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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 4, 2013 Posted: 04 Jun 2013 14:02:39
ARB Newsclips for June 4, 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 China says rural environment problems worsen in 2012. Pollution in China's vast countryside worsened further in 2012 as a result of the encroachment of industry and mining on farmland and an expansion of animal husbandry, the environment ministry said on Tuesday. Pollution has emerged as one of the biggest challenges facing China's ruling Communist Party and its newly appointed leaders, with the government acknowledging that poor air and water quality has become a major causes of unrest. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/04/china-environment-idUSL3N0EG22K20130604 U.K. Lawmakers Rebuke Cameron in Favor of Early Carbon Goal. Lawmakers in Prime Minister David Cameron’s coalition this week plan to rebel against the government in favor of setting pollution targets earlier, a measure industry groups say would hurt the economy. Some members of the ruling Conservative and Liberal Democrat parties plan to join with the Labour opposition in demanding the government set by April 1 a target for removing most carbon emissions from power generation by 2030. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-02/u-k-lawmakers-rebuke-cameron-in-favor-of-earlier-pollution-cuts.html Registration open for lawnmower exchange program. Southern California residents can register to get up to 75 percent in savings with the South Coast Air Quality Management District’s popular Lawn Mower Exchange Program. Now in its 11th year, the program does good for wallets and air quality by allowing residents to trade an old, highly polluting gas-powered lawn mower for a high performance, environmentally friendly cordless electric model. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/riverside/riverside-headlines-index/20130603-riverside-registration-open-for-lawnmower-exchange-program.ece CLIMATE CHANGE UK lawmakers reject tough CO2 cut target for power sector. British lawmakers on Tuesday rejected an amendment to the UK coalition government's Energy Bill which would have locked the power sector into tough carbon cuts from 2014, two years earlier than planned, and limited new gas plants being built after 2020. Britain wants to explore the potential of shale gas to stem its rising dependence on imported gas and the vote comes just one day after it was estimated that UK shale gas resources could be a lot higher than previously thought. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/04/us-britain-energy-bill-idUSBRE9530SR20130604 China Sticks to Carbon-Intensity Target, Dismisses CO2 Cap. China’s Chief Climate Negotiator Su Wei reaffirmed his nation’s commitment to lower emissions relative to economic output while dismissing reports that it will adopt an absolute cap on greenhouse gases. The Financial Times and Independent newspapers both said last month that China is looking to introduce a cap in 2016. The Independent cited a proposal by the National Development and Reform Commission, the economic planning agency where Su works. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-04/china-sticks-to-carbon-intensity-target-while-dismissing-co2-cap.html San Diego Foundation gets $425,000 climate grant. The San Diego Foundation received a $425,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to help fund climate planning programs, officials announced Monday. The money will support workshops, training and technical assistance to help San Diego communities adapt to projected impacts of climate change. The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion private, national institution that aims to influence quality of life for future generations in environment, arts, health, education and other areas. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/03/san-diego-foundation-climate-change-grant/ Rising Sea Level Tied to Faster Melt. Accelerated melting of polar ice sheets and mountain glaciers was the driving factor behind a rise in the global sea level of 16.8 millimeters, or about two-thirds of an inch, between 2005 and 2011, according to a study published Sunday in Nature Geoscience. The findings are consistent with observed longer-term trends, but the study encompasses only a few years of observations, limiting its conclusions, scientists said. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324682204578517312171788462.html China, U.S. working together on climate change. Ahead of this week's meeting between China's President Xi Jinping and President Obama, officials from both countries agreed to work on tougher measures to deal with climate change. "On the basis of existing cooperation between the two countries, we will further explore areas and programs with potential for further cooperation," said Xie Zhenhua, China's vice minister of the National Development and Reform Commission. Xie and Todd Stern, the U.S. special envoy for climate change, are leading the Climate Change Working Group, formed in April. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982184/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY REFINERY BP ditches Calif. refining assets; Chevron boosts petrochemical investment. The refining and petrochemicals industry continues to evolve with one integrated oil giant pulling back from the gasoline business and another doubling down on its investments. BP PLC announced yesterday that it has successfully concluded the sale of its Carson, Calif., refining complex to Tesoro Corp. The deal was previously announced but closed this week. The sale enables BP to raise more cash to help offset expenses related to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059982216/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS UK, EU biofuels targets should be revised, UK lawmakers say. Britain should revise its renewable transport fuel target and push the European Union to change its renewable energy goal to limit the use of unsustainable food-based biofuels, a committee of UK lawmakers said on Tuesday. The use of biofuels is under scrutiny because some are thought to displace food production into new areas by forcing forest clearance and the draining of peatland. Such displacement is referred to as ILUC (indirect land-use change). Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/04/us-britain-eu-biofuels-idUSBRE95300J20130604 COLUMN-Shale, refinery needs make sweet crude less prized: Kemp. In future, light low-sulphur crudes will command a much smaller premium over heavy sour grades, as booming shale production in the United States and growing demand from Asian refineries upend traditional pricing relationships in the physical oil market. Journalists and analysts have traditionally characterised light sweet crudes as "high quality" and heavy sour ones as "low quality," with light crudes more scarce and valuable than their heavy sour counterparts. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/04/column-kemp-crude-quality-idUSL5N0EG1RM20130604 CORRECTED-U.S. food manufacturers push for end to sugar-to-ethanol program. Food manufacturers and big sugar buyers said on Monday they believe a proposed U.S. sugar-to-ethanol program will cost twice as much as a government estimate and urged Congress to repeal it as part of broader changes in sugar policy. The program, which would allow the government to buy excess sugar and sell it to biofuel manufacturers, stands to cost the U.S. government $100 million in the fiscal year through Oct. 1, said Agralytica food policy consultant Tom Earley on behalf of the Coalition for Sugar Reform. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/04/sugar-surplus-reform-idUSL1N0EF1QT20130604 Climate Benefits From Natural Gas Seen Hinging on Plugging Leaks. Leaks in the production and delivery of natural gas threaten to undermine the benefits to the climate from expanded use of the fuel in manufacturing, transportation and appliances such as heaters, according to a report. Advanced drilling techniques that are unlocking reserves, promising to supply the U.S. with enough gas for almost 100 years, also trigger stray emissions that must be plugged to achieve national goals, according to a report released today by the Center for Climate and Energy Solutions, a nonprofit group advocating policies for tougher rules to limit the gases. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-04/climate-benefits-from-natural-gas-seen-hinging-on-plugging-leaks.html Illinois must adopt 'fracking' rules, hire experts. High-volume oil and gas extraction probably won't begin in earnest in Illinois until next year because the state first must adopt rules and hire dozens of new employees to help regulate an industry eagerly pushing into new territory. Gov. Pat Quinn promised a quick signature on a measure the Legislature approved last week that would impose the nation's strictest regulations on hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," …Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Illinois-must-adopt-fracking-rules-hire-experts-4572587.php#ixzz2VGdbs8Pn http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/jun/03/illinois-must-adopt-fracking-rules-hire-experts/#ixzz2VGSbjsdf Beshear asks EPA to rethink proposed coal regs. Gov. Steve Beshear is calling for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to rethink proposed greenhouse gas regulations that he said would effectively ban new coal-fired power plants. Beshear made the request in a letter to the EPA last week. The Kentucky Democrat asked the EPA to drop the proposal that would require coal-fired power plants to meet the same emission standards as those that use natural gas or oil. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/jun/04/beshear-asks-epa-to-rethink-proposed-coal-regs/#ixzz2VGTS97yu Regulations, costs and disasters put companies on edge, survey says. The oil and gas industry is still worried that government regulations could put the brakes on the shale boom, according to a new survey. Company executives list new regulations and legislative changes as the biggest risk to their operations, slightly above volatile energy prices, according to a review of 100 top oil and gas companies by industry consultancy BDO. Despite pipeline capacity shortages out of fast-growing oil and gas fields…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059982199/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Cost of electric cars dropping to gas equivalents. What would it take to get you into an electric car today? Forced by state regulators to sell more zero-emission vehicles, automakers are tripping over each other in California to offer consumers rock-bottom lease deals. For the first time, electric vehicles are penciling out cheaper than their gas-powered counterparts. Honda joined the price war this week by dropping the lease on its Fit EV from $389 to $259 a month. It threw in collision and vehicle theft coverage, maintenance, roadside assistance — even a charging station at your house. Posted. http://cars.chicagotribune.com/fuel-efficient/news/chi-cost-of-electric-cars-dropping-to-gas-equivalents-20130603 DOE takes fresh look at needs of fuel cell-powered cars. In its push for putting zero-emission cars on the road, the Department of Energy is launching new programs to study the infrastructure needed to run vehicles on hydrogen. "Recently, there's a renewed focus on getting these technologies out on the road and into the hands of consumers," said Daniel Dedrick, hydrogen and fuel cell program manager at Sandia National Laboratories. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982188/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY COLUMN-Solar, biomass push out offshore wind in EU targets: Wynn The European Union's three biggest member states are developing solar power, biomass and other renewable energy technologies in place of plans for offshore wind, according to data on actual versus projected deployment. Offshore wind is at an early stage of commercialisation and is more expensive than most renewable energy, which may be contributing to a switch to alternatives to meet targets under the EU renewable energy directive. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/04/column-wynn-eu-renewable-idUSL5N0EF3AP20130604 Solar plane lands successfully in St. Louis. A solar-powered plane attempting to fly across the United States has landed at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport. The Solar Impulse landed about 1:30 a.m. Tuesday after a flight from Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport. It's the first attempt by a solar plane capable of being airborne day and night without fuel to fly across the U.S, at a speed of about 40 mph. The plane started its flight in Northern California on May 3 and flew to Phoenix. It left Phoenix on May 22 and landed the next day in Texas. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2013/06/04/2746240/solar-plane-lands-successfully.html#storylink=cpy MISCELLANEOUS Carbon monoxide detectors, door locks among school facility bills moving on. Lawmakers moved a bill late last week that would require schools to install carbon monoxide warning devices – but narrowed its reach to only new construction coming after January of next year. Meanwhile, legislation was approved by the Senate that requires schools modernizing or upgrading classrooms to install locks that can be triggered from inside as a condition of receiving state funding. Posted. http://www.siacabinetreport.com/articles/viewarticle.aspx?article=3839 Meeting set on new Ark. environmental laws. Legislators passed new air pollution control regulations and the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality is to hold a meeting on how to implement the new law. The agency is to conduct a hearing at 1 p.m. Friday at ADEQ headquarters in North Little Rock. The meeting is open to the public but officials have specifically invited parties that will be affected by the new law, along with environmental groups. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Meeting-set-on-new-Ark-environmental-laws-4573874.php#ixzz2VGct06oA OPINIONS High-speed rail project's safety is the latest worry. Take "The Little Engine That Could," remove the hero's underdog charm and the inevitability of a happy ending, and you've got the saga of the California bullet train as the project nears the scheduled start of construction next month. It thinks it can, it thinks it can. Planners think it can get over a mountain of legal, financial and procedural worries, the latest being a red flag about safety and quality in a major contractor's proposal. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_23379271/mercury-news-editorial-high-speed-rail-projects-safety Is Fracking in Orange County's Future? Signal Hill Petroleum — an oil company with drilling operations in Los Angeles County — has been quietly obtaining permits in seven Orange County cities to conduct a geophysical survey that could help identify new oil reserves. Oil extraction is not a new phenomenon in the county. Huntington Beach, for example, has been dotted with oil pumps for decades, some of which are within earshot of City Hall and residential neighborhoods. Posted. http://www.voiceofoc.org/oc_north/article_2aa179b6-cc5d-11e2-910e-0019bb2963f4.html BLOGS Keystone opponent Tom Steyer warns Obama to reject pipeline or face backlash. Billionaire and climate activist Tom Steyer has written an open letter to President Obama, warning him to reject the Keystone XL pipeline or face an organized rebellion from some of his most loyal supporters later this month. On Friday, Canada’s British Columbia province informed a federal review board it opposes the Enbridge Northern Gateway pipeline, which aims to export crude oil from Canada’s oil sand region to Asia via tankers. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2013/06/03/keystone-opponent-tom-steyer-warns-obama-to-reject-pipeline-or-face-backlash/?wprss=rss_politics http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2013/06/03/tom-steyer-to-obama-nix-keystone-because-were-ready-to-step-up-pressure-on-you/ Microsampling Air Pollution. Near the corner of Tillary and Jay Streets in Brooklyn, Michael Heimbinder stood near a blue mailbox, head down, poking at his smartphone. A graph appeared: a single line plotting ambient carbon monoxide exposure in the neighborhood. Minutes later, he ran over to an idling Honda Pilot and held a small, black sensor to its tailpipe. On his phone, carbon monoxide levels, predictably, jumped off the chart. A woman opened the car door and said, “Can I help you out?” Posted. http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/microsampling-air-pollution/ A New Way to Harvest Wind Energy at Sea. With Department of Energy backing, a small offshore wind turbine was launched into Maine waters on Friday. The novelty is that this is the first floating, yet grid connected, offshore wind tower in North America. The platform was designed and built by the University of Maine Advanced Structures and Composites Center and some partners. The structure is somewhat similar in concept to floating oil drilling platforms. Matt Wald has more context and details in the story linked in my Twitter item below. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/03/a-new-way-to-harvest-wind-energy-at-sea/ Putting a collar on carbon prices. When it was launched in 2005, the European Union cap and trade program for greenhouse gases (known as the Emissions Trading System or EU-ETS) was a bold and important step in addressing climate change. But from the beginning, the EU-ETS has often been a painful learning experience, much of the learning by politicians: – A high probability of a price collapse in the first compliance period (2005-2007) was completely foreseeable, because the permits for that period couldn’t be carried over for use in later years (“banked”), so they had no residual value. Posted. http://blogs.berkeley.edu/2013/06/04/putting-a-collar-on-carbon-prices/