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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for January 7, 2014.

Posted: 07 Jan 2014 14:35:45
ARB Newsclips for January 7, 2014. 

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.


Heavy China Smog Prompts Warnings Against Outdoor Activity. 
China’s government warned people in north and central parts of
the country to stay indoors today as heavy smog blanketed the
region. The level of PM2.5, fine air particulates that pose the
greatest health risk, was as much as 287 micrograms per cubic
meter at 4 p.m. in Shijiazhuang in the northern province of

The Future of Coal: New Pollution Rules Choke Old Power Plants.
The world was riveted in October by eerie photos of Harbin, an
industrial city in northeastern China that was smothered by thick
smog from burning coal. The U.S. had its own encounters with
choking pollution several decades ago. Though nearly forgotten
today, the incidents sparked the creation of the Environmental
Protection Agency and federal regulations that have reshaped the
electricity industry—then and now the country's largest
industrial source of air pollution. Posted.

Flu season made worse by air pollution.  Doctors say flu season
is here and it's quickly spreading west to California. There are
now three more confirmed deaths in the state, linked to the flu.
Those deaths were just reported in Stanislaus County.  There's no
word on any major incidents closer to the central San Joaquin
Valley. Flu season alone can be bad news and the valley's
stagnant pollution-filled air appears to be making it worse. 


Warring Dogmas Block Climate-Change Progress.  National debates
over environmental issues are sometimes derailed by two kinds of
extremists: eco-doomsayers and techno-optimists. The two
positions are best captured in the most dramatic bet in social
science. It is useful to recall the tale, recently cataloged by
Yale University historian Paul Sabin, because the legacy of the
bet is with us today, above all in the domain of climate change.

Still Stuck in a Climate Argument.  When a ship carrying
scientists and adventure tourists became stuck in ice in the
Antarctic late last month, climate change skeptics had a field
day. On Twitter and other social media sites, they pointed out
that a group whose journey was meant to highlight the effects of
global warming was trapped by a substance that was supposed to be
melting. Posted.

Funding for bullet train draws controversy.  There are still a
few days to go until Gov. Jerry Brown unveils his new budget
proposal, but one of his ideas is already stirring controversy. 
The governor wants to use cap-and-trade revenue to bolster the
state's high-speed rail project, which has run into legal and
financial trouble. The money could help keep construction going
while bond funding is held up by a lawsuit.  Posted. 

Jerry Brown seeking $250 million to boost bullet train.  Gov.
Jerry Brown wants to use $250 million in cap-and-trade revenue to
help fund California’s troubled bullet train, according to
Capitol officials.  The money is a small fraction of the
project’s total $68.4-billion cost, but it could bolster the
effort to begin construction at a time when other sources of
state and federal money are facing legal challenges.  Posted. 

Climate change research getting stuck in the ice.  A funny thing
happened during Australian climate change Professor Chris
Turney's venture to retrace a 1912 research expedition in
Antarctica and gauge how climate change has affected the
continent: Two weeks into a five-week excursion, Turney's good
ship MV Akademik Shokalskiy got trapped in ice. It turns out,
global warming notwithstanding…Posted.

How frigid 'polar vortex' could be result of global warming
(+video). A bitter Arctic blast spanning the central and eastern
US has propelled the phrase "polar vortex" from the pages of
dense scientific papers to headline status as frigid temperatures
and strong winds close schools and businesses and prompt
forecasters to warn of "historic and life-threatening"
conditions. In essence, a buildup of Arctic air…Posted.

150 Years Of Carbon Emissions Can Be Traced To 90 Companies:
Report. Industrialization has given the world some of its
greatest inventions and unequivocally improved our lives, but
it's also played a part in one of today's most pressing issues:
man-made climate change.  The Union of Concerned Scientists cites
a paper by Richard Heede, Tracing anthropogenic carbon dioxide
and methane emissions to fossil fuel and cement producers,
1854–2010.  According to the data, nearly two thirds of the
carbon emissions said to cause anthropogenic global warming can
be attributed to just ninety entities, both companies and
countries, over the last 150 years. Posted.

Study finds that suburban sprawl cancels carbon-footprint savings
of dense urban cores in US.  Although population-dense cities
contribute less greenhouse-gas emissions per person than other
areas of the country, these cities’ extensive suburbs essentially
wipe out the climate benefits, according to a new study by
Christopher Jones and Daniel Kammen at UC Berkeley. The average
carbon footprint of households living in the center of large,
population-dense urban cities is about 50% below average…Posted. 

University of Washington to launch cutting-edge Arctic studies
program. In an attempt to expand research in polar regions and
prepare students for a world in which melting Arctic ice is
creating both opportunities and risks, the University of
Washington is launching the Future of Ice program, which will
hire eight scientists and faculty members and offer the United
States' first Arctic studies minor outside of Alaska. Students
who opt for the new minor in Arctic studies will learn about the
science of climate change…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059992468/print BY


Commuters get clean air at last as bus fleets embrace green. Bus
riders are breathing easier these days as transit agencies adopt
clean technologies that are clearing the air of sooty diesel
exhaust. More than 40 percent of 67,000 or so public buses
(school buses are not included) are now powered by alternative
fuels, a threefold jump since 2004, according to the American
Public Transportation Association, or APTA. In comparison,
federal statistics show, only 4 percent of the 250 million cars
run on alt fuels. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059992506/print BY


Toyota bumps its hydrogen-powered car in the U.S. up to 2015.
Toyota said today that a hydrogen-powered vehicle that emits only
water vapor as exhaust will go on sale in the U.S. in 2015, a
year earlier than it promised just two months ago. The Japanese
automaker made the announcement in Las Vegas at the International
CES, the technology industry’s annual gadget show. The shift came
months after rival automakers Hyundai and Honda both said they’d
start selling cars with that technology in the U.S. in 2015.

