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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 12, 2013 Posted: 12 Jun 2013 13:51:35
ARB Newsclips for June 12, 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. CAP AND TRADE Obama Quietly Raises 'Carbon Price' as Costs to Climate Increase. Buried in a little-noticed rule on microwave ovens is a change in the U.S. government’s accounting for carbon emissions that could have wide-ranging implications for everything from power plants to the Keystone XL pipeline. The increase of the so-called social cost of carbon, to $38 a metric ton in 2015 from $23.80, adjusts the calculation the government uses to weigh costs and benefits of proposed regulations. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-12/tougher-regulations-seen-from-obama-change-in-carbon-cost.html http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/527510?type=bloomberg Capitol Alert: Cap-and-trade loan in state budget deal irks environmentalists Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers have cleared the air by announcing a budget accord, but environmental groups are choking on a piece of the deal that would borrow half a billion dollars intended for programs to curtail greenhouse gases. California's fledgling cap-and-trade program auctioned off its first permits in November, following through on a landmark 2006 law…Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2013/06/11/3064285/capitol-alert-cap-and-trade-loan.html#storylink=cpy Brown: Prop. 39 helps justify disputed $500 million cap-and-trade loan. Gov. Brown said his plan to take $500 million from California's cap-and-trade auction funds -- money that was intended to directly further efforts to fight greenhouse gas emissions -- is a "reasonable accommodation" aided in part by voters' approval last year of a measure to raise corporate taxes. "We had Proposition 39 funding for many of these projects," Brown told a Capitol news conference. The $500 million loan is part of the governor's 2013-14 state budget draft, which was approved Monday by a two-house conference committee. Posted. http://www.capitolweekly.net/article.php?_c=11hxgpj9azshctn&xid=11hxeq3vjeqluqa&done=.11hxgpj9azsqctn# Budget Agreement Diverts Money From Cap-and-Trade. California’s budget agreement borrows $500-million from the state’s cap-and-trade program. Environmentalists say the maneuver neglects polluted communities. Environmentalists say money from the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to programs that help further reduce emissions. California Governor Jerry Brown and lawmakers say it will, just not this year. “We’re very upset. We’re very disappointed, says Vien Truong with the Greenlining Institute. Posted. http://www.capradio.org/articles/2013/06/11/budget-agreement-diverts-money-from-cap-and-trade/ AIR POLLUTION Pollution-control equipment breaks down at Delaware City Refinery. Officials say a Delaware City Refinery unit is using backup pollution control after a malfunction that sent a dark plume of smoke billowing from a stack at the plant. A Department of Natural Resources and Environmental Control alert says the problem at PBF Energy’s refinery began early Tuesday and involves an energy-recovery and pollution-control system linked to a coker, which controls emissions. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/pollution-control-equipment-breaks-down-at-delaware-city-refinery/2013/06/12/27a62db4-d34d-11e2-b3a2-3bf5eb37b9d0_story.html Regional implications of background ozone focus of House science hearing. If U.S. EPA moves to tighten standards for atmospheric ozone to safeguard health, that could throw a large segment of the country into noncompliance and penalize rural areas where ozone levels have little to do with local emissions, a House subcommittee was told today. The House Science Subcommittee on Environment heard mostly from witnesses critical of any plan by the agency to lower the current ozone limit of 75 parts per billion to 70 ppb or below. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059982741/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE US-China climate deal called "breakthrough" but no long-term cuts yet. China and the United States took a major step in the fight against climate change over the weekend, but what was termed a "breakthrough" might not do much in the longer term to lock in legally binding carbon emission cuts from the world's two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. Still, environmental groups and some U.S. and global policymakers said the agreement could give fresh momentum to the United Nations' arduous process of finalizing a global treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol on climate change by 2015. Posted. http://in.reuters.com/article/2013/06/11/us-china-climate-idINL2N0EN19620130611 Environmental Rules Delayed as White House Slows Reviews. In one of the signature moments of his 2013 State of the Union address, President Obama vowed that if Congress failed to act on energy and climate change, he would use his executive powers to do so. Yet even as he was making this pledge, the White House was blocking several Department of Energy regulations to require that appliances, lighting and buildings use less energy and create less global-warming pollution. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/us/politics/environmental-rules-delayed-as-white-house-slows-reviews.html?pagewanted=all&_r=0 US-China climate deal was long in the works. Disparate interests ranging from environmental activists to businesses and industry are lining up to support a first-of-its-kind deal between the U.S. and China to phase out a chemical blamed for climate change. Although it took most proponents by surprise, the deal was in the bag before President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived at the California desert retreat where they announced it over the weekend. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/12/us-china-climate-deal-was-long-in-the-works/ Kan. school board approves new science standards. The Kansas state school board Tuesday approved new, multistate science standards for public schools that treat both evolution and climate change as key concepts to be taught from kindergarten through the 12th grade. The State Board of Education voted 8-2 on for standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the National Research Council. The new guidelines are designed to shift the emphasis in science classes to doing hands-on projects and experiments and blending material about engineering and technology into lessons. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Kan-school-board-approves-new-science-standards-4594375.php One scientist's battle to combat climate change. One morning in early February, climate scientist Ken Caldeira stood ankle deep on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, shielded from the glare in a floppy blue sun hat. He and his research team were pumping the equivalent of antacid over a patch of corals that emerges from the sea at low tide, attempting to re-create the conditions before carbon dioxide emissions from cars and factories began altering ocean chemistry. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Warning-from-climate-science-front-lines-4569221.php FUELS Chevron CEO Says Industry Must Deal With Fracking Concern. Energy producers must deal with the “legitimate concerns” that gas development associated with hydraulic fracturing is unsafe by adopting tougher standards, Chevron Corp. (CVX) Chief Executive Officer John Watson said. BP Plc’s 2010 oil spill at its deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico -- the worst in U.S. waters -- fueled public skepticism of the industry, Watson said today in Washington. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-11/chevron-ceo-says-industry-must-deal-with-fracking-concern.html Could Genetic Engineering Make Renewable Fuel Cheaper? Wood and straw are among the waste products our society produces in the greatest abundance, so it would be great to find a way to turn them into a clean-burning liquid fuel. There's a fungus that breaks down plant fiber into sugar, but it doesn't do so all that efficiently. Could genetic engineering change that? According to the Department of Energy, American farmers generate about 100 million tons of waste plant matter each year from growing grain crops alone. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/biomass/biofuels/could-genetic-engineering-make-renewable-fuel-cheaper.html VEHICLES Electric vehicles become a patriotic move in Indy. For the Republican mayor of Indianapolis, electric vehicles are not about reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving the environment. Gregory Ballard, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War who served 23 years as a Marine before taking office in 2008, says electrifying transportation is necessary to reduce dependence on foreign oil, improve national security and keep young Americans from going to war. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2013/06/12/stories/1059982710 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Lifetime costs of electric vehicles are competitive with conventional cars – study. The lifetime cost of owning an electric car is comparable to that of owning a conventional or hybrid car, if not lower, according to a new study. Since their introduction in late 2010, the market for plug-in electric vehicles (PEVs) has grown relatively fast. Yet given the high upfront cost of most electric cars, there have been doubts about how well they'll fare in the auto market in coming years. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982687/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY Renewable Energy Investments Shift to Developing Nations. Renewable energy investments are shifting to developing nations as countries from Morocco to Chile pursue power sources that wean them off fossil fuel imports, two studies promoted by the United Nations said. China’s $67 billion of investment in wind, solar and other renewable projects led developing nations to $112 billion of spending in 2012, according to an e-mailed statement today from the UN and other groups involved in the studies. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-12/renewable-energy-investments-shift-to-developing-nations.html The bright spot for the U.S. solar market in 2013: home roof tops. The U.S. market is forecast to install 4.4 GW of solar panels this year, a 33 percent increase from 2012, thanks in part by an expected surge in residential installations, according to a report released Tuesday. The country added 723 MW of solar panels in the first quarter of 2013, up 33 percent from the first quarter of 2012, said the report by the Solar Energy Industries Association and GTM Research. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/technology/the-bright-spot-for-the-us-solar-market-in-2013-home-roof-tops/2013/06/12/aeed3560-d30c-11e2-b3a2-3bf5eb37b9d0_print.html San Onofre closure will remake local power grid, PUC chief says. The head of the California Public Utilities Commission said Tuesday that the permanent closure of the San Onofre nuclear plant leaves significant unanswered questions about the future energy supply for Southern California, particularly for San Diego and southern Orange counties. "How much we pay for power, how much we need, what kind of summers we have for the next couple of years, these are all matters of some uncertainty," CPUC Chairman Michael Peevey said in a meeting with The Times. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-san-onofre-cpuc-chair-20130611,0,3189452.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+lanowblog+%28L.A.+Now%29 Puerto Rico waste-to-energy plan gets key permit. The U.S. government approved a key permit Tuesday that helps pave the way for construction of a waste-to-energy plant in Puerto Rico that local environmentalists have long opposed. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency awarded New York-based Energy Answers International an air permit to operate a 77-megawatt facility in the northern coastal town of Arecibo. It would be the U.S. territory's largest recycling plant if approved. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/11/puerto-rico-waste-to-energy-plan-gets-key-permit/ Coal power pollution loses Europe millions of working hours a year. The European economy lost five million working days in 2010 because of illnesses, such as asthma and heart attacks, linked to pollution from coal-fired power plants. That is just one of the stark findings contained in a new report by Stuttgart University, commissioned by Greenpeace International, which calls on the European Union to halt the development of 50 new coal power plants and set binding renewable energy targets for 2030. Posted. http://www.businessgreen.com/print_article/bg/news/2274299/coal-power-pollution-loses-europe-millions-of-working-hours-a-year California Smashes Solar Record With 2 GW Generated Across State Grid. California has just set a record for solar power generation, shining new light on the role renewables can play in the state’s clean energy future. Late last Friday, grid operator California ISO (Cal-ISO) announced the state set an all-time solar record just before 1:00 pm when it registered 2,071 megawatts (MW) worth of solar electricity system-wide. This record equaled 5% of Friday’s peak demand of 36,000 MW…Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2013/06/11/california-sets-solar-record-of-2gw-generated-across-state-grid/ Environmental Groups Question Rush on Solar Power Project. As a developer of a large-scale solar energy project tries to rush approval by a California state agency, a couple of environmental groups are saying "not so fast." In 2012, BrightSource bought the 500-megawatt Palen Solar project in eastern Riverside County from bankrupt developer Solar Millennium, which planned to use parabolic trough concentrating solar technology. It was given the green light by the California Energy Commission before Solar Millennium went under. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/solar-thermal/groups-question-rush-on-palen-solar.html Natural gas, renewable energy will power the future Texas grid – study. The path to low-carbon electricity generation in Texas will likely require the co-development and integration of both natural gas and renewable energy resources like wind and solar power, a new research report commissioned by the Texas Clean Energy Coalition has found. The white paper, prepared by the Brattle Group for the Austin-based nonprofit, states that despite perceived competition between natural gas and renewable energy resources in Texas…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982682/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Shale gale is blowing business to wind power in Texas – report. Texas' natural gas boom is proving a boon to the state's substantial wind power energy industry as well, a consulting house concludes in a new report. The Brattle Group, commissioned earlier to assess Texas' expanding power grid and electricity market for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT), took aim at comparing and contrasting the state's fleet of natural gas power plants and its massive wind farms. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059982688/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS CORONA: Prado Basin mercury spill reported. A mercury spill was discovered in the ecologically sensitive Prado Basin in Corona, but it took almost six months for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to report the toxic discovery to state officials, according to documents released Tuesday, June 11. More than 9 ounces of mercury was found in a former oil field south of Monica Circle, on the southwestern edge of the basin, officials with Riverside County’s Department of Environmental Health said. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20130611-corona-prado-basin-mercury-spill-reported.ece#sthash.vyxapDGJ.dpuf OPINIONS Bloomberg’s race to protect NYC from climate change. The Mall has monuments to heroism, freedom and sacrifice. Pretty soon it will also have a monument to failure. Drive on 17th Street NW, just south of Constitution Avenue, and you’ll see concrete footings, a mound of dirt and jersey barriers — all part of an oft-delayed project to build a floodwall to protect downtown Washington from a rising Potomac River. The flood wall, and similar initiatives elsewhere, amount to tacit acknowledgments that the fight against climate change… Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/dana-milbank-bloombergs-race-to-protect-ny-from-climate-change/2013/06/11/5f06265c-d2d9-11e2-a73e-826d299ff459_story.html 'Unburnable Carbon' or No, Fossil Fuel Companies Face a Climate Catch-22. Long Eaton Coal PlantWhat happens when your most valuable assets become liabilities? International oil, gas and coal companies may be about to find out. This week, the International Energy Agency (IEA) released a special update to its annual World Energy Outlook, which reveals that governments face severe challenges if they hope to limit the rise in global temperatures to below the internationally recognized 2 °C target. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/mindylubber/2013/06/12/unburnable-carbon-or-no-fossil-fuel-companies-face-a-climate-catch-22/ BLOGS On climate, a short-term bridge, not a long-term plan. The International Energy Agency (IEA) — an autonomous energy research group supported by 28 industrialized countries, including the U.S — reported on Monday that the world is wildly off-target in its effort — if you can call it that — to limit global temperature rise to only 2 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels. Last year saw the highest level of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions ever…Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-partisan/wp/2013/06/12/on-climate-a-short-term-bridge-not-a-long-term-plan/ G.M. and BMW Adopt D.C. Electric Car Charging. General Motors and BMW say they are moving ahead with technology that can give electric cars an 80 percent charge in 20 minutes. Charging time is a major problem in a car that can travel only 100 miles or less between charges. Today, electric cars almost always use the existing alternating current power grid for charging, which means that the energy must first be converted from A.C. back into the D.C. format car batteries use to store energy. Bypassing the on-board hardware that does that conversion means avoiding a bottleneck and reducing charging time. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/11/g-m-and-bmw-adopt-d-c-electric-car-charging/ Enviro Groups Slam Budget's Cap-And-Trade Funds Diversion. The budget deal finalized by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders Monday night borrows $500 million from California’s cap-and-trade auction revenues, as Brown proposed last month. That’s bad news to environmental groups. California League of Conservation Voters CEO said in a statement that the funds grab was "a particular insult to voters." Bill Magavern, policy director at the Coalition for Clean Air, told the Sacramento Bee that the decision was "disappointing and shortsighted." Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/newsfix/2013/06/11/california-budget-will-borrow-cap-and-trade-auction-money/ Island in the sun: Why are our cities heating up faster than everywhere else? There are hot islands, there are really hot islands, and then there are urban heat islands [PDF] — cities that are hotter, often considerably, than their more rural surrounds. Sound a little strange? Well, you can tell your foil hat-wearing, climate-denying friends it’s nothing new, having been documented as far back as 1810. Simply put, cutting down all the trees, paving over every inch of earth, burying streams in storm drains, and building enormous structures warms things up a bit. Posted. http://grist.org/basics/island-in-the-sun-why-are-our-cities-heating-up-faster-than-everywhere-else/ This is the longest 100 percent recycled bridge in the country. It’s made of 100 percent recycled materials — detergent and shampoo bottles, car bumpers, dashboards. In fact, it’s the longest recycled bridge in the country. OK, it’s still not very long — only 24.6 feet. But it’s sturdy! And it’s 80 percent post-consumer waste! Impervious to insect infestations and exceptionally durable, the 100 percent recycled bridge is made of materials that will not absorb moisture or rot. Posted. http://grist.org/list/this-is-the-longest-100-percent-recycled-bridge-in-the-country/ Here’s how the world can get on track with climate goals. The world is driving itself into a future of climate hell, but experts say it’s not too late to take the off-ramp. Despite declining greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and other developed nations, global emissions broke a new record last year. They were pushed 1.4 percent higher than the year before by rapid growth in China and India, and by Japan turning to fossil fuels instead of nuclear power. Posted. http://grist.org/news/heres-how-the-world-can-get-on-track-with-climate-goals/ SEAT unveils plug-in hybrid prototype based on the new Leon hatchback; smart charging and V2G. SEAT, a Spanish motor company and member of the Volkswagen Group, has unveiled a plug-in hybrid R&D prototype based on the new Leon hatchback. The Leon Verde (“Green”) prototype is the culmination of the four-year Cenit Verde research project in Spain, and was presented at the official closing event of the project. The plug-in hybrid combines a 120 hp (90 kw) 1.4 TSI gasoline engine with a 75 kW electric motor. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/06/seat-20130612.html