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newsclips -- Newsclips for February 13, 2012

Posted: 13 Feb 2012 14:04:43
ARB News Clips for February 13, 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.


Southern Californians at risk of death from air pollution, EPA
says. Southern Californians are among those at highest risk of
death due to air pollution, according to recent U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency research published in the journal
Risk Analysis. The study, published last month, was conducted to
“provide insight to the size and location of public health risks
associated with recent levels of fine particles and ozone,
allowing decision-makers to better target air quality policies,”
the federal agency said in a statement responding to California
Watch inquiries. Posted.


EU open to talks but won't scrap carbon tax.  Europe is willing
to discuss its new carbon emissions tax for airlines with
disgruntled governments but has no plans to scrap the levy, top
EU officials said Monday.  Airlines and governments have
complained the tax is too costly and was implemented without
consultation. Industry leaders are warning the disagreement could
spark a trade war between Europe and the rest of the world. 

California’s Climate Change Laboratory: AB 32.  “It is one of the
happy accidents of the federal system that a single courageous
state may, if its citizens choose, serve as a laboratory, and try
novel social and economic experiments without risk to the rest of
the country.” (New State Ice Co. v. Liebman, 285 U.S. 262, 311
(1932) (dissent).  California embodies Justice Brandeis’s famous
metaphor of states as the laboratories of democracy, particularly
when it comes to progressive environmental regulation. Posted. 

Calif asks for stay of low-carbon fuel ruling.  California
officials are asking a federal judge to allow work to resume on
implementation of the state's first-in-the-nation mandate for
low-carbon vehicle fuels.  The California Air Resources Board on
Friday filed a request for a stay in the 9th U.S. Circuit Court
of Appeals, asking the court to allow work to resume while it
appeals a lower court decision to halt the program.  Posted. 

Caltrain plan would fast-track electric rail. The overhaul of
California's high-speed rail project could bring the Bay Area $1
billion to electrify Caltrain and lay the path for bullet train
service between San Francisco and San Jose sooner than
anticipated. The Chronicle has learned that officials with Bay
Area transportation agencies are in negotiations with each other,
and with the California High-Speed Rail Authority, to craft an
agreement that would fund an advanced train-control

Drivers frustrated by near-empty lanes. By 5:30 a.m, there are
already enough cars filling southbound Highway 101 toward
Petaluma to make Gus Kouninos grateful for the new third lane
running over the Cotati Grade. But on his evening drive home, the
Santa Rosa resident can only look at the new construction in
frustration. The third lanes between Cotati and Petaluma are
closed to solo drivers from 7 to 9 a.m. and 3 to 6:30 p.m. during
the commute crunch. Posted. 

Retrofitters plug into EV fleet niche. Automakers are having a
hard time selling electric vehicles in volume. But retrofitters
aiming for tiny niches are proliferating.  With business models
geared to selling small batches of electrified vehicles to
utilities, governmental units and the like, you might say that
retrofitters are playing small ball. But they see a steadily
growing market of customers who are motivated to make their
fleets green -- and who want to cut fuel costs for their fleets.


ENERGY: Uncertainty clouds Obama’s latest solar push. President
Barack Obama wants to revive the renewable energy push that
fostered a solar development boom in the first years of his
administration, particularly across the sun-drenched deserts of
Riverside and San Bernardino counties. But clouding his effort is
the expiration of federal programs meant to spur investment, a
backlash against the White House’s policies in the wake of the
Solyndra debacle, and unresolved questions about where
large-scale plants can be built. Posted. 

How 1.6 billion people who live on less than a dollar a day
afford renewables.  If you’re not already connected to an
electricity grid, renewable energy is a no-brainer, argues
Michigan professor of history and “scholar of the Muslim world”
Juan Cole. For the one-third of the world’s population that lives
on less than a dollar a day, fossil fuels aren’t just
environmentally unsustainable — they’re financially unsustainable
too.  For example: As cell phones have become ubiquitous
throughout Africa and the developing world, the electricity to
charge them has not. Posted. 
Phoenix rising: Can ‘the world’s least sustainable city’ go
green?  What was the most surprising thing that came out of
Andrew Ross’s two-year research stint in Phoenix, Ariz.? For my
money, it’s this: People who live there (weirdly) don’t expect
their desert civilization to collapse around them at any moment. 
“One of New Yorkers’ favorite things is to imagine the
destruction of their city. There’s a whole library of movies and
novels that do this,” Ross said during a recent visit to the
Grist offices. “There’s no equivalent in Phoenix.”  Posted. 

Problems cast shadows of doubt on solar project. The unexpected
deaths of kit foxes and discovery of ancient human settlements
threaten to delay or even cancel a $1-billion, 250-megawatt
installation on federal land in the desert near Blythe. Reporting
from Blythe, Calif. -- One of California's showcase solar energy
projects, under construction in the desert east of Los Angeles,
is being threatened by a deadly outbreak of distemper among kit
foxes and the discovery of a prehistoric human settlement on the
work site. Posted.


