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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for October 21, 2013. Posted: 21 Oct 2013 13:41:36
ARB Newsclips for October 21, 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. AIR POLLUTION Super smog hits north China city; flights canceled. Visibility shrank to less than half a football field and small-particle pollution soared to a record 40 times higher than an international safety standard in one northern Chinese city as the region entered its high-smog season. The manager for U.S. jazz singer Patti Austin, meanwhile, said the singer had canceled a concert in Beijing because of an asthma attack likely linked to pollution. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINA_POLLUTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED STORIES http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/20/5837941/heavy-smog-hits-north-china-city.html http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Super-smog-hits-north-China-city-flights-canceled-4912236.php In Canada's Alberta province, oil sands boom is a two-edged sword. The oil sands industry has brought good jobs to villages such as Fort Chipewyan. But there is fear about cancer and the environment. In the Cree language, the word "athabasca" means "a place where grass is everywhere." Here in Alberta, the Athabasca River slices through forests of spruce and birch before spilling into a vast freshwater delta and Lake Athabasca. But 100 miles upstream, the boreal forest has been peeled back by enormous strip mines...Posted. http://www.latimes.com/world/la-fg-canada-oilsands-cancer-20131021,0,7620718,print.story Regulators move to shut down battery recycling plant. Air quality officials say Exide Technologies in Vernon has failed to control lead and arsenic emissions, leading to health risks. Regional air pollution regulators moved Friday to shut down Exide Technologies' troubled battery recycling plant in Vernon, citing public health risks from its repeated emissions of lead and arsenic. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-1019-exide-aqmd--20131019,0,5306980.story Supermarkets failing to curb harmful emissions, study finds. America's 12 largest supermarkets and retailers are failing to curb their hydrofluorocarbon emissions, adding large amounts of greenhouse gases to the environment, according to a new report. The report, published by the nonprofit Environmental Investigation Agency, examined 12 retailers, including Costco, Whole Foods Markets, Target, Wal-Mart and the Delhaize Group, whose brands include Food Lion and Bottom Dollar Food. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/18/5832902/supermarkets-failing-to-curb-harmful.html#storylink=cpy Boxer plans hearing on toxins following U.N. report. Following the release of a World Health Organization report that designated air pollution as a human carcinogen, Senate Environment and Public Works Chairwoman Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) said she plans to hold a hearing on airborne pollution. In a report released last week, the WHO's International Agency for Research on Cancer said there was "sufficient evidence" linking exposure to outdoor air pollution to lung cancer and an increased risk for bladder cancer. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989127/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY EPA lends backing to Navajo haze plan alternative. U.S. EPA officials are getting behind a pollution reduction plan by the operators of the largest coal-fired power plant in the West, saying it will achieve more progress than a previous federal proposal. In July, a Technical Working Group (TWG) of Native American leaders, conservationists and owners of the 2,250-megawatt Navajo Generating Station within the Navajo Nation in Arizona proposed a plan that would shut down one coal-fired unit by 2020 and install new pollution controls on the remaining two units by 2030. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989132/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Excessive smog hurts computers, too – Intel. Scientists already know that excessive air pollution can cut life spans in northern China by five years or more. Now, engineers with Intel Corp. are finding the air is degrading electronic components crucial for making the company's personal computers and servers work properly. Intel engineers say sulfur in China's air is corroding copper circuitry that is essential for PCs and servers. The air pollution also wrecks motherboards that operate computer systems. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989110/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE Environmentalists, workers seek common ground. The nation's largest labor unions are ready and willing to help fight global warming, but are cautioning environmentalists that workers need new clean-energy jobs before existing industries are shut down. The four-day Power Shift conference in Pittsburgh is training young people to stop coal mining, fracking for oil and gas, and nuclear power, but organizers also want workers to join the battle against climate change. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_ENVIRONMENTAL_CONFERENCE_WORKERS?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED STORIES http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/20/5836976/environmentalists-workers-seek.html http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Environmentalists-workers-seek-common-ground-4911450.php http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/10/20/3563204/environmentalists-workers-seek.html http://www.modbee.com/2013/10/20/2984586/environmentalists-workers-seek.html http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_24348683/ap-photos-georgia-bull-run-draws-3-000 http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_24348683/ap-photos-georgia-bull-run-draws-3-000?