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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 18, 2013

Posted: 18 Jun 2013 12:10:46
ARB Newsclips for June 18, 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 takes cautious step towards carbon emissions trading. 
China launched its first pilot carbon emissions exchange on
Tuesday, though plans for a nationwide roll out and efforts to
apply the scheme to some polluting heavy industries could be
undermined by a slowdown in the world's No.2 economy. 
High-emission industries such as aluminium and steel are likely
to resist higher costs as they are already battling weak prices
due to tepid demand and a persistent supply gut.   Posted. 

China Introduces Local Program for Reducing Emissions. China
unveiled its first pilot carbon emissions exchange Tuesday,
though plans for a nationwide rollout and efforts to apply the
program to some heavy industries could be undermined by a
slowdown in the nation’s economy. High-emission industries like
aluminum and steel are likely to resist higher costs as they are
already battling weak prices caused by tepid demand and too much
supply. “It is a very big concern for Beijing and for local
governments — how to strike a balance between controlling
emissions and maintaining economic growth, especially amid a
general slowdown in the economy,” said Shawn He, a lawyer and
carbon specialist at Hualian law firm in Beijing. Posted.

China Test Markets May Help Set Emission Cuts, GreenStream Says.
Karl Upston-Hooper, general counsel at GreenStream Network Plc in
Helsinki, comments on emissions trading in China, including the
nation’s seven test carbon markets and offsetting program called
China Certified Emission Reductions, or CCERs. He spoke by phone
on June 14. China started today its first test carbon market in
Shenzhen.On how China will use its test markets to help determine
a trajectory for its own emissions output after 2020: China
negotiators will travel to a key United Nations climate
conference in Paris near the end of 2015 “knowing what they can
achieve. Environmental problems are a potential disruption to
social harmony. The government knows it.” Posted.

China Carbon Permits Trade 22% Below Europe’s on Market Debut.
China traded its first carbon dioxide permits for 22% less than
today’s price in Europe as the nation inaugurated the Shenzhen
Emissions Exchange as part of its plan to limit heat-trapping
gases linked to climate change. The permits were priced from 28
yuan to 30 yuan ($4.90) a metric ton, according to Chen Hai’ou,
chief executive officer and president of the exchange. That’s
compares with 4.71 euros a ton ($6.30) today for European Union
permits on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange, the world’s
biggest carbon market by traded volume. Posted.


Autism Tied to Air Pollution, Brain-Wiring Disconnect in Studies.
 Researchers seeking the roots of autism have linked the disorder
to chemicals in air pollution and, in a separate study, found
that language difficulties of the disorder may be due to a
disconnect in brain wiring.  Researchers from Harvard
University’s School of Public Health found that pregnant women
exposed to high levels of diesel particulates or mercury were
twice as likely to have an autistic child compared with peers in
low-pollution areas. The findings, published today in
Environmental Health Perspectives, are from the largest U.S.
study to examine the ties between air pollution and autism. 

Singapore fumes after pollution hits 16-year high.  Singaporeans
rolled back military training, kept cough-stricken children
indoors and considered wearing protective masks to work Tuesday
after a smoky haze triggered by forest fires in neighboring
Indonesia caused air pollution to briefly hit its worst level in
nearly 16 years.  The Pollutant Standards Index, Singapore's main
measure to determine air quality, crept into the "unhealthy"
classification Monday as smoke from roaring blazes on Indonesia's
Sumatra island drifted across the sea and cast a gray pall over
the city-state's skyscrapers.  Posted. 




Sierra wildfires trigger warning of unhealthy San Joaquin Valley
air.  Local air officials issued a health caution Monday because
of smoke from wildfires in the Sierra Nevada.  Blazes in the
foothills could affect the air quality in eastern parts of
Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties, including the
foothill and mountain areas, said officials with the San Joaquin
Air Valley Pollution Control District.  In addition, eastern
portions of the Valley floor may be affected during overnight
Monday, officials said.  Posted. 

Air officials issue health caution because of smoke from fires. 
Officials with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control
District issued a health caution statement Monday because smoke
from two wildfires in the Sierra Nevada is making its way into
the air basin. The health caution will be in effect until the
fires are out, according to an air district news release. "Our
standard is, if you can see smoke and smell smoke, you are being
affected," Samir Sheikh, the district's director of air quality
analysis, said in the news release. The wildfires are burning in
Madera and Mariposa counties. Posted.


Obama considers sweeping climate plan.  The Obama administration
is considering a sweeping initiative to address climate change,
including the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide from power
plants, the country's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions,
according to people familiar with the discussions.  The White
House has yet to settle on specific measures, but "we're hearing
that existing power plants are definitely in the mix," said a
person with knowledge of the deliberations, who, like others,
asked not to be identified to talk about White House discussions.
An announcement could come by mid-July.  Posted. 

