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newsclips -- Newsclips for January 9, 2012.

Posted: 09 Jan 2012 15:52:58
California Air Resources Board News Clips for January 9, 2012.  

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.


Hong Kong air pollution at worst levels ever. HONG KONG - Air
pollution levels in Hong Kong were the worst ever last year, the
South China Morning Post reported on Monday, a finding that may
further undermine the city's role as an Asian financial centre as
business executives relocate because of health concerns.
Worsening air quality in Hong Kong caused by vehicle emissions
and industrial pollution from the neighboring Pearl River Delta
is already forcing many in the financial community to move to
Singapore. Posted.

China to Release More Data on Air Pollution in Beijing. Shanghai
— China said on Friday that it would begin to publish more
detailed air quality data on Beijing later this month, following
a public outcry over official government readings that critics
said underestimated the severity of the air pollution problem in
the smog-filled capital. Beijing plans to publish hourly air
quality reports based on an international standard known as PM
2.5, which measures tiny particles that are 2.5 microns or less
in diameter… Posted.

Air worse than it seems, so watch burn days. You walk outside,
you take a deep breath, and, ah, the air seems so crisp and clear
and clean. But — cough, cough, wheeze, wheeze, gasp, gasp — it's
not. In fact, for most of the last month or so, it's been just
the opposite. If you want to know what the air's really like,
turn to The Bee's daily weather page, and there on the upper
right portion of the back page of the B section you'll find the
telltale signs: …Posted. 

Record air pollution hammers Calif's ag heartland.  Fresno,
Calif. -- This is the time of year when residents who often live
with the nation's worst pollution often can draw a breath of
fresh air. But this winter has not been kind to people who want
to play outside in California's Central Valley. A dry December
and January has stagnated air across California, but nowhere is
the situation more serious than between Modesto and Bakersfield,
where nearly every day dirty air has exceeded federal health
standards. Posted.

Port gets a big lift. At 400 tons and 220 feet tall once fully
assembled, the two harbor cranes that arrived at the Port of
Stockton last week will be among most massive and, certainly,
tallest structures in town. The cranes, costing nearly $5 million
apiece, will serve as the centerpiece of a so-called marine
highway, employing barges to shuttle marine shipping containers
between the Port of Oakland and the inland ports at Stockton and
West Sacramento. By supplanting truck transport, it would ease
regional highway congestion and air pollution. Posted. 

Smog agency: Switch to gas logs, get $200. If you have a
wood-burning fireplace and live below 3,000 feet in the South
Coast Air Basin, smog regulators have a deal for you: Switch to
gas and receive a $200 discount for doing it. The idea is to
reduce the amount of residential wood-smoke in the basin, emitted
by an estimated 1.2 million homes and responsible for some five
tons per day of harmful, fine-particle emissions. That’s four
times the amount from all the power plants in the region,
according to the South Coast Air Quality Management District.


USC researchers discover new, cheaper CO2 capture. Researchers at
USC, right here in our backyard, have just announced a new,
superefficient way to pull CO2 out of the air. And, potentially,
out of effluents from smokestacks and other industrial sources.
And to then release it again, recycling the capture material over
and over. The secrets? Sand. And plastic. The new process,
detailed in the Journal of the American Chemical Society, claims
to have the highest carbon dioxide removal capacity for
real-world conditions, Posted.

New Materials Remove Carbon Dioxide from Smokestacks, Tailpipes
and Even the Air. Scientists are reporting discovery of an
improved way to remove carbon dioxide -- the major greenhouse gas
that contributes to global warming -- from smokestacks and other
sources, including the atmosphere. Their report on the process,
which achieves some of the highest carbon dioxide removal
capacity ever reported for real-world conditions where the air
contains moisture, appears in the Journal of the American
Chemical Society. Posted.

Next Ice Age Delayed By Global Warming Gases, Study Finds. London
- High levels of carbon dioxide emissions in the atmosphere mean
the next ice age is unlikely to begin for at least 1,500 years,
an article in the journal Nature Geoscience said on Monday.
Concentrations of the main gases blamed for global warming
reached record levels in 2010 and will linger in the atmosphere
for decades even if the world stopped pumping out emissions
today, according to the U.N.'s weather agency. Posted.


Ethanol subsidy dies, auto industry shrugs. The Jan. 1 demise of
a 30-year federal tax subsidy for corn-based ethanol came and
went as a so-what moment in the auto industry. Automakers and
industry observers said it will have little impact on sales of
so-called flex-fuel models -- many of which roll through their
lives, after winning federal fuel-economy credits for their
makers, without burning a drop of ethanol. Car companies receive
a credit toward their corporate average fuel economy for every
model they build that is capable of burning E85 -- a blend of
gasoline and up to 85 percent ethanol. Posted. 


GM goal: Protect Volt's battery, image. General Motors last week
offered a voluntary modification meant to keep the Chevrolet
Volt's battery pack from catching fire after a severe crash, a
big step toward sidestepping a potential image hit to the halo
car.  GM is asking its 8,000 Volt customers to bring the plug-in
hybrid to their Chevy dealership for a fix that will reinforce
the steel surrounding the battery pack to prevent it from being
punctured during a crash. It also will add a sensor to the
battery pack to monitor coolant leaks. Posted. 


Renewable energy projects in California go unused. Millions of
dollars in projects intended to provide power to facilities in
the state's national parks and forests are sitting idle because
of a years-long squabble with Southern California Edison.
Millions of dollars in renewable energy projects intended to
provide power to facilities in California's national parks and
forests are sitting idle because of a years-long squabble with
Southern California Edison. Posted.