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/oct/20/environmentalists-workers-seek-common-ground/ Australian wildfires put heat on climate change skeptic Abbott. A long, hot summer looms for Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott as devastating wildfires near Sydney fuel opposition to his plans to repeal a carbon emissions tax, one of his basic campaign pledges in the election he won a month ago. The links between the blazes and climate change caused by carbon emissions are complex and as the driest inhabited landmass on earth, deadly wildfires have been a perennial problem for Australia. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/10/21/us-australia-fires-abbott-idUSBRE99K03S20131021 To Fix Climate Change, Scientists Turn To Hacking The Earth. In the summer of 2012, a small group of the Haida people, a native community in Canada, had a problem. The salmon they rely on were disappearing. So the Haida took matters into their own hands. They partnered with an American businessman, drew up plans and then took a boat full of iron dust into the waters off their home island and put the dust in the ocean. When they spread the iron dust, it created a big algae bloom. Posted. http://www.npr.org/2013/10/20/238548240/turning-to-scientists-to-engineer-a-cooler-climate Utility regulators fret over grid reliability as EPA preps emission rules. State utility regulators at the forefront of implementing upcoming federal rules to reduce carbon emissions from existing power plants in the United States are concerned that a fast-tracked schedule could trigger reliability issues. "The most important question is, how quickly and how much of a transition time we do have?" said Philip Jones, president of the National Association of Regulatory Utility Commissioners (NARUC). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989124/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DIESEL EMISSIONS GE, Clean Energy Fuels to advance natural gas use in trucking industry. The transportation arm of General Electric Co. and the largest provider of natural gas fuel in North America announced today that they have partnered to convert heavy-duty trucking fleets from diesel to natural gas. Truck fleet operators looking to make the switch must contract with Clean Energy Fuels Corp. and apply for loans and leases from GE Capital, including fair market value leases, to acquire trucks from manufacturers that produce commercial natural gas vehicles. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989135/print BY SUBSCRIPTIO ONLY FUELS US gas prices drop 2 cents over past 2 weeks. The average U.S. price of a gallon of gasoline has dropped 2 cents over the past two weeks. The Lundberg Survey of fuel prices released Sunday says the price of a gallon of regular is $3.36. Midgrade costs an average of $3.56 a gallon, and premium is $3.71. Diesel was down a penny at $3.91 gallon. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_GAS_PRICES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Oil drops below $100 as supply reports awaited. Oil sagged to below $100 a barrel Monday for the first time since early July as traders waited for the delayed release of U.S. supply figures that are expected to show another rise in crude stockpiles.By early afternoon in Europe, benchmark crude was down 85 cents a barrel to $99.96 in electronic trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange. The contract rose 14 cents Friday, lifted by an improvement in China's quarterly economic growth. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/O/OIL_PRICES?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED STORIES http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304402104579148763588025736?KEYWORDS=oil UK looks to new nuclear plant to secure energy. Britain has agreed to build the country's first nuclear power plant in a generation, despite concerns raised by the Fukushima meltdown in Japan as the U.K. seeks to secure its future energy needs and cut greenhouse gas emissions. The government struck a deal with Electricite de France and a group of Chinese investors Monday to build the country's first nuclear power plant since 1995…Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BRITAIN_NUCLEAR?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED STORIES http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-10-21/edf-agrees-on-deal-to-build-first-u-k-nuclear-plant-since-1995.html http://www.nytimes.com/2013/10/22/business/international/britain-and-edf-sign-nuclear-plant-deal.html Methanol Fuel Worth a Second Look. Consider that China is making a big bet on using methanol in vehicles to cut down on its air pollution problems. Howard Sachar's letter of Oct. 16, citing a bad experience some time ago by the Los Angeles County MTA, disparages using methanol as a transportation fuel by stating that it is corrosive to engine parts and produces toxic emissions. The corrosion problem has been solved for new cars at trivial cost (and conversion is even possible for existing cars). Posted. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303680404579141691384144958#printMode BY SUBSCRIPTION Cheaper Gasoline Adds $40 Million a Day to the Pockets of American Drivers. Gasoline prices will be 11¢ cheaper, on average, in 2013 than a year ago, according to a new forecast (pdf) from the Energy Information Agency: “The weekly U.S. average regular gasoline retail price fell by 18 cents per gallon during September, ending the month at $3.43 per gallon. EIA’s forecast for the regular gasoline retail price averages $3.34 per gallon in the fourth quarter of 2013. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/printer/articles/161438-cheaper-gasoline-adds-40-million-a-day-to-the-pockets-of-american-drivers Waste Management Fuels Fleet with Landfill Gas. Waste Management is building a facility that will create pipeline-ready natural gas from its Milam Landfill in Fairmont City, Ill. The processed renewable natural gas will be injected into the pipelines of Ameren Illinois for withdrawal at other locations, including some Waste Management facilities. Once there, it will be used to fuel truck fleets and other equipment that run on compressed natural gas (CNG). Posted. http://www.environmentalleader.com/2013/10/21/waste-management-fuels-fleet-with-landfill-gas/ USDA offers loan guarantees worth $181M for advanced biorefineries. The Department of Agriculture announced the availability today of $181 million in loan guarantees for advanced-biofuel refineries. Producers can use that funding to build new biorefineries or retrofit existing ethanol facilities for next-generation fuels that don't rely on corn starch as an input, USDA said. Applications will be due in January. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059989120/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Is there a role for EVs in the grid of the future? A potentially lucrative new market is emerging around the exchange of energy between plug-in vehicles and the electrical grid, particularly as more low-carbon power generation sources come online. So-called vehicle-to-grid (V2G) technologies are enabling electric vehicle (EV) batteries to provide ancillary services to the grid that can complement intermittent renewable energy sources or shave demand during peak hours…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059989092/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY HIGH-SPEED RAIL Work begins on Calif. bullet train, locals angry. Trucks loaded with tomatoes, milk and almonds clog the two main highways that bisect California's farm heartland, carrying goods to millions along the Pacific Coast and beyond. This dusty stretch of land is the starting point for one of the nation's most expensive public infrastructure projects: a $68 billion high-speed rail system that would span the state, linking the people of America's salad bowl to more jobs, opportunity and buyers. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/20/5836699/opposition-rises-as-calif-high.html#storylink=cpy GREEN ENERGY When it comes to construction of office buildings, green is the new black. In an effort to attract and retain talent and promote a healthier work environment, many corporate tenants are looking to locate in sleeker, brighter spaces. And increasingly, companies concerned over rising energy costs and seeking to minimize their environmental footprints are putting green office space high on their wish list. In turn, office developers looking to maximize their potential pool of tenants are regularly delivering Energy Star and LEED-certified office buildings. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/capitalbusiness/when-it-comes-to-construction-of-office-buildings-green-is-the-new-black/2013/10/18/15306c3a-35d1-11e3-8a0e-4e2cf80831fc_story.html Carbon-negative energy, a reality at last -- and cheap, too. In Berkeley, Calif., All Power Labs is turning out machines that convert cheap and abundant biomass into clean energy and rich, efficient charcoal fertilizer. In 2007, officials from this famously liberal city shut off the electricity to an artists space known as the Shipyard. That action, which forced the artists there to seek a new way to power their flamethrowers, is the origin story of a company that now produces what it says is the world's only carbon-negative power source. Posted. http://news.cnet.com/8301-11386_3-57608281-76/carbon-negative-energy-a-reality-at-last-and-cheap-too/#! Wind Power Cuts CO2 Emissions Considerably, Even At High Penetration Levels. New empirical research out of Spain shows that wind power is very effective at cutting CO2 emissions, even at quite high penetration levels. This is, of course, what many of us would expect, but some people have had the odd idea (or have at least claimed) that wind power plants require such a large amount of backup power that they are useless in making such cuts. Absurd… as this new research shows. Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2013/10/21/wind-power-cuts-co2-emissions-considerably-even-high-penetration-levels/#cDyL2JvJRcJPovY7.99 MISCELLANEOUS L.A. City Council weighs appeal of PUC ruling on ride-sharing firms. The L.A. City Council will meet with city lawyers to discuss a possible appeal of the PUC's decision to allow the operation of app-driven ride-share companies such as Lyft and Sidecar. The Los Angeles City Council is weighing a challenge to the app-driven ride-sharing companies that have given residents new transportation options while drawing protests from the taxicab industry. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/local/la-me-app-rideshare-fight-20131017,0,765737.story Whatever happened to the Hydrogen Highway? Remember the Hydrogen Highway? It was front-page news less than a decade ago, and the California Fuel Cell Partnership in West Sacramento was ground zero for what was touted as a forward-looking effort to green the Golden State. Approved in 2004 by then-Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who promoted it with action film hero gusto, the Hydrogen Highway envisioned construction of an extensive network of hydrogen filling stations to serve drivers of zero-emission fuel-cell vehicles…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/20/5833131/whatever-happened-to-the-hydrogen.html#storylink=cpy OPINIONS Golden State Is Green and Fair, Too. The premise that our effort to reduce the carbon intensity of vehicle fuels "punishes" out-of-state businesses is countermanded by businesses. Regarding your editorial "California's Green Trade War" (Oct. 12): Others promoted the view that California's efforts to provide a marketplace for cleaner vehicle fuels was tantamount to economic protectionism. They sued us in court claiming discrimination on the basis of geography. They lost. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304106704579138301033996272#printMode Congress turns a blind eye to global warming. This wasn’t the dramatic news that opponents of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) were hoping for: Last Tuesday, the Supreme Court declined to consider a variety of challenges to the EPA’s effort to slash greenhouse gas emissions. But the news wasn’t a total victory for environmentalists. The court announced it would hear one challenge to the agency’s regulations...Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/congress-turns-a-blind-eye-to-global-warming/2013/10/20/b5e42594-36b8-11e3-8a0e-4e2cf80831fc_story.html Another View: ‘Green chemistry’ could harm auto industry and consumer. Dan Morain’s recent column regarding California’s green chemistry law (“State’s attempt to regulate toxic chemicals draws long list of opposition,” Oct. 2) ignores a fundamental truth. While well intentioned, the state’s green chemistry law could have a negative impact on the auto industry’s dramatic progress improving fuel economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions and increasing passenger safety. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/10/20/5830648/another-view-green-chemistry-could.html#storylink=cpy Clean up the cosmetic industry. The following editorial appeared in the San Jose Mercury News on Thursday, Oct. 17: The makers of cosmetics are experts in the art of cover-up. Researchers say the $60 billion beauty industry often fails to disclose the use of potentially dangerous ingredients in its products, including lead, phthalates, formaldehyde and triclosan - and the Food and Drug Administration does not test or approve cosmetics before they go to market. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2013/10/21/2985737/clean-up-the-cosmetic-industry.html#storylink=cpy California’s Energy and Climate Agenda: Visionary Leader or Cautionary Tale? Should the United States adopt the ambitious renewable-energy and climate-change policies that California is pursuing? On one front, the federal government is already following in California's footsteps. In 2009, President Obama enacted ambitious fuel-economy standards that were modeled largely off what the Golden State had done in its transportation sector. Posted. http://www.nationaljournal.com/policy/insiders/energy/california-s-energy-and-climate-agenda-visionary-leader-or-cautionary-tale-20131021 Letter: Next step: a carbon tax. Re “Shaheen’s energy legislation should appeal to everyone” (Monitor Opinion page, Oct. 10): Elizabeth Hager is right. Sens. Jeanne Shaheen and Rob Portman have written a common-sense bill to increase energy efficiency and reduce emissions that everyone should find very easy to support. When fighting climate change, it is important to pass the easy legislation (grab the low-hanging fruit), while also talking constantly about the harder legislation that will actually be more effective at reducing emissions. Posted. http://www.concordmonitor.com/opinion/8987638-95/letter-next-step-a-carbon-tax?print=true BLOGS The shale-gas boom won’t do much for climate change. But it will make us a bit richer. The shale-gas boom in the United States won't do much to cut U.S. carbon-dioxide emissions or tackle global warming. That's because, in addition to killing off coal-fired plants, cheap gas will also edge out cleaner energy sources like wind, solar, and nuclear. On the other hand, the glut of natural gas from fracking will make the country a bit wealthier and clean up other air pollutants in the decades ahead. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/10/21/the-shale-gas-boom-wont-do-much-for-climate-change-but-it-will-make-us-a-bit-richer/?print=1 Airpocalypse’ Hits Harbin, Closing Schools. Updated, 8:22 a.m. | School was canceled, traffic was nearly paralyzed and the airport was shut down in the northeast Chinese city of Harbin on Monday as off-the-charts pollution dropped visibility to less than 10 meters in parts of the provincial capital. A dark, gray cloud that the local weather bureau described as “heavy fog” has shrouded the city of…Posted. http://sinosphere.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/10/21/air-pollution-hits-harbin-in-northeast-china-closing-schools-and-roads/ New Report Confirms Major Progress in California's Alternative Fuels Market. After months of surveys, analysis and preparation, the California Energy Commission’s draft 2013 Integrated Energy Policy Report (IEPR) is out – and it shows that dramatic progress is underway in the state’s transportation fuels market. Not only has the state made measured progress towards a more diversified fuel market through targeted investments, the growth of alternative fuels shows that policies like the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) are working and compliance is achievable. Posted. http://blogs.edf.org/californiadream/2013/10/20/new-report-confirms-major-progress-in-californias-alternative-fuels-market/#sthash.N2ozoH9z.dpuf