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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 6, 2012

Posted: 06 Feb 2012 14:26:36
ARB News Clips for February 6, 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.


China bars its airlines from paying EU carbon tax.  China
announced Monday it will prohibit its airlines from paying
European Union charges on carbon emissions, ratcheting up a
global dispute over the cost of combatting climate change.  The
charges are aimed at curbing emissions of climate-changing gases
but governments including China, the United States and Russia
oppose them. The ratings agency Fitch warned in December the
conflict could spiral into a global trade dispute.  Posted. 

AP Newsbreak: 

Opponents of EU airline CO2 scheme to meet in Moscow. A group of
26 countries vehemently opposed to the EU's aviation emissions
trading scheme will meet in Moscow on February 21 to discuss a
plan of action, EU and Indian sources told Reuters on Monday. The
governments, which include Russia, India, China and the U.S.,
claim an EU law forcing all airlines touching down or taking off
within the bloc to pay for their CO2 emissions from last month is
discriminatory and illegal, and some are prohibiting their
carriers from complying. Posted.

Spain Needs $466 Million in Carbon Credits to Meet Kyoto Limit.
Spain may need to buy at least 355 million euros ($466 million)
of carbon emissions permits to meet its obligations under the
Kyoto Protocol, Agriculture Minister Miguel Arias-Canete said.
The country will need at least 67 million metric tons of
emissions permits to cover greenhouse gas emissions that exceed
the volume allowed under the 1997 Kyoto agreement, Arias-Canete
told a parliamentary committee last week. “The government needs a
lot of permits,” the minister said.

E.U. Rebuffs China's Challenge to Pollution Plan. Brussels — The
European Commission said Monday that it would continue charging
airlines for their greenhouse gas emissions, despite an
announcement from China that its carriers would be forbidden to
pay without its permission. “We’re not backing down in our
legislation, we’ll apply this to companies operating in Europe,”
said Isaac Valero-Ladron, a spokesman for the European
Commission, the Union’s executive body. Posted.

Climate change gives gardeners new options. If you're planting a
spring garden in the U.S. this year, you may want to set aside
some extra seed money. The U.S. Department of Agriculture has
updated its plant hardiness zone map for the first time since
1990, reflecting how some crops are moving north as winter grows
warmer. Despite all the long-term dangers associated with global
warming, it does have a few short-term perks …Posted.

Disclosing greenhouse gas emissions boosts business, study finds.
New research shows it can pay to be green. A pair of California
business school researchers has found that companies that
disclose greenhouse gas emissions enjoy an immediate rise in
stock value and positive returns to shareholders. Their study
appeared in Social Science Research Network. Posted.

The Complex Process of Reducing Carbon Intensity.  The next big
piece of California's groundbreaking climate strategy is to clean
up the fuels we use, reducing the greenhouse gases that cause
global warming. The Low Carbon Fuel Standard calls for a 10
percent reduction in the average "carbon intensity" of fuels by
the end of the decade. But Midwestern ethanol producers are
challenging the regulation in court.  Posted. 

Why climate change will make you love big government.  This essay
was originally published on TomDispatch and is republished here
with Tom’s kind permission.  Look back on 2011 and you’ll notice
a destructive trail of extreme weather slashing through the year.
In Texas, it was the driest year ever recorded. An epic drought
there killed half a billion trees, touched off wildfires that
burned 4 million acres, and destroyed or damaged thousands of
homes and buildings. Posted. 


Commuters continue to breathe diesel exhaust at Chicago's Union
Station.  Thousands of commuters continue to breathe high levels
of lung-damaging diesel exhaust at Chicago's Union Station, in
part because of nagging maintenance problems at the Old Post
Office that straddles the southbound tracks.  Testing by Amtrak
has determined that ventilation fans at the shuttered post office
building repeatedly malfunction. Posted. 

Landmark Diesel Exhaust Study Stalled Amid Industry And
Congressional Objections.  Publication of a landmark government
study probing whether diesel engine exhaust causes lung cancer in
miners — already 20 years in the making — has been delayed by
industry and congressional insistence on seeing study data and
documents before the public does.  A federal judge has affirmed
the right of an industry group and a House committee to review
the materials and has held the Department of Health and Human
Services in contempt for not producing all of them.  Posted. 

