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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 16, 2014. Posted: 16 Apr 2014 16:15:53
ARB Newsclips for April 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 Top Democratic lawmaker backs off 'carbon tax' The state Senate leader on Monday backed off an unpopular proposal for a so-called carbon tax on consumer fuels and instead wants to dedicate billions of dollars generated by California's greenhouse gas reduction law to affordable housing, mass transit and high-speed rail. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said his willingness to pivot from a higher tax on gasoline, propane and other consumer fuels was driven by the need to fund…Posted. http://www.bakersfieldnow.com/news/local/Top-Democratic-lawmaker-backs-off-carbon-tax-255252171.html AIR POLLUTION Court Upholds Key EPA Mercury Standards for Power Plants. A federal appeals court handed the Environmental Protection Agency a significant victory April 15 by upholding stringent mercury and air toxics standards for power plants, which are among the costliest regulations the agency has promulgated. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected argument after argument that industry petitioners made, saying the EPA's decisions were reasonable and the agency deserves deference. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-16/court-upholds-key-epa-mercury-standards-for-power-plants.html http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-air-toxics-limits-20140416,0,1999439.story#ixzz2z4Hruy5c http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/15/6327682/appeals-court-upholds-epa-limits.html http://www.politico.com/story/2014/04/epa-mercury-power-plants-earth-day-105728.html Masses of Mercedes Thicken Hong Kong Air-Pollution Mess. Hong Kong is one of the best places in the world to do business. As long as you don’t breathe. Toxic air caused 3,279 premature deaths last year in the city that means “fragrant harbor” in Chinese, contributing to more than 5.5 million doctor visits in the metropolis of 7.2 million, according to an index developed by the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2014-04-15/masses-of-mercedes-thicken-hong-kong-air-pollution-mess.html EPA didn’t track own air pollution program — report. The Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t bothered to track whether one of its key pollution reduction programs is actually having an effect, according to a new review by the agency’s internal watchdog. The National Petroleum Refinery Initiative was launched in 1996 to try to cut down on pollution from oil refineries, which were estimated to be pumping 66 million pounds of toxic pollutants into the air each year. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2014/apr/16/epa-didnt-track-own-air-pollution-program-report/#ixzz2z4Xk2ICx Senators back state management of carbon emissions. Louisiana could have its own, less stringent plan for implementing the Environmental Protection Agency's limits on carbon dioxide emissions, under a proposal that got the approval Tuesday of the Senate Environmental Quality Committee. The measure by the committee's chairman, Sen. Mike Walsworth, would let the state Department of Environmental Quality decide how to apply EPA's upcoming rule on carbon dioxide emissions by setting standards for measuring emissions and the pace for following EPA's regulations. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2014/apr/15/senators-back-state-management-of-carbon/ CLIMATE CHANGE Petroleum group says fracking helped reduce greenhouse gas emissions. The American Petroleum Institute said hydraulic fracturing, or fracking as it is sometimes called, contributed to a 3.4% drop in greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, the trade group said in a statement. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on Tuesday issued a report that found that greenhouse gas emissions dropped 3.4% in 2012 compared with the year before. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-fracking-greenhouse-gas-emissions-20140416,0,4347086.story#ixzz2z4LKXUia U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dropped 3.4% in 2012. Greenhouse gas emissions in the United States dropped by 3.4% in 2012, federal environmental regulators reported Tuesday. The decline over the previous year was driven mostly by power plant operators switching from coal to natural gas, improvements in fuel efficiency for transportation and a warmer winter that cut demand for heating, according to an inventory released by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-greenhouse-gas-emissions-drop-2012-epa-20140415,0,205087.story Climate change gets the blockbuster treatment on Showtime. Clad in a military-style flight suit and aviator shades, Harrison Ford walks across a sunny tarmac and climbs into a fighter jet and takes off. Soon, he's soaring 5,000 feet above California. Ford is not starring as the hero of a summer blockbuster but in fact is tagging along on a NASA mission to measure levels of methane and carbon dioxide, two primary greenhouse gases, in the atmosphere…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/15/6326842/climate-change-gets-the-blockbuster.html#storylink=cpy As another report urges action, how can U.S. overcome obstacles to effective climate policy? This week’s latest U.N. report on climate change warns of the urgent need for global action in the next five to 15 years, if countries want to ward off the worst impacts of rising