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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 7, 2011. Posted: 07 Dec 2011 12:12:51
California Air Resources Board News Clips for December 7, 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 Outrage Grows Over Air Pollution and China’s Response. The statement posted online along with a photograph of central Beijing muffled in a miasma of brown haze did not mince words: “The end of the world is imminent.” The ceaseless churning of factories and automobile engines in and around Beijing has led to this: hundreds of flights canceled since Sunday because of smog, stores sold out of face masks, and many Chinese complaining on the Internet that officials are failing to level with them about air quality or make any improvements to the environment. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/world/asia/beijing-journal-anger-grows-over-air-pollution-in-china.html?_r=1 http://webfarm.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-07/china-s-flight-canceling-smog-lifts-as-cold-front-clears-beijing-pollution.html http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/world/la-fg-china-air-pollution-20111207,0,7870107.story?track=rss Bay Area issues winter's first spare-the-air alert. San Francisco -- The Bay Area Air Quality officials are issuing the season's first Winter Spare-the-Air Alert for Wednesday. The alert bans burning wood, manufactured fire logs or any other solid fuel, both indoors and outdoors for 24 hours. Jean Roggenkamp, deputy air pollution control officer of the Air District, says the cold, still weather will cause wood smoke pollution to build up to unhealthy levels on Wednesday. Exposure to wood smoke has been linked to increased frequency and severity of respiratory illnesses such as asthma, bronchitis and lung disease. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/06/4105232/bay-area-issues-winters-first.html http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/07/BAMT1M95OB.DTL&type=green CLIMATE CHANGE Raising $100 billion for climate fund in dispute. Even in hard times, fighting climate change is not a luxury but a necessity, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Wednesday, as climate negotiators bickered about how to raise hundreds of billions of dollars to adapt to a warming world. Creating a body to govern a $100 billion a year fund is a central issue at the 194-nation U.N. climate conference nearing its end in South Africa, but it was unclear whether the final document will mention how the money will be mobilized for the Green Climate Fund. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5jrK4YLpaUu7f00UIh_uEB1P9yimw?docId=1aa5c4c018114aeca0753fb3500f86c7 EPA Emissions From Natural-Gas Production Probed by Issa’s Panel. U.S. House Republicans led by Representative Darrell Issa of California are investigating the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane-emission estimates for natural-gas production. The EPA measure of greenhouse gases released in the production of gas from wells has been criticized by experts as misleading, according to an e-mailed statement today from Issa, chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-06/epa-emissions-from-natural-gas-production-probed-by-issa-s-panel.html UN’s Maritime Agency to Weigh Setting Price on Ship Emissions. The International Maritime Organization, the United Nations’ shipping agency, will next year consider how to set a price on greenhouse-gas emissions from ships that contribute to climate change. The London-based IMO’s environmental panel will give “priority consideration” on whether to set a global levy or establish an emissions-trading program, IMO Secretary-General Efthimios Mitropoulos said today in an interview in Durban, South Africa. The UN agency has been unable to agree on measures to curb emissions from ships for more than a decade. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-07/un-s-maritime-agency-to-weigh-setting-price-on-ship-emissions.html U.S. Climate Stance ‘Blowing Negotiations Apart,’ Envoy Says. The U.S. view that no new global climate deal is possible before 2020 is derailing negotiations aimed at slashing the world’s oil and coal emissions, according to an envoy at the talks. “The present U.S. position of no new agreement until post- 2020 is really blowing negotiations apart,” Papua New Guinea’s chief climate delegate, Kevin Conrad, said in an interview in Durban, South Africa, where United Nations-led climate talks are divided over when to seek a new treaty to curb global warming. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2011-12-07/u-s-climate-stance-blowing-negotiations-apart-envoy-says.html Suntech Awarded the 2011 Gigaton Prize for Exemplary Carbon Emissions Reduction. Suntech Power Holdings Co., Ltd. (NYSE: STP), the world's largest producer of solar panels, received the 2011 Gigaton Prize for its pioneering role in reducing carbon emissions around the world, and leading efforts in the fight against climate change. The Gigaton Prize is awarded annually to a company that has demonstrably reduced emissions by the largest absolute amount on an annual basis. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/07/4105755/suntech-awarded-the-2011-gigaton.html Carbon Credits Turning 'Junk' as Ban Shuts Door: Energy Markets. Investors are rushing to sell some emission credits before they become almost worthless in 2013, pushing prices to a record low. With Europe set to stop recognizing credits for projects that destroy industrial gases known as hydrofluorocarbon-23 and nitrous oxide in little more than a year, holders are "racing to beat" the ban, according to Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/12/07/bloomberg_articlesLVTSNS0YHQ0X.DTL Board approves greenhouse gas-reduction plan. The San Bernardino County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday reluctantly approved a plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in the county by 15 percent by 2020. The plan, which satisfies the terms of a 2007 legal settlement between the county and former state Attorney General Jerry Brown, inserts new guidelines into the county development code. It charts a new course for private development and industry and establishes new mandates for the county, including regularly scheduled inventories of greenhouse gas emissions to ensure goals are being met. Posted. http://www.dailybulletin.com/ci_19483463 Can 'Carbon Ranching' Offset Emissions In Calif.? Climate experts are exploring the concept of growing dense fields of weeds to help soak up carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. Just over a year from now, California will begin enforcing a set of laws that limit emissions of greenhouse gases from factories, power plants and, eventually, from vehicles. So if you run a power plant in California, you might reduce your footprint by buying new, cleaner equipment. But that can be expensive. Posted. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/07/142947234/can-carbon-ranching-offset-emissions-in-calif FUELS California backs EU plan for "dirty fuel" label. EU plans to slap a "dirty" label on fuels derived from Canada's huge oil sands reserves have received a boost from California, whose pioneering labeling scheme seeks to put consumers in the driving seat. Canada sees huge export potential for its reserves of oil sand, which are among the world's largest, and has bitterly opposed EU plans it regards as a threat to future markets. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/06/climate-oilsands-idUSL5E7N651C20111206 http://www.calgaryherald.com/business/California+backs+plan+label+oilsands+products+dirty+fuel/5824529/story.html Ethanol Declines as Blending Falls and Export Demand Wanes. Ethanol futures fell in Chicago amid lower demand for blending with gasoline and on speculation Europe’s debt crisis will curtail exports. Futures sank as European leaders wrestle with the region’s debt crisis. The U.S. exports the biofuel to countries such as the United Kingdom, Finland and the Netherlands. Separately, an Energy Department report last week showed production of conventional gasoline blended with ethanol, a proxy for use of the fuel beyond government requirements, dropped the most in six months. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-06/ethanol-declines-as-blending-falls-and-export-demand-wanes.html Canada’s tar sands lobbying gets murky. A row has broken out over a Canadian lobbying mission to the British Foreign Office that opposes the EU’s proposed Fuel Quality Directive. The dispute involves apparently inaccurate information about California’s fuel quality regulations and threats of legal action. In an internal UK Foreign Office e-mail reporting the meeting and seen by EurActiv, Canada’s trade commissioner in the UK, Sushma Gera, reportedly told British officials that “lawyers were looking at a potential WTO case” against the EU. She said Canada had support from Spain, Estonia and Poland in its opposition to the EU’s proposed default fuel values for the oil sands – also known as ‘tar sands’ – and that the Dutch would propose an alternative option. Posted. http://www.euractiv.com/climate-environment/canada-tar-sands-lobbying-gets-murky-news-509489 Obama administration continues fuel-efficiency push. The Obama Administration has taken the latest step in its 'National Program' of setting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions and fuel consumption standards for all classes of vehicles and engines, proposing more stringent rules for model year (MY) 2017 and later light vehicles. The proposed rule, which would require vehicle manufacturers to cut light-vehicle carbon emissions to a level equivalent to a fuel economy standard of 54.5mpg by MY 2025, …Posted. http://www.automotiveworld.com/news/oems-and-markets/90878-obama-administration-continues-fuel-efficiency-push VEHICLES State pushes tougher auto emission standards. Critics say the market won't support so many alternative-fuel vehicles. California’s air-quality regulators Wednesday plan to roll out another in a string of landmark initiatives to control tailpipe emissions, this one pushing automakers even harder to accelerate production of vehicles that use little or no gas. If successful, the Air Resources Board anticipates a gradual influx of futuristic cars in showrooms, hydrogen refueling pumps at many urban gas stations and more pure electric vehicles in driveways. Posted. http://www.signonsandiego.com/news/2011/dec/06/state-pushes-tougher-auto-emission-standards/ Are new California electric car regs tough enough? California today announces what's expected to be the strongest push ever for electric cars and other advanced-technology vehicles to be sold in the state, yet an environmental group says it's not enough. The Union of Concerned Scientists says California ought to boost its electric-car mandate 30%, to require automakers to sell 1.8 million so-called zero-emission vehicles by 2025. Posted. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/12/california-zero-emission-electric-cars-not-enough/1 Californians would reject bullet train in revote, polls finds. Fifty-nine percent of registered voters would oppose the high-speed rail project because its cost has soared to more than $98 billion and the completion date has been moved from 2020 to 2033. With the cost of the state's high-speed rail project rising dramatically, a new public opinion poll shows that a clear majority of California's registered voters would reject the proposal if given a second chance to vote on it today. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-train-poll-20111207,0,3366380.story Investment in state's green car industry increases. California's small but growing electric car industry has become an investment magnet, attracting more venture capital than its competitors in any other state or country. Now, will jobs follow? In the first half of this year, California companies developing plug-in vehicles, advanced hybrids, charging stations and related equipment brought in $467 million in venture capital, according to a new report from the Next 10 public policy group. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/07/BU1S1M94OL.DTL&type=green DeLorean and Epic Electric partner to build an electric DeLorean. DeLorean and Epic Electric partner to build an electric DeLoreanTesla’s new competition: An electric DeLoreanBig Lots hopes new CEO can get customers excited about shopping for closeout goods Follow this company .Inc. and Epic Electric Vehicles have partnered up as the composites manufacturer for the new DeLorean Electric Vehicle, which is slated for production in 2012. Posted. http://www.bizjournals.com/losangeles/news/2011/12/06/delorean-and-epic-electric-partner.html GREEN ENERGY Berkshire buys $2 billion solar project. Warren Buffett's MidAmerican Energy Holdings utility agreed to buy the $2 billion Topaz project in California, branching into solar power after the industry was battered by stock markets around the world. The Topaz Solar Farm will be one of the world's largest photovoltaic power plants and is being developed by the seller, First Solar Inc. of Tempe, Ariz. Terms weren't disclosed. The project's 550- megawatt capacity is equal to about half a new nuclear reactor. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-buffett-solar-20111207,0,6872056.story OPINIONS F. Noel Perry: Electric cars have a promising future in California. While the car of the future spurs different visions for different people, in one way, the future of cars is now, and it's here in California. Our state is leading the nation in electric vehicle (EV) investment and innovation. California captured 69 percent of global EV investment in 2011 and ranks first in the nation in EV patents. The number of jobs in the EV sector, while small, keeps growing despite the economic downturn. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_19482730 http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2011/12/07/study-calif-leads-electric-vehicle-grow.html Thomas D. Elias: Rep. Darrell Issa takes aim at air board chief Mary Nichols. Climate-change change skepticism by one congressman among California's 53 ordinarily doesn't matter much. But coming from Darrell Issa, the chairman of the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform, it's now leading to one of the most significant attacks ever on California's lead smog-fighting agency, the state Air Resources Board (ARB). Issa, representing a conservative north San Diego County district, does not dispute that the globe has warmed. Posted. http://www.presstelegram.com/opinions/ci_19484276 Clean Air A 'Luxury' In Beijing's Pollution Zone. On the way to school, my kids and I play a guessing game: How polluted is the air today? We use an app linked to the air pollution monitor at the U.S. Embassy in Beijing, and we try to guess the day's exact level on the Air Quality Index, and whether the air is dangerous. These days, chances are that it could well be. For more than half of the past 60 days, the air pollution has hit levels hazardous to human health. Experts estimate long-term exposure to such pollution could reduce life expectancy by as much as five years. But I don't tell the kids that. Posted. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/07/143214875/clean-air-a-luxury-in-beijings-pollution-zone Federalism and the Electrification of the Auto Fleet. Many commentators assume that if the federal government ever adopts a national policy to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, states and localities will largely take a backseat to federal regulators. But one highly necessary means to reducing carbon emissions — the electrification of the automobile fleet — will require active and involved participation by all levels of government, something that is often overlooked in policy conversations. Posted. http://legalplanet.wordpress.com/2011/12/05/federalism-and-the-electrification-of-the-auto-fleet/ BLOGS On Climate Change, a Gloat and a Warning. Durban, South Africa — If anyone at the United Nations climate change conference here wondered why the United States is unwilling or unable to take decisive action on the warming of the planet, they could tune in to the Web site of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday morning. The committee’s Democratic chairman, Senator Barbara Boxer of California, and its top Republican, Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma, laid out in the starkest terms the gulf dividing the two parties on climate change. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/07/on-climate-change-a-gloat-and-a-warning/?scp=2&sq=climate%20change&st=cse California’s “Radical Experiment” in Carbon Trading. A national perspective on the cap & trade program that starts next month. For three years we’ve been watching the process leading up to implementation of California’s plan to push greenhouse gas emissions back to 1990 levels by 2020. As the green flag is about to drop, you’ll start to see more national media attention focused on it. To wit, this morning’s debut of a two-part series by NPR’s Christopher Joyce on what will be the nation’s first industry-wide cap on carbon emissions. Posted. http://blogs.kqed.org/climatewatch/2011/12/06/californias-radical-experiment-in-carbon-trading/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+kqed%2FClimateWatchBlog+%28KQED%27s+Climate+Watch+Blog%29