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newsclips -- Newsclips for August 23, 2013

Posted: 23 Aug 2013 13:37:26
ARB Newsclips for August 23, 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.


California’s Cap-and-Trade Program Makes Encouraging Headway. As
the federal government gets started implementing a national
Climate Action Plan, the country’s boldest state-level experiment
is making strong progress. Yesterday, California announced the
results of its latest auction of carbon pollution permits,
completely selling out of its permits for future carbon pollution
for the first time. Posted.

California carbon market going so well, it sold out of permits.
If sales from the latest auction of carbon permits under
California’s new cap and trade system are any indication,
industry is taking seriously the state’s determination to cut its
Friday’s auction was the fourth since the program’s debut last
November, and it marked the first time demand for permits for the
years beyond 2013 actually overwhelmed supply. Posted.


Yosemite smoke fuels air quality alert in Reno. Heavy smoke from
a wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park has triggered an
air quality alert in Reno and surrounding areas more than 150
miles away. Washoe County Health District spokesman Phil Ulibarri
said Thursday the air quality index has risen into the unhealthy
range for sensitive groups. Posted.

AK Steel reaches $1.6M settlement with feds. AK Steel Corp. is
paying a $1.6 million civil penalty to resolve air pollution
violations that occurred at its now-closed coke plant in Ashland.
The settlement also calls for AK Steel to spend at least $2
million to improve emissions at its Ashland West Works facility.

Two California fires leave Sparks under blanket of smoke.  Air
Quality in the Truckee Meadows reached an "unhealthy" point at 3
p.m. Thursday afternoon when government authority AirNow reported
a 166 Air Quality Index (AQI) rating, which was explained as
causing health concerns for all people.  The AQI can be thought
of a "yardstick that runs from 0 to 500," according to
airnow.gov, and the greater the number, the greater the pollution
and risk on public health.  Posted. 

Campaign for change targets air pollution in valley.  A billboard
in rural Tracy with the face of a local county supervisor asks
drivers to rethink how they get around, which is part of a
campaign organizers hope will save the county from a $30 million
penalty.  The billboard, alongside eastbound 11th Street west of
Bird Road, depicts San Joaquin County District 5 Supervisor Bob
Elliott and the message, "Make One Change — Carpool."  Posted. 

Valley may be near meeting air standard, avoiding fine.  The San
Joaquin Valley's first Air Alert of the year has ended with zero
violations of an ozone pollution standard, meaning the Valley may
be closer than ever to meeting that standard and ditching a $29
million annual penalty.  The Air Alert was called as hot
temperatures earlier this week, combined with back-to-school
traffic, boosted levels of harmful ozone. However, the pollution
level at monitoring stations throughout the Valley stayed within
limits.  Posted. 


House Republicans schedule rare hearing on climate change. House
Republicans have summoned the leaders of 13 federal agencies to a
hearing next month to examine their plans to implement a sweeping
climate change agenda that President Obama outlined in a June
speech. Organized by the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on
Energy and Power, the Sept. 18 hearing seeks information "from
relevant federal agencies about U.S. climate change

African farmer delegation touring US Midwest. A dozen farmers and
business owners from Africa are visiting farm equipment factories
in the Midwest to study technology that might help them produce
more soybeans and corn back home — while manufacturers in the
U.S. are hoping the visit could lead to new opportunities in a
market that is expected to grow in coming years. Posted.

Climate change in focus during congressional break.  Members of
Congress have come to expect controversy sometimes during their
August break. Four years ago, it was health care. This year many
thought it would be immigration. But in California, global
warming has become an unexpectedly hot topic. Thanks to
California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the White House and environmental

'Uncertain' Science: Judith Curry's Take On Climate Change. While
the Obama administration presses forward with plans to deal with
climate change, Congress remains steadfast against taking action.
It's not easy to find a scientist who will agree with that point
of view. But Republicans have found an ally in a climate
scientist by the name of Judith Curry. Curry actually entered the
public eye in 2005, with a paper in Science magazine warning that
hurricanes were likely to become more intense as a result of
climate change. Posted.

