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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 13, 2012.

Posted: 13 Mar 2012 12:01:28
ARB Newsclips for March 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.


$53M air quality fund fuels big plan, regional rift in Palm
Springs area. A $53 million pot of funds intended to improve the
Coachella Valley's air quality has sparked a high-stakes
competition between some of the desert's most notable leaders.
This division isn't based on party lines or political ideology.
Instead, it's over whether the bulk of the money should be used
as a down-payment on a legacy-making proposal…Posted.

Emissions trading not to affect growth, jobs in Japan. Tokyo
(Kyodo) -- Environment experts expect that the proposed
cap-and-trade emissions program will have little adverse effect
on Japan's economic growth or jobs while cutting greenhouse gas
emissions by up to 18 percent by 2020, said their report made
available to Kyodo News on Monday. The program for firms to cap
and trade greenhouse gas emissions for their effective reduction
has been promoted…Posted.

Clean air standards topic of haze plan. Helena residents,
including health care professionals, are urging the Environmental
Protection Agency to cut emissions as part of its Regional Haze
Plan, which is expected to be released this month. Under the
Capitol dome Monday, Dr. Robert Shepard, who did a groundbreaking
study on the correlation between indoor smoke — mainly from
cigarettes — and heart attacks, said new studies show the same is
true with outdoor air. “Smoke is smoke, whether it’s diesel, coal
or tobacco. Posted.

Smog-eating tiles could make pollution thing of the past.
Homeowners might soon be able to scrub the air around their
cities of harmful pollution, and the best part is, they don’t
even have to lift a muscle to help out. California-based Boral
Roofing is marketing a new smog-eating roofing tile that they
hope can help make pollution a thing of the past. The science
behind the tiles is simple: "The key ingredient is titanium
dioxide," said Kayla Kratz, product manager for Boral Roofing.


Brazil Special Report: Where Does Stuff Come From? Central to
sustainability is a deceptively hard question: Where does stuff
come from? Global companies are spending enormous time and effort
learning to answer this question with precision. For example,
almost three-dozen companies, including Ford Motor Co., IBM
Corporation and Ikea Corporation, recently "road tested" a new
set of guidelines for calculating and disclosing the emissions
associated with their global supply chains. Posted.

Brazil Slowing Forest Destruction Cuts Greenhouse Gas Burden. As
world political and business leaders ready for the Rio+20 U.N.
sustainability conference in June, Brazil’s leaders are debating
policy changes that could jeopardize the leadership it has earned
from reducing Amazon deforestation and greenhouse gas emissions.
Since hosting the 1992 “Earth Summit,” which produced the first
international agreement on forest protection, Brazil has risen
from the ninth- to sixth-largest economy, ahead of the U.K. and
just behind France. Posted.

ADB warns climate change could spawn mass migrations. MANILA,
Philippines — The Asian Development Bank is warning countries to
prepare for influxes of people fleeing natural disasters as
climate change exacerbates rising sea levels, soil degradation
and seasonal flooding. Natural disasters drove 42 million people
from their homes in the Asia-Pacific in 2010 and 2011, though it
was unclear how many of those were caused by climate change, the
bank said in a study released Tuesday. Posted.

California ready to cut greenhouse gases. Next, doing it. After
five years, California has put in place rules to cut
greenhouse-gas emissions statewide back to 1990 levels. But
lingering effects of the recession have pushed implementation
back a year to 2013. California's historic effort to remake
global-warming regulations in the United States is at last
starting to take off its training wheels. Posted.


Monsanto tests drought-tolerant biotech corn. Seed giant Monsanto
Co. plans large-scale tests this year of the first
government-approved biotech crop developed to deal with drought.
The new corn is being introduced as much of the U.S. remains
abnormally dry and areas in the South and Southwest still face
severe drought. Monsanto says the corn won't be a panacea for
drought-stricken farmers but when combined with improved
agricultural practices could help those in areas …Posted.

Brazil-ethanol-slows. Brazil is struggling to make enough ethanol
to satisfy domestic demand just as the U.S. scraps restrictions
on imports for the first time since 1980. The U.S., the world’s
largest market for the biofuel, on Jan. 1 cut a 45 cent-a-gallon
tax credit and a 54 cent-a-gallon tariff that protected local
companies from foreign competition. Brazil, the world’s No. 2
producer, is unlikely to be able to take advantage after output
dropped 19 percent this season. Posted.

7 states oppose California low-carbon fuels regulation that’s
been held up by federal court. Lincoln, Neb. — Seven states are
opposing California’s effort to enforce a state mandate that
critics say discriminates against fuels produced outside
California. A federal judge ruled in December that California’s
Low Carbon Fuel Standard regulation violates the U.S.
Constitution’s commerce clause by discriminating against ethanol
made in the Midwest. California has appealed and asked to be
allowed to enforce the rule while its appeal is pending. Posted.

