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newsclips -- Newsclips for November 18, 2011.

Posted: 18 Nov 2011 12:16:40
California Air Resources Board News Clips for November 18, 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.


FACT CHECK: GOP senator gasps for facts on asthma. It was a
startling claim: Air pollution has no connection to asthma,
Kentucky GOP Sen. Rand Paul said on the Senate floor. But Paul,
and a chart he used to make his case against the health benefits
of a new federal air pollution rule, relied on some creative
sourcing and pseudoscience. Paul's chart was a graph showing air
pollution declining in California as the number of people
diagnosed with asthma rose. Posted.


Science panel: Get ready for extreme weather. Top international
climate scientists and disaster experts meeting in Africa had a
sharp message Friday for the world's political leaders: Get ready
for more dangerous and "unprecedented extreme weather" caused by
global warming. Making preparations, they say, will save lives
and money. These experts fear that without preparedness, crazy
weather extremes may overwhelm some locations, making some places
unlivable. Posted.

Regional tensions limit Bhutan climate summit aims.  Four
Himalayan nations, faced with erratic weather and the threat of
melting glaciers and catastrophic floods, are hashing out a plan
for preserving the vast mountain range and helping millions
living in the foothills cope with climate change.  But as India,
Nepal, Bangladesh and Bhutan set to work on a new 10-year
management policy, three other major Himalayan nations will be
conspicuously absent.  Posted. 


House votes to kill funding for high-speed rail. Washington --
The House passed a spending bill on Thursday that kills
high-speed rail funding for the current fiscal year. The Senate
is expected to follow suit, which means California should not
expect the billions of dollars in federal aid on which its
futuristic plan for bullet trains depends. "By zeroing out
high-speed intercity passenger rail funding, we are being given
the unique opportunity to refocus and reform the high-speed rail
program on the rail lines that will produce the most benefit for
the least amount of cost," said Rep. Bill Schuster, R-Pa. Posted.

Are auto makers doing enough to improve fuel efficiency?  The Los
Angeles Auto Show opens to the public today through Thanksgiving
weekend. KPCC asked people in our Public Insight network what
they wanted to know about cars. Here are some of the answers. 
Dozens of people wrote in about fuel efficiency. What are car
companies doing to improve it? Why aren’t they doing more?  Chair
of the California Air Resources Board Mary Nichols regulates the
automakers. She says they are improving combustion engine
efficiency, years after they suggested they could do little more.

CODA Begins Production of Electric Cars in California.  CODA
Holdings, the U.S. electric vehicle and advanced battery
developer, Wednesday started production of its first model, a
zero emission electric mid-size sedan.  "We are excited to
announce that we have started production of our all-electric CODA
sedan," said CODA chief executive Phil Murtaugh.  Posted. 

LA Auto Show 2011: EV offer is growing fast.  The Los Angeles
Auto Show opens 18-27 November 2011 with more than 50 World and
North American premieres. This year's show is marked by a global
trend towards more fuel-efficient vehicles, vehicle hybridisation
and vehicles powered with alternative fuels including PHEVs and
EVs.  After the astonishing presentation of the BMW i3 and i8 at
the IAA Frankfurt two months ago, BMW is again attracting a lot
of interest with these vehicles, and despite the “Concept” tag
attached to the i3, they have already programmed the production
launch with their American dealers for 2013.  Posted. 

What challenges do international electric car manufacturers face
in China?  Many international carmakers believe that China has
the potential to be the world's largest new-energy vehicle market
and are thus exploring the potential to introduce their electric
cars in this market. Despite China’s efforts to support vehicle
electrification, foreign automotive companies are still facing
many challenges.  China is the world's largest passenger car
market with a 34% annual growth between 2001 and 2010. Posted. 


Energy secretary defends Solyndra loan. Washington -- Under oath
Thursday, Energy Secretary Steven Chu denied that the White House
influenced his decision to guarantee a $528 million federal loan
to Fremont solar firm Solyndra and refused to apologize for
making the loan, although he said that in hindsight he would not
have made it. "Certainly knowing what I know now, we'd say no,"
Chu said in his first extensive defense of the loan since the
company filed for bankruptcy on Sept. 6. Posted.

Chu: Solyndra loan based on merits, not politics. An unapologetic
Energy Secretary Steven Chu defended a half-billion-dollar
federal loan to a solar-panel manufacturer that went belly up,
even as he told a House committee Thursday he was unaware of
dozens of key details that led to the debacle over Solyndra Inc.
Under hours of hostile questioning from Republicans on the House
Energy and Commerce Committee, Chu declined several opportunities
to say he was sorry, but acknowledged that in hindsight the deal
was "extremely unfortunate" and "regrettable." Posted. 

Republicans grill Energy Secretary Chu about Solyndra loan. In a
politically charged hearing Thursday, Republicans in the House of
Representatives accused Energy Secretary Steven Chu of breaking
the law in how he handled the restructuring of a loan for the
California solar-energy company Solyndra. Chu said he did nothing
illegal but instead made a tough decision that gave him the best
shot at getting taxpayer money back that had been loaned to the
company. Chu said his department's top lawyer said his plan was
legal. The hearing was filled with political attacks through five
hours of questioning. Posted.  