Global warming: What happens if the sun loses its spots? Solar
physicists increasingly say we could be entering a 'grand solar
minimum' of no sunspot activity, the last one of which coincided
with the Little Ice Age. Climate scientists are looking at how
that could impact global warming. The question is of more than
passing interest to climate scientists as they ponder the
prospect that the sun may be about to enter such a period.

First-of-Its-Kind Easement from Sea Level Rise Impacts. Through a
first-of-its-kind easement designed to protect coastal areas from
the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge, the State of
Maryland has preserved 221 acres in Dorchester County along the
Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park and
Scenic Byway. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public
Works today approved funding to preserve the land through a
Coastal Resilience Easement. Posted.

Air capture needed as a tool to fight climate change, scientists
say. Pulling vexing carbon emissions straight from the sky might
become an important way to keep climate change in check. As pilot
projects move forward, the prospect of capturing carbon dioxide
from the air is growing increasingly plausible, though it may be
some time before the technology, the demand and the costs align
to make a dent in global emissions. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986373/print BY

Study proposes large 'carbon farms' to reverse rising
temperatures. A recent study by German researchers presents the
possibility of "carbon farming" as a less risky alternative to
other carbon capture and storage technologies. It suggests that a
significant percentage of atmospheric CO2 could potentially be
removed by planting millions of acres of a hardy little shrub
known as Jatropha curcas, or the Barbados nut, in dry, coastal
areas. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986367/print BY

Drop in sunspots may affect global warming, say climate
scientists. Climate scientists say the sun may be entering a
"grand solar minimum" of no sunspot activity, leading to studies
on how that could affect global warming. Solar physicists in the
United States and Australia have concluded that a 50-year grand
minimum in sunspot activity may reduce global average
temperatures during the period by a few tenths of a degree
Celsius. They think the warming trend would resume once solar
activity returned to normal. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986365/print BY


DOE awards $1.3M to two projects testing fuel cell technology in
refrigerated trucks.  The US Department of Energy (DOE) will
award a total of $1.3 million to fuel cell manufacturers Nuvera
and Plug Power ($650,000 apiece) a project testing the use of
hydrogen fuel cell refrigeration units (transport refrigeration
units, TRUs) in delivery trucks. The companies will provide
matching funds and labor of their own. A team from Pacific
Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) led by Kriston Brooks will
oversee and evaluate the two-year program.  Posted. 


U.K. develops sustainability criteria for wood-based renewable
energy. The United Kingdom issued an official response to
questions on biomass and biogas energy yesterday, clarifying the
government's take on what it considers "sustainable" and
establishing the nation's first guidelines for producing
renewable energy by burning wood or turning it into a gas.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986372/print BY

Could LNG fuel flights of the future? Ever since he was 6 years
old, Jon Gibbs has been fascinated with aircraft. But while toy
planes seemed pretty cool to him as a kid, Gibbs now thinks he's
onto something more significant, and literally cooler: cryogenic
aircraft fueled by liquefied natural gas. Unlike conventional,
oil-based jet fuel, super-cooled LNG is condensed from simple
methane gas and sells for a fraction of the price. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059986357/print BY

Calif. urges tougher BLM rule, cites fears on Monterey Shale.
California lawmakers yesterday urged the Bureau of Land
Management to toughen its proposed rule for hydraulic fracturing
on federal land, calling it essential to protect public health
and the environment. A group of 14 state senators and Assembly
members signed a letter to BLM that calls for expanding the draft
regulation beyond fracking. The lawmakers said that the
government needs also to monitor other forms of well stimulation
like acidization, where hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acid is
injected into shale to allow oil to flow. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059986380/print BY


Energy prices, politics create uncertain climate for utilities.
Before the recession ground the state's growth to a halt,
Southern Co. made the decision to add two large nuclear reactors
at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle.  The thinking was that the $14
billion reactors, scheduled to come online in 2017 and 2018,
would generate enough electricity to support whatever population
increases Georgia might see over the next several years. Posted.

