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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for January 16, 2014. Posted: 16 Jan 2014 13:01:07
ARB Newsclips for January 16, 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. CAP AND TRADE EU Can Deepen Carbon Cuts With Current Technology: Study. The European Union can achieve more ambitious emission reductions without investing in expensive new technologies, according to researchers in Germany. The EU has potential to cut emissions 40 percent by 2030 from 1990 levels by spending less than an additional 0.7 percent of economic output, the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research said today after publishing a study. That compares with a current target to lower greenhouse gases 20 percent by 2020. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2014-01-16/eu-can-deepen-carbon-cuts-with-current-technology-study.html AIR POLLUTION Beijing air pollution at dangerously high levels. Beijing's skyscrapers receded into a dense gray smog Thursday as the capital saw the season's first wave of extremely dangerous pollution, with the concentration of toxic small particles registering more than two dozen times the level considered safe. The air took on an acrid odor, and many of the city's commuters wore industrial strength face masks as they hurried to work. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINA_AIR_POLLUTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED STORIES http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-01-16/north-china-warned-to-stay-indoors-as-pollution-engulfs-cities.html http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/us-china-pollution-idUSBREA0E0RD20140116 http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/us-china-environment-idUSBREA0F0K720140116 http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Beijing-air-pollution-at-dangerously-high-levels-5147002.php http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/15/6075977/beijing-air-pollution-at-dangerously.html http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_24921208/beijing-air-pollution-at-dangerously-high-levels?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com&IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/15/3715731/beijing-air-pollution-at-dangerously.html EPA denies politics delayed pollution rules. The head of the Environmental Protection Agency is denying Republican claims that the agency delayed formal publication of rules intended to limit carbon pollution from new power plants for political reasons. EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy said the agency submitted the rules for publication last fall and "tried very hard" to get them published in the Federal Register. The rules were finally published last week. Republican senators called the delay political. They said at a hearing Thursday that the delay means the rules likely will not be finalized until after the 2014 elections. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/01/16/6078037/epa-denies-politics-delayed-pollution.html#storylink=cpy Activists take aim at black carbon from kerosene lamps. The dirty and faint shafts of light from crude kerosene lamps are the sole source of illumination in much of the developing world. With 1.3 billion people lacking electricity and many more with only irregular access, these old-fashioned lamps light up the night. But they also pollute the sky, adding a significant and overlooked source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to environmental activists. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059993035/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY McConnell gambit aims to stop just-proposed EPA rule in its tracks. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell -- joined by nearly all his Republican colleagues -- today introduced legislation aimed at blocking U.S. EPA's proposal to limit greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. The Kentucky Republican argues that Congress should be able to stop the rule using the Congressional Review Act despite the fact that disapproval resolutions under that act are typically applied only to rules that have been finalized and submitted to the Government Accountability Office -- neither of which has happened here. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059993072/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE U.S. West Coast Oysters Face Threat of Invasive Predator Snails. The U.S. West Coast’s native Olympia oysters face a greater threat from invasive predatory snails as climate change raises the acidity of oceans, research by the University of California, Davis found. Predatory snails ate 20 percent more young bivalves when both species were raised in ocean conditions forecast for the end of the century; according to a university report published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Oysters raised by the researchers under the high carbon dioxide conditions…Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2014-01-16/u-s-west-coast-oysters-face-threat-of-invasive-predator-snails.html UPDATE 1-Hotter longer, Australian heat wave pressuring commodities. Australia can expect even longer and hotter heat waves than the one now scorching wide swathes of the country, a climate research group said on Thursday, raising questions about its long-term position as an agricultural powerhouse. A blistering heat wave has settled over Australia's south and southeast for nearly a week, with soaring temperatures causing worry after players and fans alike collapsed at the Australian Open Tennis Tournament in Melbourne. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/australia-heatwave-idUSL3N0KQ2JO20140116 Wet, wetter; dry, drier: U.S. oceanographer has hit with climate-change haiku. An American oceanographer who helped write an international report on climate change has condensed several of its key findings - such as how choices made today may shape the future world - into a collection of succinct poems in the Haiku style. The poems came to Gregory Johnson, a 20-year veteran of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, as he pored over an executive summary of "Climate Change 2013: The Physical Science Basis," …Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/usa-climate-haiku-idUSL2N0KQ00420140116 EU to ditch transport emissions goals beyond 2020. The European Union's climate and energy strategy for 2030 will not include a specific target on curbing emissions from transport, the fastest growing source of greenhouse gases in the bloc and the most expensive to cut. Many in industry and some member states have pushed hard for a simplified EU climate framework after 2020, when current policies expire, that ditches existing sub-targets for sectors such as transport and energy. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/eu-climate-transport-idUSL5N0KQ26K20140116 U.N. Says Lag in Confronting Climate Woes Will Be Costly. Nations have so dragged their feet in battling climate change that the situation has grown critical and the risk of severe economic disruption is rising, according to a draft United Nations report. Another 15 years of failure to limit carbon emissions could make the problem virtually impossible to solve with current technologies, the experts found. Delay would likely force future generations to develop the capability to suck greenhouse gases out of the atmosphere…Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/17/science/earth/un-says-lag-in-confronting-climate-woes-will-be-costly.html?hp&_r=0 Arctic sea ice gaps drive toxic mercury conveyor belt. Gaps forming in seasonal Arctic sea ice may be creating a toxic conveyor belt, drawing mercury from higher altitudes to rain down on the ice, snow and tundra, according to a new study. The gaps, which come as the region shifts from perennial ice to thinner seasonal ice due to climate change, drive convection currents in the lower atmosphere that cycle mercury and ozone from higher levels toward Earth’s surface, where oxidation converts the mercury into a more toxic form…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-arctic-ice-mercury-20140115,0,2159311,print.story Last year's U.S. weather showed extremes in precipitation. Last year was marked by extremes in precipitation around the country, with unusually wet weather east of the Rockies and drought worsening in the West, particularly California, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. In its annual State of the Climate report, NOAA said California had its driest year on record in 2013, after receiving only 32.8% of its average annual precipitation. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/nation/nationnow/la-na-nn-2013-weather-extreme-precipitation-20140115,0,3246657.story#ixzz2qaInSk1Y Far West Got Drier Last Year, Data Shows. Drought conditions in California and elsewhere in the Far West intensified last year, government scientists said Wednesday, adding to concerns about water supplies in the region. Although on the whole 2013 was a wetter than average year for the contiguous 48 states, the scientists said, that statistic masked sharp regional differences. Many states east of the Rockies had much higher than average precipitation, helping to alleviate drought in the central United States and the Southeast. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/16/science/earth/far-west-got-drier-last-year-data-shows.html?hpw&rref=science GOP: Inslee shouldn't go alone on climate policy. Three months after Gov. Jay Inslee pledged to adopt a low carbon fuel standard in a climate pact West Coast leaders, some Republican lawmakers want to make sure he doesn't take unilateral action. One Republican lawmaker is sponsoring a measure to prevent the governor from issuing an executive order to require producers to offer transportation fuels that reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/GOP-Inslee-shouldn-t-go-alone-on-climate-policy-5145596.php Climate change will cut Calif.'s ability to make electricity just as more is needed – report. Climate change will decrease California's ability to make electricity while creating heavier demands for it, and the state needs to ramp up planning now, energy leaders warned yesterday. As temperatures increase, there's likely to be growing demand for electricity to run air conditioners. At the same time, changes in rainfall could affect the ability to use hydropower. And the risk of wildfires is expected to increase, which could threaten transmission lines. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059993032/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS Canada Envoy at Odds With Climate Allies on Keystone XL. With his country’s foreign minister in tow, Canadian Ambassador Gary Doer walked the marble corridors of the U.S. Capitol yesterday pitching the prize his nation is seeking: the Keystone XL pipeline. “It always makes more sense in our view to get energy from middle North American than the Middle East,” Doer said after a session with Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, a Keystone supporter. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2014-01-16/canada-envoy-at-odds-with-climate-allies-on-keystone-xl.html Canada tells United States bluntly: decide on Keystone XL now. Canada on Thursday bluntly told the United States to decide the fate of TransCanada Corp's proposed Keystone XL pipeline, saying the drawn-out process on whether to approve the northern leg of the project was taking too long. The U.S. decision on whether to give the green light has been delayed several times and is now not expected until later this year. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/us-usa-pipeline-idUSBREA0F1DT20140116 Alaska, energy firms ink deal in step to free stranded gas. Alaska has signed an agreement with major oil and gas firms to bring stranded gas reserves to market by building a pipeline to connect with a proposed liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal. The deal was signed with TransCanada Corp and the three major producers of Alaskan North Slope oil - Exxon Mobil Corp, BP PLC, ConocoPhillips, Alaska Governor Sean Parnell said in a statement Wednesday. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/01/16/energy-alaska-naturalgas-idUSL2N0KQ0MF20140116 REFINERIES Safety board rejects overhaul of refineries. The U.S. Chemical Safety Board rejected a proposed overhaul of California's refinery safety practices - recently touted by its chairman after the 2012 Chevron refinery fire in Richmond - saying the overly ambitious plan would do little to immediately improve safety and needs further study. Two of the three safety board members opposed the recommendations at a packed Richmond City Council chamber on Wednesday night. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/article/Safety-board-rejects-overhaul-of-refineries-5147655.php http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_24922079/richmond-federal-board-at-odds-over-recommendations-stemming VEHICLES Acura refines its largest SUV, the MDX. Acura's luxury MDX sport utility vehicle is redesigned for 2014 with quieter interior, more cargo space, a new, more powerful engine, better fuel economy and improved handling. The starting retail price is down to $43,185, including destination charge, because for the first time, the MDX is available in front-wheel drive. All previous MDX SUVs came standard with all-wheel drive. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Acura-refines-its-largest-SUV-the-MDX-5104428.php HIGH-SPEED RAIL California to owe feds $180M for high-speed rail. California officials sought Wednesday to reassure congressional Republicans that the state will be able to match billions of dollars in federal funding for the state's high-speed rail project, including a $180 million payment due in April. Funding for the $68 billion bullet train system is in legal limbo after two court rulings last year, one of which prevented the state from selling $8.6 billion in bonds that it had intended to use to pay its share of the project. Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_24921147/state-assures-it-will-match-rail-funds?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/15/3715098/calif-will-owe-180m-for-high-speed.html http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_24921147/state-assures-it-will-match-rail-funds?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com&IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com Battle of words over high-speed rail erupts on Capitol Hill. House lawmakers grilled state and federal officials, and some of their own colleagues, about California's high-speed rail program in a three-hour hearing Wednesday looking at the future of the embattled project. Six lawmakers from California testified before their own colleagues at the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee hearing, with Republicans…Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/01/15/3715551/despite-legal-setbacks-officials.html#storylink=cpy GREEN ENERGY BP: world energy demand to jump 41 percent by 2035. Oil giant BP forecasts world demand for energy to grow by 41 percent by 2035, driven by growing consumption in the booming economies of China and India. That represents a drop from 55 percent growth in the previous period, and BP says the growing use of renewable energy will help energy suppliers meet the world's needs. BP Chief Executive Bob Dudley says competition is "unlocking technology and innovation to meet the world's energy needs." Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/E/EU_BRITAIN_ENERGY_OUTLOOK?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Renewable Energy at $254 Billion? Let’s Make It a Clean Trillion. Billionaire bankers gathered at the United Nations yesterday to call for more investment in renewable energy -- $1 trillion a year, to be exact. It won’t be easy. Global investment in renewable energy fell 12 percent in 2013 to $254 billion, according to data released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF), casting a shadow over the notion of a “clean trillion.” Last year was the second decline in renewable investments since 2011’s record-high $318 billion. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2014-01-16/renewable-energy-at-254-billion-let-s-make-it-a-clean-trillion.html SolarCity offers new way to invest in solar power. Solar panel installer SolarCity is turning to retail investors for cash. The company said Wednesday that it plans to sell securities directly to individuals and others interested in investing in its rooftop solar systems. The move is a novel way for the San Mateo company to finance the enormous cost of installing panels on thousands of roofs -- a typical residential system costs $25,000…Posted. http://www.contracostatimes.com/business/ci_24917368/solarcity-offers-new-way-invest-solar-power Global investment in clean power sources drops, despite need for more. The U.N. climate change chief called yesterday for $1 trillion in clean energy investment, even as new data show falling support for green power for the second year in a row. Speaking to an investor summit at the United Nations, Christiana Figueres said global climate policy is on the "fast track" with a new worldwide climate agreement expected in December 2015. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059993033/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Administration Is Seen as Retreating on Environment in Talks on Pacific Trade. The Obama administration is retreating from previous demands of strong international environmental protections in order to reach agreement on a sweeping Pacific trade deal that is a pillar of President Obama’s strategic shift to Asia, according to documents obtained by WikiLeaks, environmentalists and people close to the contentious trade talks. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/15/us/politics/administration-is-seen-as-retreating-on-environment-in-talks-on-pacific-trade.html?hpw&rref=science Study to test California's kelp forests for radioactive contamination. The canopies of kelp undulating in the surges off the coast of California camouflage a complex ecosystem of sharks, rock fish, crabs, urchins and anemones that blossom like colorful flowers on the forest floor. Now, Steven L. Manley, a biology professor at Cal State Long Beach, and Kai Vetter, head of applied nuclear physics at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, have launched a campaign to monitor those groves for radioactive contaminants due…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-fukushima-kelp-watch-20140116,0,809435.story#axzz2qUPkVRpH OPINIONS Three unconventional ways Gov. Brown can scare up billions for the bullet train. Gov. Jerry Brown has a dream, a dream that would serve as his greatest legacy: a high-speed train that would slash the six-hour drive from Los Angeles to San Francisco to a relaxing ride a smidge over two hours. It may seem like a pipe dream now, but similar links have transformed other countries. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/opinion-la/la-ol-rall-jerry-brown-high-speed-rail-bullet-train-68-billion-20140115,0,3538729.story#ixzz2qaJQI5jf Global warming no `phony crisis'. Steve Rowe's letter to the editor calling global warming a "phony crisis" is short on context. Yes, the continental U.S. had unusually low temperatures last week. But local conditions on a given day or week mean little. We must look at long-term trends. The ratio of record-breaking lows to record-breaking highs over the last century clearly shows significant warming. Yes, the North Pole's ice grew this year -- compared to last year, when it was at the lowest extent ever recorded. It has not come anywhere near recovering. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Global-warming-no-phony-crisis-5146075.php Berkeley Voice letters to the editor: More opinions on Spare the Air days; government health care is here to stay; folly at the Albany Bulb. Wood-burning pollution views. Wow! Your Jan. 10 selection of letters was a barrage of opinions, all adopting the basic seriousness of wood-burning pollution. Nonsense. Mandating "no burn" days is like mandating "no pennies," i.e., today a penny in the gutter is especially contaminated, so picking it up is subject to a hefty fine. As humankind defines success and happiness as growth of economies and life spans -- with ever greater water wasting, methane producing…Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_24918708/berkeley-voice-letters-editor-more-opinions-spare-air?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com