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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.


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.

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

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…

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. 

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


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.

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.”

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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

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. 

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.

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 


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.

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


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.


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.

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.

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.

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. 


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.

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.

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. 

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.

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