Californian labs chase a dream energy: fuel from sun and water.
It sounds like magic, far-out fiction, a California dream. Yet
earnest scientists are hard at work on a new alchemy: brewing
fuel for cars - synthetic gasoline - from little more than water
and sunshine. Mimicking the way plants turn sunlight and carbon
dioxide in the air into energy and oxygen, the Joint Center for
Artificial Photosynthesis at the California Institute of
Technology is in a race to trump nature and slow global warming.

GE to make more energy-saving bulbs for Wal-Mart. General
Electric Co. has agreed to make a more efficient light bulb --
one that's not compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode-based
-- for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. GE will invest $30 million into
production of the bulbs. The company plans to hire more than 150
people for new light bulb production lines at three U.S.
factories. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059986382/print BY


Climate change deniers live in ignorant bliss as seas keep
rising. A new climate-change report from the United Nations that
was leaked to the media this week says sea levels could rise by
more than 3 feet by the end of the 21st century and that there is
a 95% likelihood that the global warming that is causing this
rise is largely a result of human activity. You may now cue the
deniers who say somebody is just making this stuff up. Posted.

Dan Walters: Big reform of CEQA bogs down. Substantially
overhauling the 40-year-old California Environmental Quality Act
may still happen, but with just two weeks remaining in the
legislative session, it probably won't happen this year. Gov.
Jerry Brown wants it to happen. He once criticized CEQA, signed
by Ronald Reagan a couple of years before Brown succeeded him as
governor, as "a blob," and in calling for reform, said, "I've
never seen a CEQA exemption I don't like." Posted.

GIRISH PATEL: Why HSR? Why not maglev or hyperloop?  The state of
California has embarked upon one of the most expensive public
works program in its history, so-called high-speed rail. I say
so-called because it will not be anywhere near high-speed if and
when completed.  Under the law, the California High-Speeda Rail
Authority must secure funding and complete environmental studies
prior to authorizing any expense. Posted. 

CEQA illuminates values of officials.  All but one of the
Monterey Peninsula Airport District board members voted to
approve the settlement agreement with the Highway 68 Coalition,
agreeing that it provided the needed safety improvements to
satisfy FAA standards. The other board member, Carl Miller,
complained about the court's decision enforcing the California
Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Posted.

Protesters Visit SoCal Edison Headquarters Over Solar Battle. If
a recent cease and desist letter that Southern California Edison
(SCE) sent to rooftop solar activists was intended to make them
go away, it seems to be having the opposite effect. A group of
protesters demonstrated outside the utility's headquarters in
Rosemead on Wednesday, calling for California's utilities to stop
pushing for new fees and restrictions on rooftop solar. Posted.


Wildfires keep getting worse. Why is Congress so unprepared? 
Plenty of experts think Western wildfires will keep getting worse
in the years ahead, thanks to both global warming and a steady
uptick in the number of Americans who live in fire-prone areas.
Yet the federal government seems wholly unprepared for this fact.
 Case in point: “For the second straight year,” my colleague
Darryl Fears reports, “the federal government has run through its
budget for fighting wildfires amid a grueling…Posted. 

The larger the city, the more it pollutes, right?  As we’ve
previously written, researchers now know that cities obey some
fascinating scaling relationships. The larger they grow in
population, the more patents, infrastructure, crime, and economic
output cities produce, each according to its own exponential
equation. When a city doubles in size, for instance, it more than
doubles its GDP.  Until now, though, the relationship between
population and pollution has been less clear.  Posted. 

Why Republicans (And Others) Place A Low Priority On Global
Warming. Global warming typically ranks dead last when the Pew
Research Center asks voters to list the “top priorities for the
president and Congress” each year. Yet the New York Times and
other major media strain to keep the global warming movement
alive by carefully ignoring global warming “skeptics,” and giving
undeserved coverage to a small minority of liberal Republicans
who call for carbon dioxide restrictions. Posted.

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