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newsclips -- Newsclips for September 7, 2011

Posted: 07 Sep 2011 10:31:26
California Air Resources Board News Clips for September 7, 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.


5 Air Pollution Facts and Myths.  Extreme heat across much of the
U.S. this week is triggering potentially unhealthy levels of air
pollution, at least for those especially sensitive to dirty air,
according to the Environmental Protection Agency. When air
pollution levels rise, people are wise to stay indoors, or at
least avoid heavy exertion outdoors when ozone levels are highest
(typically in the afternoon and evening on hot summer days). That
message should be particularly heeded by the elderly, babies and
young children, and those with asthma, emphysema or other lung
and heart conditions.  Posted. 

The 20 States with the Most Toxic Air.  Coal- and oil-fired power
plants produce almost half the toxic air pollution in the U.S.,
according to a new report by the Natural Resources Defense
Council and Physicians for Social Responsibility, which
identifies the 20 states with the biggest polluters and the worst
air quality.  For those who follow these issues, the results are
not at all shocking. Some states have big, old power plants that
have been around since before the Clean Air Act was passed. 


Professor turns to law to protect climate work.  A former
University of Virginia professor who has drawn the ire of climate
change skeptics is entering the legal fray over a conservative
group’s pursuit of his emails and documents related to his work. 
Attorneys for Michael Mann, now a professor at Pennsylvania State
University, have filed a motion to intervene in a case brought by
the American Tradition Institute’s (ATI) Environmental Law Center
and Delegate Robert G. Marshall, Prince William Republican. 

Climate change sparks concern over future of U.S. breadbasket.
The United States' breadbasket has a seemingly unending supply of
grain, meat, dairy, fruit, vegetable and other food resources.
Those harvests feed many Americans and nations around the world,
but scientists and agronomists are worried that climate change
will hurt growing conditions and production in the Midwest.


California lawmakers OK truck rule, CARB requirement.  A couple
of bills to advance through the California Legislature are
intended to improve safety around certain large vehicles and to
impose a rule on the state’s Air Resources Board.  One bill to
advance through the statehouse would require a construction
vehicle in excess of 14,000 pounds that operates at, or
transports construction or industrial materials to and from, a
mine or construction site to be equipped with an automatic backup
audible alarm.  Dump trucks already are required to be equipped
with backup alarms on construction and mine sites.  Posted. 


State should extend energy levy.  If you're a customer of an
investor-owned utility such as Southern California Edison, among
the line items on your monthly power bill is a 1.5% fee called
the public goods charge. It will go away if it's not renewed by
the Legislature this week — but that would be a mistake, because
it is a vital tool to help the state achieve its ambitious goals
to clean up its power supply and reduce its carbon emissions. 

Solar industry undergoes more reshuffling. Solar equipment
manufacturers are closing down or consolidating in the wake of
falling prices for photovoltaic systems. This year so far,
mergers and acquisitions are up 33 percent in the industry,
totaling $3.3 billion according to Bloomberg. Much of this
activity resulted from Chinese competition on the market, forcing
photovoltaic cell prices to drop 42 percent. Posted.  BY


Big steps forward for fuel-efficient vehicles. The following
editorial appeared in the Kansas City Star on Tuesday, Sept. 6:
Americans are driving more fuel-efficient vehicles and reducing
the demand for gasoline, new figures show. It's an encouraging
development at a time when pump prices remain stubbornly high.
Gasoline consumption fell by 2 percent from January to July of
2011 compared with the same months in 2010, according to the U.S.
Energy Information Administration. Fuel efficiency accounted for
half of the decline, while higher gas prices and consumers
cutting back because of the uncertain economy caused the other
half. Posted. 


In the Land of Denial.  The Republican presidential contenders
regard global warming as a hoax or, at best, underplay its
importance. The most vocal denier is Rick Perry, the Texas
governor and longtime friend of the oil industry, who insists
that climate change is an unproven theory created by “a
substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so
that they will have dollars rolling into their projects.”  Never
mind that nearly all the world’s scientists regard global warming
as a serious threat to the planet, with human activities like the
burning of fossil fuels a major cause.  Posted. 

Solar company's demise spotlights Obama's folly. Last year,
President Barack Obama came to the Bay Area to tout "green jobs"
at an event at solar panel manufacturer Solyndra's Fremont plant.
Quoth the president: "The true engine of economic growth will
always be companies like Solyndra." Last Wednesday, Solyndra
announced it was shuttering its remaining Fremont factory, laying
off 1,100 workers and filing for bankruptcy. It was a sorry day
for the Bay Area. Posted. 

Increasing CAFE standards is only the second-best solution to
greener cars. Higher CAFE standards force manufacturers to build
cars that get better mileage, or at least adjust the mix of
vehicles they sell. In the decades since the first set of CAFE
standards were imposed, we've gone from an average fuel economy
of just 13.1 mpg to a less-awful 22.5 mpg. As time goes on, that
value will increase, as the Obama administration recently set a
target of 54.5 mpg by 2025. Posted. 


Have You Had Your Daily Moment of Climate Dread? Frequent
visitors here know about my comparison of shifting concerns about
human-driven climate change to water sloshing in a shallow pan —
lots of motion but little real significance. Today The Onion took
a bitingly amusing look at the (lack of) depth of climate worries
in America in a piece titled, “We Need To Do More When It Comes
To Having Brief, Panicked Thoughts About Climate Change.” Posted.

Wind Industry Lobbies for Tax-Credit Extension. So far 2011 has
been a good year f0or wind energy projects. Installations in the
first six months of 2011 were almost double what they were in the
comparable period in 2010 in terms of total megawatts (2,151
versus 1,250), according to the American Wind Energy Association.

Policing Your Power-Hungry Appliances. Before they leave the
house, my friends in England literally pull the plugs on many of
their appliances.Perhaps it’s a vestigial reflex from the old
days, when Victorian houses still had less-than-safe 220-volt
lines tacked to the walls. But for whatever reason, when we’re
off to the pub in Hertfordshire, the plugs to the television,
electric teakettle and other power-hungry products are yanked
before we go. Posted. 

CarbFix: A Revolutionary Experiment To Trap Away CO2 Forever by
Turning It Into Harmless Rock.  Iceland is well know for its use
of renewable energy, particularly geothermal energy, but soon the
country could be combating climate change in a very different,
but equally innovative way. Sometime this month, the group of
American and Icelandic designers and researchers behind the
CarbFix experiment will begin pumping “seltzer water” into a deep
hole on the edge of a volcano to lock away carbon dioxide —
forever. The carbonated liquid will react with the basalt rock
that lies deep beneath the surface to form limestone, meaning
that the CO2 will never be able to escape and warm our planet. 

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