Stalemate looms on NOx vs CO2 diesel emission limits.  Which
emissions are more harmful: oxides of nitrogen (NOx) or carbon
dioxide (CO2)? No-one can provide a definitive answer, because
any judgment on the subject is akin to comparing apples with
oranges. Nitrogen oxides are pollutants, constituting an
immediate threat to human health, while CO2 is a longer-term -
albeit profound - hazard, detrimentally affecting the planet’s
climate.  Posted. 


2012 begins with highest January gasoline prices ever.  January
is typically a month of falling gasoline prices because fuel
demand traditionally falters in the slower travel weeks that
follow the end-of-the-year holidays. Not so this year. The last
month was the most expensive January ever for retail gasoline as
prices averaged out at $3.37 a gallon, according to the Oil Price
Information Service (OPIS) in New Jersey. That compared with the
previous record average for the month of $3.095 a gallon SET last
year. In 2010, January gasoline prices averaged just $2.71 a
gallon. The new record meant more pain in Americans' budgets. A
typical household, burning about 50 gallons of gasoline a month,
had to pay about $168.50 for that fuel in January, or $33 more
than it did in 2010. Posted.

Five Key Biofuels Issues for 2012.  The 2011 ethanol tax
incentive might be gone, but the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS)
is still in place. As a result, the upcoming year promises to see
a great deal of legal activity surrounding ethanol use, according
to the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA). Here are five stories
the organization is keeping an eye on in 2012…Posted. 


California Car Deal Criticized as Hurting Green Sales. When
California’s air regulators approved new car-pollution rules to
cut down on smog and global warming, they included a provision
that critics described as a loophole that could substantially
reduce the number of electric vehicles sold in the state in
coming years. Under the new Advanced Clean Cars Program rules,
approved last month, automakers will be required; beginning in
2018, to sell an escalating number of automobiles and light
vehicles in California that can run on electricity, fuel cells or
other zero-tailpipe-emission technologies. Posted. 

100-mpg Fusion sparks interest -- too early. When a customer told
Vandalia, Ohio, Ford dealer Larry Taylor last week that he was
interested in buying a Fusion Hybrid, Taylor walked him over to
look at a 2012 Fusion Hybrid. The customer looked at the car and
shook his head. He said, "No, not that one. I want the one that
gets more than 90 mpg," Taylor recounts. Taylor had to tell the
customer that the car he was interested in, the 2013 Fusion
Energi, a plug-in hybrid that Ford says will get in excess of 100
mpg, probably won't arrive until fall…Taylor still has about 80
units of the 2012 Fusion on his lot. Posted. 


Activists Fight Green Projects, Seeing U.N. Plot.  Across the
country, activists with ties to the Tea Party are railing against
all sorts of local and state efforts to control sprawl and
conserve energy. They brand government action for things like
expanding public transportation routes and preserving open space
as part of a United Nations-led conspiracy to deny property
rights and herd citizens toward cities.  They are showing up at
planning meetings to denounce bike lanes on public streets and
smart meters on home appliances — efforts they equate to a
big-government blueprint against individual rights.  Posted. 

Energy cells help power Century City skyscraper. Century City
skyscraper Constellation Place, formerly known as MGM Tower, is
the first Los Angeles high-rise to be served by
electricity-generating fuel cells. Landlord JMB Realty installed
two Bloom Energy Servers that will produce 400 kilowatts of
power, about one-third of the electricity needed by the 35-story
tower. Bloom servers, made by Bloom Energy of Sunnyvale, Calif.,
are each big enough to occupy an average parking space and
contain thousands of Bloom fuel cells …Posted.


Republican primary candidates on climate change. In the past five
years, climate scientists have become increasingly convinced that
human activities are having a dangerous, long-lasting impact on
the global climate. Many Republican primary candidates meanwhile,
have been moving the other way. Posted.


A rational approach to rail. New priorities — start in urban
areas, build on what's in place — could propel the bullet train.
California's proposed bullet train is being recalibrated. And
designers may finally be on the right track. Sensitive to growing
public and political opposition, high-speed rail officials seem
to be coming to a rational conclusion: It makes good sense to
begin service ASAP in urban areas where people might actually
ride the trains. Posted.

High-speed rail ... or fail? A bullet train official tries to
answer tough questions about soaring costs and judging the risks
of new technology. Can it be built faster, better and cheaper?
When it comes to California's plans for high-speed rail, scads of
people have strong opinions. But that shouldn't be a surprise. As
I noted in Wednesday's column, voters in 2008 approved a 520-mile
train route that was supposed to cost $33 billion and be
completed in 2020. Posted.

