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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for February 26, 2014

Posted: 26 Feb 2014 12:49:58
ARB Newsclips for February 26, 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.


State Senator's Proposal Moves from Cap & Trade to Fee & Rebate.
On February 20, 2014, California Senate President pro Tempore
Darrell Steinberg (D - Sacramento) proposed removing
transportation fuels from the state's Cap & Trade program under
AB32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. Steinberg said
the State should instead add a 15 cent per gallon gasoline tax
that would increase over time, return two-thirds of the revenues
to low and middle-income families through an Earned Income Tax
Credit, and spend the rest on mass transit and similar projects.

South Africa Delays Carbon Tax, Plans Levies on Acid Mine Water. 
South Africa’s government delayed the implementation of a planned
carbon tax to 2016, while saying it may impose new levies on
mining companies to help fund the treatment of acid water seeping
from disused gold mines. The National Treasury two years ago said
it planned to charge 120 rand ($11) on every metric ton of carbon
emitted above a 60 percent threshold from 2014 and raise the rate
by 10 percent a year for the following six years. Posted.


Majority of complaints about Sriracha factory came from 4
households.  More than two-thirds of the complaints reported to
the air quality control board about odors believed to be from the
Sriracha hot sauce factory came from four households. Data
provided to this newspaper by the South Coast Air Quality
Management District shows that since October four addresses
generated 41 of the 61 complaints about Huy Fong Foods on North
Azusa Canyon Road. Posted.

Hayward power plant pollution probed.  A hotly debated power
plant may be violating its pollution limits and needs to fix the
problem as soon as possible, air quality regulators say. Russell
City Energy Center's cooling tower is putting out almost 10 times
the allowed amount of water droplets that could contain
particulate matter, its operator's own tests show, according to a
complaint filed by the staff of the Bay Area Air Quality
Management District. Posted.

China vows 'harsh punishment' for toxic smog culprits.  China's
environment ministry has vowed to 'harshly punish' factories and
power plants that contributed to a hazardous smog which enveloped
much of Northern China, official state media reported on
Wednesday. Investigations had found that some thermal power
plants, cement and steel makers in the northern province of Hebei
had failed to halt or curtail production during severely smoggy
days despite government orders, state news agency Xinhua quoted
the Ministry of Environmental Protection as saying. Posted.


Study Links Temperature to a Peruvian Glacier’s Growth and
Retreat.  Sitting on a flat volcanic plain 18,000 feet above sea
level, the great Quelccaya ice cap of Peru is the largest piece
of ice in the tropics. In recent decades, as scientists have
watched it melt at an accelerating pace, it has also become a
powerful symbol of global warming. Posted.

New index confirms it: This winter is miserable.  A new winter
misery index confirms what many Americans in the Midwest and East
know in their all-too-chilled bones: This has been one of the
harshest winters of our lifetimes. And nowhere has been hit
harder, relatively, than Detroit. Sure Chicago, Indianapolis and
Philadelphia and Moline, Ill., are in the midst of their third
most extreme winters in more than 60 years. Posted. 

Climate conference explores water and power.  The link between
water and energy is a key facet of climate change, government and
business experts said at the Climate Leadership Conference in San
Diego Tuesday. The conference, held Monday through Wednesday,
convened officials from business, government, universities and
nonprofits to discuss energy and climate. Posted.

Volcanoes May Be Slowing Down Climate Change. Small volcanic
eruptions might be part of the reason why the pace of global
warming hasn’t kept up with previous predictions, a new study
published in Nature Nature Geoscience suggests. Eruptions of at
least 17 volcanoes since 2000, including Kasatochi in Alaska and
Merapi in Indonesia, seem to have had a cooling influence on the
temperature of the Earth’s surface and lower atmosphere. Posted.

Heat extremes increase despite global warming hiatus –
scientists.  Hot weather extremes have increased around the world
in the past 15 years despite a slowdown in the overall pace of
global warming, a study showed on Wednesday. Heat extremes are
among the damaging impacts of climate change as they can raise
death rates, especially among the elderly, damage food crops and
strain everything from water to energy supplies. Posted.


California: NASA Aids Drought War.  NASA scientists have begun
deploying satellites and other technology to help California
water officials assess the state’s record drought and better
manage it, officials said Tuesday. The space agency’s resources
are being used to better measure the snowpack and groundwater
levels and predict storms. Posted.

California analyst suggests drought solutions.  Saying Gov. Jerry
Brown's budget proposal "includes little to address the effects
of the current drought," a new report by the Legislature's
nonpartisan fiscal analyst suggests anti-drought and conservation
steps that lawmakers could take. Friday's review of the resources
portion of Brown's January spending plan came two days after
Brown and legislative unveiled a $687.4 million package of
drought relief measures, some of which seem to mirror parts of
what the LAO suggests. Posted.

EBMUD pursues second emergency water source in drought year.  The
East Bay Municipal Utility District is lining up a second
emergency water supply in the drought. The water board agreed
Tuesday to exercise an option to buy up to 20,000 acre feet of
water from the Placer County Water Agency. The East Bay district
would spend up to $8 million if it takes the full amount: $1.5
million to buy the water and another $6.5 million in pumping
costs to pipe in the water from near Sacramento. Posted.