Group seeks release of discussions of Keystone XL. The State
Department withheld information on internal discussions about
TransCanada Corp.'s proposed Keystone XL pipeline across six
states, according to an environmental group. The department
"heavily redacted" or withheld internal e-mails on discussions
over the $7 billion project that were requested under the Freedom
of Information Act, according to Friends of the Earth in
Washington. Posted.


Politics and Clean Air. President Obama’s decision in September
to scuttle stricter national standards for smog may well go down
as the worst environmental decision of his administration —
unless, of course, even more damaging retreats lie ahead. The
decision was a setback for public health, a victory for industry,
which had lobbied strongly against the standards, and a public
embarrassment for the administrator of the Environmental
Protection Agency, Lisa Jackson, who had proposed them. Posted. 

California Beats Northeast With New Cap-and-Trade Strategy: View.
One of the main complaints about the first cap-and-trade regime
for greenhouse-gas emissions in the U.S. was well answered in a
study released this week. Critics had argued that the Regional
Greenhouse Gas Initiative -- which links New York, Connecticut
and eight other Northeastern states -- would increase energy
costs for consumers. Posted.


Climate Panel Charts Extreme Weather in a Warming World. The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, convening in Kampala,
Uganda, has produced a valuable summary of science on the
influence of human-driven warming on extreme weather and
strategies for limiting risks to societies in a changing climate.
To my eye the summary accurately reflects the body of science
aiming to find a signal of greenhouse-gas influence on climate
extremes and disaster frequency and severity (the full report is
still being finalized). Posted. 

When should we blame climate change for natural disasters? The
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has a new report out
today concluding that global warming will make heat waves,
droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events much more
common in the decades to come. (It’s less clear how climate
change will affect hurricanes and tornadoes.) Already in 2010,
the United States saw a record number of natural disasters
costing $1 billion or more, and the IPCC is warning us not to be
shocked if we see even more destructive weather as the Earth
heats up. (Athit Perawongmetha/Getty) Yet many climate scientists
have been trying to go a step further than the IPCC in recent
years. Posted.

Congress cuts future funding for California's bullet train. The
U.S. Senate approved a package of legislation Thursday night that
eliminates future funding for high-speed rail projects, including
the California bullet train. The vote, coming after a similar
vote in the House of Representatives, leaves the future of the
ambitious state project to create a new rail system from Southern
California to the Bay Area uncertain. The state has less than 15%
of the funds needed for the $98.5-billion project. Posted.

California Stakes Out New Ground with its Latest Fuel Standard.
The White House proposes a strict new national fuel standard, but
California still leads the way. On Wednesday, just as the Obama
Administration proposed strict new fuel efficiency standards for
2017-2025-model cars and light trucks, the California Air
Resources Board leapfrogged Washington with its own package of
regulations designed to further reduce emissions from passenger
vehicles. Posted.

Did Texas improve air quality, lower emissions as much as Rick
Perry claims?  Perry claims Texas topped the charts in terms of
air-quality improvements, and his remarks suggest that the state
knows how to clean up just fine without oversight from the
Environmental Protection Agency, thank you very much.  We
wondered where Perry found his data and how bad Texas was doing
before he took office. We also wondered whether federal
regulations really kill jobs — a subject the Post already covered
this week.  Posted. 

California’s Advanced Clean Cars program: transforming the
light-duty fleet to zero-emission hydrogen fuel cell and electric
vehicles with an eye on 2050.  Prior to the full release of its
proposed Advanced Clean Cars (ACC) program in December (earlier
post), the California Air Resources Board (ARB) has posted a
detailed summary of the program’s package of light-duty vehicle
regulations that combines control of greenhouse gases (GHG) and
tailpipe criteria pollutants (LEV) for model years (MY) 2015
through 2025 with technology mandates via the Zero Emission
Vehicle (ZEV) program to spur the development of advanced
zero-emission vehicles over the same time period.  Posted. 

Plug-in batteries could offer 10 times more range, 10 times
faster charging in near future. What is perceived as the main
barrier to seeing an electric vehicle (EV) in every driveway?
Simple: a range that's too short and charging times that are too
long. Now, what if a battery technology was developed that would
allow you could drive for 500 miles straight and then recharge
the battery in 10 minutes? Exactly. There would be a lot wailing
and gnashing of teeth by those who just sank billions into tar
sand projects and pipelines. Posted. 

Report Shows Success of Mandatory Cap and Trade Program. A report
released earlier this week by The Analysis Group, entitled “The
Economic Impacts of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative on Ten
Northeast and Mid-Atlantic States,” tracked the dollars collected
and spent by the program over RGGI’s first three years of
existence. The report finds that the program, despite continuous
criticism from conservatives as being burdensome and costly,
added a net value of $1.6 billion to the ten member states, or
roughly, $33 per person. Posted. 

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