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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for December 26, 2013

Posted: 26 Dec 2013 13:24:02
ARB Newsclips for December 26, 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.


Tianjin launches China's latest carbon market.  The Chinese city
of Tianjin on Thursday launched the country's fifth emissions
trading scheme as the world's biggest-emitting nation took
another step towards reining in its impact on the environment.
The newest of China's carbon markets caps CO2 emissions from iron
and steel producers, chemical facilities, power and heat
generators, and oil and gas exploitation. Five initial trades at
26 and 28 yuan ($4.28 and $4.61) for a total of 45,000 permits
were announced by the government at Thursday's opening ceremony.

Court to hear arguments on Christie's removal of state from
greenhouse gas program. An appellate panel will soon grapple with
whether Governor Christie illegally removed New Jersey from a
multistate program designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Oral arguments are expected to be heard before a three-judge
panel in Trenton on Jan. 8, nearly 20 months after two
environmental groups sued Christie. They claim the governor
violated state law by not seeking any public comment before
pulling New Jersey out of the program in 2011. Posted. 


Beijing Pollution Prompts Second Day of Warnings to Stay Indoors.
 Beijing residents were warned to stay indoors for a second day
due to “severe” pollution as northern China remained cloaked in
smog. Air quality indexes in the cities of Shijiazhuang, Handan,
Xingtai and Hengshui in Hebei province, which surrounds Beijing,
and Xi’an in Shaanxi province, had reached the maximum of 500 at
11:00 a.m., data from the China National Environment Monitoring
Center showed. At this “severe” level, the worst of six on the
government’s scale, the young, elderly and ill should stay
inside, and others should avoid outdoor activities. Posted.

Worries in the Path of China's Air. When China’s skies darken
with pollution, it is not the only nation to suffer. Soot,
ozone-forming compounds and other pollutants from China can blow
east to Korea and Japan. Ultimately, some even reach the west
coast of the United States, scientists say. Other nations
generate pollution too, of course, so the wafting of bad air from
China adds to local problems. China’s emissions worry countries
in the path of the plumes, but in a region where political
tensions often run high, international solutions are largely
elusive. Posted.

Shanghai Warns Children to Stay Indoors on Haze, PM2.5 Surge. 
Shanghai warned children and the elderly to stay indoors as smog
enveloped China’s commercial hub, sending levels of the worst
pollutants surging to more than 15 times World Health
Organization guidelines. The level of PM2.5 pollutants reached
395.7 micrograms per cubic meter at 3 p.m., the city’s
environmental monitoring center said. The WHO recommends exposure
of no more than 25 over a 24-hour period for particles smaller
than 2.5 microns in diameter that are more dangerous than other
particulate matter. Posted.

Washoe health officials lift burn ban.  The Washoe County Health
District has downgraded the area's burn code from red to yellow.
Officials say the air quality in the Truckee Meadows has improved
slightly. That means it's OK to use fireplaces, wood stoves and
pellet stoves. But officials are urging residents to curtail
burning on a voluntary basis. Reducing burning now can help
prevent air pollution from reaching unhealthy levels. Posted.

China gets tough on environmental targets.  China Wednesday
promised to adopt "the strictest" environment and energy policies
as it has lagged behind in terms of four binding environmental
targets set for 2015. The four targets are for energy intensity,
carbon dioxide emissions, rationalization of energy consumption
and nitrogen oxide emissions, according to a mid-term evaluation
report on the implementation of the 12th five-year development
plan (2011-2015).The report was submitted to the bi-monthly
session of the Standing Committee of the National People's
Congress (NPC). Posted.

Home gas ranges produce toxic gases, Lawrence Berkeley Lab study
says.  Air pollution isn't just an outdoor problem. Unhealthy
fumes may be emitted inside your own home if you're cooking over
an unvented gas stove.  Almost two-thirds of California
households using gas burners in the winter without venting range
hoods are exposed to gases that can cause breathing problems,
according to a new study by a team at Lawrence Berkeley
Laboratory.  "Homes are exceeding air quality standards, exposing
people to toxins who shouldn't be," said scientist Brett Singer,
who contributed to the study.  Posted. 



Bay Area Restaurants Exempt From Spare The Air Days.  The
stagnant weather in the Bay Area has prompted a string of Winter
Spare the Air days for the region, but not everyone has to abide
by the rules.  During Winter Spare the Air days, it is illegal to
burn wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuels,
indoors or outdoors. But it’s a different story for Bay Area
restaurant owners.  Posted. 

Spare the Air, No. 18, today.  Put away those logs you were
planning to burn today while sitting by a Christmas fire sipping
hot cocoa.  Once again the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District has issued a Spare the Air Alert for today. The alert is
the 18th of the season.  Due to forecasts of unhealthy levels of
pollution, a ban has been placed on the indoor and outdoor
burning of wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel.
Homes without permanently installed heating with wood stoves or
fireplaces as their only source of heat are exempt, according to
a press release.  Posted. 



Rethinking How to Split the Costs of Carbon.  It is probably a
safe bet that very few Americans unwrapping a brand-new iPhone
left under their Christmas tree are thinking about its impact on
the global climate. I have some good news for them, and some
No, Apple hasn’t managed to produce the device without adding
heat-trapping carbon to the air. The company expects an iPhone 5s
to inject 70 kilograms — about 154 pounds — of carbon dioxide
equivalent into the atmosphere over its lifetime, 11 pounds less
than the iPhone 5 that Apple introduced last year. Posted.

