the
influential All Things D tech conference Wednesday. "There's
going to be a dramatic acceleration of the Supercharging
network," said Musk. "By the end of next month, we'll triple the
Supercharger coverage area." Posted.

Honda joins electric car pricing battle with $259 lease on Fit
EV.  Honda Motor Co. is lobbing a grenade into the ongoing
electric car price war, dropping the lease payment on its compact
Fit EV from $389 to $259.  The 36-month lease deal requires no
down payment and comes with unlimited mileage, along with free
collision coverage, maintenance, roadside assistance and a
240-volt home charging station.  Honda’s move, announced this
morning, comes after Nissan’s Leaf, Chevrolet’s Spark EV and
Fiat’s 500e recently announced lease deals of $199 a month in an
effort to entice more customers into all-electric cars.  Posted. 

Beijing invests heavily in electric vehicles.  In May, Beijing
launched its first EV rental demonstration base in the Tsinghua
University Science Park. The city plans to have 50,000 electric
cars, which will include 30,000 private vehicles, and 8,000
public buses by 2015.  In order to alleviate the capital city’s
infamous congestion and pollution problems, Beijing is investing
heavily in the expanding the use of of electric vehicles among
its citizens. The city now is launching series of initiatives to
promote the use of electric cars.  Posted. 

Cheap leases offered to spur electric car sales.  Auto companies
are hoping lower lease prices can put a charge into sluggish
sales of electric cars.  Honda announced Thursday that it's
slashing the monthly lease cost of its tiny Fit EV by one third,
following similar moves by other automakers. Honda also is
throwing in other goodies, such as a free home charging station
and unlimited mileage.  Electric vehicles once were billed as the
answer to high gas prices and dependence on foreign oil. But U.S.
oil production is rising, gas supplies are abundant and pump
prices have remained relatively stable the past three years,
making consumers reluctant to switch from internal combustion
engines.  Posted. 


Step One for High Speed Rail: Avoid More Controversy.  If
California is ever going to make it to the finish line on the
state’s mammoth high speed rail project, it might want to cut
down on all the snags along the way.  With many residents already
skeptical about the government’s ability to raise the money
needed to complete the project by the turn of the century, new
questions now arise about how the High Speed Rail Authority is
awarding contracts.  The contractor with the lowest technical
grade of all bidders, a consortium led by the firm Tutor Perini,
won the right to build the first leg of track from Madera to
Fresno.  Posted. 


Google Backs First Africa Renewable Power and May Invest in More.
Google Inc. (GOOG), which has invested more than $1 billion in
renewable-energy projects, is considering spending more on clean
power in Africa after announcing its first solar investment on
the continent. Google, based in Mountain View, California, has
put $12 million in the $260 million Jasper solar project in South
Africa that will have 96 megawatts of generating capacity, the
company said in an e-mailed statement today. A group led by
SolarReserve LLC, a closely held U.S. developer, is building the
plant near Postmasburg in the Northern Cape province. Posted. 

Energy-smart, 'green' practices the new must-haves in commercial
buildings.  When a company is looking to buy or lease space in a
commercial building in the region, location remains a key
feature, but factors like energy savings and sustainability are
moving up the list.  Building owners are retrofitting their
properties, installing new technology to reduce energy bills and
incorporating equipment that has a smaller impact on the
environment.  Posted. 


Time to change the politics and energy mix. Politics and energy
have not been a good mix. Following the Yom Kippur War in the
early ‘70s, the Arab members of OPEC initiated an oil embargo in
retaliation for the West resupplying Israel with weapons. Once
the embargo was lifted, oil quadrupled in price, resulting in one
of the largest transfers of wealth in history from the developed
world to the oil-producing nations.  Some of this oil wealth even
fueled terrorism as Saudi Arabia used it to finance the spread of
Wahhabist Islam, a fundamentalist orthodoxy that has been used to
legitimize violence against the West. Posted. 

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