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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for December 30, 2013

Posted: 30 Dec 2013 12:32:34
ARB Newsclips for December 30, 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 cap and trade cash rolls in for 2013.  It was an
important year for California's ambitious efforts to limit
greenhouse gases, one where the buying and trading of pollution
credits brought in big money but left lingering questions about
how the money should be spent. 2013 marked the first full year of
the state's cap and trade program, the combination of a gradually
lowering carbon emissions cap combined with a clean-up-or-pay-up
option for the industries affected. Posted.

The Year in Forest Carbon: Supply-Side Success, Demand-Side
Dilemmas.  This year began with an underappreciated tailwind from
the 2012 climate talks in Doha, which provided a clear set of
forest-carbon issues for UN negotiators to work through in 2013.
The result was a series of productive meetings that culminated
with agreement on sticky issues that had long been hindering the
creation of financing mechanisms that Reduce greenhouse gas
Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation (REDD) under
the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change
(UNFCCC).  Posted. 


SF Bay area air agency issues new wood-burning ban.  San
Francisco Bay Area air quality officials are prohibiting the use
of wood-burning fireplaces for another day after determining the
region's air is unhealthy. For the 7th day straight, the Bay Area
Air Quality Management District issued an alert for Sunday, which
makes use of fire pits, woodstoves or manufactured fire logs
illegal. Homes where woodstoves or fireplaces are the only heat
source are exempt. Jack Broadbent, the district's executive
director, says particulates from burning wood create unhealthy
air. Air quality has suffered recently due to a prolonged dry
spell that has allowed pollution to remain in the area. Posted.

Breast milk harbors environmental pollutants.  It's advice that
doctors impart to mothers over and over: Breast milk is the most
nutritious, fortifying food they can feed their babies. But women
may not be aware of the strong possibility that their milk is
also less than pure, an unintended consequence of living in a
developed nation. That's because their bodies are exposed to
chemicals like pesticides, flame retardants, additives and other
chemicals from household products, air, water and food. Posted.

Special meeting to discuss dunes letter.  Grover Beach Mayor
Debbie Peterson has called a special council meeting for 6:30
p.m. Monday to discuss a letter protesting her removal from the
Air Pollution Control District.  The meeting will take place in
the council chambers of City Hall, 154 S. Eighth St., and will
include a closed session to discuss potentially initiating
litigation.  City Council members recently voted to remove
Peterson as the city’s representative on the APCD after she spoke
out about her opposition to a new rule regarding monitoring and
mitigating dust pollution from the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular
Recreation Area.  Posted. 


UC Davis report addresses compliance costs of California's LCFS.
A recent report authored by two University of California, Davis
researchers examines the economics of the California low carbon
fuel standard (LCFS) program. According to information released
by the UC Davis Institute of Transportation Studies, the report
found that compliance costs for the LCFS could increase rapidly
in the future if there are large differences in marginal costs
between traditional fuels and low-carbon fuels. Compliance costs
could also increase rapidly due to capacity or technology
constraints associated with deploying low-carbon fuels. Posted.


Plug In, Turn On, Pass Gas Station. When the final figures for
2013 are tabulated, sales of battery-electric and plug-in
vehicles in the United States are expected to nearly double
2012’s totals, according to the Electric Drive Transportation
Association, a trade group based in Washington. Even so, that is
fewer than 100,000 vehicles, in a year when the industry is on
track to comfortably top 15 million sales. Posted.

Electric cars may hold solution for power storage. The thick blue
cables and white boxes alongside an industrial garage here look
like those in any electric-car charging station. But they work in
a way that could upend the relationship Americans have with
energy. The retrofitted Mini Coopers and other vehicles plugged
into sockets where a Chrysler plant once stood do more than suck
energy out of the multi-state electricity grid. They also send
power back into it. Posted.

Warming to the idea. A customer checking out the new Jeep
Cherokee might be more intrigued by the novel nine-speed
transmission than by what's inside the air conditioner
compressor. But the refrigerant flowing through the veins of the
Cherokee's air conditioner, a formulation called 1234yf, might be
just as crucial as the gearbox to Chrysler's strategy for
satisfying strict new environmental rules in the United States
and Europe. Posted.

