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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 3, 2011

Posted: 03 Jun 2011 11:53:18
California Air Resources Board News Clips for June 3, 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.


Mecca toxic shipments trigger audit.  The new director of the
state Department of Toxic Substances Control said Thursday that
she has ordered an outside audit to determine why the agency
allowed thousands of hazardous materials shipments to a plant in
Mecca that had no permit to accept such waste.  The new director,
Debbie Raphael, made the announcement during a news briefing at
an elementary school in the rural community, where residents say
strong odors from the plant sickened some people, including
schoolchildren.  Posted. 

Home Depot sued over sale of illegal paints.  LOS ANGELES -- As
part of a crackdown on pollutants blamed for causing much of the
region's smog, air regulators and several local governments have
sued Home Depot Inc. for selling illegal paints and other
products.  Two related lawsuits filed Thursday allege that from
2007 to 2010, the nation's largest home improvement chain sold
paints, wood lacquers and other coatings that contained excessive
levels of smog-forming chemicals.  According to the lawsuits, the
illegal products were sold at more than two dozen stores across
Southern California, even after the company was notified that it
was breaking local air regulation laws.  Posted. 




Government does a fine job not cleaning the air.  A couple of air
related issues caught my attention recently via the newspaper,
emails and phone tips.  Let me boil it down for you -- CRAZY. 
There is no other way to explain what's going on in California. 
Lets start with the federal Environmental Protection Agency.  Did
you all read where they OK'd a new natural gas fired power plant
in the San Joaquin Valley and exempted it from current air
quality standards?  Posted. 


PROGRAM.   The first U.S. market for forest carbon offset
projects implemented anywhere in the U.S. will open in 2012.  The
state of California, as in so many things, is poised for a first.
Under its Global Warming Solutions Act, known as AB32, the Golden
State will establish the nation’s first compliance carbon market
to allow forest carbon offsets. When it opens, California’s
carbon market will be the second largest in the world, after the
European Union, and the largest in North America. New England’s
Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, is currently North
America’s only compliance market for carbon emissions but does
not allow forest carbon offsets.  Posted. 

As carbon emissions trading begins to shrink, the voluntary
market expands.  NEW YORK -- The market for voluntary trades in
greenhouse gas emissions offsets expanded by an impressive margin
last year, even as the compliance market shrank globally over the
same period.  A survey of voluntary carbon traders found that the
volume of voluntary credits trading hands in 2010 expanded by
almost 34 percent over the prior year.  Offset traders also say
they expect the voluntary carbon market to remain healthy in the
short term, with most anticipating activity to expand by about 60
percent over the course of 2011.  Posted.  BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY

Soaring emissions.  ISN’T it odd, asks Henry Waxman, a Democratic
congressman from California, how the same Republicans who make
such a fuss about abortion do not seem to care if the unborn are
poisoned by toxic chemicals such as mercury? Isn’t it strange,
Republicans retort, that people like Mr Waxman, who profess to
care about working Americans, cheer on bureaucrats determined to
smother business and destroy jobs? It may be hard to discern amid
the melodramatic rhetoric, but the two sides are talking about
the Environmental Protection Agency, and the various new rules it
has in the works to curb pollution. Besides the endless toing and
froing about government spending, it has become the most fiercely
debated topic in Congress.  Posted. 

Using West's oil shale would pump up greenhouse gases. 
WASHINGTON — Oil shale in the American West might contain three
times the oil of Saudi Arabia, but getting it out of the ground
would require much more energy than drilling for conventional oil
does, and the result would be more greenhouse-gas emissions. 
Department of Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne announced
proposed regulations last week to start a commercial oil-shale
program on public lands in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming. He said
that with gasoline around $4 a gallon, "we need to be doing more
to develop our own energy here at home, through resources such as
oil shale."  Posted. 


Inhaling Port of Oakland.  When I moved to Alameda several years
ago, no one mentioned the significant air pollution here. I
expected fresh air from onshore breezes coming in from the bay
but discovered that I cannot sleep with my windows open at night
due to the horrid stink that would suddenly come streaming across
into my bedroom.  And far too often, upon opening my front door
in the morning, I walked out into a wall of stink. "I love the
smell of napalm in the morning" quickly became my joke at 6 a.m.
on weekdays as I headed down my Victorian's stairs. But this is
not funny.  Posted. 


CARB: Clean Fuel Use by Ships Reduced Coastal Pollution. 
SACRAMENTO (LOG NEWS SERVICE) — A major 2010 state-federal
atmospheric research project has found that California’s
first-in-the-nation regulation requiring oceangoing vessels to
use clean fuel when near the coast has been extremely effective
in reducing sulfur dioxide pollution from ships.  The data were
gathered during a study organized by the California Air Resources
Board and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. 
“These scientific findings clearly demonstrate that ships off our
coast are now emitting significantly less sulfur pollution than
in the past,” said CARB Chairwoman Mary D. Nichols.  Posted. 

