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newsclips -- Newsclips for May 1, 2012

Posted: 01 May 2012 12:49:48
ARB Newsclips for May 1, 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.


Wood Makes Comeback as a Fuel.  A century ago, rural homes in the
United States and Europe commonly relied on wood for heating. Now
wood is making a comeback, thanks largely to pellet technology. 
The energy-dense pellets, which resemble dry dog kibble and are
mostly made from mill residue like sawdust and wood shavings, can
be used to generate heat or electricity — or both at the same
time. Demand is strong in Europe, where high prices for heating
oil and clean-energy requirements have fostered interest in
alternatives, but analysts say that over the long term, markets
in Asia and North America could grow rapidly, too.  Posted. 


Solar policy can advance (or delay) grid parity by a decade.  n
their interactive graphic, Bloomberg Energy Finance calls solar
grid parity (when electricity from solar costs less than grid
power) the “golden goal.”  It’s an excellent illustration of how
the right energy policy can help a nation go gold on solar or
wallow in metallurgical obscurity. In the case of the U.S., it
may mean delaying grid parity by eight years.  In the screenshot
below, countries in purple have reached the golden goal in 2012
based on the quality of their solar resource and the cost of grid
electricity, as well as a 6 percent expected return on investment
for solar developers. Posted. 


EPA official who compared enforcement to crucifixion resigns.  A
senior Environmental Protection Agency official resigned Sunday
in an effort to end the furor over his remarks two years ago that
the EPA should make examples of polluters the way Romans
crucified people to quash rebellions.  But it appeared unlikely
that the departure of Alfredo Juan “Al” Armendariz — who had
served as EPA administrator for Region VI, encompassing Texas,
Arkansas, Louisiana, New Mexico and Oklahoma — would quell
Republican attacks targeting the EPA during an election year. GOP
lawmakers have seized upon his comments, made during a May 2010
speech in Dish, Tex., and captured on video, as an example of
what they say are administration efforts to curtail U.S. energy
development.  Posted. 

Exposures to Pesticide in Utero Linked to Brain Abnormalities.
Babies exposed in the womb to a commonly used insecticide have
brain abnormalities after birth, according to a study that looked
at children born before the U.S. limited the chemical's use.
Magnetic resonance imaging of elementary school-aged children
with the highest exposure to chlorpyrifos, used mostly in
agricultural settings now, showed structural changes in the brain
compared with those who had the lowest exposure…Posted.


No, wind farms are not causing global warming.  Scientific
studies are misrepresented all the time. But now and again the
distortions get particularly bad. That was the case Monday, when
Fox News ran the headline, “New Research Shows Wind Farms Cause
Global Warming.” A number of other media outlets did the same
thing. And it’s... not true at all.  The frenzy started after
Liming Zhou, a scientist at the University of Albany, published a
short study in Nature Climate Change. Zhou’s team analyzed
satellite data for a handful of large wind farms in west-central
Texas.  Posted. 

Clouds and Climate Change: Taking Readers’ Questions.  In the
latest installment of his Temperature Rising series in The Times,
Justin Gillis reports at length on an area of research in which
climate skeptics’ arguments cannot be readily dismissed: clouds.
Their theory is that clouds will counter much of the anticipated
rise in global temperatures and preserve the climate on which
humanity depends.  Scientists are doubtful. Posted. 

EPA Offers Free Solar & Wind Tools to Tap into Gigawatts of
Energy.  There are more than 490,000 potentially contaminated
properties covering some 15 million acres of land across the US.
Aiming to help local communities and landowners make good use of
them, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and National
Renewable Energy (NREL) launched a set of tools that enable
communities and landowners to evaluate contaminated and
underutilized properties’ renewable energy potential.  Posted. 

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