API sues EPA over biofuels. The U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency is out of touch with its mandates for cellulosic biofuels,
the American Petroleum Institute said. The API announced that it
filed a lawsuit in Washington Circuit Court challenging what it
claims are "unachievable requirements" for use of cellulosic
biofuels in 2012 fuel standards. The EPA requires refiners to buy
around 8.65 million gallons of biofuels per year in 2012. That's
down substantially from the mandate of 250 million gallons
imposed when the measure went into force in 2007. Posted.

Appeals Court Asked to Allow Kansas Ethanol Sales to California. 
Kansas joined Nebraska, Missouri, North Dakota, South Dakota and
Michigan in the filing.  Topeka, KS - infoZine - Kansas has asked
a federal appeals court in California to keep that state’s motor
fuel market open for Kansas-produced ethanol while it considers
underlying legal issues on appeal, Attorney General Derek Schmidt
announced.  Schmidt filed a brief with the San Francisco-based
9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals asking the Court to keep the
California market open to Kansas ethanol while it considers an
appeal about a California law that discriminates against ethanol
produced with Midwestern grain. Posted. 

Gov. Branstad joins Amicus Brief opposing a California law that
discriminates against Iowa corn farmers.  Gov. Branstad today
joined an Amicus Brief in the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals
opposing California’s fuel standards law that discriminates
against Iowa’s corn farmers.  Gov. Branstad, along with other
Midwestern states, argues that allowing the California Air
Resources Board’s unconstitutional fuel standards to take effect
would hurt our corn farmers and ethanol markets.  Posted. 


First all-electric Coda sedan rolls off assembly line in Benicia.
BENICIA -- The first all-electric Coda sedan rolled off the
assembly line here Monday, marking a big day for the privately
held company and the city. Coda, which is based in Los Angeles,
manufactures most of the vehicle's battery system and body in
China, thanks to a joint venture with Chinese battery maker
Lishen. The parts are then shipped to the port city of Benicia
for final assembly and safety and quality inspection at the
Amports facility here. Posted.

China team outlines 5 key areas of future research to realize
Li-air batteries.  In an open access paper published in the
International Journal of Smart and Nano Materials, researchers
from the Changchun Institute of Applied Chemistry, Chinese
Academy of Sciences review significant developments and remaining
challenges of practical Li–air batteries and the current
understanding of their chemistry.  The energy density of the
lithium–air battery with respect to the anode could reach 13,000
Wh kg−1—quite close to the 13,200 Wh kg−1 of
gasoline, they note. Posted. 

Eco-Tourism: the new continent for electric vehicles.  Seen the
rise in popularity of eco-tourism, more and more EV manufacturers
and car rental companies have come to realise the commercial
value for electric vehicles in this context. Many cities have
started promoting electric vehicles in public transportation as
to "green" their image. EV demonstration programmes in tourism
resorts are a good advertisement for electric vehicles.  
Eco-Tourism has become a worldwide fashion in recent years. In
many tourism cities, green transportation has become one of the
main selling points to attract tourists who wish to spend “green”
holidays. Posted. 


UK interconnectors to help manage green power. Building more
electricity links between Britain and its neighbouring markets
could be an answer to managing its growing renewable energy
output which is hard to predict and cannot be stored, a manager
at National Grid said on Tuesday. Interconnectors to continental
Europe and Scandinavia can help balance Britain's electricity
system when renewable energy production, such as wind or solar
power, exceeds demand levels. Posted.

Siemens to Tackle Wind-Power Doldrums With Gas Boost Option.
Siemens AG (SIE) plans to introduce technology in 2015 that will
allow wind-turbine electricity to be converted into gas, giving
wind farms an alternative revenue stream when the grid is fully
charged. The electrolyser, a soccer-field sized plant that
converts power into storable hydrogen, is in the testing phase,
said Michael Weinhold, chief technology officer of Siemens’
energy businesses. It promises to overcome the challenge of how
to harness fluctuating electricity output from wind farms,
especially at night when demand is at its lowest. Posted.

Solyndra Is Blamed as Clean-Energy Loan Program Stalls.  More
than $16 billion in loans authorized five years ago by Congress
to develop fuel-efficient vehicles has yet to be disbursed, with
applicants for the money complaining that the Energy Department
is crippling plans for greener cars and trucks at a time of
rising gas prices.  Posted. 


