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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 26, 2012.

Posted: 26 Mar 2012 15:08:23
ARB Newsclips for March 26, 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.


Heat Waves, Rains Probably Linked to Warming, Scientists Say.
Heat waves and extreme rainfall in the past decade are probably
linked to global warming, according to a study by scientists at
the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. “For some
types of extreme, notably heat waves but also precipitation
extremes, there is now strong evidence linking specific events or
an increase in their number to the human influence on climate,”
the scientists wrote in a study published in the journal Nature
Climate Change. Posted.

Ventura County ozone levels continue to decline.  The major
air-quality issue facing Ventura County is ozone, commonly
referred to as smog.  In the upper atmosphere (stratosphere),
ozone provides a protective layer shielding life from the sun's
harmful ultraviolet rays. Ground-level ozone in the troposphere
(the layer of air up to about 6 miles above Earth), however, can
trigger a variety of health problems.  The health problems
include chest pain, coughing and throat irritation. Posted. 


New Diesel Emissions Rules To Be Enforced. California will start
enforcing new diesel emissions rules for some trucks and buses
this week (March 30). The regulations are intended to reduce smog
and to decrease the amount of cancer-causing soot emitted by
burning diesel fuel.  Trucks and buses with engines from model
years 1996-1999 are currently affected.  Most are required to
install new filters.  But Bruce Tuter with the Air Resources
Board says some owners - for example those with small fleets -
may qualify for an extension: Posted.


After failing to reach goals, California attempts to jump-start
its 'Hydrogen Highway'.  Eight years ago, former Gov. Arnold
Schwarzenegger drove a hydrogen-powered Toyota Highlander to UC
Davis and, with TV cameras running, promised to build a "hydrogen
highway" to help usher in a green revolution in California. 
Schwarzenegger signed a plan to build 50 to 100 hydrogen fueling
stations by 2010 with state funds and money from oil companies.

Electric car makers looking to seize opportunity. To drivers, the
high price of gasoline is a scourge. To the electric car
industry, it could be a game-changer. Nissan's electric Leaf and
the Chevy Volt plug-in hybrid both hit dealer showrooms in late
2010, riding a wave of carefully cultivated hype. But first-year
sales were lackluster at best, as consumers balked at the high
sticker prices and unfamiliar engineering. This year's gas-price
spike could change that. Posted.

NRG settlement to fund car-charging stations. A company accused
of gouging California during the energy crisis has agreed to a
$120 million settlement that will fund a statewide network of
electric car charging stations, putting the state at the
forefront of a growing clean emissions movement. Gov. Jerry Brown
said Friday that NRG Energy Inc. will pay for 200 public
fast-charging stations and an additional 10,000 plug-in units at
1,000 locations in the Bay Area, the San Joaquin Valley, the Los
Angeles Basin and San Diego County. Posted.

AP Enterprise: Vegas rail: a gamble or good thing? On a dusty,
rock-strewn expanse at the edge of the Mojave Desert, a company
linked to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid wants to build a
bullet train that would rocket tourists from the middle of
nowhere to the gambling palaces of Las Vegas. Privately held
DesertXpress is on the verge of landing a $4.9 billion loan from
the Obama administration to build the 150 mph train, which could
be a lifeline for a region devastated by the housing crash or a
crap shoot for taxpayers weary of Washington spending. Posted.

$1.5 billion Caltrain deal packs some big extras. That
just-announced pact to plow $1.5 billion in high-speed rail money
into electrifying Caltrain comes with some mighty major side
deals - including a pledge by Bay Area leaders to build a
1.2-mile tunnel through downtown San Francisco to connect the
line to the new Transbay Terminal. In the spirit of providing
something for everybody, local transportation officials also
agreed to go after another $1 billion in federal funds to
complete the BART extension to San Jose. Posted.

Nuclear power undermines electric cars' green image. Electric car
owners, who wear their environmental consciousness as a badge of
honor, are running into a new image problem in Japan: the
country's dependence on nuclear plants for power. The government
is trying to restart dozens of nuclear power plants for the first
time since the Fukushimi disaster last year that resulted from
the March earthquake and tsunami. Nuclear power now has a
terrible image problem because of the fire and radiation leaks at
the plant. Posted.