emissions. Posted. http://www.pbs.org/newshour/bb/how-can-u-s-overcome-obstacles-to-climate-policy/ Scientists urge bigger research budgets for pulling CO2 out of the air. Scientists with an eye on climate change came together here this week to discuss the future of a potential game-changer, devices that can capture carbon dioxide from the air. During a conference at Columbia University, experts in the field from industry and academia essentially had this to say about direct carbon capture's prospects…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059997970/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DROUGHT Field Poll: Drought responses split California. Californians agree their state is parched, but they diverge by region on how supplies dried up and what should be done about the drought. “There’s clearly a consensus that the state has a serious water shortage,” Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said of a survey on the subject released Tuesday. “There, however, is no consensus to what got us into this situation.” Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/16/6327692/field-poll-drought-responses-split.html#mi_rss=Latest%20News#storylink=cpy City Contradicts Itself With Watering Restrictions. The City of Sacramento declared a drought in January, but city code still requires property owners keep their lawns watered and landscaping maintained. The Community Development Department will ask the City Council on Thursday to clarify which rules code enforcement officers are supposed to follow during a drought. Posted. http://www.capradio.org/21833 FUELS Pitzer College selling fossil fuel stocks in environmental move. Pitzer College, a liberal arts school in Claremont, has joined the vanguard of U.S. campuses deciding to sell off its investments in fossil fuel companies as a statement of concern about global warming. Pitzer’s board of trustees recently voted to approve a divestment plan to sell off about $4.4 million in fossil-fuel related investments, mainly in oil and gas companies… Posted. http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-pitzer-divestment-20140415,0,1879950.story#ixzz2z4HSamHn Southern agrees to coal research with Chinese firm. Southern Co. says it has signed a deal with a state-owned Chinese coal and energy company to work together to develop coal technologies, based in part on the coal gasification and carbon capture technology that Southern subsidiary Mississippi Power Co. is deploying at the $5 billion Kemper County power plant. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/15/6326784/southern-agrees-to-coal-research.html#storylink=cpy Sacramento’s Pacific Ethanol wipes out its corporate debt. Pacific Ethanol Inc. said Tuesday it has eliminated all its corporate debt, another milestone in the recovery of the once-troubled Sacramento company. However, the Sacramento ethanol producer said its four operating plants are still a combined $48 million in debt. At the corporate level, the company retired a $22.2 million bond offering by repaying the outstanding balance of less than $1 million. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/15/6326436/sacramentos-pacific-ethanol-wipes.html#storylink=cpy The menace of methane. Researchers found higher-than-expected emissions of a potent greenhouse gas emanating from Pennsylvania wells, according to a study published Monday that adds to concerns about the environmental footprint of natural gas. The study, conducted by Purdue and Cornell universities and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the latest to scrutinize methane emissions associated with natural gas development…Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/The-menace-of-methane-5402413.php House Dems Want EPA to Reopen Investigation on Fracking. White House Targets Methane Emissions. A new study by scientists from Purdue and Cornell suggests that the methane emissions from shale gas could be much higher than previously thought. The study, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, looked at fugitive methane emissions in Pennsylvania by flying an airplane over drilling sites and collecting samples. What they found was a bit unnerving. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Is-Natural-Gas-No-Better-Than-Coal-5406826.php GAS PRICES: 12 straight days of increases irk customers. On the 12th day of gas-price increases, Alberto Castro-Mendoza pulled into the Shell station at the intersection of Iowa Avenue and Blaine Street in Riverside. It didn’t feel like Christmas. Castro-Mendoza, 22, usually shops around, but on Tuesday, April 15, he was in a rush. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/local-news-headlines/20140415-gas-prices-12-straight-days-of-increases-irk-customers.ece With white papers, EPA takes first step on a set of potentially far-reaching regulations of methane. U.S. EPA yesterday took a first step toward what could become a new set of regulations governing emissions of methane from oil and gas operations. Yesterday, the agency released a set of five white papers analyzing methane leaks from the industry. The EPA release is the first part in a multi-step effort the agency is taking to address emissions of methane…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059997979/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Suzuki joins fuel efficiency race with simplified hybrid system. Japanese small-car maker Suzuki Motor Corp said on Wednesday it will introduce an affordable, simplified gas-electric hybrid technology in its cars, joining rivals in the race for fuel efficiency. Japan's fourth-biggest car maker, which has largely focused on internal combustion engines, said it needs to boost fuel efficiency to survive in a competitive industry. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2014/04/16/us-suzuki-hybrid-idUSBREA3F0CA20140416?feedType=RSS&feedName=environmentNews GREEN ENERGY New Wind, Solar Power Cheaper Than Nuclear Option, Study Shows. New wind and solar plants generate cheaper low-carbon electricity than the latest nuclear reactors, a study shows, indicating they will lead a global push for green energy. Newly built wind and solar with natural-gas as a backup can make power a fifth cheaper than nuclear backed by gas, the study by consultant Prognos AG shows. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-04-16/new-wind-solar-power-cheaper-than-nuclear-option-study-shows.html Clean Energy Investment Rises 9%, Led by Solar Power. Clean energy investment rose by 9 percent in the first quarter from a year earlier on surging demand for rooftop solar panels from the U.S. to Japan. New investment in renewable power and energy efficiency rose to $47.7 billion in the first three months of the year from $43.6 billion, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said today in an e-mailed statement. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2014-04-16/clean-energy-investment-rises-9-led-by-solar-power.html Owens Valley mobilizes against proposed DWP solar project. Opponents say the project would destroy scenic vistas and ruin the sense of isolation at Manzanar National Historic Site. One by one, a parade of Owens Valley residents rose at a public hearing Tuesday to assail the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's plan to meet its renewable energy goals by covering 2 square miles of high desert with 1 million solar panels. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/science/la-me-owens-solar-20140416,0,1493394.story#ixzz2z4EaLVQj Clean energy: Is a boom coming in 2014? Clean energy is off to a strong start in 2014, with global investment rising as prices for wind and solar power continue to drop. Renewables still hold a small share of total energy mixes, but clean-energy growth is picking up momentum. Posted. http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Energy-Voices/2014/0416/Clean-energy-Is-a-boom-coming-in-2014 DOE issues draft loan solicitation for up to $4B for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects; drop-in biofuels a key area. The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a draft loan guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency projects located in the US that avoid, reduce, or sequester greenhouse gases. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2014/04/20140416-doe.html Renewable energy rises, but IPCC authors warn that nuclear power must also rise to replace fossil fuels. Over the past decade and a half, countries around the world have taken unprecedented steps to shift their energy dependence from fossil fuels to alternative resources. Tariffs and subsidies have spurred the growth of wind and solar, regional emissions markets have imposed costs on carbon, and government funds have poured in to support the development of new, low-carbon technologies. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059997976/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Cities' move toward solar power accelerates in 5 years. American cities looking for cleaner and more reliable electricity resources are increasingly adopting solar power under a broad movement among mayors and councils to make their grids cleaner and less carbon-intensive. In fact, 20 cities, occupying just 0.1 percent of the entire U.S. landmass, now produce 7 percent of all photovoltaic solar energy in the country, according to a new report from the nonprofit group Environment America. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059997974/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Eric Garcetti signs waste franchise plan to expand recycling. A major expansion of the city’s recycling program was launched Tuesday as Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law a new waste franchise agreement to expand recycling to businesses and apartments. “This is one of the most ambitious programs of its kind,” Garcetti said at a City Hall news conference where he was surrounded by the Zero Waste Coalition. Posted. http://www.dailynews.com/article/20140415/NEWS/140419527 OPINIONS Public Attitudes About Climate Change. Ted Nordhaus and Michael Shellenberger (“Global Warming Scare Tactics,” Op-Ed, April 9) embrace uncritically what can be called the ultimate technocratic illusion: that whatever we human beings do to our habitat can be fixed by a rescue technology. Just as the American media are beginning, belatedly, to take seriously the dire effects of climate change, the writers scold these efforts as “fear-based.” Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/04/15/opinion/public-attitudes-about-climate-change.html A backup plan for climate change. OF ALL the reports that the U.N.-chartered Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has released over the last several months, this week’s might be the most distressing. The authoritative body of scientists, economists and other experts previously warned that the planet is warming, that humans are primarily responsible and that uncontrolled climate change would have a range of unwelcome effects. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/a-backup-plan-for-climate-change/2014/04/15/6894b8c0-c41c-11e3-b195-dd0c1174052c_story.html Climate change has arrived. The following editorial appeared in the Miami Herald on Monday, April 14: In case there was still any doubt, and there shouldn't be at this point, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group of scientists, has made it official: Climate change is not coming, it's already here. And it's going to get worse unless the whole world - especially the industrial world - greatly reduces greenhouse emissions causing global warming. Posted. Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/2014/04/15/6325590/climate-change-has-arrived.html#storylink=cpy Slogging forward on climate-change. THE WORLD now has a rough deadline for action on climate change. Nations need to take aggressive action in the next 15 years to cut carbon emissions, in order to forestall the worst effects of global warming, says the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Expect a certain part of our political class to insist that man-made climate change is not consensus science, and that until it is, nothing should be done. Posted. http://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2014/04/15/climate-change-skeptics-don-deserve-veto/NsUEz1Epj9SjQchg2GIqoN/story.html Turn the tide on climate change: Try vegan for Earth Day. The recently released United Nations report Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability might alter your plans for Earth Day on April 22. It confirms that climate change is having an impact on every continent, affecting agriculture, human health, ecosystems, water supplies and even some people's livelihoods, but it also indicates that we can still turn the tide if we take significant steps to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2014/04/16/3294806/turn-the-tide-on-climate-change.html#storylink=cpy BLOGS A Risk Analyst Explains Why Climate Change Risk Misperception Doesn’t Necessarily Matter. David Ropeik, the risk communication consultant and author of “How Risky is it, Really? Why Our Fears Don’t Always Match the Facts,” had some concerns about the way I characterized our “inconvenient minds” in my TEDx talk in Portland, Ore., over the weekend. He’s right, of course. The 19-minute presentation on how, with sustained work…Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/16/a-risk-analyst-explains-why-climate-change-risk-misperception-doesnt-necessarily-matter/ A Green Group Sees Hope in ‘The End of China’s Coal Boom’. Through much of its history, Greenpeace has been big on what I call “woe is me, shame on you” messaging on the environment. As I explained at a TEDx event in Portland, Ore., over the weekend, fingerpointing (including Greenpeace’s) is appropriate in many instances, but doesn’t work well with human-driven global warming. The blame game too often ends up resembling a circular firing squad. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2014/04/15/a-green-group-sees-hope-in-the-end-of-chinas-coal-boom/?_php=true&_type=blogs&action=click&module=Search®ion=searchResults&mabReward=csesort%3Ah&url=http%3A%2F%2Fquery.nytimes.com%2Fsearch%2Fsitesearch%2F%3Faction%3Dclick%26region%3DMasthead%26pgtype%3DHomepage%26module%3DSearchSubmit%26contentCollection%3DHomepage%26t%3Dqry671%23%2Fair%2Bpollution%2F24hours%2F&_r=0 Environmentalists slam Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill. Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s revised drought bill is coming under increasing attack from the left even as the California Democrat tries to woo Republicans to speed the bill’s passage through the Senate without committee consideration. More than a dozen environmental groups, including Sierra Club California, Audubon California…Posted. http://blog.sfgate.com/nov05election/2014/04/15/environmentalists-slam-dianne-feinsteins-drought-bill/ California Trails Texas in Wind Power, Says New Report. The commercial wind industry was born in California, and the state has one of the strongest renewable energy incentive programs in the country. Still, when it comes to wind, Texas has us beat by a long shot, according to a new report from the Washington, D.C.-based American Wind Energy Association. California generates 5,829 megawatts of wind energy, compared with 12,354 megawatts in the Lone Star State. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/science/2014/04/15/california-trails-texas-in-wind-power-says-new-report/ The brink of disaster, the edge of salvation. Three United Nations sponsored climate reports were just released that clearly point to the dangers of a changing climate. The three reports show that dramatic cuts in greenhouse emissions must proceed with all due haste to belay the most harmful effects of climate change. In other words we have a major problem but there is a way out. There is hope. Posted. http://blog.timesunion.com/lawrencewhite/the-brink-of-disaster-the-edge-of-salvation/924/ How CPUC's Robert Weisenmiller sees California's energy future. Before its retirement in 2012, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station (SONGS) represented about 16 percent of the local electricity generation supply covering an average of 1.4 million homes serviced by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas & Electric and the city of Riverside in southern California. Posted. http://www.greenbiz.com/blog/2014/04/16/how-cpucs-robert-weisenmiller-sees-californias-energy-future?