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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 12, 2011. Posted: 12 Dec 2011 15:00:03
California Air Resources Board News Clips for December 12, 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 2011 Proving to Be a Bad Year for Air Quality in Texas. Nestled near subdivisions north of Fort Worth stands equipment that measures air pollutants. On 26 days this year, readings at the site showed higher concentrations of lung-damaging ozone than allowed by federal air-quality standards. All told, Dallas-Fort Worth violated ozone standards on more days this year — 32 so far — than anywhere else in Texas, including the greater Houston area. “Every place in Texas suffered worse air quality this year…Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/us/2011-proving-to-be-a-bad-year-for-air-quality.html Fallout far-reaching as dust kicks up in West. Denver – Oh say, can you see across the Grand Canyon? Not as well as you used to on some days. The question of how clean the air is in the American West has never been an easy one to answer. And now scientists say it is getting harder, with implications that ripple out in surprising ways, from the kitchen faucets of Los Angeles to public health clinics in canyon-land Utah to the economics of tourism. It is at least partly about dust, something that has been entwined with Western life for a long time, and now appears to be getting worse. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/11/v-print/4114709/fallout-far-reaching-as-dust-kicks.html http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/us/air-quality-difficult-to-gauge-in-dustier-american-west.html?pagewanted=print Bay Area power producer pays to offset valley air pollution. The owner of a Bay Area power plant fulfilled a commitment to help offset emissions in the regional air basin last week by providing the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District a check for $644,503 for pollution-reduction projects in the Northern San Joaquin Valley. Mariposa Energy LLC, owner-operator of the Mariposa Power Plant in Alameda County, reached the agreement with the air district in 2009. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2011/12/11/v-print/1983869/power-producer-pays-to-offset.html Dirty Valley air triggers burning ban. FRESNO -- The air this week was filled with soot and tiny specks, triggering a wood- burning ban Friday for all eight Valley counties from Stockton to Bakersfield. It was the first Valleywide burning ban this fall. The bad-air episode was expected to continue through the weekend, said the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District. It is the result of stagnant weather that allows fine particles to build up over many days. Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2011/12/12/2153769/dirty-valley-air-triggers-burning.html CLIMATE CHANGE South Africa says climate deal took delicate touch. Pushing too hard at international climate change talks might have killed the only treaty regulating carbon emissions, host South Africa said Monday after concluding tense negotiations on how the world should respond to global warming. Given the international financial crisis and competing national political interests, trying to force countries to do more than they are willing and able to do "would have resulted in a 'no deal' in Durban, not only killing the Kyoto Protocol therefore, but possibly even the U.N. Convention on climate change itself," Edna Molewa, South Africa's environment minister, told reporters. Posted. http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5j36nOxBCzVmtLJv4QQAO11MrLHHg?docId=cfc338b4cb8947eabf19d9f845be68ae AP Newsbreak: http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/south-africa-says-pushing-hard-at-climate-talks-it-hosted-could-have-been-disastrous/2011/12/12/gIQAZJyWpO_story.html http://www.fresnobee.com/2011/12/12/2646543/south-africa-says-climate-deal.html#storylink=misearch http://www.modbee.com/2011/12/12/1984250/south-africa-says-climate-deal.html http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19529516?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19529516?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Climate conference approves landmark deal. A U.N. climate conference reached a hard-fought agreement Sunday on a far-reaching program meant to set a new course for the global fight against climate change. The 194-party conference agreed to start negotiations on a new accord that would ensure that countries will be legally bound to carry out any pledges they make. It would take effect by 2020 at the latest. The deal doesn't explicitly compel any nation to take on emissions targets, although most emerging economies have volunteered to curb the growth of their emissions. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AF_CLIMATE_CONFERENCE?SITE=MOSTP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT AP Newsbreak: http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19522831?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19522831?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Oversupply Keeps EU Carbon Prices Low In Spite Of Global Climate Deal. A global deal to fight climate change provided only temporary relief to European carbon prices Monday, underlining that specific action will still be needed to boost prices and restore the system's effectiveness in prompting solid reductions to greenhouse gas emissions. Almost 200 countries reached a deal in the early hours of Sunday after talks in Durban, South Africa, spilled in a second extra day. According to the agreement, most industrial nations that are currently internationally bound to reduce emissions…Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20111212-709551.html?