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newsclips -- Newsclips for September 21, 2011.

Posted: 21 Sep 2011 12:40:20
California Air Resources Board News Clips for September 21, 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.


Today expected to be a 'Spare the Air' day in region. Dirty, hot
air is predicted to be the order of the day as summer goes out
with a sizzle. Autumn arrives Friday but not before the work week
finishes with temperatures around 100 every day in Sacramento.
The high on Tuesday was 99 degrees. A strong Pacific Ocean high
pressure system is causing the hot spell that has gripped the
Central Valley this week. Along with the expected temperature
today of near 100 degrees is a prediction that the Sacramento
region will reach an unhealthy level of atmospheric pollutants,
making it the fourth "Spare the Air" day this summer. Posted.

Latinos at risk without new pollution standards. Washington --
Latinos would have a higher risk of disease and death without
tougher standards that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
has developed for ozone and toxic emissions, environmental and
Latino groups said Tuesday. Latinos would also be affected more
than other groups because they're more likely to live in polluted
areas, according to a report prepared by the groups.

3rd day of smog warnings in San Francisco. San Francisco—A third
day in San Francisco's smog siege has authorities urging
residents to limit driving and ride bicycles. 
The San Francisco Chronicle (http://bit.ly/oyZr9F) says air
pollution is expected to approach unhealthy levels Wednesday.
Elevated ozone levels have plagued the East Bay region since
Monday. The Bay Area Air Quality Management District's third
Spare the Air Day declaration urges residents to take bikes,
public transit or carpools instead of driving solo, to cook
indoors rather than barbecue and to avoid using gas-powered
gardening equipment. Posted.

Other AP Stories


Study for G20 on raising climate change funding suggests carbon
price, targets fuel subsidies. Amsterdam — Global financial
institutions are recommending raising money to fight climate
change by trimming subsidies for fossil fuels, putting a price
tag of $25 per ton on carbon emissions and collecting a surcharge
on aviation and shipping fuels. The recommendations are part of a
draft paper by the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank
and other international groups prepared for a meeting Friday in
Washington of G20 finance and development ministers. Posted.

Emerging-market CO2 trade unlikely until at least 2020:
researchers. International climate policy should continue to
support the Kyoto Protocol's project-based carbon emissions
reduction mechanism in developing countries because carbon trade
might not materialize in emerging markets in the current decade,
Germany's Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy
said in a government-sponsored policy paper published Tuesday.

Carbon Retirement – the future of offsetting? Carbon trading has
not had the greatest press of late, considering the cyber crime
hitting the European spot markets earlier this year, ongoing
concerns over the efficacy of industrial gas offsets, and the
wave of protest sparked by Australia's proposed cap-and-trade
scheme. Critics have also branded carbon offsets simply a mandate
for polluters to continue polluting and questioned whether the
stated benefits from some projects, most notably forestry and HFC
gas schemes, are quite as significant as they seem. Posted.

AB 32’s Carbon Market Rounding Into Shape. Seems like only
yesterday that those following AB 32 were anticipating the
release of the California Air Resources Board’s (CARB’s) initial
view of the AB 32 Cap and Trade program. That initial version,
known as the Preliminary Draft Regulation (PDR), was made public
in the fall of 2009. It was a document that laid out in broad
strokes the basic structure of the program, but it left many
policy calls for future versions.  We are now only about a month
away from the CARB Board taking final action to approve the fully
detailed program. What a strange trip it’s been. Posted. 

Germany to fund new coal plants with climate change cash.  The
German government wants to encourage the construction of new coal
and gas power plants with millions of euros from a fund for
promoting clean energy and combating climate change.  The plan
has come under stiff criticism, but the Ministry of Economics and
Technology defended the idea. A spokeswoman said it was necessary
as the government switches from nuclear to other renewable energy
sources and added that the money would promote the most efficient
plants possible.  Posted. 


Solyndra Executives to Invoke Fifth Amendment Rights. The top two
executives of a solar-energy company that filed for bankruptcy
after getting $528 million in loan guarantees from the Obama
administration said Tuesday that they will invoke their
constitutional rights against compelled self-incrimination when
they appear at a Congressional hearing. The chief executive of
Solyndra, Brian Harrison, and Bill Stover, the chief financial
officer, hired lawyers in preparation for the hearing this week
before the House Energy and Commerce committee and got advice not
to say anything, according to a representative of the lawyers.

State utility plant wins top rating. The state's central utility
plant downtown has become the third state-owned facility to
receive the highest rating for environmental sustainability. The
U.S. Green Building Council awarded its LEED platinum designation
to the building, which provides chilled water and steam to cool
and heat 23 state-owned buildings in the Capitol area. "This
central plant is one of the most efficient of its kind in the
nation," said Fred Klass, director of the state Department of
General Services. LEED stands for Leadership in Energy and
Environmental Design. Posted.