California ISO Rolls Out Roadmap On Vehicle-Grid Integration. The
California Independent System Operator Corp. (ISO) has released a
blueprint for integrating electric vehicles (EVs) into the grid.
The ISO says the roadmap builds upon efforts already underway in
both the private and public sectors to enable EV aggregations. 
According to the ISO, the report - "The Vehicle-Grid Integration
Roadmap: Enabling Vehicle-based Grid Services" - outlines three
interdependent tracks to assess how consumer use of electric
vehicles could benefit electric reliability and determine
policies and technologies necessary to elicit that value through
appropriate market signals for a more reliable, sustainable
electric grid.  Posted. 



New Energy Struggles on Its Way to Markets. To stave off climate
change, sources of electricity that do not emit carbon will have
to replace the ones that do. But at the moment, two of those
largest sources, nuclear and wind power, are trying to kill each
other off. In the electricity market, both are squeezed by
pressure from natural gas, which provides some carbon reductions
compared with coal but will not bring the country anywhere near
its goal for reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Natural gas has a
carbon footprint that is at least three times as large as that
goal. Posted.

Trina to Build 1-Gigawatt Solar Project in Western China. Trina
Solar Ltd., China’s second-largest solar-panel maker, agreed to
build a plant in the western Xinjiang region to produce 1
gigawatt of power, about the same amount as a new nuclear
reactor. Trina signed a framework agreement with the local
authority in Turpan Prefecture to develop the ground-mounted
project, it said today in a statement. The company also plans a
factory in the area to make the photovoltaic modules used in
solar panels. Posted.

California energy-rebate program draws few takers. California's
3-year-old effort to improve the energy efficiency of 100,000
homes has fallen far short of its initial goals, upgrading about
12,200 so far, state data show. Originally funded through
President Obama's stimulus package, Energy Upgrade California
offers rebates worth up to $4,500 for homeowners who swap out
their old furnaces and duct work, install insulation, seal leaky
window frames or take other steps to make their houses more
efficient. Posted.


Shafter farmer helps bring focus to Valley environmental issues.
Last year, almond farmer Tom Frantz shot a video of an oil
company illegally spilling fracking fluid laced with chemicals
into an open pit at the edge of town. Within months, his video
had inspired stories from the New York Times to the British
Broadcasting Corp.  The open pit -- next to another farmer's
almond orchard -- has since been covered with dirt. A fence now
blocks the public's view. But state water authorities saw enough.
They issued a notice of violation.  Posted. 


Save the Shark, Save the World. In 1971, an unexpected series of
interactions between international table tennis players turned
out to be the first indication of China’s willingness to engage
with the United States after decades of estrangement. It presaged
President Richard M. Nixon’s watershed visit to the country. This
unlikely set of events later came to be known as Ping-Pong
diplomacy. Now we could be witnessing the equivalent — call it
shark-fin diplomacy — by which China signifies to the world that
it is ready to step forward into new arenas of environmental
protection. Posted.


AIR POLLUTION: Damning science raises new concerns about foul
air. Mexico City seems to be an unlikely place to discover
ominous evidence about air pollution that’s a part daily of life
in Inland Southern California. But that’s where a neurologist,
worried about the children living in the metropolis’ notoriously
dirty air, set out more than 10 years ago to discover how all
that pollution affected people’s brains. She started by
dissecting the brains of euthanized dogs. Her findings were
remarkable and disturbing: Dogs exposed to the city’s most
polluted neighborhoods had soot in their brains. Posted.

Progress, But Long Road Ahead to California Climate Goals. 2013
was a pivotal year for California’s efforts to confront the
increasingly ominous threats from climate change. The nation’s
broadest cap-and-trade program for carbon pollution kicked in,
and Governor Jerry Brown joined in two new multi-state pacts
aimed at curbing emissions. But seven years after passing its
landmark climate law, California’s journey toward attaining its
climate goals has just begun. Posted.

Zoox promotes its Star-Trek-like self-driving vehicle. With
drivers theoretically relieved from the duty of actually having
to drive the car, they can now spend time figuring out what
"Zoox" actually means. The start-up unveiled its concept at the
Los Angeles Auto Show in November and is now ready to reveal a
few more details about its utopian mission of autonomous vehicles
on its website. Posted.

13 major clean energy breakthroughs of 2013.  While the news
about climate change seems to get worse every day, the rapidly
improving technology, declining costs, and increasing
accessibility of clean energy is the true bright spot in the
march toward a zero-carbon future. 2013 had more clean energy
milestones than we could fit on one page, but here are 13 of the
key breakthroughs that happened this year.  Posted. 

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