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newsclips -- Newsclips for November 3, 2011.

Posted: 03 Nov 2011 14:35:29
California Air Resources Board News Clips for November 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.


BP Texas City Refinery Explosion: Company To Pay State $50
Million Over Air Pollution Violations. Houston -- Oil company BP
has agreed to pay Texas $50 million for air pollution violations
at a Gulf Coast refinery where a 2005 explosion killed 15
workers, the state's attorney general announced Thursday. The
settlement between BP Products North America and the State of
Texas resolves 72 emissions violations between 2005 and now,
Attorney General Greg Abbott told a Houston news conference. The
violations include some that contributed to the massive explosion
six years ago at the Texas City refinery. Posted.

Blowing dust prompts air alert issued in SJ Valley.  Air alerts
are being issued across the San Joaquin Valley as high winds are
stirring up dust that can cause health problems in some people. 
The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has issued
warnings for Kings, Tulare and the valley portions of Kern
counties.  The wind is causing large amounts of dust in some
areas. Particulate matter of 10 microns and smaller is monitored
by the federal government.  Posted. 

AIR QUALITY: Fireplace restrictions are in effect. Southern
California’s smog battle just got a bit more personal. Residents
now are required to check the air quality before they burn wood
in a home fireplace – or risk violating regulations that went
into effect this week. Fines for repeat offenders can be as high
as $500.  “It’s a relatively small shift in our habits and our
personal lives to accomplish air pollution reductions,” said Sam
Atwood, a spokesman for the South Coast Air Quality Management
District, which imposed the rule. Posted.


Biggest jump ever seen in global warming gases. The global output
of heat-trapping carbon dioxide jumped by the biggest amount on
record, the U.S. Department of Energy calculated, a sign of how
feeble the world's efforts are at slowing man-made global
warming. The new figures for 2010 mean that levels of greenhouse
gases are higher than the worst case scenario outlined by climate
experts just four years ago. "The more we talk about the need to
control emissions, the more they are growing," said John Reilly,
co-director of MIT's Joint Program on the Science and Policy of
Global Change. Posted.

Vulnerable islands urge climate deal before end-2012. A group of
island states most vulnerable to global warming have lashed out
against rich nations for wanting to delay a new international
climate pact until years after the Kyoto Protocol on curbing
carbon emissions expires in 2012. The 42-member Alliance of Small
Island States (AOSIS) said countries such as Japan and Russia
were "reckless and irresponsible" for promoting a delay in the
adoption of a new international agreement until 2018 or 2020,
just weeks before the start of a United Nations climate summit in
Durban, South Africa. Posted.

Climate change linked to Ice-Age animal extinctions. Climate
change and human activity caused the extinction of some Ice-Age
animals, such as the woolly rhinoceros, woolly mammoth, and wild
horses, and the near extinction of others including reindeer,
bison, and musk ox, says an international study. The scientists
say their study, published in the journal Nature, is the first to
combine genetic, archeological, and climatic data to track the
population history of six large Ice-Age mammals and can shed
light on the possible fates of today's animals as the Earth
continues its current warming cycle. Posted.

California Cap-and-Trade Could Change the U.S. Stance on Climate
Change. As the next round of UN climate regulation appears on the
horizon, Jem Porcaro considers how they may shape clean
technology developments and employment in green industries. It is
commonly understood that the chances of reaching a climate
agreement that includes the United States at this point are
rather grim and will ultimately depend on certain developing
countries, such as China, adopting binding climate controls.

New regulations could cost cement company millions. Colton - An
executive for a a cement company with operations here - for now -
said the state's new cap-and-trade system will cost his firm
millions by adding new regulations to the cost of doing business
at a time when the economy is still weak. "The overall economy is
hurting us more than A.B. 32 (the law that authorizes cap and
trade," said Steve Regis, vice president for engineering at
CalPortland Co., which is headquartered in Glendora. Posted.

Dispute erupts on timing of global climate pact.  Small
developing countries are protesting calls by Russia and Japan to
delay a global climate change agreement.  The 42-nation
Association of Small Island States, countries most threatened by
rising sea levels from melting polar ice caps, said an agreement
should be concluded next year—an ambitious target in view of the
deep differences that have plagued negotiations for years.  The
dispute escalated three weeks before 195 parties convene in South
Africa to negotiate less troublesome elements of a climate deal. 