Biofuels Future That U.S. Covets Takes Shape -- in Brazil.
Amyris, perhaps the hottest biofuel company around, seems like
the model American startup.  Few can match its pedigree. Several
years ago, Amyris helped create a landmark achievement in
medicine, engineering microbes to produce an expensive
antimalarial drug. Related tricks, it later found, can create a
liquid fuel similar to diesel. Well-heeled partners lined up at
its door. The company went public last fall, and its stock has
only risen since.  Posted. 

Local Propel stations offering diesel fuel made with recycled
vegetable oils.  Redwood City-based Propel Fuels, a retailer of
clean, renewable fuels, today began selling B20 biodiesel at two
of the company's Sacramento area stations.  Propel is now selling
B20 at 8090 Folsom Blvd., in Sacramento and 999 Sunrise Ave., in
Roseville.  Propel's B20 is a blend of 20 percent, American-made
biodiesel and 80 percent petro-diesel. It's sourced from recycled
vegetable oils and touted as promoting longer engine life and
reduced emissions.  Posted. 


A 'Big Thumbs Up' for Renewable Energy.  BRUSSELS — Governments
around the world have pledged emissions cuts aimed at keeping
global warming below levels that could set off runaway climate
change. So what proportion of the low-carbon energy needed to
meet those goals will come from sources like the wind, sun and
waves?  Most renewable sources are abundant, practically
inexhaustible and far more climate friendly than fossil fuels.
Some companies making equipment to harness these energies are
growing rapidly.  Posted. 

U.K. 'zero emissions' housing development misses target, but
satisfies most residents.  LONDON -- Nine years after opening its
doors as the United Kingdom's first carbon-neutral housing
development, the "Beddington Zero Emissions Development," known
as BedZED, is underperforming its carbon targets but easily
meeting the expectations of its residents. There is a long list
of people waiting to move in.  With its visually striking and
brightly colored weather-vane ventilation cowlings, rooftop
gardens, photovoltaic (PV) panels and unique building design, the
community of 100 apartments stands out from the usual two-up,
two-down suburban red-brick houses about 10 miles south of
Central London.  Posted. BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY 


Barack Obama, Detroit on collision course.  Detroit’s major
automakers are ready for Round Two in their battle with the Obama
administration over fuel economy standards, and this time,
they’re hoping new leverage will give them the punching power
they need.  In 2009, President Barack Obama pushed through the
first increase in gas mileage standards in decades, signing a
rule that will raise fuel economy standards to 35.5 miles per
gallon by 2016. Now he’s back for more, with plans that could
raise standards for cars and light-duty trucks as high as 62 mpg
by 2025.  Posted. 

Electric-vehicle technology accelerates toward tipping point. 
When oil hit a record price of $147 a barrel in July 2008, it was
a game-changing moment that sparked a serious push to create
electric cars and hybrid electric engines that could help wean
Americans off oil. Today, crude is back over $100 a barrel and
the payoff is the first generation of mass-produced electric cars
rolling off production lines.  Interest in electric vehicles has
ebbed and flowed with the price of oil over the past three
decades, but something new is clearly afoot. General Motors and
Nissan already have electric cars on the streets of major U.S.
cities, and intensified battery research is bringing down costs. 
Posted.  http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_18195343?nclick_check=1 

Tesla’s Tightrope: Making Electric Cars for the Masses.  Tesla
Motors, the most prominent electric-car start-up in the field, is
fighting to survive as an independent company. That’s pretty much
what’s behind its drive to raise more money for its new-car
programs. Without a more diverse and profitable product line,
including cheaper — and cheaper to make — cars, Tesla will get
swallowed up by a bigger player, and probably soon.  Posted. 


A Geographer Pushes Climate Panel and Academia to Reach Out. 
Edward Carr, a geographer at the University of South Carolina,
took umbrage last year when the Intergovernmental Panel on
Climate Change urged him and more than 800 other authors
contributing to the next batch of climate assessments by the
group to “keep a distance from the media.” (That same mailing
included a three-page brochure prepared by consultants that,
among other things, advised the scientists not to use terms
including uncertainty, risk and significant. “To avoid the risk
of being misunderstood, avoid them,” the scientists were
advised.)  Posted. 

Yep, it’s safe to start fretting about carbon again.  In 2008 and
2009, the world was in the grips of a brutal recession and there
wasn't much to be cheerful about. There was, however, one tiny
consolation: Greenhouse gas emissions were plummeting, thanks to
reduced energy use, and it looked like all those worries about
global warming could be put on hold for a bit — or at least
temporarily postponed. But the reprieve turned out to be more
temporary than expected. The International Energy Agency has just
released new data showing that carbon dioxide emissions shot way
back up in 2010, thanks to rapid growth in developing countries. 

Carbon President: Why does Obama keep OK’ing big fossil-fuel
projects?  In our globalized world, old-fashioned geography is
not supposed to count for much: mountain ranges, deep-water
ports, railroad grades -- those seem so 19th century. The Earth
is flat, or so I remember somebody saying.  But those nostalgic
for an earlier day, take heart. The Obama administration is
making its biggest decisions yet on our energy future and those
decisions are intimately tied to this continent's geography.
Remember those old maps from your high-school textbooks that
showed each state and province's prime economic activities? A
sheaf of wheat for farm country?  Posted. 

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