_nocache=1323715051456&user=welcome BY SUBSCRIPTION In Glare of Climate Talks, Taking On Too Great a Task. DURBAN, South Africa — For 17 years, officials from nearly 200 countries have gathered under the auspices of the United Nations to try to deal with one of the most vexing questions of our era — how to slow the heating of the planet. Every year they leave a trail of disillusion and discontent, particularly among the poorest nations and those most vulnerable to rising seas and spreading deserts. Every year they fail to significantly advance their own stated goal of keeping the average global temperature from rising more than 2 degrees Celsius, or about 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit, above preindustrial levels. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/11/science/earth/climate-change-expands-far-beyond-an-environmental-issue.html?_r=1 Obama Winning Climate Debate Opens China to Legal Accord. The U.S., long accused of blocking progress in international climate talks, is winning a two-decade old debate about how to curtail global warming. The decision yesterday by China and India to move toward an agreement with the "legal force" to limit their fossil fuel emissions marked the first step toward treating developing nations the same as industrial ones when it comes to reducing pollution. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/g/a/2011/12/12/bloomberg_articlesLW3CJ81A74E9.DTL&type=printable Understanding the Failure of the UN's Climate Talks. It is getting to be a pretty familiar routine by now. Thousands of people from around the world gather to negotiate and influence global climate policy. Rhetoric flies for a week or two, negotiators bargain long into the night, and a modest, unenforceable agreement is finally brought up for a vote. At this point, it is pretty obvious that the United Nations climate negotiation process may serve as a useful agenda-setting mechanism, but it is no way to make global public policy. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/steven-cohen/understanding-the-failure_b_1142999.html?ref=green Climate Strategists: To Cut Emissions, Focus On Forests. Some climate strategists are looking beyond the United Nations and the idea of remaking the energy economy — and toward the world's tropical forests. The basic idea is to provide rich countries that emit lots of climate-warming gases another way to reduce their carbon footprint besides replacing or retrofitting factories and power plants. Instead, they could just pay poorer countries to keep their forests, or even expand them. Forests suck carbon out of the atmosphere. It's like paying someone to put carbon in a storehouse. Posted. http://www.npr.org/2011/12/10/143454111/climate-activists-to-cut-emissions-focus-on-forests DIESEL EMISSIONS Sweeper Regulatory Update: How to Comply with California's Recently Amended On-Road Regs. California Air Resources Board offers information link to those affected by its rulings. Deadlines are coming up fast. Sacramento, CA – Elizabeth White, the California Air Resources Board's Manager for Truck and Bus Regulation, provided an informative seminar at Pavement LIVE. Her topic was an update on the regulations faced by the power sweeping industry in California. The California's Air Resources Board (CARB) has begun implementation of the On-Road Truck and Bus Regulation, which impacts the owners, operators, businesses, and municipalities in the street sweeping industry. Posted. http://www.worldsweeper.com/Industry/CalARBregs12.11.html FUELS Landowners left out of the loop on 'fracking' risks. Natural gas companies that use hydraulic fracturing disclose the risks, such as leaks, spills and explosions, to shareholders, but property owners aren't privy, according to a report by the Environmental Working Group. Reporting from Washington— Natural gas companies that regularly use hydraulic fracturing to drill disclose the risks to shareholders, but not to landowners, according to a report released Monday. Posted. First Valley-wide burn prohibition in effect. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has issued a burning prohibition throughout the San Joaquin Valley, the first time this year the ban has stretched across the entire valley. Poor air quality is predicted in all eight counties, possibly through the weekend, according to the district. The prohibition went into effect at midnight on Thursday should continue through midnight Friday -- though it could be extended throughout the weekend. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/environment/la-na-fracking-land-20111212,0,7015897.story?track=rss&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+latimes%2Fnews%2Fscience%2Fenvironment+%28L.A.+Times+-+Environment%29 VEHICLES New 54.5-mpg fuel economy standard moving toward reality. In mid-November, the U.S. Department of Transportation and the Environmental Protection Agency came one step closer to a utopian vision of future transportation. Both federal agencies released joint formal proposals to adopt regulations setting Corporate Average Fuel Economy averages of 54.5 miles per gallon in combined city/highway fuel economy by 2025. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2011/12/09/MT3V1MA868.DTL Electric cars trump flex-fuel cars on places to fill up. Public charging stations for electric cars outnumber outlets for alternative motor fuels by almost 2-to-1, even though there are hundreds of times more flex- fuel vehicles than plug-in cars on U.S. roads, Bloomberg News reports. Bloomberg goes on to say: Drivers of the approximately 16,500 highway-worthy electric vehicles in the U.S. can choose from 4,448 public charging stations should they want to plug in someplace other than home or work, according to U.S. Energy Department data. Posted. http://content.usatoday.com/communities/driveon/post/2011/12/recharging-easier-to-find-for-electric-cars-than-e85-for-flex-fuel-cars/1 Norwich rolls out 'green' city vehicles. When crews are called on to clear streets of snow this winter, the newest truck in Norwich's fleet will provide more than just safe passage for travelers. The $150,000 vehicle, which rolled off the city's lot in May, complies with new federal emission guidelines that call for drastic reductions in the output of nitrogen oxide and particulate matter from diesel-powered engines. It's one of the most visible examples of a broad effort in departments across the city to turn away from traditional practices and toward more energy-efficient ones that not only save money but reduce Norwich's carbon footprint. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19521373?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19521373?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Denmark launches independent centre to test EV interoperability. An independent test centre for electric vehicle (EV) infrastructure, which is the first technology platform of its kind in the world, has been officially launched on 8 December 2011 in Denmark. The test centre will serve as a platform where power companies and EV operator businesses can test roaming functionality and mitigate any interoperability issues. The Nordic Electric Vehicle Interoperability Centre (NEVIC) is designed to serve as an independent platform by providing “neutral ground” for the companies, where they can test full interoperability. Posted. http://www.cars21.com/content/articles/71320111212.php California Wants One in Seven New Cars to Plug In By 2025. The California Air Resources Board has released a new plan seeking to make nearly 100 percent of new autos sold in the state zero-emission (ZEV) or plug-in hybrid (AT-PEZ) vehicles by 2040. In the meantime, California may seek to set regulations mandating that one-seventh of all new light duty vehicles sold there carry at least plug-in hybrid electric drive capabilities. Posted. http://www.hybridcars.com/news/california-wants-one-seven-new-cars-plug-2025-33646.html MISCELLANEOUS Oak Park schools recognized for environmental awareness. Efforts by Oak Park schools to promote environmental awareness and recycling have been recognized by a California initiative dedicated to supporting sustainability. Oak Park Unified School District has been given a Green Schools California Leadership Award by Green Technology, a nonprofit dedicated to fostering strategy and leadership for sustainable communities in the state. "We are really excited," said district Superintendent Tony Knight. "It's a lot of recognition and it gives us motivation to continue to lead other school districts in this area of environmental education and sustainability." Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2011/dec/10/oak-park-schools-recognized-for-environmental/ California to deploy CO2 monitoring stations. Next time you check the weather on your desktop icon or mobile phone app, will you be able to get an update on the carbon dioxide and methane concentrations in the air, as well? That's not clear yet, but Earth Networks, which operates WeatherBug, a real-time weather app for mobile devices and desktops, has just announced a collaboration to create greenhouse gas monitoring stations throughout California. Posted. http://www.tgdaily.com/sustainability-features/60156-california-to-deploy-co2-monitoring-stations OPINIONS Global Warming and Adaptability. Any carbon deal to replace Kyoto would have a negligible impact on climate in coming decades. The Durban pit-stop in the endless array of climate summits has just ended, and predictably it reaffirmed the United Nations' strong belief that the most important response to global warming is to secure a strong deal to cut carbon emissions. What is almost universally ignored, however, is that if we want to help real people overcome real problems we need to focus first on adaptation. The Durban agreement is being hailed as a diplomatic victory. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052970203413304577086361984880468.html?mod=googlenews_wsj BY SUBSCRIPTION Back to an electric future for cars. A Caltech scientist turned the key in 1948, and innovation is getting into gear. Now we're on the road from smog to ZEVs. One day in 1948, Caltech chemistry professor Arie Haagen-Smit took a break from trying to decipher the mystery of the flavor of the pineapple. He stepped outside his lab for a breath of fresh air but instead found himself enveloped in what he called "that stinking cloud" of smog. At the time, there was a bitter debate as to what caused smog. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-oe-yergin-smog-20111211,0,5096795.story?track=rss Bill Lockyer: Air board must not back down on clean fuel standards. The Gas Guzzling Age is receding into the past. California can be proud of the prominent role it has played in making that happen. Our state has long been a leader in pushing for cars and trucks to burn less gasoline and produce less pollution. For the past two years, we've also become a world leader in encouraging the development of clean fuels. In 2009, California established the world's first Low Carbon Fuel Standard. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_19500204?source=rss http://www.insidebayarea.com/opinion/ci_19500204?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/opinion/ci_19500204?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com Ignoring a global warning. The following editorial appeared in the Los Angeles Times on Friday, Dec. 9: Nero probably didn't really fiddle while Rome burned; for one thing, fiddles as we know them today didn't exist yet, and for another, historians at the time dismissed the story as a rumor. Moreover, it's hard to believe that even a tyrant as petty and murderous as Nero would be foolish enough to watch the burning of his city-state and do nothing about it. But we Americans are. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/12/4116578/ignoring-a-global-warning.html Coal in the crosshairs: Will mercury rule have teeth? As the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency nears its Dec. 16 date with coal-fired power plants - that's when the agency plans to finalize its mercury and air toxics rule - the lobbyists must surely be working overtime. Environmental and public health groups say the rule, which would require significant reductions of emissions, is long overdue and should be implemented ASAP. And the industry says the rule is onerous and that it needs more time. Mercury, which is emitted when coal is burned, is a neurotoxin that hampers the development of young children and fetuses. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2011/12/12/4116732/coal-in-the-crosshairs-will-mercury.html View: Free Markets, Carbon Tax Best to Fight Climate Change. The Durban climate-change talks ended in what negotiators agreed to call a success. Governments, including China and India for the first time, said they would devise a new global system for curbing emissions of greenhouse gases and make it operational by 2020. This promise, however, has uncertain legal force, the form of any new regime is unclear, and the meeting failed to set any new binding targets. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-12-12/free-markets-carbon-tax-best-way-to-fight-climate-change-view.html Getting Gas Drilling Right. After several crowded and often raucous hearings, Gov. Andrew Cuomo agreed to give the public until Jan. 11 to comment on 2,000 pages of environmental analysis and proposed regulations designed to govern natural gas drilling in deep shale formations in New York State. The extension makes sense. The drilling decision is a momentous one, for the environment and the economy, and it is vitally important to get it right. The issue is not the fuel. There is little doubt in our minds that natural gas, which is cheap, plentiful and cleaner than coal, could help greatly with the country’s energy and climate problems. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/12/12/opinion/getting-gas-drilling-right.html?_r=1 Oakland Tribune editorial: Meeting California's emission-reduction target is daunting challenge. California has the nation's most ambitious plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere. Step one is to cut emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. Then comes the really hard part -- cutting the emissions by an additional 80 percent by 2050. Can it be done? A California Council on Science and Technology report, which was produced by scientists from the Department of Energy's Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory, says yes and outlines how to do it. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_19512539?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_19512159?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com The frog and the polar bear: The real reasons Americans aren’t buying climate change. As international leaders trek home from Durban, South Africa, after a week of plotting the world's response to global warming, the debate rages here at home -- over whether Americans even care. The New York Times ran a story in October headlined, "Where did global warming go?" that cited polls suggesting that Americans had lost interest in climate change, or just didn't believe in it. Climate activists have blamed the declines in some surveys on flawed questions. But polls by Gallup and PEW have shown similar recent declines. http://www.grist.org/climate-change/2011-12-11-the-frog-and-the-polar-bear-the-real-reasons-americans-arent-buy Editorial: Who said green was easy? Solyndra, Volt shouldn't discourage public investment in alternative energy. The "Drill, baby, drill" brigade -- that vocal coalition of oil producers, free-market zealots and global warming deniers that is perpetually on the lookout for ways to discredit public investment in alternative energy -- hit the jackpot last month when two of the nation's most visible green initiatives hit highly publicized potholes. Posted. http://www.freep.com/article/20111211/OPINION01/112110431/Editorial-Who-said-green-was-easy-?odyssey=mod|mostcom BLOGS Start-Up BioLite Aims To Help Developing World With Safer, Cleaner Stove. Many clean-technology companies are trying to solve the world’s