Global warming threatens Delta smelt, salmon, says report. The
combined impact on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta of increasing
water temperature and salinity brought on by global warming could
reduce habitat quality for native species, such as the endangered
Delta smelt and winter-run Chinook salmon, and intensify the
challenge of sustaining their populations, says a new study by
the U.S. Geological Survey. Posted.


Clean-tech venture funding jumps as other sectors go wanting.
Green companies raise almost $1.2 billion in the third quarter, a
73% increase from a year earlier. California firms received more
than half of that infusion of cash. Overall venture funding was
down about 50%. Venture capitalists are pouring money into clean
technology even as investors scale back funding in many other
areas. Firms in the green sector raised almost $1.2 billion in
the third quarter — up 73% from $684 million collected in the
same period last year, according to a report released Wednesday
by Ernst & Young. Posted.

Energy stimulus program plagued by problems. Washington -- The
Department of Energy's inspector general said Wednesday that the
2009 stimulus program for green energy was so at odds with the
realities on the ground that it was akin to "attaching a lawn
mower to a fire hydrant." Inspector General Gregory Friedman,
testifying to the House Energy and Commerce Committee's panel on
stimulus oversight, outlined a range of problems, from a flood of
$35 billion in stimulus money that overwhelmed the department's
$27 billion annual budget to weatherization programs …Posted.

California’s clean-energy tax breaks getting close look. The
Solyndra debacle has forced a critical look at California’s
clean-energy tax incentives - and serves as a reminder that
difficulties remain in the state’s ability to attract
manufacturing despite these hefty tax breaks. “California in the
past 10 to 15 years has gotten 45 to 50 percent of the country’s
venture capital, that’s great. But it doesn’t mean it will
transform into manufacturing in California,” said Gino DiCaro of
the California Manufacturers and Technology Association. Posted.

Luring renewable energy is a tale of fits and starts. Back in
2005, Oakland-based BrightSource Energy had what it thought was a
bright idea – a solar array in the Mojave Desert that would
generate 440 megawatts of electricity – nearly doubling the
amount of solar thermal electricity being produced in the United
States. The $1.3 billion project, initially designed to cover
over 4,000 acres near the dry Ivanpah Lake on the
California-Nevada border, would also help California meet its
goal at the time of 20 percent of electricity sold by
investor-owned utilities coming from renewable sources. Posted.


Editorial: Realistic plan for high-speed rail requires patience.
Fresno Mayor Ashley Swearengin has the right perspective on
high-speed rail. She recalls I-5, which took from 1947 to 1979 to
complete, segment-by-segment. "It began in the Central Valley,"
she notes. "It was called the 'road to nowhere.' It was called
'too expensive.' Today, it is the backbone of surface
transportation in California." The latest business plan from the
California High-Speed Rail Authority will not change the minds of
long-time critics – there's still too much unknown about this
major infrastructure project that will take decades to complete.


26 Nations Defy Europe on Airline Emissions.  China, the United
States and 24 other nations backed a declaration on Wednesday
urging that their airlines be exempted from the European Union’s
Emissions Trading System.  The move at the International Civil
Aviation Organization, an arm of the United Nations, is another
challenge to environmental leadership by the European Union,
which has failed in its efforts to get some of the biggest
polluters in the developed world to adopt crucial parts of its
agenda for tackling climate change.  Posted. 

Rep. Lois Capps introduces legislation to protect health from
climate change, extreme weather. You don’t have to convince the
13,000 American public health professionals in Washington, DC
this week for the American Public Health Association meeting that
climate change harms people’s health. They recognize the health
risks of carbon pollution, and see the huge health benefits we
stand to gain by creating more climate-resilient communities and
homes right now. We need to make this a national priority.

G20 Leaders Challenged to Deliver on Cuts to Fossil Fuel
Subsidies to Start Climate Fund.   Greenpeace today challenged
G20 leaders attending this week’s summit in Cannes to deliver on
their pledge to cut fossil fuel subsidies and instead invest in
green jobs, in response to the current global financial,
economic, and environmental crisis.  A World Bank report prepared
for the G20 shows that if developed countries transferred $10
billion from fossil fuel subsidies to climate finance …Posted. 

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