EU an ocean apart from U.S. on climate change. Soon after
arriving in the Bay Area, my Anglo American partner gave up on
public transport and decided to lease a car. She opted for a
Honda Fit, which had "good" mileage of 33 mpg until compared with
the same model sold in the United Kingdom, which does around 55
mpg. I asked the dealer at Honda Marin whether he knew what the
tailpipe carbon dioxide emissions were. He looked at me blankly.
When I told him that in the European Union, it's now a legal
requirement to label cars with the grams of carbon dioxide
emitted per mile and zero-emission vehicles get a road tax break,
he looked as if I'd landed from Mars. Posted.

Climate-change solutions depend on open dialogue. Katharine
Hayhoe is a busy woman. As an atmospheric scientist at Texas Tech
University in Lubbock, she studies the regional impact of climate
change. As a Christian, she volunteers, sharing her science with
church and public groups. And as the mother of a young child -
well, enough said. So it's not surprising she was frustrated when
a chapter about climate science she wrote for an upcoming Newt
Gingrich book was casually dumped by the Republican presidential
primary candidate in the lead up to the Iowa caucuses. Posted.

Should the U.S. end restrictions on domestic oil drilling? No:
This will discourage green energy. Gasoline prices rose sharply
in 2008 and again in 2011, largely as a consequence of rising
global demand and limited supply. People's reactions were mixed.
Some called for immediate relief in the form of gas tax rebates
or increased oil drilling, both onshore and offshore. Others
welcomed higher gas prices because they motivate auto companies
to design and market more fuel-efficient vehicles, and consumers
to buy them. Posted. 

EDITORIAL: State's cleaner car goal won't work without buyers. 
The California Air Resources Board has unanimously approved new
regulations that mandate car manufacturers to cut smog emissions
from new vehicles by 75% by 2025 and greenhouse gases by 34%.  To
produce that level of emission reductions, CARB has set an
ambitious target. Posted. 

California's Dreaming: It Thinks It Can Force You To Buy A Car
You Don't Want.  Last Friday, the California Air Resources Board
(CARB) mandated that by 2025, 15% of new cars sold in California
must have zero or near-zero emissions – in other words, that they
be electric, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen vehicles such as the
Nissan Leaf, the Honda FCX Clarity hydrogen car and soon the
Tesla Model S.  Posted. 

"Global Warming Has Stopped"? How to Fool People Using
"Cherry-Picked" Climate Data. The current favorite argument of
those who argue that climate changes isn’t happening, or a
problem, or worth dealing with, is that global warming has
stopped. Therefore (they conclude) scientists must be wrong when
they say that climate change is caused by humans, worsening, and
ultimately a serious environmental problem that must be addressed
by policy makers. Posted.

Commentary: California Drives Investment in Cleaner Cars.  Last
week, the California Air Resources Board passed a new package of
Advanced Clean Car rules continuing California’s leadership in
auto technology.  It is rare that a regulatory action will result
in such a big win for the economy, consumers, national security
and the environment.  Simply put, cleaner cars will save money
and drive job creation.  As the original author of California’s
landmark clean car law that now serves as our national


A Bay Area Experiment in Electric Bike Sharing. Any cyclist who
pedals around San Francisco will soon learn about the Wiggle, a
bicycle route that weaves a delightfully flat path across this
city of hills. But the Wiggle, just one mile long, can save
cyclists from only so many hills. Soon San Franciscans will have
a new option for navigating the local terrain without breaking a
sweat or resorting to a car, thanks to a pioneering federally
financed electric bike share program that will start up this
year. Posted. 

Who was for, who was against CARB's ZEV mandate "over-compliance"
rule. What impact will the "over-compliance" rule – some would
say loophole – in the California Air Resources Board's recent
changes to the Zero-Emission Vehicle (ZEV) Mandate have? The
short and obvious answer is that only time will tell, but one can
make the case both that it's a good thing and that it's a bad
thing. Odd, but true. Before we get too far into this, a primer
on the ZEV Mandate changes and what the over-compliance rule
actually is is important. Posted. 

Business Coalition BICEP Endorses California’s Advanced Clean Car
Program.  Business advocacy Coalition, BICEP (Business for
Innovative Climate & Energy Policy) has endorsed the California
Air Resources Board’s, Advanced Clean Cars Program, which passed
last week – citing benefits which they say will spark economic
growth.  Posted. 

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