Zipcar expands service to over 45 college campuses.  Zipcar Inc.
said Monday that it has launched its car sharing services at more
than 45 college and university campuses since the beginning of
the current school year.  The Cambridge, Mass.-based company said
that since December, it has has begun service at 10 new
universities including Valparaiso University, University of
Oregon and the University of Wisconsin at Madison.  That came
after Zipcar began services at 36 additional campuses around the
start of the 2011-2012 school year, the company said.  Posted. 

Petition drive for more bicycle safety in SCAG plan nears
deadline. Rachel Morris, executive director of a Ventura County
climate-change group dedicated to getting people out of cars and
onto bicycles, isn't happy with the latest regional
transportation draft plan by the Southern California Association
of Governments. In Morris' estimation, the regional planning
organization's 23-year, nearly $500 billion plan budgets too few
funds for bicycle and pedestrian safety. Posted. 


New energy supplies may rock orthodox auto beliefs.  New
discoveries of natural gas threaten to overturn many assumptions
about energy supplies and may also bring big changes in the way
cars are powered.  When the conventional wisdom had it that
supplies of oil were going to run out sooner rather than later,
it made sense for automobile manufacturers to embrace government
campaigns to quickly ratchet up fuel consumption rules for cars
and light trucks.  Posted. 

You and the Law: Air Resources Board puts California drivers at
risk.  Unless you live in a handful of California regions —
generally over 4,000 feet elevation — there is something which
your car certainly should have for safe winter driving, but which
is currently almost impossible to purchase in other areas of the
state.  It’s winter windshield washer solution, the type that
does not freeze, and which until recently, could legally be sold
anywhere.  Posted. 

Editorial: California's cap-and-trade slush fund.  We warned long
ago that the state of California's war on global warming never
really had much to do with the globe getting warmer. Rather, it's
always been about control and money.  Now the pretense should be
obvious to all. The nonpartisan Office of the Legislative Analyst
reported last week on Gov. Jerry Brown's intention to raise money
from a carbon emission cap-and-trade scheme through the
regulatory might of the California Air Resources Board, enabled
by the arrogantly titled Global Warming Solutions Act, approved
in 2006 as Assembly Bill 32.  Posted. 


States Sue E.P.A. Over Delayed Soot Rules. The Obama
administration, already contending with a lawsuit from health and
environmental groups arguing that ozone pollution standards are
inadequate, now faces another suit over soot. Eleven states,
including New York and California, joined forces on Friday to sue
the federal Environmental Protection Agency in Federal District
Court in Manhattan over the agency’s delays in tightening air
quality standards involving fine particulate matter, or soot,
from diesel trucks, buses, power plants and other sources.

Can Efficiency Counter a Loss of Nuclear Power? In an era when
almost every energy technology is unpopular with somebody, the
people who don’t want wind turbines, generating stations or new
transmission lines installed in their neighborhoods often raise
the idea of improving energy efficiency as an alternative. That
argument is particularly common in New York State and in Vermont,
where state governments are trying to close nuclear reactors
within their borders. Posted. 

The Coming Fight Over Cap-and-Trade Revenues. A new source of
revenues is on the horizon. So is a big fight. Should average
citizens get the new fees? In this era of perpetual budget cuts,
the state faces a strange new problem on the horizon: a big new
pool of revenues that is likely to produce a big fight. That pool
of revenues is expected to result from the sale of allowances to
produce greenhouse gases under Calfiornia so-called "cap and
trade program." Cap and trade caps the amount of pollution
available -- and then auctions off available rights to polluters.

Next Tesla Roadster delayed until after mass-market EV launch.
With the demise of the Lotus Elise in the United States, the
Tesla Roadster's fate was sealed. With no chassis rolling out of
Hethel, Tesla had to end production of the Roadster and shift its
focus to the Model S and the just-revealed Model X. But some kind
of Roadster successor has always been in the cards and as Tesla's
SEC filings revealed two years ago, the new sports car was
supposed to arrive next year. Posted. 

Auto industry about to go diesel crazy.  Volkswagen is showing
the Beetle TDI -- diesel -- at the Chicago auto show, another
signal that automakers are moving faster into diesel power after
years of hesitation and emphasis on hybrids and electrics.  VW,
which already has diesel options for its Golf, Jetta, Passat and
Touareg models, will be joined by new entrants in the U.S. market
for diesel, such as General Motors, Mazda and Chrysler Group.
Other makers, such as Honda, still are holding back some of their
best, newest advanced diesels from the U.S., unsure whether
buyers here will embrace them.  Posted. 

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