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newsclips -- Newsclips for November 1, 2011.

Posted: 01 Nov 2011 16:18:08
California Air Resources Board News Clips for November 1, 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.


Attention: Starting today, don't burn wood until you check air
quality forecast first
A cozy wood fire in the fireplace may seem just the thing to take
the chill off a brisk autumn day, but Sacramento County residents
are reminded to check the air quality forecast before putting a
match to those logs. The Sacramento Air Quality Management
District's Check Before You Burn program starts today and runs
through Feb. 29. Posted.


Future holds more extreme weather. Washington — For a world
already weary of weather catastrophes, the latest warning from
top climate scientists paints a grim future: More floods, more
heat waves, more droughts and greater costs to deal with them. A
draft summary of an international scientific report obtained by
The Associated Press says the extremes caused by global warming
could eventually grow so severe that some locations become
"increasingly marginal as places to live." Posted.

Bay Area songbirds are getting bigger. Climate change may be
causing local birds to grow longer wings and bigger bodies,
according to a study released Monday by PRBO Conservation
Science. The research is based partly on data collected within
the Point Reyes National Seashore that suggests that over the
past 40 years birds such as sparrows, chickadees and robins are
growing. Researchers suggest the birds are adapting to harsher
weather conditions such as heavy El Nino storm years. Posted.


Calif. rail project to cost $98B. Sacramento, Calif. — The new
business plan for California's high-speed rail system shows the
nation's most ambitious state rail project could cost nearly $100
billion in inflation-adjusted funding over a 20-year construction
period, according to a draft copy of the plan shared late Monday
with The Associated Press. But the plan also says the system
would be profitable even at the lowest ridership estimates and
wouldn't require public operating subsidies. Posted. 

Amtrak says it has no beef with cow-powered train.  Amtrak
officials say they have no beef with using cattle-based biodiesel
to power their Heartland Flyer train.  The railroad said Monday
that a mix of beef tallow and diesel fuel effectively powered the
passenger train's 3,200-horsepower engine. Following a yearlong
test on the rails between Oklahoma City and Fort Worth, Texas, an
evaluation found that the fuel blend met industry standards,
engine wear was limited and emissions were below federal limits
for the type of engine using it.  Posted. 


UC Davis's Gallagher Hall earns top green label. Gallagher Hall
at the University of California, Davis, is the latest campus
building to earn the highest green rating. Gallagher Hall, home
of the UC Davis School of Management, was rated platinum by the
U.S. Green Building Council, joining the university's Robert and
Margrit Mondavi Institute for Wine and Food Science and the Tahoe
Environmental Research Center in Incline Village, Nev., as having
received the coveted designation. Posted.

Solar panel maker Solyndra set to auction assets.  The bankrupt
solar company Solyndra Inc. is auctioning off surplus assets this
week as part of its bankruptcy proceedings.  Starting Wednesday,
buyers can purchase the former solar manufacturer's office
microwave, artwork that once hung on its walls and an array of
heavy equipment and tools owned by the former solar panel maker.
The online auction ends Thursday at 5 p.m.  The auction company
Heritage Global Partners is calling the event the "solar auction
of the year." Posted. 

Green groups gang up against cable/satellite gear.  $2 billion.
That's what U.S. consumers are overpaying every year in electric
bills, to power their cable and satellite TV receivers when those
boxes are theoretically "off."  This wastefulness has been
calculated by a group of advocacy organizations, following up on
a study by the Natural Resources Defense Council, which found
set-top boxes consume virtually as much power when in standby
mode (34 watts) as when in use (35 watts).  Posted. 


Another global warming deception. Dana Point, Larry Hamlin: The
Berkeley Earth Surface Temperatures project recently provided
results by press release even though no scientific peer review
process had occurred of their review of global surface
temperatures. Professor Richard Muller, who heads this project,
claimed that this review of data showed no standstill in global
warming since the late 1990s [“Skeptic converts, says global
warming is real” News, Oct. 31]. Posted.


Better Batteries: Not Just for Cars Anymore.  As I wrote in
Saturday’s paper, energy storage will be critical to making wind
power more useful. Some wind farms are forced to dump a
substantial portion of their production because they churn out
megawatts in the middle of the night, when there is very little
demand for it. At such times, some grid operators even charge
generators for making power rather than paying them for it.  A
wind farm I visited last week has 98 megawatts of power, meaning
it could run 30-odd Super Wal-Marts. But the maximum power of a
battery installation is just 32 megawatts, or just one-third of
that wind power, and it fills up in 15 minutes.  Posted. 

'Snowtober' fits U.N. climate change predictions. While the
Northeast is still reeling from a surprise October snowstorm that
has left more than a million people without power for days, the
United Nations is about to release its latest document on
adaptation to climate change. The report from the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is expected conclude
that there is a high probability that man-made greenhouse gases
already are causing extreme weather that has cost governments,
insurers, businesses and individuals billions of dollars. Posted.

Air district didn't need EPA waiver after all.  A few weeks ago,
the local air district asked federal officials to ignore several
high ozone readings in Sequoia National Park. A forest fire
caused readings to spike, and the district wanted a waiver. 
Turns out, the district didn't need a waiver.  The U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency doesn't count violations from
Sequoia because the park's monitors have not been reviewed by
EPA. These extensive reviews are required to make the readings
official for EPA.  Posted. 

Auto Industry Market Leaders Validate Car Sharing.  In the early
2000s, car sharing was a small-time counter-cultural service
offered by community organizations in liberal and university
markets. You heard about bigger companies tip-toeing around the
market. Enterprise quietly started renting its cars by the hour
to local residents in 2007.  Then suddenly, concrete
announcements from market leaders in cars and car leasing are
everywhere.  Posted. 

Natural Gas Pleads: Can’t We All Just Get Along?  The latest
advertising campaign from the good folks in the natural gas
industry is helpfully suggesting that we can have our cake and
eat it too. ConocoPhillips is offering in it’s latest ads to
provide both clean and affordable energy, if only we’d just
cooperate.  Ah, cooperation! Now there’s an attitude I can get
behind in these times of angry rancor and extreme polarization.
What reasonable person wouldn’t? But cooperation has indeed been
in short supply, and a raging battle between the industry and the
public threatens to burn that bridge to a clean energy future
we’ve all been waiting for.  Posted. 

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