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newsclips -- Newsclips for October 31, 2011. Posted: 31 Oct 2011 15:19:38
California Air Resources Board News Clips for October 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 U.S. Embassy air quality data undercut China's own assessments. One day this month, the reading was so high compared with U.S. standards it was listed as 'beyond index.' But China's own assessment that day was that Beijing's air was merely 'slightly polluted.' Perched atop the U.S. Embassy in Beijing is a device about the size of a microwave oven that spits out hourly rebukes to the Chinese government. It is a machine that monitors fine particulate matter, one of the most dangerous components of air pollution … Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-china-air-quality-20111030,0,7090624,print.story Central Calif burn restrictions start Nov. 1. Fresno, Calif. (AP) -- Homeowners across the San Joaquin Valley will have to check with air quality officials before lighting their fireplaces beginning Nov. 1. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control district is going into its ninth season regulating residential wood burning in an effort to reduce airborne particulate pollution. Each day, the district uses weather forecasts to determine whether it is safe to burn. Daily forecasts will be available for each of the valley's eight counties at 4:30 p.m. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/10/28/state/n111348D89.DTL#ixzz1cNnJLNip http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/10/31/2103321/check-before-you-burn-regulation.html http://www.modbee.com/2011/10/28/1923969/central-calif-burn-restrictions.html http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20111031/A_NEWS/110310311/-1/NEWSMAP http://www.chicoer.com/news/ci_19231081 http://www.nctimes.com/news/local/swcounty/article_0004c281-ff4b-5a59-a455-916c0f59a871.html State asks EPA to reconsider new rule. Left unchanged, state and energy company officials say a federal air pollution reduction rule announced in July could lead to rolling blackouts in Louisiana next summer. In addition, state officials say they don't believe Louisiana should even be included in the rule. The Cross State Air Pollution Rule addresses air pollution that creeps over state lines, with a focus on power plants. The Environmental Protection Agency on Oct. 6 announced proposed revisions to the rule. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/oct/31/state-asks-epa-to-reconsider-new-rule/#ixzz1cNa3kRWr CLIMATE CHANGE Green groups give EPA more time on CO2 rule- Green groups said on Saturday they would give the Environmental Protection Agency more time to forge the first-ever plan to regulate carbon dioxide from power plants, the country's single biggest source of greenhouse gases. The Environmental Defense Fund and other green groups that are negotiating with the EPA on the deadline for the plan said they would withhold legal action against the agency until November 30. They, along with New York, California and several other states, had sued the agency to issue the carbon rules. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/30/us-usa-epa-carbon-idUSTRE79S2IO20111030 Analysis: Climate impasse could kill carbon offset investment. The failure of U.N. climate talks to clarify the future of the Kyoto Protocol and its market-based mechanisms could dry up investment in the carbon offset market, possibly threatening prices that are already trading near record lows. A legally binding pact is unlikely to be agreed at the climate summit in Durban, South Africa, which starts November 28, as governments continue to wrangle over emissions cut commitments and climate aid. Many do not see such a deal emerging until 2014 or 2015. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/10/31/us-cdm-investment-climate-idUSTRE79U4YA20111031 Skeptic finds he now agrees global warming is real. Washington -- A prominent physicist and skeptic of global warming spent two years trying to find out if mainstream climate scientists were wrong. In the end, he determined they were right: Temperatures really are rising rapidly. The study of the world's surface temperatures by Richard Muller was partially bankrolled by a foundation connected to global warming deniers. He pursued long-held skeptic theories in analyzing the data. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/30/4017493/skeptic-finds-he-now-agrees-global.html http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2011/10/30/state/n072549D37.DTL http://www.modbee.com/2011/10/30/v-print/1926388/skeptic-finds-he-now-agrees-global.html http://www.presstelegram.com/news/ci_19230407?source=rss Greenhouse-gas tax could inflate airfares. A European program to charge airlines for their greenhouse-gas emissions could raise round-trip ticket prices from the United States by more than $30 starting next year. Environmental groups and some travelers praise the European Union's Emission Trading Scheme as a way to curb climate change. The goal is to spur airlines and manufacturers to build more efficient planes like Boeing's 787 Dreamliner. Posted. http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/story/2011-10-31/Greenhouse-gas-tax-could-inflate-airfares/51018748/1 FUELS Solyndra Critics Sought U.S. Aid for Coal. Republicans who criticized the Obama administration for providing U.S. backing to the failed Solyndra LLC sought such federal loan guarantees for cleaner-coal projects they favored. Senator John Barrasso of Wyoming asked Energy Secretary Steven Chu in a Feb. 8 letter to move the “review process forward” for a project in his state to convert coal to liquid fuel. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-10-31/solyndra-critics-sought-u-s-aid-for-coal.html VEHICLES California high-speed rail will try to turn corner with new business plan. For California's high-speed rail project, it's been an inauspicious autumn. Disparaged for its lack of public outreach, the California High-Speed Rail Authority hired a new deputy director for communications and public policy, Lance Simmens, who introduced himself to Kings County residents – and YouTube viewers everywhere – by falling asleep at a public meeting. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/31/4018410/california-high-speed-rail-will.html#storylink=omni_popular GREEN ENERGY In Colorado, a Power Struggle With the Power Company. Many Americans these days, from the huddled masses of Occupy Wall Street to the coifed confines of the presidential campaign, are talking about the future of capitalism. Here, that debate is focused on electricity, specifically whether this city should, in Tuesday’s election, sever its relationship with a corporate utility and move toward a home-ruled, municipally owned one that would be environmentally greener and locally accountable. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/10/30/us/boulder-seeks-to-take-power-from-the-power-company.html?_r=1&scp=9&sq=green%20energy&st=cse Obama administration announces desert 'solar energy zones'. 'Solar energy zones' — set up in the Mojave and elsewhere in the West by the Bureau of Land Management — are meant to encourage development in areas without environmental or cultural conflicts. The Obama administration on Thursday unveiled its road map for solar energy development, directing large-scale industrial projects to 285,000 acres of desert land in the western U.S. while opening 20 million acres of the Mojave for new development. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-solar-desert-20111028,0,7889585.story Solar firms' flight to Mojave Desert sparks environmental friction. Mojave Desert, Calif. - At first glance, the vast Mojave Desert seems barren: mile after mile of dust, sand and scrubby creosote bush under a blistering sun. But the huge desert, which spans an area larger than West Virginia, is becoming speckled with gigantic solar power plants that are creating hundreds of construction jobs and, when complete, will generate electricity for millions of homes. California's Solar Gold Rush is under way, fueled by billions of dollars of federal stimulus funding and a new state law that requires utilities to buy a third of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/31/v-print/4018880/solar-firms-flight-to-mojave-desert.html ENERGY: Solar power is beginning to go mainstream. Solar energy may finally get its day in the sun. The high costs that for years made it impractical as a mainstream source of energy are plummeting. Real estate companies are racing to install solar panels on office buildings. Utilities are erecting large solar panel “farms” near big cities and in desolate deserts. And creative financing plans are making solar more realistic than ever for homes. Solar power installations doubled in the United States last year and are expected to double again this year. Posted. http://www.pe.com/business/business-headlines/20111029-energy-solar-power-is-beginning-to-go-mainstream.ece Vendor Picked in Gas-for-Trash Scheme. Anaerobic Digester Gets Nod as Conversion Technology for Tajiguas Landfill Project. After years of talking, scheming, and dreaming about fitting the Tajiguas Landfill with an ambitious trash-to-energy conversion technology, Santa Barbara County trash czars have settled on a plan that will generate less political opposition than competing technologies that pack more diversionary punch. They've also settled on a development team of businesspeople out of San Luis Obispo County — Mustang Renewable Power Ventures. Posted. http://www.independent.com/news/2011/oct/31/vendor-picked-gas-trash-scheme/ OPINIONS California’s New Green Tax. As the world retreats from cap and trade, Sacramento signs on. It may be time for California to formally apply for membership in the European Union. Its taxing, borrowing and regulatory policies are already more in line with the southern tier of Euroland than with other U.S. states, and the Golden State has taken another lurch in the Euro-direction by becoming the first jurisdiction in the nation to adopt a full-scale cap-and-trade tax to combat global warming. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203687504576654833439619372.html?mod=googlenews_wsj Dan Morain: Rich soak up solar subsidies. The sun shines on the beachfront mansions of Malibu and La Jolla, just as it does on Compton and Barrio Logan in San Diego. It beams down on the most upscale part of Clovis and its golf course development of Brighton Crest, and on the gritty flats of south and west Fresno. But based on how California policymakers dole out valuable subsidies for solar panels placed on the residential roofs, the poorest parts of our sunny state might as well be on the dark side of the moon. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/10/30/v-print/4015124/rich-soak-up-solar-subsidies.html Visiting editors weigh in on pollution, air travel and elections. When I travel to area schools to present science programs, I often see prominently displayed colored flags that are raised to alert students and community members about each day's air quality. That information is vital to asthma sufferers. The 2010 Stanislaus County Asthma Report Card explained that roughly 13 percent of county residents have experienced asthma. Children under 17 have the highest rate of emergency room visits due to severe asthma events. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/10/29/v-print/1925625/visiting-editors-weigh-in-on-pollution.html California’s costly green subsidies. If there was any doubt about the economic success of state-mandated green programs, it was erased this week after a state Senate hearing about the future of alternate fuels. By the end of the four-hour session, it was clear that environmental special interests are thriving in California. At the hearing, Jane Williams of California Communities Against Toxics threw out statistics and emotional testimony about the increase in asthma in California children caused by vehicle emissions. Posted. http://www.sfexaminer.com/opinion/op-eds/2011/10/california-s-costly-green-subsidies#ixzz1cOYPecBe Our View: Pollution czars plan to choke California business. California foolishly is going where Congress fears to tread, and where even European global warming zealots are backing away. Nevertheless, an unelected, virtually unaccountable board of government overseers has voted unanimously to impose mandatory cap-and-trade regulations on California businesses that will likely kill jobs, chase companies out of state and impose $2 billion in new taxes, all in a Quixotic quest to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, a highly questionable, perhaps meaningless, goal. Posted. http://www.colusa-sun-herald.com/articles/emissions-2519-tcnsyndication-companies-government.html BLOGS A clear and fair incentive to pollute less. This week the U.S. House of Representatives passed a rather unusual bill directly addressed to Europe. Through the European Union Emissions Trading Scheme Prohibition Act H.R. 2594, America’s legislators want to tell American airlines not to respect an EU law. This seems to me a rather unorthodox course of action, but here in the EU we are confident that in the end the United States will respect our legislation, just as the EU respects U.S. legislation and U.S. lawmakers’ authority in U.S. airports. Posted. http://blogs.reuters.com/environment/2011/10/31/a-clear-and-fair-incentive-to-pollute-less/ Cap and trade as food policy. Could cap-and-trade regulations have a place in food policy? That’s the idea behind a recent New England Journal of Medicine paper, which suggests that one way to stem our obesity crisis would be to regulate the total amount of unhealthy food that’s available. Cap and trade was a key part of the 1990 Clean Air Act amendments as a way to regulate acid-rain-causing pollutants like sulfur dioxide. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/cap-and-trade-as-food-policy/2011/10/31/gIQAj226YM_blog.html What is the government doing to go green? Federal agencies are buying more hybrid vehicles, installing energy-efficient light bulbs and using rainwater to hydrate outdoor landscaping as part of the Obama administration’s goals of reducing the government’s carbon footprint. Dozens of federal agencies — from the Pentagon to the Smithsonian — plan to release progress reports Monday on what they’re doing to reduce the government’s carbon footprint after President Obama ordered them to do so back in 2009. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/federal-eye/post/what-is-the-government-doing-to-go-green/2011/10/30/gIQAeIsbYM_blog.html In California, a Final Exam for Heavy-Duty Hybrids. Hybrid technology is working its way off road, and two heavy-duty earth movers, a bulldozer and tracked excavator, are preparing for large-scale emissions tests in California. Heavy-duty diesel hybrids save around 25 percent in fuel over their conventional counterparts, manufacturers say. Put another way, a hybrid excavator weighing 20 tons burns 1,500 fewer gallons of diesel a year than a nonhybrid machine of the same size, translating to roughly the same carbon savings as 14 Toyota Priuses. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/10/28/in-california-a-final-exam-for-heavy-duty-hybrids/?scp=2&sq=hybrids&st=cse Reinventing Fire: A Vision for Our Energy Future. Amory Lovins says we can do it all. Do we need to emit far less CO2 into the atmosphere? To stop using the dirtiest fuel of all, which now generates more of our electricity than any other? To reduce sharply our importation of oil, from Canada and elsewhere, and achieve the elusive goal of "energy independence," set by successive presidents but never done? Need to use natural gas only as a "transition" fuel? Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-k-comstock/reinventing-fire-review_b_1034216.html House Democrats Introduce Carbon Tax Bill. Nine House Democrats introduced a bill on October 24 which would create a “simple tax on carbon,” in the words of its lead sponsor, Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA). The bill, the Save Our Climate Act (HR 3242), probably doesn’t have a proverbial snowball’s chance in hell making it out of committee with the Republicans in control of the House, but I can’t help but root for it. I love to root for the underdog, and having been a life long San Francisco Giants fan, I have had years of practice. Like the Giants, the Save Our Climate Act (SOCA) might pleasantly surprise me. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/10/house-democrats-introduce-carbon-tax-bill/