Clean-tech 'accelerator' Greenstart opens in S.F. Greenstart, an
"accelerator" to boost fledgling clean-technology companies,
opened its reclaimed-wood doors in downtown San Francisco on
Tuesday, the first such enterprise in a city that hopes to become
a hub for clean tech. "I love this term accelerator because we
don't have time to waste; we need this innovation right now to
reduce carbon emissions," said Mayor Ed Lee at a ribbon-cutting
ceremony. Posted.

Clean-energy fund invests in commercial retrofits. Not waiting
for the feds to get their act together on the matter, a Santa
Rosa clean-energy fund is investing an initial $650 million in a
program to finance retrofits, solar installations and other
efficiency upgrades in older commercial buildings nationwide.
Beginning with Sacramento and Miami-Dade County, Ygrene Energy
Fund ( www.ygrene-energy.com) is putting up the capital and
administering the projects as part of its lead role in a private
partnership that also involves Lockheed Martin, Barclays Capital
and the global reinsurer Hannover Re. Posted.

The military’s historic embrace of smart energy.  The U.S.
military's embrace of energy efficiency and renewable energy is
going to be one of the great stories of the coming decade. It
will be a story about technology, the changing face of warfare,
geopolitics in the 21st century, and the struggle to change one
of the world's largest bureaucracies. But it will also be a great
political story. Posted. 


Federal hearings convened in Sacramento bemoan forest rules. A
congressional hearing in Sacramento on Monday provided a stage
for complaints about the U.S. Forest Service, as off-roading
groups, ranchers and others bemoaned access limits and steeper
fees. Held at the state Capitol, the hearing by the House
Subcommittee on National Parks, Forests and Public Lands featured
just two of its 13 Republican members, including Rep. Tom
McClintock of Elk Grove. None of its 10 Democratic members
attended. Posted.


How to Weaken the Power of Foreign Oil. OUR country has just gone
through a sober national retrospective on the 9/11 attacks. Apart
from the heartfelt honoring of those lost — on that day and since
— what seemed most striking is our seeming passivity and
indifference toward the well from which our enemies draw their
political strength and financial power: the strategic importance
of oil, which provides the wherewithal for a generational war
against us, as we mutter diplomatic niceties. Posted. 

Head to Head: After Solyndra, should Congress end – or change –
loan guarantees? THE ISSUE: The bankruptcy filing of
Fremont-based Solyndra in August has cast harsh new light on the
U.S. Department of Energy's loan guarantee program. The solar
panel maker received $534 million in loan guarantees. Now
Congress is investigating whether the company received special
favors from the Obama administration. After Solyndra, should
Congress end – or change – loan guarantees? Posted.

Letters: 'The great global warming swindle'. Santa Ana, Linda
Dean: We're way behind Western Europe, Canada and Latin America
in our enlightenment regarding global warming according to
Register reporter Martin Wisckol [“Perry’s skepticism of
evolution, global warming shared by many,” Sept. 15].  He might
have done better to quote some of the many scientists who
disagree with the current, popular view rather than deriding us
for not following the crowds.  I simply googled “Scientists” view
of global warming' for the following.... Posted.

Selling a Bridge to Nowhere: NREL Lithium/Carbon Metric. Back in
2003, for those who know the history of the second coming of
electric cars, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) was
convinced to rewrite the definition of zero emission vehicles to
include hybrids. About the same time, Chevron was suing everyone
to keep the nickel-metal-hydride battery out of electric
vehicles. However, they became the standard for hybrids. The
movie “Who Killed the Electric Car” may have been inconclusive
but attention did shift to hybrids, which continue to use
gasoline, as the EV was crushed. Posted.


Weaving ‘Climate’ Into ‘Corporate’. A new report finds more
evidence that climate change is gradually moving to the center of
corporate strategy. Virtually every big company in the world now
pays at least lip service to sustainability, and many of them are
starting to take real action to reduce their environmental
footprint. The new report from the Carbon Disclosure Project
finds that for the first time, a majority of companies in the
United States responding to the group’s survey “now integrate
climate change into core business strategy.” Posted.

Banished from the H.O.V. Lane, Prius Drivers May Be First to
Embrace New Plug-In Model. Toyota announced last week that its
plug-in Prius, with 15 miles of all-electric range, will cost
$32,780 when it goes on sale early next year, $8,500 more than
the entry-level Prius Two, which costs $24,280. While it’s worth
noting that the plug-in car is eligible for a $2,500 federal
income tax credit, paying thousands of dollars extra may be a
burden happily shouldered by current Prius owners who lost their
privileges in California’s high-occupancy-vehicle lanes in July,
when the state rescinded their eligibility for single-occupancy
driving in the lanes. Posted. 

Poll Finds Support Among Small Businesses for Tougher Fuel
Economy Standards. Findings from a new poll contradict the
prevailing wisdom that small-business owners are focused on the
twin burdens of regulation and high taxes. Owners are instead
more concerned about economic uncertainty and higher costs,
including expensive fuel. According to the online poll of 1,257
small-business owners, commissioned by the Small Business
Majority, …Posted. 

