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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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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,


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.


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

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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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