biggest environmental problems with equally big solutions and are building enormous wind farms, gigantic ethanol plants, massive electric car factories and the like to tackle them. But one Brooklyn company, BioLite, is developing a watermelon-sized stove that can almost eliminate the pollution from cooking fires in the developing world. Reducing global warming isn’t the only goal. Posted. http://blogs.wsj.com/venturecapital/2011/12/12/start-up-biolite-aims-to-help-developing-world-with-safer-cleaner-stove/ BY SUBSCRIPTION Young Voices Reverberate at Indeterminate Climate Talks. That was a core line in a remarkable speech delivered on behalf of youth in the final stretch of two weeks of contentious, largely indeterminate climate treaty talks in Durban, South Africa. The talks went into overtime Saturday night (Durban time), with the leadership desperate to salvage at least a “Durban outcome,” akin to the “road map” produced in Bali in 2007. The best way to track the finale and afterthoughts is by following the #COP17 or #UNFCCC tags on Twitter. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2011/12/10/young-voices-at-deadlocked-durban-climate-talks/ New climate study reveals “true global warming signal”; warming continues unabated. Take a look at any chart of global average temperature trends during the past several decades (below, for example), and chances are that you’ll notice a lot of short-term ups and downs, with an overall trend towards warmer than average conditions. Those zigs and zags from one year to the next are largely due to natural phenomena such as El Nino and La Nina, which help tip the odds in favor of warmer or cooler years. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/post/new-climate-study-reveals-true-global-warming-signal/2011/12/11/gIQAP5RspO_blog.html Despite policy changes, smog still afflicts Mexico City. Reporting From Mexico City -- When you're above it, it might look like brown smoke. From far away at ground level, it can shine like a sheet of white ice. And when you're under it, which is most of the time, you can't really see it at all. It is the famous air pollution of Mexico City, causing countless cases of scratchy throats, stinging eyes and mucus that looks like it came from outer-space. It is, in a word, nasty. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/12/smog-mexico-city-december-pollution.html Climate deal delays new concerted effort on greenhouse gases [updated]. Reporting From Washington -- Negotiators at a climate change meeting in South Africa struck an 11th-hour deal to avoid the collapse of international negotiations over global warming, averting the worst fears of environmental advocates but doing little to immediately advance the cause of limiting greenhouse gas emissions. The agreement in effect would postpone new concerted global action on climate change for at least eight years. Posted. http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/world_now/2011/12/climate-deal-greenhouse-gases.html First Valley-wide burn prohibition in effect. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District has issued a burning prohibition throughout the San Joaquin Valley, the first time this year the ban has stretched across the entire valley. Poor air quality is predicted in all eight counties, possibly through the weekend, according to the district. The prohibition went into effect at midnight on Thursday should continue through midnight Friday -- though it could be extended throughout the weekend. Posted. http://www.bakersfield.com/blogs/breaking_news/x1465341968/First-Valley-wide-burn-prohibition-in-effect Choking on change (3). We are gambling. We are casually and nonchalantly sliding the lives of our children onto the table. We are betting it all on ignorance, denial and the immediate gratification of the greedy, corpulent community of petulant polluters who have placed their need for profit ahead of everything else. Our window, we are told, closes in about 2015. Our atmosphere, we are told, has a limit. Once it is packed with enough carbon dioxide and methane, it forces us into a whole new climate, one that future generations may not survive. Posted. http://blogs.redding.com/dcraig/archives/2011/12/choking-on-chan-2.html Climate Counts Scorecard Shows Improvement, but Not Enough. Climate Counts is a not-for-profit organization aimed at increasing public awareness of, and bringing consumers and companies together in the fight against, global warming. Every year they put out a scorecard rating companies on their efforts in combating climate change. This month they published their fifth annual scorecard. Specifically, the scorecard assesses a given company’s efforts in…Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2011/12/climate-counts-scorecard-shows-improvements-enough/ SAP Calculates the Carbon Footprint of a Yogurt Cup. The German software company SAP is a leader in using computer analytics to help a company reduce its environmental footprint while also saving a few bucks. This week, SAP unveiled software that can establish how much CO2 and water it takes to make an individual product. SAP’s first partner on the technology is Groupe Danone, the French multinational foodmaker known in the U.S. as Dannon. By the end of the year, Danone expects to be using SAP’s technology to evaluate 35,000 products, according to Peter Graf, SAP’s chief sustainability officer. Posted. http://blog.cleantechies.com/2011/12/12/sap-calculates-the-carbon-footprint-of-a-yogurt-cup/