Ex-Automotive Executives Select Start-Ups for Green Incubator.
Greenstart, a San Francisco green technology start-up accelerator
created by three entrepreneurs with backgrounds in automotive
advertising, pulled the sheets off its first round of investments
on Tuesday afternoon. The four start-ups in the freshman class
will each receive $25,000 to $100,000 in direct investment, as
well as mentoring, work space and networking opportunities
through the three-month accelerator program. Every one of them,
the Greenstart founders hope, will generate revenue within a
year, a short time frame by virtually any small-business
standard, let alone capital-intensive energy ventures. Posted. 

Of Beach Sand, ‘War’ and Carbon. Three years ago, my colleague
Andrew Ross Sorkin caught the British entrepreneur Richard
Branson on his private island in the Caribbean in a pensive
moment. With a little help from his friends, he was thinking hard
about the problem of global warming, and whether he might be able
to help. Fast-forward to now, and we know Mr. Branson’s answer to
his own question. A year after that chin-stroking session on
Necker Island, he founded an outfit called the Carbon War Room in
Washington that is working on solutions. Posted. 

This Machine Can Suck Carbon Out Of The Air.  David Keith is a
bit fidgety. Maybe that's because venture capitalists have asked
to come see his carbon dioxide machine. Maybe it's because the
project is running months behind schedule, as experiments so
often do. Maybe it's because his critics say it'll never work. 
Or maybe it's a taste of excitement, because it seems entirely
possible that the trailer-truck-size machine that he's leaning up
against is actually going to work.  Posted. 

Is The Future of Solar Technology Looking Bright? Experts
Discuss. These are tough times for the solar industry. Companies
such as Evergreen solar and SpectraWatt have filed for
bankruptcy, while most famously, Solyndra, a recipient of tax
dollars under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, closed
up shop this month. On top of this, an excess supply of
photovoltaic (PV) panels, especially from China, is causing price
suppression; cutting the margins for those manufacturers still in
business. Posted. 

The (Real) Lessons from Solyndra. The White House is worried that
the story of Solyndra, the solar power company that filed for
bankruptcy protection after receiving $535 million in loan
guarantees, will follow Obama through the 2012 election season.
I’ve got a feeling it will stay with us even longer than that.
Thomas Friedman once wrote that when historians will look back at
the end of the first decade of the 21st century, they will say
that the most important thing to happen was China’s green leap
forward. My hunch is that the Solyndra episode will be one of the
examples they will use to make their case. Posted. 

The Cleantech Competitive Advantage -one of Six Changes Driving
Business Change. The cleantech-enabled transformation to a
low-carbon, resource-efficient economy may be the next industrial
revolution. Ernst & Young's work on Six Global Trends Shaping the
Business World  list those six trends as: emerging markets
increase their global power, cleantech becomes a competitive
advantage, global banking seeks recovery through transformation,
governments enhance ties with the private sector, rapid
technology innovation creates a smart mobile world, and
demographic shifts transform the global workforce. Posted. 

Tesla Motors opens service center in Hong Kong. As last week came
to a close, Tesla Motors celebrated the grand opening of its
first vehicle service center in Hong Kong. Though the service
center was set up to serve some sort of purpose, Tesla claims the
Roadster: Requires less routine maintenance than conventional
cars, does not need regular oil changes or exhaust system work.
Roadsters have no spark plugs, pistons, hoses, belts or clutches
to replace. Posted. 

Gasoline vehicles soon to be overtaken by CNG, diesel in India.
At a time when gasoline prices frequently fluctuate, cheap
compressed natural gas (CNG) and diesel have started to climb the
fuel-of-choice charts over in India. According to The Times of
India, CNG is so hot that it will soon overtake gasoline as the
fuel that powers the majority of vehicles in India. Of course,
CNG's rise to the top is not related to saving the environment
but to the fact that it's far cheaper than gasoline. Posted. 

Even without H2 cars, Honda opens UK's first public-access
hydrogen station. UK drivers wishing to skip battery electric
vehicles while maintaining "zero-emissions" motoring now have a
new alternative since Honda has opened the UK's first
public-access hydrogen refueling station. Ironically, no
automakers offer a fuel cell vehicle in the UK, not even Honda.
At the moment, Honda has "no plans" to sell the FCX Clarity in
the UK, so we'd argue the hydrogen fueling station is pointless,
but Honda says it's not. Posted. 

Failure is not an option for global climate change talks. Ahead
of the Durban climate change summit, world leaders are demanding
quicker action to avert catastrophe. The B4E Climate Summit,
which took place in London last week, closed with a determined
statement of intent – and a warning. Ambassador NJ
Mxakato-Diseko, the South African ambassador at large to the UN
Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNCCC) talks in Durban
later this year, will announce at Durban that failure is not an
option. Posted.

UK consortium to develop new drivetrain technology for hybrid &
electric vehicles to reduce dependency on rare earth metals. 
UK-based motor control specialist Sevcon Ltd (earlier post) is
leading a collaborative project that includes Cummins Generator
Technologies and Newcastle University’s Power Electronics and
Drives Research Group to develop a new type of electric traction
drive for use in hybrid and pure electric vehicles that will use
steel to replace the rare earth magnets used in motors.  Posted. 

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