Oil and natural gas fall on weather forecasts.  Oil and natural
gas fell Tuesday as weather forecasts backed off previous
predictions of unusually cold temperatures in March and April.
Benchmark U.S. crude for April delivery dropped 99 cents to close
at $101.83 a barrel on the New York Mercantile Exchange. Natural
gas futures fell 35 cents, or 6.4 percent, to $5.10 per 1,000
cubic feet. Natural gas plunged 11 percent Monday. Posted.


Solar Industry Jump-Starts a Revival in California.  Back in
2009, when Danny Kennedy was looking for office space for the
fast-growing solar services company he had co-founded, his
venture capital investors recommended setting up shop in one of
the “Twitterville kinds of areas” south of Market Street in San
Francisco. There, social media and peer-to-peer pioneers like
Foursquare, Yelp, Airbnb and, indeed, Twitter had created a
technology zone where innovative ideas could fly free and
cross-pollinate among young workers meeting casually over food
and drink. Posted.

Some solar rebates ending in San Diego.  Solar rebates are coming
to an end in San Diego for solar home energy systems and some
solar hot water heating systems for single-family residences, the
administrator of the programs confirmed Tuesday. An array of
other solar rebates remain available. Posted.


Tesla ranked as top pick. The Tesla Model S electric sedan is
Consumer Reports’ top pick in this year’s automotive rankings,
beating the Audi A6, Toyota Prius and BMW 328i and becoming the
first U.S. car to receive a “best overall” pick. The independent
product-testing magazine cited the Model S’s sporty performance
and technological innovations, including its 225-mile range.

Tesla Model S wins 'best overall' car by Consumer Reports.  The
story of Tesla is a bit like that of "The Little Engine That
Could." It's a smaller company, which makes a product different
than the rest, that's been working to stay afloat in a world of
giant car companies. Well, it appears Tesla has just made it over
the mountain. The company's all-electric Model S sedan was
selected by Consumer Reports as 2014's "best overall" car.

Va. governor signs repeal of hybrid vehicle tax.  Gov. Terry
McAuliffe has added his signature to legislation to repeal the
state's $64 annual fee on hybrid vehicles. McAuliffe signed the
legislation Wednesday during a one-hour appearance on WTOP radio
in Washington. He said the repeal is effective July 1 and will
affect the 75,000 hybrid vehicles in Virginia. The tax was part
of a massive transportation funding bill passed last year.


Beijing Auto-License Lottery Sees Few Electric-Car Takers. 
Beijing’s aspiring car owners would rather brave the long odds of
winning a license plate in the lottery than opt for an electric
vehicle. While the city received more than 90 bids for each
available permit for conventional gasoline autos in the latest
draw held today, only 1,428 people applied for the 1,666
new-energy vehicle plates offered, according to a statement on
the municipal government’s website. Posted.


California Endangered Species: Plastic Bags. On a recent drizzly
day, Esha Moya found herself standing outside a grocery store in
South Los Angeles, her half-dozen paper bags falling apart in the
rain, wishing she had a few small items that had been free and
plentiful her entire life but are now banned in this city:
plastic shopping bags.
“I hate this,” said Ms. Moya, a telemarketer and a mother of two.
She has begun stockpiling plastic bags at home because paper bags
“are always breaking,” she said. “It’s stupid, and it makes it
really hard for us.” Posted.


Dana Milbank: Justices skeptical of carbon rules.  It has the
makings of a royal mess for “King Barack.” Monday morning’s
Supreme Court argument about the Environmental Protection
Agency’s authority to regulate greenhouse gases went badly for
the Obama administration – so much so that the real question
before the justices seemed to be how severe the EPA’s loss would
be. Posted.


Look Before You Pump warnings popping up at ethanol stations. 
Some of the largest retailers in the US are trying to inject
either a little good sense or paranoia into part of their
customer base. Lowe's, Walmart and True Value are putting out
written warnings about the dangers of filling up
non-light-duty-vehicle engines with fuel that contains a higher
ethanol blend. Posted.

Honda pulling plug on slow-selling Insight hybrid.  It's been a
rough ride for the Honda Insight, and now its journey appears to
be at an end – word is that the five-door hybrid hatchback is
going out of production. The Insight nameplate was first
introduced as a two-seat, three-door gas-electric hatchback just
before the turn of the millennium, beating the Toyota Prius to
market as America's first hybrid by over half a year. Posted.

L.A. and California lawmakers move to impose fracking
moratoriums. Leaders in Los Angeles seem to have been paying
attention to Hollywood. A little more than a year after the
release of Promised Land, a movie about the dangers of fracking
starring Matt Damon, members of L.A. City Council are trying to
ban hydraulic fracturing. Posted.

Carbon dioxide pollution just killed 10 million scallops. 
Scallops go well with loads of chili and an after-dinner dose of
antacid. It’s just too bad we can’t share our post-gluttony
medicine with the oceans that produce our mollusk feasts. A
scallops producer on Vancouver Island in British Columbia just
lost three years’ worth of product to high acidity levels.

Beijing Pollution: How Bad Does It Have to Get for a Red Alert? 
Beijing authorities have maintained an orange alert—the
second-highest warning—for six days amid a stretch of bad air
pollution. That has a number of residents wondering: Just how bad
does it have to get before the local government raises its
warnings into the red? A red alert is issued only when
authorities forecast an air-quality index of above 300 for at
least three consecutive days. Posted.

California is in a drought emergency.
Visit www.SaveOurH2O.org for water conservation tips.

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