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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.


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.

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.

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. 


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.

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.

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.

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.

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


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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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. 

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


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. 

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


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.

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.


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.


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?” 

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.

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.

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