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+greenbuzz+(GreenBiz) Four Ways The U.S. Military Can Adopt Clean Energy For National Security. At the U.S. Defense Department, the multiple national security threats created by sea level rise and severe weather command daily attention; climate change has been on its radar for years. The recently published Quadrennial Defense Report (QDR), an assessment of U.S. defense readiness, addresses the growing threat that climate change poses to military capabilities and global operations. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/edfenergyexchange/2014/04/16/four-ways-the-u-s-military-can-adopt-clean-energy-for-national-security/#./?&_suid=139766688649509169351091921758 California Plans For A Hydrogen Future. The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development for the State of California (nicknamed “GO-Biz”) held an event at the Toyota USA Automobile Museum yesterday. The topic was “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric Vehicles and Infrastructure in Your Neighborhood: A state and local workshop.” After opening remarks, approximately 150 attendees from automotive manufacturers, state and local government…Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jasonfogelson/2014/04/15/california-plans-for-a-hydrogen-future/#./?&_suid=1397667900413083215336916282 Scaling Wind — Informative, Short Documentary On Moving US Wind Energy Ahead. Scaling Wind, directed by Michelle Nunez, and produced by GreenTech Films, is an informative 30-minute documentary showcasing the benefits and challenges of reaching 20% wind energy by 2030 in the US. The film shows how the goal started, with a 2006 State of the Union address by George W. Bush. His suggestion of getting 20% wind energy by 2030 was one solution to getting off fossil fuels. Posted. http://cleantechnica.com/2014/04/16/scaling-wind-informative-short-documentary-moving-us-wind-energy-ahead/#SqRkMSz1Cc7E0gY3.99 There’s Still Time to Profit From This Renewable Energy Technology. Among the many secrets to successful investing, one of the most powerful is to identify promising sectors that haven’t seen much interest… then wait for the masses to catch up. In the technology sector, this usually happens with unfamiliar areas, where investors will only go halfway. For example, they’ll buy a solar panel company, but won’t peel back the layers to reveal even better opportunities, such as microinverter companies. Posted. http://www.wallstreetdaily.com/2014/04/15/solar-energy-solar-stocks/ Here comes an app to tie your carbon footprint with what you buy. Summary: Startup Oroeco is tying financial data from Mint with carbon emissions data, in the hopes that their app will be compelling enough to change user behavior. There are plenty of apps out there that help people calculate and lower their carbon footprints, but the reality is that most of these apps receive little use — they’re just not that compelling and useful. Posted. http://gigaom.com/2014/04/16/here-comes-an-app-to-tie-your-carbon-footprint-with-what-you-buy/ Renters: Minimize Your Carbon Footprint. Apartment living offers the advantage that as a tenant, you aren’t required to take responsibility for matters like upkeep, waste disposal and even energy use in communal areas. But what if you do want to take responsibility for your own carbon footprint and you want your efforts to extend beyond driving a hybrid vehicle and buying sustainable goods? Fortunately, you don’t need to own a home to make your lifestyle more eco-friendly. Posted. http://blog.allstate.com/renters-minimize-carbon-footprint/ A Timely Reminder From the CSLB and a Funny Acronym to Boot. Growing up in Sacramento, California I remember it being so hot that you could feel your tennis shoes stick to the asphalt on the playground. As California enters its worst drought in 119 years concern over water has spawned a well drilling boon. Our ever vigilant (and prescient) California Contractors State License Board has sent out this timely reminder: Posted. http://calconstructionlawblog.com/2014/04/15/its-hot-out-there-a-timely-reminder-from-the-cslb/ If You Were Watching "Game of Thrones" Last Night, You Missed Neil Tyson's Solution to Global Warming. Last night's episode of Fox's Cosmos series didn't seem political or controversial, at least on the surface. Rather, it introduced us to the world on the molecular and atomic scale, at one point venturing inside of a dewdrop (packed with extremely cool tiny organisms like tardigrades) and, later, inside of a plant cell. Posted. http://www.motherjones.com/environment/2014/04/neil-tyson-cosmos-chloroplasts-climate-change Novel technique produces ethanol from carbon monoxide. Ethanol may be touted as a more eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels, but it's not without its own drawbacks. Most importantly, the corn or other plants required as feedstock often take up field space that could otherwise be put to use growing food crops. Also, as with other plants, the feedstock crops require large amounts of water and fertilizer. Posted. http://www.gizmag.com/ethanol-carbon-monoxide/31658/ Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid is the full package. At next week's Beijing Motor Show, Volvo is set to introduce a new member of its plug-in hybrid family. The company has had success with the world's first diesel PHEV, the V60 plug-in hybrid, but the new S60L is dubbed a PPHEV. The extra P stands for petrol. Unsurprisingly given the debut location, the S60L PPHEV is a vehicle that is destined for the Chinese market. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2014/04/16/volvo-s60l-petrol-plug-in-hybrid/ California is in a drought emergency. Visit www.SaveOurH2O.org for water conservation tips.