Electric Cars Do Reduce Oil Demand. As an electric-car owner, I
was disappointed to see William T. McCormick Jr.'s letter (March
16) suggesting that electricity cannot reduce oil consumption.
Almost all electrical utilities have long since gotten off oil,
switching to cheaper, more rational fuels such as natural gas.
Electric cars also allow our nation to switch off oil. My
per-mile fuel costs are literally 10 times cheaper than for the
driver of a gas car and 20 times cheaper than running a large
SUV. Posted.

The Electric Car, Unplugged. THE future would appear bright for
the electric car. Gasoline prices are high. The government is
spending billions on battery technology. Auto companies are
preparing to roll out a dozen new electrified models. Concern is
growing about the climate impacts of burning oil. And tough new
fuel economy standards are looming. Yet the state of the electric
car is dismal, the victim of hyped expectations, technological
flops, high costs and a hostile political climate. Posted.

Rising concern on climate change.  RISING SEA levels threaten to
inundate low-lying roads in Louisiana, costing billions in port
activity, The Post’s Juliet Eilperin reports. Northrop Grumman
sees potential damage to billions in shoreline defense
infrastructure, such as the imperiled drydock in Hampton Roads
built to construct the next generation of aircraft carriers.
Other factors are also at work in these examples of rapid
coastline loss. Posted. 

New State Energy Tax is Illegal and Unwise. Billions of dollars
in new taxes may soon flow into California state government to be
spent on new programs. The taxes are harmful to the economy,
they’re probably illegal, and they’re not even needed for the
program’s success. And don’t even imagine that they’re getting
Legislative or voter approval. I’m not talking about new income
taxes or sales taxes for education. Not new taxes to balance the
state’s budget. Not new taxes to sew up the tattered safety net
or rescue California’s once-vaunted higher education system.

Editorial: Natural gas production boom alters energy outlook.
Thanks to new technologies, most notably horizontal drilling and
hydraulic fracturing (aka "fracking"), the United States finds
itself in a position unimaginable a few years ago: swimming in
new domestic energy supplies. The most noticeable impact has been
an increase of nearly 1 million barrels per day in domestic oil
production since 2007. That's a 20% surge in just five years,
with projections that growth will continue. Even more far
reaching are prospects for natural gas. Posted.

Can This Upstart Car Company Upend The Electric Vehicle Market?
It’s become a ritual for startup electric car companies: The
ritual exchange of keys, as the very first customer takes
possession. For Coda Automotive, it happened March 16 in Los
Angeles, and the new owners are an eco-conscious advertising
executive named Carmen and one of the company’s investors, Daniel
Weiss. In northern California, Randy, a Redwood City pilot with a
technology jones, drove off in a Coda. Three cars. It’s a start.

Are record weather events caused by global warming? Researchers
from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research in Germany
concluded that weather extremes are not necessarily caused by
global warming but in the sum of the events the link to climate
change becomes clear in an article published in Nature Climate
Change on March 25, 2012. Basic physics, statistical analysis and
computer simulations form the arsenal of weapons scientists
presently have at their disposal to make judgments and
predictions about extreme weather events and a relationship to
global warming. Posted.


Can polar bears put climate change back on the agenda? For
various reasons, the climate crisis has disappeared from the
political dialogue. This is unlikely to change in 2012, unless
polar bears put it back on the agenda. Polar bears are running
out of places to live due to climate change, which is warming
their habitat in the Arctic — as it is in the other cold region
where they don't live: the Antarctic.  In fact, this warming is
occurring even more dramatically than even some of the most dire
projections, and now there is a discussion about whether we can
even preserve the species. Posted.

VIDEO: Dan Walters Daily: Green jobs aren’t California’s
salvation. “The latest data from the Federal Government shows
that California’s recovery from recession is going to be a long
hard slog.” Posted.

Jerry Brown pushes zero-emissions cars, defends oil policy.
Goleta Jerry Brown said today that he will push the state to put
zero-emission vehicles on the road by 2025 reducing
transportation-related greenhouse emissions by 80 percent over
1990s levels. Posted.

Feds will provide $14.2 million for lightweighting efforts. 
Volumes have been written about how much obesity costs the U.S.
in terms of healthcare costs. Now, the government is looking for
ways for cars to shed some pounds as well.  The U.S. Department
of Energy will provide $14.2 million in funding towards projects
that develop materials to cut vehicle weight, which can help
boost overall fuel economy and cut greenhouse-gas emissions. 
President Barack Obama said Thursday that the government is
looking to speed up the development of materials such as
carbon-fiber composites…Posted. 

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