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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 3, 2013 Posted: 03 Dec 2013 13:27:25
ARB Newsclips for December 3, 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 Quebec set to launch carbon market with first permit auction. Some of Quebec's biggest polluters will be able to buy carbon permits at the Canadian province's first such auction on Tuesday, a key step toward linking its cap-and-trade program next year to a similar effort in California. The 40 or so emitters in Quebec will be on the hook to pay for emissions from roughly 70 facilities. Participation in the auction is likely to be limited to some of the province's largest polluters…Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/12/02/carbon-auction-quebec-idUSL2N0JH20C20131202?type=companyNews&feedType=RSS Australia Plans Carbon Fund to Cut Investor Risk, Survive Attack. The government will design a new carbon-abatement fund in Australia as a long-term vehicle, minimizing the uncertainty plaguing clean-energy projects, the environment minister said. “The system we put in place can last a number of decades,” Greg Hunt, environment minister in Australia’s newly elected government, said today at the Climate Expo in Melbourne. Subsequent governments won’t be able to easily roll back the planned Direct Action policy or reintroduce the carbon tax…Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-12-02/australia-wouldn-t-stop-secondary-carbon-trading-minister-says.html Methane from Appalachian coal could generate carbon credits in California. Methane emissions from coal mines in Pennsylvania and West Virginia could soon become a valuable commodity on California’s cap-and-trade carbon market. The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports a company called Verdeo has struck such a deal with one of Pennsylvania’s biggest coal producers. Verdeo would pay Consol Energy to destroy the methane emitted from vents at a Washington County mine in order to generate carbon credits… Posted. http://stateimpact.npr.org/pennsylvania/2013/12/03/methane-from-appalachian-coal-could-generate-carbon-credits-in-california/ States to EPA: Keep Cap-and-Trade Alive. Cap-and-trade legislation is long dead in Congress, but Northeastern states are pressing the Environmental Protection Agency to keep the concept alive elsewhere. The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative—nine states that have a regional power-plant emissions cap—want EPA to let them use the system to meet federal carbon-emissions rules for existing plants. And the rules that EPA will float in draft form next June should let other states take the same road, RGGI argues in a new letter to the agency. Posted. http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/states-to-epa-keep-cap-and-trade-alive-20131202 RGGI states urge EPA to follow their model for cutting carbon emissions. The nine states still involved in the Northeast's cap-and-trade system for cutting carbon emissions from power plants yesterday urged U.S. EPA to follow a similar model as it develops guidelines for other states. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy, environmental commissioners from the nine states said the federal agency should mimic the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative's market-based regional approach to trimming carbon. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059991178/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE Sea-Level Rise Too Fast to Reverse Climate Change: Study. By the time climate change reduces crop yields or frequently floods New York City subways, it will be too late to avert damage without better forecasting tools, a panel of scientists said in a report released today. Dangerous rises in the sea level or heat waves that kill crops can arrive quickly and leave little time to put preventative measures in place, according to a study from the National Research Council, a group of scientists providing information for U.S. government decision-makers. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-12-03/sea-level-rise-too-fast-to-reverse-climate-change-study.html Struggling with one of the driest years on record. Rex Williams' sheep normally are munching green grass in early December. But this year, one of the driest on record, the land he leases remains mostly brown. “We planted our winter crop into dust, dry ground,” Williams said. Hardly any grass germinated, so Williams has been forced to feed hay to his sheep months earlier than normal. “It's scary; we've never been in a situation like this before,” said Williams, who's been ranching about 23 years.” Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20131202/articles/131209928 How fast is the Earth's climate actually changing? How quickly parts of the Earth's climate are changing in response to added greenhouse gases and what's forecast for decades ahead is a mixed bag, a federal advisory council says in a report out Tuesday. For example, two "abrupt" impacts the National Research Council report said can be definitively linked to man-made climate change are a rapid decline in sea ice over the past decade, and increased extinction pressure on plant and animal species. Posted. http://www.usatoday.com/story/weather/2013/12/03/abrupt-climate-change-report/3851501/ FUELS In Fracking, Sand Is the New Gold. Energy Boom Fuels Demand for Key Ingredient Used in Drilling Wells; 100 Sand Mines in Wisconsin. The race to drill for oil in the U.S. is creating another boom—in sand, a key ingredient in fracking. Energy companies are expected to use 56.3 billion pounds of sand this year, blasting it down oil and natural gas wells to help crack rocks and allow fuel to flow out. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304868404579194250973656942?mod=WSJ_hps_LEFTTopStories BY SUBSCRIPTION California billionaire on crusade against Keystone pipeline. Tom Steyer, the billionaire hedge fund executive and environmental activist from San Francisco, chose his venue carefully. “It is here President Obama drew his own personal line in the sand,” Steyer said as he convened a conference on the Keystone XL pipeline Monday at Georgetown University. The reference was to a speech by Obama in June in which the president declared he would approve Keystone only if backers…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-billionaire-keystone-20131202,0,4641600.story#ixzz2mR2TkXNp US may be producing 50% more methane than EPA estimate indicated. The United States may be emitting 50 percent more methane, a potent greenhouse gas, than the federal government had previously estimated, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Though carbon dioxide from the combustion of fossil fuels is the main driver of climate change, and less methane than carbon is emitted overall, methane is an even more powerful heat-trapping gas than carbon. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/11/29/5955905/us-may-be-producing-50-more-methane.html#storylink=cpy VEHICLES Saab Brand Makes Its Latest Comeback. Sedan to Go on Sale in Sweden Next Week; China Sales Are Planned. The latest company to attempt a revival of Sweden's recently defunct Saab car brand started producing the 9-3 Aero sedan Monday, but the auto maker's plan for initially selling the vehicle online reflects how difficult it will be to actually get one. Chinese-backed National Electric Vehicle Sweden AB, which last year bought Saab's assets out of bankruptcy, plans to run a factory in western Sweden with an output rate of just two cars a day. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303670804579233763915726796?KEYWORDS=electric+vehicles BY SUBSCRIPTION Next electric cars burn rubber, not just save gas. Automakers focused on selling electric cars to the environmentally minded are now also setting their sights on new potential buyers: performance addicts. They are rolling out new plug-in models that put the premium on breakneck acceleration and fun behind the wheel, not just relieving pain at the pump. At the same time, the new sleek models are certain to glamorize electric cars, which often come across as stodgy, utilitarian subcompacts meant for solo commuting or grocery runs. Posted. http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/cars/2013/12/01/performance-electric-plug-in/3773629/ NRG finds installing chargers in Calif. harder and slower than it bargained for. A deal to install electric vehicle charging stations in California in order to alleviate a penalty for a predecessor's role in the state's power crisis is proving tougher than NRG Energy had in mind. NRG is required to install electric vehicle charging infrastructure in California's major metropolitan areas by 2016 but is well behind schedule. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059991181/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Study suggests fuel cell hybrid with supercapacitors for energy storage the most fuel efficient. An evaluation of different fuel cell hybrid electric vehicle (FCHEV) powertrain designs—such as fuel cell/supercapacitor (FC/SC), fuel cell/battery (FC/B), and a combination of supercapacitors and batteries (FC/SC/B)—and different control strategies by researchers in Belgium concluded that the FC/SC HEV has slightly higher fuel economy than the FC/B HEV and FC/B/SC HEV powertrains. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/12/20131202-fchev.html Plug-In Electric Car Sales For November: Level With Last Month? As the year winds toward a close, U.S. car sales are at their highest levels in years. And modern plug-in electric cars will set a new sales record too. With one month left, November deliveries of cars with plugs look like they'll hold steady with last month's. The Chevrolet Volt sold 1,920 units last month, against 2,022 in October, bringing its sales for the year to date to 20,702. Posted. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1088858_plug-in-electric-car-sales-for-november European Parliament backs mandatory EU-wide rollout of charging stations. The European Parliament’s Transport and Tourism Committee endorsed a draft EU directive mandating Member States to ensure at least a certain minimum number of publicly available electric vehicle (EV) charging points are installed by 2020. The report adopted on 26 November introduces the notion of wireless charging and supports the Commission’s provision regarding standards. Posted. http://cars21.com/news/view/5669 GREEN ENERGY Power struggle: Green energy versus a grid that's not ready. Minders of a fragile national power grid say the rush to renewable energy might actually make it harder to keep the lights on. In a sprawling complex of laboratories and futuristic gadgets in Golden, Colo., a supercomputer named Peregrine does a quadrillion calculations per second to help scientists figure out how to keep the lights on. Peregrine was turned on this year by the U.S. Energy Department. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-grid-renewables-20131203,0,1019786.story#ixzz2mR2xT0di The quest for a simple, solar-powered stove that could save lives. John Garman's proposal for a Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant started life as a humble undergraduate engineering project. After spending $3,000 to design and build the stove -- and successfully cooking two batches of bacon with it -- Garman realized it was time to scale up their efforts. The $100,000 Gates Foundation grant, announced two weeks ago, should allow just that, Garman said. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059991176/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Navy cleanup forces dozens to move on Treasure Island. About two dozen families are being forced from their Treasure Island homes so the Navy can clean up toxic material buried in the old waste disposal site beneath the townhouse units. "A letter we got last week was the first we heard of it," said Paris Hayes, who has lived in his Bayside Drive unit for more than 10 years. The residents will be moved out in stages, with the first group leaving in April and the last gone by July. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Navy-cleanup-forces-dozens-to-move-on-Treasure-5029425.php OPINIONS Climate-change deniers have freedom to say what scientists will not. George Will’s Nov. 28 op-ed column, “Pardon these turkeys,” turned out to be interesting, but Mr. Will couldn’t resist a nonsensical blast at those who realize we are heading for climate disaster. “It evidently is the first science to reach the end of its subject, all questions answered,” he declared. But it is the deniers who have this position; climate scientists emphasize that nothing is 100 percent certain, but that 95 percent should be enough to have people worried. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/climate-change-deniers-have-freedom-to-say-what-scientists-will-not/2013/12/02/d29c1b2a-590d-11e3-bdbf-097ab2a3dc2b_story.html Bumps in the path of high-speed rail. California needs a high-speed-rail system to ease traffic, direct growth and to knit a sprawling state and its economy together. But a Sacramento judge says the $68 billion plan must also follow its own financial rules in a decision that could slow the project and drive up its costs. The ruling by Sacramento Superior Court Judge Michael Kenny is a major setback for a lofty vision that keeps smashing into the grim realities of California politics and economics. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/Bumps-in-the-path-of-high-speed-rail-5026320.php Environmental fears about fracking are overblown. Re "Fracking boom in U.S. at core of energy revolution" (Page A1, Nov. 28): As a professional geologist with more than 30 years in the environmental industry, I often get questions about fracking from friends and acquaintances. My standard response is that fracking fears, especially the impact on groundwater supplies, have been totally overblown by the anti-carbon disciples and the controversy-hungry media. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/02/5960002/fracking-in-not-the-environmental.html#storylink=cpy Fracking will soon lead to hardship. Re "Fracking boom in U.S. at core of energy revolution" (Page A1, Nov. 28): I greatly enjoyed this and other recent in-depth articles on the current U.S. energy boom due to hydraulic fracturing. However, I was disappointed that environmental concerns were sequestered in their own article; they are critical to understanding the phenomenon in full context. We cannot, as a world, burn more than 20 percent of our proven fossil fuel reserves…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/12/02/5958340/a-fracking-long-boom-is-impossible.html#storylink=cpy BLOGS Self-Driving Nissan Electric Car Takes to Highway. Nissan Motor Co. said a self-driving version of its electric Leaf car made its first foray onto public roads. Its guidance system, called Autonomous Drive, senses road conditions and operates the car’s steering, acceleration and braking as it merges into traffic, changes lanes and makes adjustments to keep a safe distance from other vehicles. Posted. http://blogs.wsj.com/speakeasy/2013/12/02/self-driving-nissan-electric-car-takes-to-highway/ Here's How Climate Change Will Ruin Your Winter Vacation. Snow sports enthusiasts may need to transition into water or rock sports in the near future because the era of long, cold winters with heavy snowfall may be a thing of the past. The effects of climate change can be easy to miss for some, but for ski resorts that depend on natural snowfall for their businesses -- which are increasingly having to invest in snowmaking technology due to a lack of natural snow -- the changing global climate is impossible to ignore. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/02/heres-how-climate-change-_n_4372787.html California Cap And Trade Expanding In 2014 After Successful 2013. California’s cap and trade market will expand in 2014 after a successful first year of operations that quelled fears of a European Union-style carbon allowance glut while powering a clean energy economic boom. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) announced a minimum of 81 million 2014 allowances and 37 million 2017 allowances will be auctioned during 2014, and the minimum reserve price for allowances will be set at $11.34. Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/03/california-cap-and-trade-expanding-in-2014-after-successful-2013/ Carbon Nanofibers Offer Cheap Way to Convert CO2 To Fuel. File this one under “I” for It takes a thief to catch a thief. A research team at the University of Illinois at Chicago is on track to developing a low-cost method for reducing carbon dioxide to carbon monoxide, which puts it one step away from creating synfuels including synthetic gasoline. The secret sauce is the use of carbon nanofibers in combination with another catalyst. If the new UIC carbon reduction system bears out on a commercial scale, Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2013/12/03/carbon-nanofibers-play-role-in-low-cost-synfuels/#1jiUegS9TF7LpXvg.99