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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. AIR POLLUTION $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. http://www.mydesert.com/article/20120311/NEWS07/203110326/Air-quality-fund-53M-big-plan-regional-rift-Palm-Springs-area 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. http://mdn.mainichi.jp/mdnnews/news/20120313p2g00m0dm020000c.html 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. http://helenair.com/news/local/clean-air-standards-topic-of-haze-plan/article_7160129e-6cd3-11e1-a9ed-0019bb2963f4.html 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. Posted. http://www.ksbw.com/Smog-eating-tiles-could-make-pollution-thing-of-the-past/-/1824/8918000/-/13pmoetz/-/index.html CLIMATE CHANGE 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-13/brazil-special-report-where-does-stuff-come-from-.html 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. http://webfarm.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-13/brazil-slowing-forest-destruction-cuts-greenhouse-gas-burden.html 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/asia_pacific/adb-warns-climate-change-could-spawn-mass-migrations/2012/03/13/gIQAFrwv8R_story.html http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/03/13/environmental-migration-climate-change_n_1340868.html?ref=green&ncid=edlinkusaolp00000008 http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_20161543/adb-climate-change-could-spawn-mass-migrations?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/mar/13/adb-climate-change-could-spawn-mass-migrations/ 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. http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/2012/0313/California-ready-to-cut-greenhouse-gases.-Next-doing-it FUELS 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. http://hosted2.ap.org/PAGRE/8b068da42337421092f81e6bcce678fa/Article_2012-03-13-Food%20and%20Farm-Drought-Tolerant%20Corn/id-5a0df29f55a2463dac4b0200c6614c5f 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. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-13/brazil-ethanol-slows.html 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. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/7-states-oppose-california-low-carbon-fuels-regulation-thats-been-held-up-by-federal-court/2012/03/12/gIQAg7Au7R_story.html 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. http://www.upi.com/Business_News/Energy-Resources/2012/03/13/API-sues-EPA-over-biofuels/UPI-56741331635813/ 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. http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/51114/ 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. http://oskynews.org/?p=41805 VEHICLES 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. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_20156808 http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/12/BUP01NJNS4.DTL 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. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/03/liair-20120312.html 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. http://www.cars21.com/content/articles/77120120313.php GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/03/13/britain-power-interconnector-idUSL5E8ED9YU20120313 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. http://webfarm.bloomberg.com/news/2012-03-13/siemens-to-tackle-wind-power-doldrums-with-gas-boost-option.html 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. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/business/energy-environment/stalled-clean-energy-loan-program-feels-solyndras-chill.html?_r=1&scp=2&sq=green%20energy&st=cse MISCELLANEOUS 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. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/03/13/BUHU1NINMA.DTL&type=printable 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. http://www.pe.com/local-news/riverside-county/lake-elsinore/lake-elsinore-headlines-index/20120312-temecula-fire-damages-biodiesel-business.ece OPINIONS 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. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052702304450004577277620943205982.html?mod=googlenews_wsj BY SUBSCRIPTION 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. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/03/13/2757670/bad-air-regulations.html 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. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/john-ck-daly/china-pollution_b_1332454.html 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. Posted. http://www.tcpalm.com/news/2012/mar/13/letter-ethanol-a-scam-increase-domestic-of-oil/?print=1 BLOGS 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. http://blogs.wsj.com/ideas-market/2012/03/13/combating-climate-change-through-biological-engineering/ 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/13/slicing-silicon-thinner-to-cut-the-price-of-solar-cells/ 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. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/03/12/the-passing-of-nobelistf-sherwood-rowland/ 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. Posted. http://www.celsias.com/article/meeting-biofuel-production-targets-could-change-ag/ 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. Posted. http://www.triplepundit.com/2012/03/bad-karma-100k-plug-hybrid-breaks-down-before-consumer-reports-test/