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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 13, 2013 Posted: 13 Jun 2013 13:20:15
ARB Newsclips for June 13, 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. BLACK CARBON Study: state rules have cut black carbon. State diesel rules aimed at improving public health have also reduced levels of black carbon, a potent contributor to climate change, according to a new report commissioned by the California Air Resources Board. The study was led by Veerabhadran Ramanathan, a professor of climate science at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in La Jolla who collaborated with the Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/13/tp-study-state-rules-have-cut-black-carbon/ Emission cuts lead to cleaner Calif. Air. Cuts in diesel emissions have drastically reduced the amount of pollutants in the air that cause global warming in California, potentially valuable information in the fight to save the world's climate from a predicted catastrophe, a study by University of California and government researchers said Wednesday. The study found that regulations limiting emissions from diesel-powered trucks, buses and off-road vehicles have taken the equivalent of 4 million cars off California roads every year since the late 1980s. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Emission-cuts-lead-to-cleaner-Calif-air-4597607.php AIR POLLUTION AQMD to hear from public on fire pit restrictions. Tempers might get a little hot in Southern California as smog regulators consider plans to limit beach fire pits. The South Coast Air Quality Management District will hear public testimony Thursday evening and Friday on proposals to restrict the fire rings. Ideas include a buffer zone between the rings and nearby homes and requiring the use of propane instead of wood fuel. Newport Beach officials sought an outright ban after residents complained that soot and smoke were drifting over their homes. Nearby cities say the rings are a beach tradition that should be preserved. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_23451275/aqmd-hear-from-public-fire-pit-restrictions Report details Coachella Valley's health hazards. Communities in the east Coachella Valley face high, unhealthy levels of air and water pollution, especially when compared with the western part of the region, according to a first-of-its-kind report from UC Davis that local activists say validates what they have been saying for years. “Revealing the Invisible Coachella Valley” — conducted by the UC Davis Center for Regional Change with funding from the California Endowment and Building Healthy Communities Eastern Coachella Valley — looks at and maps out a broad range of both cumulative environmental hazards and social vulnerabilities in the valley. Posted. http://www.mydesert.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=2013306120030 CLIMATE CHANGE UN Climate-Talks Collapse Piles Pressure on November Summit. United Nations talks on reforms to emissions-market rules stalled this week after members rejected a proposal to reconsider the body’s decision-making rules, putting additional pressure on a climate summit in November. The loss of two weeks’ negotiating time means that items that were due to be discussed in Bonn from June 3 through June 14 may now be revisited at the UN’s annual climate conference in Warsaw at the end of the year, adding to an already-packed agenda that may not be fully addressed, according to a project developers’ group. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-13/un-climate-talks-collapse-piles-pressure-on-november-summit.html Regulatory Nominee Vows to Speed Up Energy Reviews. The White House has blocked several Department of Energy regulations that would require appliances, lighting and buildings to use less energy and create less global-warming pollution, as part of a broader slowdown of new antipollution rules issued by the Obama administration. The administration has spent as long as two years reviewing some of the energy efficiency rules proposed by the Energy Department, bypassing a 1993 executive order that in most instances requires the White House to act on proposed regulations within 90 days. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/us/politics/environmental-rules-delayed-as-white-house-slows-reviews.html?emc=rss&partner=rss Many thriving species at risk from climate change-study. The Amazon rainforest was among the places where ever more types of birds and amphibians would be threatened as temperatures climbed, it said. Common corals off Indonesia would also be among the most vulnerable. Overall, up to 41 percent of all bird species, 29 percent of amphibians and 22 percent of corals were "highly climate change vulnerable but are not currently threatened", the team of scientists wrote in the journal PLOS ONE. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/12/us-climate-species-idUSBRE95B17020130612 Cuba girds for climate change by reclaiming coasts. After Cuban scientists studied the effects of climate change on this island's 3,500 miles (5,630 kilometers) of coastline, their discoveries were so alarming that officials didn't share the results with the public to avoid causing panic. The scientists projected that rising sea levels would seriously damage 122 Cuban towns or even wipe them off the map. Beaches would be submerged, they found, while freshwater sources would be tainted and croplands rendered infertile. In all, seawater would penetrate up to 1.2 miles (2 kilometers) inland in low-lying areas, as oceans rose nearly three feet (85 centimeters) by 2100. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_23444018/cuba-girds-climate-change-by-reclaiming-coasts DIESEL EMISSIONS Court overturns part of port's trucking plan. he Supreme Court has overturned part of the anti-smog program at the Port of Los Angeles. The port tried to restrict the types of trucks that can haul goods in and out of its terminals. But justices voted unanimously Thursday to strike down part of the port's Clean Trucks Program. The port wanted companies to replace thousands of aging big rigs with newer, cleaner-burning models to reduce diesel emissions. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_23451336/court-overturns-part-ports-trucking-plan http://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/courts_law/supreme-court-overturn-part-of-port-of-los-angeles-anti-smog-program/2013/06/13/74df18ba-d434-11e2-b3a2-3bf5eb37b9d0_story.html http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SUPREME_COURT_PORT_POLLUTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT FUELS State investments in clean technology yield many benefits. America is the land of free enterprise. But government investments in infrastructure and technology have fueled private business growth since the dawn of our republic: the interstate highway system, the Internet, and advanced oil and gas drilling technologies all benefited from strategic government investment. In each case, the investments addressed a societal need while also enabling private business growth. Such investments are a win-win. In the last few years, California has been making forward-thinking investments of its own to address air quality needs here in the Golden State. This includes investments in clean, advanced transportation technologies through an advanced vehicle and fuel incentive program known as AB 118, which was originally proposed by San Diego’s Christine Kehoe. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/13/tp-state-investments-in-clean-technology-yield/ VEHICLES Electric cars, plug-ins will help state meet low carbon fuel rule. Consumers have begun to buy fully electric cars and plug-in hybrids in numbers sufficient to help California meet its ambitious Low Carbon Fuel Standard, according to a new report. California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard, a regulatory program established under then Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, requires a 10% reduction in the carbon intensity of transportation fuels used in the state by 2020. Carbon intensity is a measure of how much carbon dioxide is spewed into the atmosphere from using a fuel. One of the ways to meet that goal is to reduce the use of gasoline and diesel. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-electric-cars-california-20130612,0,3609092.story Marin County school opens electric vehicle charging station. Saint Mark's School will host a dedication ceremony for its new electric vehicle charging station at 4:30 p.m. Thursday, June 13 at the school, 39 Trellis Drive in Terra Linda. It is the first charging station to be installed at a school in Marin and was made possible by a $3,800 grant from Reconnect California, through the California Energy Commission. The electric and cement work was paid for by a donation from the Golden Gate Electric Vehicle Association. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/green-living/ci_23451995/marin-county-school-opens-electric-vehicle-charging-station GREEN ENERGY Passive progressive: Super-efficient housing, long in Europe, making inroads in US. After decades of near silence, a passive voice is making itself heard in American architecture. So-called passive houses, which have been around in Europe but never really caught on in the United States, are basically built around the idea of making houses airtight, super-insulated and energy efficient. The goal: a house that creates nearly as much energy as it consumes. Think of being able to keep your house warm without a traditional big furnace, cool with no air conditioning unit. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/passive-progressive-super-efficient-housing-long-in-europe-making-inroads-in-us/2013/06/12/7986bbf0-d387-11e2-b3a2-3bf5eb37b9d0_story.html Navy revises plan for solar panels on runway. he Navy says it no longer favors covering an historic Hawaii runway with solar panels to meet green energy requirements and will instead place panels on fallow acreage. The plan to cover 28 acres of Ford Island runway had drawn protest from the National Trust for Historic Preservation and others. The Navy in an environmental assessment says 50,000 panels on Waipio Peninsula are preferred and the Ford Island runway remains an alternative site. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Navy-revises-plan-for-solar-panels-on-runway-4598358.php Tariffs Bad for Most Solar Companies. Solar tariffs in Europe started at a low 11% rate last week, but if a deal between Europe, China, and even the U.S. isn't reached by Aug. 6 then they could go up to as much as 68%. This is clearly a negative development for Chinese manufacturers like Yingli Green Energy , LDK Solar , and Trina Solar , but it's not necessarily good for U.S. companies either. First Solar has little presence in Europe right now and SunPower won't see much benefit from tariffs either. In the end, tariffs are bad for nearly everyone, a sentiment Travis Hoium covers in the video below. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Tariffs-Bad-for-Most-Solar-Companies-4598319.php Cleaner ways emerge to turn cow dung into electricity. Dairy farmer Ron Koetsier's 1,200 cows produce roughly 90 tons of manure daily, and for the past three decades, he has tried unsuccessfully to turn the stinky dung into energy to power his 450-acre farm in Visalia, Calif. He installed a nearly $1 million renewable energy system in 1985 that used the methane from manure to create electricity for his farm. In 2002, he replaced that system with newer technology, but he hit a snag when air-quality standards called for expensive retrofits to reduce air pollution; he eventually shut down the system in 2009. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/13/5493506/cleaner-ways-emerge-to-turn-cow.html#storylink=cpy Cheaper solar panels fuel rise in renewable energy. A dramatic drop in the price of solar power technology last year helped the continued growth of renewable energy, according to a U.N.-backed report published Wednesday. Global energy-generating capacity from renewable sources rose by 115 gigawatts in 2012, compared with 105 gigawatts the previous year, the report by the Paris-based think tank REN21 showed. Installed renewable energy capacity rose to over 1,470 gigawatts, equivalent to about 1,500 nuclear reactors. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Cheaper-solar-panels-fuel-rise-in-renewable-energy-4596028.php Website helps track state's progress on renewable energy goals. Ratepayers can monitor the progress of California’s utilities as they move toward meeting the state’s renewable energy goals. The first compliance period is at the end of the year, when utilities are required to purchase an average of 20% of retail energy from renewable resources. The Renewable Portfolio Standards compliance periods: 25% by Dec. 31, 2016; 33% by Dec. 31, 2020; and no less than 33% in all subsequent years. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-renewable-energy-tracking-20130612,0,4932251.story DOE Green Energy Loans: $11.45 million per job and a rounding error’s worth of averted carbon emissions. I have handy cost estimates for three of the solar plants near the top of the list of $10 million-plus jobs. If I factor in the increased cost of electricity, the cost per permanent job literally skyrockets, as promised by candidate Obama in 2008. I generously assumed that the three solar PV plants could achieve a 30% capacity factor (the average is 25%), that they could achieve a levelized generation cost (LCOE) of $144.30 per MWh (DOE’s most recent average for plants coming online in 2018) and that they could remain in service for 20 years. Posted. http://wattsupwiththat.com/2013/06/11/doe-green-energy-loans-11-45-million-per-job-and-a-rounding-errors-worth-of-averted-carbon-emissions/ OPINION Editorial: Budget is a mixed bag – what we know of it. The state budget deal crafted by legislative Democrats and the governor contains much to praise and much to criticize and much, much more that is unknown. Here is how it all breaks down: The good, Gov. Jerry Brown will succeed in changing how public schools are financed, shifting money to districts with high numbers of disadvantaged students and eliminating many of the "categorical funds" that proliferated over the years. The result will be more local control over education decisions, with less micromanagement and mandates from Sacramento. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/13/5492569/budget-is-a-mixed-bag-what-we.html#storylink=cpy Climate change warnings. The latest word on climate change is not good - world emissions of carbon dioxide from energy use rose 1.4 percent last year to set a new record, according to the International Energy Agency. At this pace, the agency reports, global temperatures could rise a startling 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, which would be disastrous for all nations. And yet this latest report has received minimal attention in the United States, at least outside the climate science community and its usual advocates. While House Republicans spin their wheels trying to blame the White House for errant IRS officials, and the Senate just seems permanently gridlocked on any topic of substance, elected officials in Washington appear incapable of grasping the seriousness of the problem. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/13/5493490/climate-change-warnings.html#storylink=cpy Dana Milbank: Too late to avoid climate disaster, D.C., other cities begin to adapt. The National 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 flood wall to protect downtown Washington from a rising Potomac River. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/13/5492577/too-late-to-avoid-climate-disaster.html#storylink=cpy SADAR: Climate-change hype turns 25. Global-warming hysteria was launched 25 years ago this month. On June 23, 1988, James Hansen of NASA testified before a congressional hearing and the world that “the greenhouse effect is here and is affecting our climate now.” His confidence, sincerity and humble demeanor captured political and environmental opportunists in a big way. Here was a man and a cause that could propel up-and-coming politicians to new heights and fill eco-activist coffers to overflowing. From the beginning, the fix was in, and theatrics took center stage. Then-Sen. Timothy Wirth, Colorado Democrat, and his staff left the hearing-room windows open the steamy night before the proceedings to make sure the room’s air-conditioners were chugging away against the heat during the momentous event. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2013/jun/13/climate-change-hype-turns-25/#ixzz2W6xA4FJB BLOGS China is testing out cap-and-trade — but will it actually work? It will be impossible for the world to get a grip on climate change unless China, which produces one-fourth of the world’s carbon-dioxide pollution, can rein in its emissions. So it’s worth keeping an eye on China’s efforts there. The latest news: China is getting ready to test out cap-and-trade systems to constrain carbon-dioxide emissions in seven different cities. By the end of 2013, the pilot programs will cover about 7 percent of the country’s pollution. Jane Qiu provides more detail in Nature. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/12/china-is-testing-out-cap-and-trade-but-theres-a-big-potential-flaw/ A Film Presses the Climate, Health and Security Case for Nuclear Energy. “Pandora’s Promise” is a provocative and important new documentary making the case for nuclear power as a safe and large-scale substitute for fossil fuels. There’s a flaw in the film’s approach that undercuts its mission, but I still see it as vital viewing and a refreshing new direction in a tired old battle over the shape of America’s energy future. The film, which opened in New York City Wednesday night and expands to 15 cities on Friday, was bound to generate strong reactions among people long opposed to this energy source. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/13/a-film-presses-the-climate-and-security-case-for-nuclear-energy/ BEACH FIRES: Air distict backs off on ban. Talk about blowback. In March, officials with the South Coast Air Quality Management District announced plans to ban beach fires along the coast of Orange and Los Angeles counties. Now the air district is backing off, after hearing complaints from coastal communities. Critics say the proposed rules would ruin a tradition that’s a big part of the beach allure. The air district now is proposing less stringent rules that still would allow for beach fires — provided the fire pits are spaced at least 100 feet apart and are at least 700 feet from the nearest home, among other provisions. Posted. http://blog.pe.com/2013/06/12/beach-fires-air-distict-backs-off-on-ban/ Chevron CEO admits fracking raises “legitimate” safety concerns. Is Chevron more clued in to the dangers of fracking than the federal government? It would seem so. The company’s CEO said this week that the industry needs to do a better job of resolving concerns about the safety of the practice. Energy producers must deal with the “legitimate concerns” that gas development associated with hydraulic fracturing is unsafe by adopting tougher standards, Chevron Corp. Chief Executive Officer John Watson said. Posted. http://grist.org/news/chevron-ceo-admits-fracking-raises-legitimate-safety-concerns/ Organic farming sucks (up carbon). We’ve known for a while now that organic agriculture is good for the climate: It does a better job at grabbing carbon from the air and turning it into soil than industrial agriculture, which often does just the opposite. Last year, researchers reexamined all 74 studies that had looked at organic farming and carbon capture. After crunching the numbers from the results of these studies they concluded that, lo and behold, organic farms are carbon sponges. Posted. http://grist.org/food/organic-farming-sucks-up-carbon/ Calif. Energy Commission to award more than $44M for hydrogen refueling and alternative fuel vehicle projects. In two packages of awards, the California Energy Commission approved more than $44 million to expand the hydrogen fueling infrastructure and increase the number of alter alternative fuel vehicles on the road in the state. These awards were made through the Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle Technology Program, created by Assembly Bill 118. For the current fiscal year, the program is slated to invest approximately $90 million to encourage the development and use of new technologies, and alternative and renewable fuels, to help the state meet its climate-change goals. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/06/cec-20130613.html Global warming is a mess. It’s high time we innovate our way out of it. The latest International Energy Agency (IEA) report shows that global carbon dioxide emissions continue to rise, notwithstanding efforts around the world to reduce our collective carbon footprint. And it’s not just that we’re making little or no progress on reducing dangerous greenhouse gases – it’s that we’re rapidly approaching a point at which it will be too late to ever reverse the damage to the environment. According to IEA chief economist Fatih Birol, 2020 is looming large as the date when the apocalyptic results of a nine-degree temperature rise from pre-industrial times starts to kick in. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/innovations/wp/2013/06/12/global-warming-is-a-mess-its-high-time-we-innovate-our-way-out-of-it/ How the World Bank could slash its carbon emissions: Start flying in coach. The seats are bigger, so there are fewer of them on the plane, and a plane with fewer passengers is using more fuel per person who is delivered to their destination. Moreover, the number of business-class seats occupied on a given flight – the load factor – tends to be lower as well, so a smaller percentage of the seats are occupied. And first-class passengers take more luggage, adding more weight to the plane and consuming more fuel. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/13/how-the-world-bank-could-slash-its-carbon-emissions-start-flying-in-coach/