New program helps contractors, Realtors and loan officers think
green. Having a green household is more possible than people
think. That's what officials at Energy Upgrade California want
homeowners and prospective buyers to know as the officials
promote financing options and rebates for those who want to save
money while making their homes more energy-efficient. The $30
million Energy Upgrade California program, which provides rebates
for energy and water home improvements…Posted. 

Windsor school, town officials battle over solar array. Windsor’s
desire to embrace green, energy-saving practices could be tested
in a controversy involving a private school’s application to
install a solar array next to its campus. Windsor planning
department officials recently rejected the Sonoma Country Day
School’s application to install the photovoltaic panels, saying
it is incompatible with the zoning on the parcel. “I view this
request as an encroachment of the school use into the Town’s
Light Industrial zone,” Planning Director Jim Bergman wrote in a
letter explaining his decision. Posted. 

RETAIL: Stater Bros. lauded for waste reduction. The California
Department of Resources Recycling and Recovery has recognized
Stater Bros. with a 2011 Waste Reduction Award for the company’s
efforts to recycling materials and eliminate waste from its
Southern California operations. The CalRecycle Waste Reduction
Awards Program, initiated in 1993, recognizes business is the
state for their environmentally friendly practices. This is the
second year running Stater Bros. has received the award. Posted. 


Capping an era of L.A. oil exploration. Long-abandoned wells on
the Los Angeles City Oil Field, which sparked Southern
California's oil boom 120 years ago, are being sealed to make way
for a 45-unit affordable housing project. It almost seemed as
though oil drilling rigs were ready to tap into Los Angeles'
first petroleum field again. But the workers setting up a pair of
derricks south of Echo Park last week were plugging some of the
city's oldest wells — not drilling new ones. Posted.

In Person: John Bryson, who aims to strengthen U.S.
competitiveness. New Secretary of Commerce John Bryson talks
about dealing with China, encouraging U.S. businesses to create
jobs, and other issues. Washington — John Bryson knows what it's
like to be in crisis mode. His 18-year stint as chief executive
of Edison International included a tumultuous stretch a decade
ago when he fought to keep the company afloat during the
California electricity crisis. Posted.

Rolling Stone: Utah’s Shurtleff one who gets it done. Rolling
Stone asks the same question asked many Utah Democrats (yes, they
do exist) - “How did Democrats let a conservative Republican from
Orrin Hatch’s home state get out in front on this issue?” Other
leaders honored by the magazine are Mary Nichols, head of the
California Air Resources Board, Paul Reickoff, Executive Director
of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, New York City
Transportation Commissioner Janette Sadik-Kahn, Massachusetts
Senate Candidate Elizabeth Warren-D …Posted.


Jerry Brown 2.0 at 1. A year into his latest go-round as governor
of California, Jerry Brown doesn't stand much on ceremony these
days. That was evident even before the snafu which caused the
roll-out of his state budget five days earlier than scheduled
(and delayed this about to roll-out piece). I talked with Brown
over the holidays about how things have gone, how they are going,
and how they (he hopes) will go. President Barack Obama will
carry California. That's not in question. What is in question is
California's future. Brown made it very clear that he intends to
keep thinking big even in a time of limits. Posted.

LFTR: A Long-Term Energy Solution? Currently more than 80 percent
of the world's energy is obtained from fossil fuels: petroleum,
coal, and natural gas. Another 10 percent comes from biomass and
waste, leaving only 10 percent from sources other than carbon
burning. According to the World Health Organization, urban
outdoor air pollution is estimated to cause 1.3 million deaths
worldwide per year, from respiratory infections, heat disease,
and lung cancer. Indoor air pollution is estimated to cause
approximately 2 million premature deaths mostly in developing
countries. Almost half of these deaths are due to pneumonia in
children under 5 years of age. The source in both cases is carbon
combustion, from fossil fuels or biomass. Posted.

Beverly Bean: A pesticide challenge. The transition away from
fossil fuels is the obvious action needed to combat the
devastating effects of global warming, which are already starting
to be felt worldwide. The United States — "the best democracy
money can buy"— has been the main stumbling block for any
meaningful worldwide action due to the shortsighted focus on
their bottom line by the large energy corporations which control
political action in Washington. Posted.

Detroit to India: The clean-vehicle paradigm shift. In 1900, it
wasn’t obvious that we needed a replacement for horses. After
all, horses were all-terrain vehicles that got the job done. So,
when car’s arrived, they were greeted with far less fanfare than,
say, the iPad, and were all but dismissed as dirty, noisy and
unnecessary.  The shift to computers was much the same. When the
machines first started hitting desktops, everyone knew at least
one writer who turned up their nose and treated the phrase “word
processor” like a four-letter word. These are likely the same
writers who are madly texting their grandkids on their smart
phones today. Posted. 

Electric vehicles: To support with subsidies or not. The Jan. 2
editorial “Overcharged,”which celebrated the end of government
support to all-electric cars, was shortsighted. The limited tax
credit served a worthy goal: to boost private investment in the
infrastructure needed to make all-electric vehicles a viable
alternative — especially for drivers who travel short distances
to Metro, to work and around town. Until charging stations are
built, it will be hard for drivers to count on charging their
cars when they are away from home. Posted. 

It’s year for ‘fracking’ to break up or break through. The
natural gas industry and its opponents are readying their final
arguments for what many think will be a critical year in the
debate over “fracking” safety. Supporters of the hydraulic
fracturing process - the use of water, sand and chemicals to
break underground rock and release huge amounts of gas - boast of
recent economic growth, with hundreds of thousands of jobs
created in the past several years and small, sleepy communities
in Pennsylvania, North Dakota and elsewhere transformed into
boomtowns. Posted. 

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