NASA’s Orbiting Carbon Observatory Gets Simulated Taste of Space.
 A NASA observatory that will make the most precise,
highest-resolution and most complete, space-based measurements of
carbon dioxide in Earth’s atmosphere to date has marked a key
milestone in preparation for its planned July 2014 launch. The
Orbiting Carbon Observatory (OCO)-2 spacecraft was moved into a
thermal vacuum chamber at Orbital Science Corporation’s Satellite
Manufacturing Facility in Gilbert, Ariz., southeast of Phoenix,
in late November, where it underwent a series of environmental
tests that were completed last week. Posted.

Cold Weather Extremes Are the New Climate Change Reality Yet the
Focus on Global Warming Means Society Is Unprepared Says Friends
of Science.  Recent extreme storms and ice storms in eastern
Canada reflect climate trends under reported in the media, say
Friends of Science. Peer-reviewed studies by solar scientists
indicate a 'solar hibernation' may be imminent according to a
recent report by Dr. Mahdav Khandekar. Over the past six years,
extreme cold weather in central and eastern Europe, India and
South America has led to the deaths of hundreds of people,
Khandekar reports debunking the claims of global warming causing
extreme weather like Typhoon Haiyan, in a report published Nov.
27, 2013 by the Global Warming Policy Foundation. Sadly, the IPCC
scientists have not even mentioned this trend in their recent
reports. Posted.


Universities receive $10M to study biofuels.  If 1 ton of woody
debris can produce 50 gallons of fuel, how many gallons of fuel
could 42 million acres of dead and dying forests produce? Funded
by a $10 million grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, a
consortium of five universities, joined by research labs across
the Northern Rockies, is looking for ways to turn that mass of
dead timber into a carbon-neutral fuel source. Known as the
Bioenergy Alliance Network of the Rockies, the upstart group
includes researchers at Montana's two flagship universities, and
those at Wyoming, Idaho and Colorado State. Posted.

California's Low-Carbon Fuel Rule Is Working, Study Says, but
Threats Loom.  California is replacing oil with cleaner-burning
fuels in cars and trucks, thanks to a landmark low-carbon fuel
rule, according to a recent report. But the rule's fate is
uncertain amid legal chaos and a shortfall in the production of
clean biofuels. The report, conducted by researchers at the
Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of
California, Davis, said California drivers saved more than two
billion gallons of gasoline in the two years since the launch of
the rule—about as much gas as the state uses in two months. The
carbon emissions reduction is equal to taking half a million
vehicles off the road. Posted.


Volkswagen's 2013 diesel-vehicle sales to top 100,000: Why it
matters.  Volkswagen Group of America will easily clear sales of
100,000 diesel vehicles in the U.S. this year, marking a
milestone for both the German carmaker and the auto industry.
Although diesel engines date back to the dawn of the automotive
age, it’s a technology that American consumers have never taken
to. Credit their memory of an older generation of smelly, smoky
and hesitant diesel cars. But by building a generation of
fuel-efficient, clean and quiet turbo diesels with lots of zip,
and making a diesel an engine option in almost every vehicle VW
and its luxury Audi brand sell here, the German company has
become a pioneer for the technology. Posted.


Wind Power Developers Race Clock to Secure Subsidy.  As the rest
of the world prepares to toast the new year, the wind industry is
hard at work on its own year-end tradition, rushing to make sure
projects qualify for an important subsidy before it is set to
vanish at the stroke of midnight on Tuesday.  Developers are
signing deals, ordering equipment and lurching ahead with
construction starts to qualify for a tax credit that is worth 2.3
cents a kilowatt-hour for the first 10 years of production.

Palm Springs residents warming up to solar program.  The solar
panels installed on the Palm Springs home of Steven Rockwell and
Michael Glenner on Friday are the first to be financed through
the Coachella Valley’s long-awaited regional energy loan program.
 The property-assessed clean energy (PACE) financing program —
officially Clean Energy CV Upgrade — started pulling the trigger
on energy-efficiency and solar home improvements on Dec. 16, said
Mike Lemyre, director of program development for the Ygrene
Energy Fund, the Santa Rosa company rolling out the privately
funded program. Rockwell and Glenner’s 13-kilowatt solar
installation leads a list of seven fully approved projects, with
more than 30 additional projects in the pipeline, he said. 


EarthTalk: How to explain global warming to kids.  Dear
EarthTalk: Do you have any tips for explaining global warming and
other complex environmental problems to my kids? -- Peter
Buckley, Pittsburgh. Kids today may be more eco-savvy than we
were at their age, but complex topics like global warming may
still mystify them. Luckily there are many resources available to
help parents teach their kids how to understand the issues and
become better stewards for the planet. Posted.


VW says it has sold over 100,000 TDI diesels in America this
year.  Volkswagen Group of America has lit oil-burning fireworks
to celebrate the sales of more than 100,000 TDI Clean Diesel
vehicles in the US between its VW and Audi brands this year.
According to VW, that means it is responsible for more than 75
percent of diesel-engined cars and SUVs sold here – perhaps not
surprising when the two brands offer a total of 12 diesel models.
What might be surprising is that the number of diesels isn't far
off the estimated sales of 90,000 battery electric vehicles and
PHEVs, with 15,000 of those accounted for by the Tesla Model S,
another 12,000 or so being the Toyota Prius PHEV. Posted.

Environmental Group Predicts 2014 Will be Big for Climate,
Energy.  The leaders of the Natural Resources Defense Council are
predicting that 2014 will be an important year for environmental
policy.  The NRDC is optimistic about prospects for environmental
policies and legislation in 2014. In a conference call to
highlight the group’s priorities, Climate and Clean Air Campaign
Director Pete Altman notes a continuing trend toward increased
political acceptance of climate change science.  Posted. 

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