Companies from GE to Staples Cash in on CO2 Cuts: Report. General
Electric Co. (GE) and Staples Inc. (SPLS) are among companies
cited by an environment group for acting to cut emissions tied to
global warming after Congress failed to pass climate-change
legislation. The World Wildlife Fund issued a report today,
written in part by McKinsey & Co., that named GE and Staples as
companies that improved by financial performance by tackling
climate change. Investing in low-carbon energy sources, curbs on
energy use and installation of modern heating or cooling
technologies can help both the Earth and corporate balance
sheets, according to the report. Posted.

Algae genome could aid medical, climate research. Cal State San
Marcos researchers unlocked the genome for a type of algae found
around the globe, a finding they said has potential applications
to fields ranging from climate change to dentistry.  The study
sequenced 13 strains of the phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi, to
document the first algal “pan-genome:” a set of genes shared by
diverse algal varieties. While the different strains share 70 to
80 percent of their DNA, about 20 to 30 percent of their genes
are unique to each strain, allowing them to inhabit virtually all
the world’s oceans except the polar seas. Posted.


China's Sinopec cuts sulphur in diesel to clear urban skies. The
refiner cut the sulphur content of its "ordinary" diesel to a
maximum 350 parts per million (ppm), bringing it into line with
the minimum standard for diesel produced for autos and trucks, it
said in a release late on Monday. The new standard also means a
quality change in Sinopec's diesel exports, although the refiner
is not expected to export any of the fuel in June for the second
month in a row. Sinopec is the country's dominate diesel
exporter.  The fuel upgrade means all diesel produced by Sinopec
will be of quality similar to Euro III standards or higher. 


Saving energy is great. But how much is actually possible?  It’s
something we hear from policymakers again and again: The world
squanders too much energy. And wringing out that waste should be
one of the easiest ways for the United States and other countries
to save money and curb pollution.  But as it turns out, much of
what we know about the topic of energy-efficiency is still fairly
hazy. Sure, it’s technically doable to make cars more
fuel-efficient or insulate homes to prevent heat from leaking
out. But which of these efforts are really the most
cost-effective? And if it’s such a no-brainer, why aren’t people
already taking these steps?  Posted. 

Official: Solar plane to help energy use on ground. The plane
parked outside the airport looks more like a giant exotic insect
or maybe an outsized balsa wood toy airplane. When it's in
flight, there's no roar of jet engines. It's strangely quiet. And
as it crisscrosses America, the spindly plane doesn't use a drop
of fuel. Day, and even night, it flies on the power of the sun.
And it's that fact that has the U.S. energy secretary, and the
plane's two pilots and fans around the world, so excited. Posted.



UC Berkeley to help overhaul green job training for public
utilities.  The California Public Utilities Commission chose the
University of California, Berkeley, to oversee big changes in job
training meant to accelerate the state's shift to a green
economy.  Under a $500,000 contract that runs through spring
2014, the Donald Vial Center for Employment in the Green Economy
-- part of Cal's Institute for Research and Labor Employment --
will coordinate changes in training for future workers at state
utilities like PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG).  Posted. 

UC Davis professor earns prestigious prize for environmental
work.  UC Davis professor Daniel Sperling, one of the nation's
most influential transportation thinkers and policymakers, is the
recipient of the 2013 Blue Planet Prize, sometime called the
Nobel Prize for environmental science.  The prize, presented by a
Japanese foundation, comes with $500,000 award.  "I am deeply
honored to receive the Blue Planet Prize, and I share it with my
many brilliant and passionate collaborators," Sperling is quoted
in a university press release.  Posted. 


California's Cap-and-Tax Grab.  Democrats in Sacramento are
taking a victory lap for balancing this year's budget without
raising taxes (not counting the $6 billion retroactive hike
voters approved at political gunpoint in November). The dirty
little secret is they're instead tapping California's new
cap-and-trade program.  California expects to generate $500
million this year from auctioning off permits to emit carbon, and
between $2 billion and $14 billion annually by 2015.  Posted. 


Global Warming and Our Inconvenient Minds. I spent the first 20
years of my climate reporting focused on the buildup of
human-generated greenhouse gases as a biogeophysical problem.
Fuels and forests burn. Gases rise. Heat flows. Ocean chemistry
changes. You get the idea. In 2000, I wrote “Global Waffling:
When Will We Be Sure?” — an early attempt to examine why humans
have a hard time with looming threats like global warming. But it
was only starting in 2006 that I shifted increasingly into
exploring behavior and climate and began learning why we split
into factions on climate policy shaped more by worldviews than
data. Posted.

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