EV sales nearly double in 2013. The figures are in, and 2013
proved to be a good year for the electric car with plug-in hybrid
and full-electric vehicle sales nearly doubling to more than
90,000 units last year. Continued growth comes in the same year
that the American electric vehicle (EV) startups Coda Automotive
and Fisker Automotive, a Department of Energy loan recipient,
filed for bankruptcy. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059992478/print BY


High-Speed Train in California Is Caught in a Political Storm. 
Gov. Jerry Brown of California is riding into an election year on
a wave of popularity and an upturn in the state’s fortunes. But a
project that has become a personal crusade for him over the past
two years — a 520-mile high-speed train line from Los Angeles to
San Francisco — is in trouble, reeling from a court ruling that
undermined its financing, and from slipping public support and
opponents’ rising calls to shut it down. Posted.

Cap-and-trade funds to boost high-speed rail. Gov. Jerry Brown
will propose spending nearly a third of $850 million in
cap-and-trade revenue California expects to collect in the next
fiscal year on the embattled high-speed-rail project, according
to officials with knowledge of the governor's budget proposal,
which is to be publicly released Friday.


Group of ministers urges EU to set 2030 goal for renewable
energy.  Ministers from Germany, France and six other countries
have called for the European Union to set a 2030 goal for
renewable energy use, in opposition to their British counterpart
who advocates a sole greenhouse gas emissions target. A 2030
renewables goal, which would be part of a package of EU measures
on energy and climate change, would cut dependency on fossil fuel
imports and boost jobs and economic growth…Posted.

UC Merced rooftops to get solar panels. In a move to double its
energy output, UC Merced will be adding solar panels this year to
as many as a dozen buildings on and off campus. The university’s
facilities management team expects to pick a company later this
month to install the photovoltaic systems on eight to 12
structures, which could produce an additional megawatt of energy.


Curbing a Potent Greenhouse Gas.  On Dec. 17, the European Union
drafted important legislation to cut hydrofluorocarbons, or HFCs,
by 79 percent by 2030. This is the most concrete move yet to rein
in HFCs, which are potent greenhouse gases used in refrigerators
and air-conditioners. In June, the United States and China
reached an agreement to reduce these gases, and in September
leaders of the Group of 20 nations pledged to do their share.

Dan Walters: Jerry Brown may be getting desperate on bullet
train.  Jerry Brown may be getting desperate about keeping the
state’s increasingly unpopular – not to mention financially and
legally challenged – bullet train project alive. Faced with a
judge’s insistence that the project follow the law about having
its financial ducks lined up, Gov. Brown is now poised to shift
money from the state’s “cap-and-trade” fees on greenhouse-gas
emissions into the bullet train. Posted.


Don’t shift ‘cap-and-trade’ dollars to rail.  A dubious funding
grab is not a fix for California’s fiscally risky “high-speed”
rail project. The governor should discard any idea of propping up
the “bullet” train’s shaky finances with money from the state’s
greenhouse gas program. The rail project’s lack of funding should
be a sign to legislators to end this looming boondoggle…Posted.


The polar vortex in no way disproves climate change.  Almost half
of the Lower 48 will shiver under sub-zero wind chills Tuesday
morning. Countless records will be set. Yet none of that means a
thing about the existence of climate change, its severity or its
consequences. The breaking off of a large chunk of the polar
vortex and its visit to the northern U.S. is a random event
resulting from a serendipitous arrangement of weather systems.

Jerry Brown's cap-and-trade proposal for high-speed rail said to
be $250 million.  Gov. Jerry Brown's proposal to use fees paid by
carbon producers to help finance the state's high-speed rail
project is expected to amount to $250 million next budget year, a
sum that could provide a significant lift to the project but
frustrate environmentalists already upset about the diversion of
fees. Posted. 

Increasing density may not work in cutting greenhouse gases
January 6, 2014. Increasing the population density of
California's urban areas is a key component of the state's plans
to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 - but
it may not be the most effective strategy, new research at the
University of California, Berkeley, indicates.

Here's What These Record Low Temperatures Say About Global
Warming. As the frigid polar vortex makes itself at home over a
giant swath of the country, it's also serving as fodder for all
those equally unwelcome climate change deniers. Despite the fact
that 97 percent of scientists agree that man-made climate change
is happening, the likes of Donald Trump say many of these record
lows are the perfect proof to show that, no, the planet is not
warming. Scientific right? Posted.

Global warming devastates America.  See that white stuff floating
down past the orange trees and landing on your alligators and
manatees, Florida? That's global warming, that is. See that
frozen white thing by the harbor that used to look a green woman
with a spiky headdress, New York? That's global warming, that is.

Plug-In Electric Car Sales For 2013 Near Double Previous Year's. 
In their third full year of sales, more plug-in electric cars
were sold in the U.S. than ever before.  The 2013 total of
roughly 96,000 90,000 electric vehicles didn't quite double the
2012 total of about 53,000, but with 16 different plug-in cars
offered for sale as of this month, the numbers seem likely to
grow again this year.  And last year's total was more than five
times the total first-year sales of 17,500 in 2011.  Posted. 

Toyota hydrogen vehicle visits CES, on sale in US in 2015. 
Toyota is incredibly bullish on the future of hydrogen as a part
of the automotive landscape, and is now gearing up for the 2015
launch of its hydrogen sedan. The concept version of the car was
shown for the first time at the Tokyo Motor Show last fall and is
making its North American debut at CES today, alongside the
still-under-camo engineering prototype. The reasons for Toyota's
hydrogen confidence?...Posted.

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