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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 31, 2011. Posted: 31 Jan 2011 12:08:36
California Air Resources Board News Clips for January 31, 2011. 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. AIR POLLUTION Valley Air District Highlights Progress Against Pollution. But not much has changed, according to some measures. A television commercial by the local air district touts the winter of 2009-10 as the Valley's cleanest on record, but is that true? Yes -- with an asterisk. The number of days with a "good" air-quality index has risen sharply over the past decade as the number of unhealthy days plummeted. But by another yardstick, the district's claim is debatable. The Valley's air last year violated standards for soot and fine-particle pollution nearly as often as it did 10 years ago, according to state records. Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/01/31/v-print/1751218/valley-air-district-highlights.html EPA Proposes No Changes To Carbon Monoxide Limits. The current air quality standards for carbon monoxide (CO) are strong enough to protect public health, U.S. EPA said today as the agency issued a proposal to keep the existing limits. Carbon monoxide is best known for its ability to reach dangerously high levels in homes, but the poisonous gas is also regulated under the Clean Air Act because elevated levels outdoors can lead to health problems. It is released mainly from the tailpipes of cars and other pieces of equipment that use combustion engines. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/01/31/2 EPA Wants To Keep Exemption For Toxic Refinery Emissions. U.S. EPA has signaled that it won't reverse a George W. Bush-era policy that lets refineries burn some byproducts without treating them as toxic waste, drawing scorn from environmentalists, who had asked the incoming Obama administration to rethink the rule. Under the policy, which was put in place in 2008, refineries can burn more than 300,000 tons of sludge and other oily materials in gasifiers each year without being subject to the storage and reporting requirements of the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA) or the Clean Air Act rules that set limits on emissions from solid waste incinerators. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/01/31/3 CLIMATE CHANGE Gov. Jerry Brown Is Facing Tricky Environmental And Energy Issues In California. California Gov. Jerry Brown's decisions regarding environmental and energy issues will affect public and private spending and public health for the foreseeable future. As Gov. Jerry Brown lays out his first-term agenda Monday, he confronts a thorny array of environmental and energy issues, many with a potential to drive billions of dollars in state and private spending and have a major effect on public health. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-brown-environment-20110131,0,3348295,print.story Expiration of Kyoto Would Mean Little for CO2 Markets, EU Says. The possible expiration of the Kyoto Protocol in 2012 would mean “very little” for carbon markets because they are driven by national targets, a senior European Union official said. The EU, which runs the world’s biggest carbon cap-and-trade program, may need a “reflection” on the 1997 global agreement after some developed countries said they won’t commit to future limits under the treaty starting in 2013, said Jos Delbeke, director general for climate at the European Commission. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-01-31/expiration-of-kyoto-protocol-would-mean-little-for-carbon-markets-eu-says.html Green Exchange to Offer California Carbon Contracts, Chief Says. Green Exchange Holdings LLC plans to offer carbon-dioxide futures contracts for California’s cap-and- trade program, said Thomas Lewis, the chief executive officer of the trading hub. “We’re writing contracts as we speak to issue in the California market,” Lewis said today at a conference in Washington on carbon markets hosted by the Commodity Futures Trading Commission. Green Exchange is a New York-based trading hub for pollution rights whose owners include CME Group Inc., Goldman Sachs Group Inc. and JPMorgan Chase & Co. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2011-01-31/green-exchange-to-offer-california-carbon-contracts-hub-s-chief-says.html Winter Storms Don't Undermine Global Warming Science, Climate Experts Say. Tree limbs snap, the power goes out, the car needs digging out again. Along with the grumbling about winter snow there's also a common curiosity: So what does all this say about global warming? How can the average world temperature be inching up and 2010 be tied for the warmest year ever, when places from North Carolina to New England get buried by whopper winter storms? There are several scientific explanations that help sweep away the snow confusion. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/01/30/1534606/winter-storms-dont-undermine-global.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/01/30/2252908/winter-storms-dont-undermine-global.html#storylink=misearch Study: Arctic Waters Are Warmest In 2,000 Years. Water flowing into the Arctic Ocean from the North Atlantic is the warmest it's been in at least 2,000 years, reports a new international study that's bad news for climate change as well as polar bears needing sea ice for survival. Waters of the Fram Strait, which runs between Greenland and the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, have warmed about 3.5 degrees Fahrenheit over the past 100 years, according to the study published in the Jan. 28 issue of the journal Science. Posted. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/greenhouse/post/2011/01/arctic-waters-warmest-2000-years/1?csp=34 Bankers Learn Climate Science. At the woods' edge, small groups of HSBC technology managers, armed with clipboards and measuring tapes, meticulously determine the circumference of specially tagged trees down to a tenth of an inch. They're wearing bright orange vests because it's deer-hunting season, and though field science isn't in their job descriptions, their employer, HSBC bank, wants them to understand climate change. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/28/AR2011012806024.html Senate GHG Bill Would Strike Down Federal, Some State Regs. Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) will introduce a bill later today that would prohibit federal agencies from regulating greenhouse gas emissions and also limit states' ability to implement carbon dioxide laws. The measure would prevent the federal government from regulating greenhouse gas emissions for their effects on climate change, according to a source familiar with the bill. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/01/31/1 Europe's Carbon Emissions Trading -- Growing Pains Or Wholesale Theft? New York -- Have criminals found a lucrative niche in carbon markets? Previously, many bankers and traders said no, insisting that one-off incidents involving theft or cheating in Europe's Emissions Trading System (ETS) were isolated events attributable mostly to the youth of the market. Advocates of a cap-and-trade approach to tackling climate change said that such growing pains are inevitable, but regulators and legitimate market participants would get better at warding off abuses. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/01/31/3 U.N. Chief Says Climate Change Is No Longer His Top Issue. United Nations -- The tenor of international climate negotiations has changed, and the United Nations' top leadership is changing with it, officials here are saying. While tackling climate change will remain a central issue, it will no longer be the top issue for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, Ban's office said. The U.N. chief will still press for action on climate change, but in the context of the broader fight to achieve sustainable development, including through the advocacy of greener business practices, clean energy deployment, and tackling environmental degradation in the developing world. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/01/31/4 FUELS Are Some Local Gas Stations Breaking The Law? Almost 1,000 stations in California are not in compliance with a state order from Oct. 15 involving gasoline pumps. If you use one of those clips that lets you automatically pump gasoline into your car, there's a one in 12 chance the gas station you're patronizing is breaking the law. State officials estimate almost 1,000 of California's 12,000 service stations have not yet complied with an Oct. 15 order from the State Fire Marshal to remove the hands-free pumping clips from so-called VST nozzles. About 3,000 California stations had those particular nozzles last fall. Posted. http://danville.patch.com/articles/are-some-local-gas-stations-breaking-the-law-2 Global Methane Accounts May Be Misleading. Estimates on the potential for greenhouse gas sequestration from lakes and rivers may be off by up to 25 percent. Freshwater resources have shown to be efficient carbon sinks, sucking excess carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and helping slow the creep of climate change. However, these same lakes also emit methane, a gas with 20 to 30 times the heat-trapping potential of carbon dioxide. The research, published in Science, compiled methane (CH4) emission data from 474 freshwater lakes, streams, rivers and reservoirs throughout the world. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/01/31/5 GREEN ENERGY New Electricity Meters Stir Fears. Inverness Park, Calif. — Pacific Gas and Electric’s campaign to introduce wireless smart meters in Northern California is facing fierce opposition from an eclectic mix of Tea Party conservatives and left-leaning individualists who say the meters threaten their liberties and their health. In the San Francisco Bay Area, “Stop Smart Meters” signs and bumper stickers have been multiplying on front lawns and cars. Four protesters have been arrested for blocking trucks seeking to deliver the meters. Since 2006, PG&E has installed more than seven million of the devices, which transmit real-time data on customers’ use of electricity. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/science/earth/31meters.html?_r=1&ref=science&pagewanted=print Lighting Switch Requires A Change In Mind-Set. America, prepare to embrace "lumens." For more than a century, buying light bulbs has been a fairly straightforward transaction: consumers have judged pear-shaped incandescent bulbs by how much wattage, or power, they consume. But the government wants the next generation of bulbs to be measured by their brightness. And that means lumens. In a nation with 4.4 billion light sockets, it's a tall order. "It's a big deal, and it's going to take a while for customers to get used to the difference," said Jorge Fernandez, who buys light bulbs for Home Depot. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/30/AR2011013003415_pf.html http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2011/01/31/13 ENERGY: New Financing Powers Panels For Residents. Solar panel prices overreach many homeowners' budgets, no matter how green they want to be; but recently new companies have eliminated upfront costs, bringing solar power costs down to earth. Homeowners looking to reduce their contribution to global warming or save money on electric bills often consider installing solar panels, especially in North San Diego and Southwest Riverside counties, where the sun shines hot and often. Posted. http://www.nctimes.com/business/article_747f776f-2daf-5bc1-86d7-bc049532b7a0.html Can The U.S. Help Its Solar Power Industry Reach Financial Liftoff? First of a four-part series. "This is our generation's Sputnik moment," President Obama said at the top of his State of the Union address to Congress last week. He was expressing a vision of his administration's high-stakes campaign to help American companies claim leadership in future clean energy technologies. Behind the rhetoric is a thrust by the administration to target federal investments in technology on ways to dramatically change energy use across the economy -- in transportation, electricity generation, industrial processes and building design. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2011/01/31/1 VEHICLES A Hybrid Made for the Highway. HIGHWAY driving is not where hybrids shine. Typically, their fuel economy gains are most impressive in town, where low-speed driving is powered by electricity and efficiency is aided by a regenerative braking system. The Hyundai Sonata Hybrid was engineered to level the playing field a bit for drivers who spend more time commuting on the highway than sitting in stop-and-go traffic. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/automobiles/30HYBRID.html?