Twin Creeks promises thinner, cheaper solar cells. A device
similar to the giant atom smashers used by physicists may be the
key to cheaper solar cells. Twin Creeks Technologies in San Jose
has created a machine that uses high-energy protons to carve
silicon wafers into thin layers, each of which can then be
fashioned into a solar cell. The layers are about one-tenth as
thick as the standard silicon solar cell but generate just as
much electricity. The same amount of raw silicon, therefore, can
yield far more cells, making each one less expensive to produce.

TEMECULA: Fire damages biodiesel business.  A fire broke out last
night at a Temecula biodiesel business but was contained to a
piece of machinery and a 55-gallon drum, fire officials said. 
The fire was reported about 7:45 p.m. at Promethean Biofuels,
27635 Diaz Road, authorities said.  Firefighters arrived to find
smoke showing from the building and requested that the Riverside
County Sheriff’s Department shut down Diaz Road, a Cal
Fire/Riverside County Fire Department news release said. Posted. 


How to Avoid a Wind and Solar Trade War. Too many energy
companies focus on political strategies rather than on business.
A new trade agreement could change that. China and the United
States are drifting toward a trade war in clean-tech energy. Next
Monday the U.S. Department of Commerce is scheduled to rule on
levying countervailing duties against Chinese solar-panel
manufacturers. Four U.S. companies recently filed a similar
Commerce case alleging dumping by Chinese producers of steel
towers for wind turbines. Posted.

Bad air regulations. Mark Grossi (Earth Log, March 7) let the
environmental cat out of the bag. After three years of fireplace
bans, this winter was one of the "dirtiest, ugliest and most
miserable air-quality winters in my memory." So fireplace burning
wasn't the problem and the ban should be lifted. I don't know how
his memory works, but I remember not so long ago almost everyone
used a fireplace. I remember raking leaves and piling them at the
curb to burn them. Posted.

Chinese Government to Clean the Capital's Air -- Everyone Else,
Good Luck. One of the most striking social phenomena of
industrializing societies is that, when the nation's economy
begins to improve, those on the land increasingly move to the
cities for greater economic opportunities. To give but one
example -- in 1960, the city of Istanbul had an estimated
population of 1,738,000. Today? More than 12 million. Between
1960 and 2000, the population of Istanbul surged 443.8 percent.

Letter: Ethanol a scam; increase domestic production of oil. Let
me start by saying that I think it is a scam: The government is
subsidizing ethanol production.  The government is subsidizing
far production of corn and sugar cane (farm subsidies).  Ethanol
is much less efficient than gasoline (70 percent or so). That
means that you must burn 1.2 to 1.3 gallons of ethanol to get the
same BTU as 1 gallon of gasoline.  At the pump you pay full
gasoline price for the ethanol. At $3.50 a gallon for gasoline,
ethanol is worth $2.45. You are actually paying too much. 


Combating Climate Change Through Biological Engineering. You’ve
read the debates about using taxes on oil or carbon to combat
climate change. Perhaps you’ve read about proposals to send
rockets into the upper atmosphere to disperse particulates that
can shield Earth from some portion of the sun’s rays. But I’m
guessing you haven’t heard anyone propose that humans should be
bio-engineered to become smaller, so we will consume less of the
planet’s resources. Posted.

Slicing Silicon Thinner to Cut the Price of Solar Cells.  A
California company has unveiled a radical new way to make the
silicon wafers that are the basic ingredient of most solar cells,
cutting silicon consumption by 90 percent and eliminating the
need to use glass and heavy backing to keep the cells rigid. 
Twin Creeks Technologies of San Jose says it is ready to ship
equipment that can peel off layers of silicon that measure just
20 microns thick. Posted. 

The Passing of F. Sherwood Rowland.  I was saddened to learn
today of the passing on Saturday of F. Sherwood Rowland, a
remarkable scientist, engaged citizen and professor best known
for sharing the 1995 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for work revealing
the impact of synthetic chlorofluorocarbons on the atmosphere’s
protective ozone layer. (Here’s the seminal 1974 Nature paper on
these consequential chemical reactions in Nature by Mario J.
Molina and Rowland.)  Rowland, who was 84, died of complications
from Parkinson’s disease.  Posted. 

Meeting Biofuel Production Targets Could Change Agricultural
Landscape.  Almost 80 percent of current farmland in the U.S.
would have to be devoted to raising corn for ethanol production
in order to meet current biofuel production targets with existing
technology, a new study has found. An alternative, according to a
study in ACS’ journal Environmental Science & Technology, would
be to convert 60 percent of existing rangeland to biofuels. 

Bad Karma: $100K Plug-in Hybrid Dies Before Consumer Reports Can
Test It.  You know those days that are just so bad you wish you
hadn’t even bothered to get out of bed? Well, the folks at Fisker
Automotive had one of those recently when their sexy, expensive,
award-winning, new sports car died in the parking lot of Consumer
Reports before any quality tests could be conducted on it.

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