_r=1&scp=1&sq=green%20vehicles&st=cse Three Green Machines. Fiat is not the only automaker with something to show off. Other highlights at this year's Washington Auto Show: Herndon-based Volkswagen Group of America introduced the new Passat TDI, a sedan it said can achieve a fuel economy of 43 miles per gallon. Starting at $20,000, the car was assembled at the company's newly built production facility in Chattanooga, Tenn. Volkswagen has also set a 2012 debut for its new hybrid Jetta and electric Golf models. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/28/AR2011012805981.html Gene and the Machine: The Shocking Truth About The Electric Volt. Here's the hyphen-heavy heap of hype on the Chevy Volt, GM's new, highly touted plug-in hybrid electric car: It's packing a 16-kilowatt-hour lithium-ion battery. It has a 1.4-liter, 16-valve, 4-cylinder, in-line gasoline engine fed by a 9.3-gallon fuel tank. It's got front-wheel drive and does a peppy 8.8-second zero-to-60. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/21/AR2011012105347.html MISCELLANEOUS 7-Eleven Experiments With Eco-Friendly Stores. At the 7-Eleven across from the Shusse Inari shrine here, the glare of fluorescent light bulbs that is synonymous with convenience stores has been replaced by the soft glow of light-emitting diodes, or LEDs, that consume half the energy and last much longer. The store, which opened a year ago here in the birthplace of the Kyoto Protocol, is the prototype of the latest eco-friendly 7-Eleven, one of 100 that will be open in Japan by the end of February. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/business/energy-environment/31green31.html?scp=3&sq=green%20vehicles&st=cse OPINION Mr. Obama's New Energy. ENERGY POLICY was near the top of President Obama's agenda in his State of the Union address Tuesday - a topic so politically toxic last year that Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) ran a campaign ad in which he shot a "cap and trade" bill with a hunting rifle. Nearly all Republicans joined Mr. Manchin and other coal-state Democrats in opposing the comprehensive energy plan that Democratic leaders pressed in 2010. Cap-and-trade was a desirable policy, but Congress passed nothing. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/30/AR2011013004012.html Valley Deserves Praise For Efforts To Clean Air. In the San Joaquin Valley, our air-quality challenges are more difficult than those in any other region in the nation. On one hand, we have been given circumstances over which we have no control: The Valley's geography, topography and climate turn our region into a bowl with a lid; pass-through highway traffic brings pollution without any economic benefit; and emissions from the northwest add to our own. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20110129/A_OPINION/101290314 Will That Electric Feeling Last? Charles Lane's Jan. 28 column ["Cold truths on electric avenue," Washington Forum] provided some truths about electric cars and battery technology in cold weather. However, I found it odd that he based his thesis on his gut: "My hunch is that electrics would have faced similar problems or worse." We won't know for sure until side-by-side tests are undertaken among gasoline, diesel, electric and hybrid cars. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/30/AR2011013004238.html Cold Truths On Electric Avenue. Count me among the many thousands of Washington area residents who spent Wednesday night stuck in traffic as a snowstorm sowed chaos all around us. Being car-bound in sub-freezing weather for six hours can make a guy think. I counted my blessings. The situation could have been worse, I realized: My fellow commuters and I could have been trying to make it home in electric cars, like the ones President Obama is constantly promoting, most recently in his State of the Union address. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2011/01/27/AR2011012707040_pf.html BLOGS Top Environmental Priorities For The California PUC. Over the past decade, the California Public Utilities Commission, which regulates the state's investor-owned utilities, has emerged as a leader on policies that provide significant environmental and economic benefits. Governor Brown recently announced two of his three new appointees to the five-member CPUC, and the new Commission should continue to build on this proud track record of environmental leadership. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/blogs/dwang/detail?entry_id=81980 Sustain What? During a recent visit to the University of Connecticut, I was interviewed by Bob Wyss, an associate professor of journalism, for a climate issue of Wrack Lines, the magazine of the Connecticut Sea Grant College Program. The issue is out and contains a variety of interesting articles. In the interview, I articulated a few ideas that are worth posting here, in part as a starting point for you to ask me a question or two, as well. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/30/sustain-what/?scp=6&sq=climate%20change&st=cse Inquiry and Intimidation. I haven’t seen this reported elsewhere — but Republicans in Congress are planning to investigate the Financial Crisis Inquiry Commission, looking for evidence of corruption and wrongdoing. It’s absurd, of course: a tiny commission with a small budget didn’t offer much scope for corruption. But what this is really about is intimidation — in much the same way that investigations of climate scientists are about intimidation. What the GOP wants is to make people afraid even to do research that produces conclusions they don’t like. Posted. http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/01/31/inquiry-and-intimidation/?pagemode=print Why Electric Cars Aren’t Selling. Hong Kong had its worst-ever year in terms of roadside pollution in 2010, according to government data. It also hosts the world’s highest traffic density, says the Clear the Air, a local antipollution organization. But despite rising concern over roadside pollution levels and a government campaign to get consumers and companies to adopt zero-emissions vehicles, electric cars aren’t yet creating much spark. Mitsubishi, EuAuto and Tesla each offer an electric car to Hong Kong consumers to replace gasoline-powered ones, but so far, there have been few takers. As of Dec. 31, just 70 electric cars were registered in Hong Kong. Posted. http://blogs.wsj.com/hong-kong/2011/01/31/why-electric-cars-arent-selling/