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newsclips -- Newsclips for May 31, 2012

Posted: 31 May 2012 10:59:49
ARB Newsclips for May 31, 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.


Minority children affected by disparities in asthma health care. 
Asthma affects nearly 26 million Americans, including 7 million
children. While advancements in treatment and interventions have
improved health outcomes for many suffering from this respiratory
disease, that progress has not yet reached everyone. Poor and
minority children bear the greatest burden of the disease,
suffering from asthma at higher rates, experiencing greater
exposure to environmental triggers and receiving less access to
quality care.  On Thursday, the Obama administration launches a
new approach to closing that gap: the Coordinated Federal Action
Plan to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Asthma Disparities.  Posted. 


Warming gas levels hit 'troubling milestone'.  The world's air
has reached what scientists call a troubling new milestone for
carbon dioxide, the main global warming pollutant.  Monitoring
stations across the Arctic this spring are measuring more than
400 parts per million of the heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere.
The number isn't quite a surprise, because it's been rising at an
accelerating pace. Years ago, it passed the 350 ppm mark that
many scientists say is the highest safe level for carbon dioxide.
It now stands globally at 395.  So far, only the Arctic has
reached that 400 level, but the rest of the world will follow
soon.  Posted. 



Study accuses corporations of hypocrisy on climate change.  Some
major U.S. corporations that support climate science in their
public relations materials actively work to derail regulations
and laws addressing global warming through lobbying, campaign
donations and support of various advocacy groups, according to a
new report by the Union of Concerned Scientists, an environmental
and scientific integrity group.  The multinational oil giant,
ConocoPhillips, for instance, said on its website in 2011 that it
“recognizes” that human activity is leading to climate change,
the view supported by the overwhelming majority of scientific
research. Yet in 2009, ConocoPhillips argued against the
Environmental Protection Agency’s determination that
heat-trapping greenhouse gases were pollutants endangering public
welfare.  Posted. 

G8 Takes On Short-Lived Climate Pollutants.  The unfolding drama
surrounding the fate of the troubled eurozone and cratering Greek
economy was surely higher on their agenda, but the world leaders
who gathered at Camp David for the G8 summit earlier this month
also managed to open a new front in the fight against climate
change.  As noted a few days after the summit, first by The
Telegraph’s Geoffrey Lean and later by James Murray of
BusinessGreen, buried in the final communiqué was an announcement
that the G8 had agreed to join the U.S.-led Climate and Clean Air
Coalition to Reduce Short-lived Climate Pollutants (CCAC). 


California Senate rejects 'fracking' legislation.  The California
Senate on Wednesday rejected a bill that would have required
energy firms to notify property owners before using hydraulic
fracturing to tap oil deposits on or near their land.  The
legislation, SB 1054, was pushed by state Sen. Fran Pavley
(D-Agoura Hills) as the first step toward collecting information
and increasing awareness about a controversial extraction
technique that state regulators are only now beginning to tackle.
 Currently, California does not require oil companies to disclose
where they use the procedure or what chemicals they inject into
the ground. Other states have imposed moratoriums and drawn up
rules after toxic chemicals were discovered in drinking water
near "fracking" operations.  Posted. 

International Energy Agency: ‘Safe’ fracking cheap, but would
destroy a livable climate.  The International Energy Agency (IEA)
has a new report out, “Golden Rules for a Golden Age of Gas”
[PDF]. Unfortunately, the IEA buried the lede — the Golden Age of
Gas scenario destroys a livable climate — so the coverage of the
report was off target.  For instance, The New York Times opines,
“Energy Agency Finds Safe Gas Drilling is Cheap.” And the Council
on Foreign Relations headline is similar: “Safe Fracking Looks
Cheap.”  That’s true only if a ruined climate, widespread Dust
Bowlification, an acidified ocean, and rapidly rising sea levels
constitute your idea of “safe.”  Posted. 


China released new incentives to promote electric vehicles. 
According to the Chinese Ministry of Finance, China will allocate
an annual fund from RMB 100 million (EUR 12.6 million) to RMB 200
million (EUR 25.2 million) to promote alternative energy vehicles
starting in 2012. The government encourages government
departments, companies, service agencies such as logistics
operators and private car-rental companies to use alternative
energy vehicles in China’s 25 new energy vehicle pilot cities. 
In the public transportation sector, China will engage in
promoting buses with hybrid engines in middle and large cities. 
Posted.  http://cars21.com/news/view/4682 


UN study foresees job gains with greener policies.  Some 15
million to 60 million jobs could be created worldwide over the
next two decades if nations took better care of the planet,
according to a U.N. study released Thursday ahead of an
international summit on sustainable development.  The study
acknowledges that some jobs would inevitably be lost by switching
to a "greener" economy as older technologies give way to the new.
 But the heads of the U.N.'s International Labor Organization and
the U.N. Environment Program emphasized that net gains of 0.5
percent to 2 percent in total global employment are possible,
mainly through more renewable and efficient energy use.  Posted. 


California poised to require 'solar ready roofs' on new homes and
buildings.  State regulators with the California Energy
Commission are expected to approve stringent energy efficiency
standards for new residential and commercial buildings Thursday. 
The new standards, which would take effect Jan. 1, 2014, include
a host of common-sense standards designed to save energy, from
insulating hot-water pipes to making sure that air conditioner
installations are inspected for sufficient air flow.  But the
proposed standards also require new homes and commercial
buildings to have "solar ready roofs" -- a mandatory requirement
that will be a boon for the state's growing rooftop solar
industry.  Posted. 


EDITORIAL: A climate of hypocrisy.  There’s nothing so profitable
as being among the concerned climate experts who preach
austerity. These enlightened few hector ordinary Americans into
sacrificing their functional light bulbs, toilets and sport
utility vehicles so the planet can be preserved. According to
them, failure to give up these luxuries will overheat the globe
and provoke devastating floods and hurricanes.  The peddlers of
such apocalyptic tales rarely practice austerity themselves.
Earlier this month, Rep. Darrell E. Issa, California Republican,
asked Michael J. Ahearn, chairman of the board for First Solar
Inc., to come and testify before a congressional oversight panel
about his solar-panel business. Sun power is hailed by the left
as the solution to the world’s energy needs. That’s why the Obama
administration showered First Solar with $1.5 billion in
taxpayer-backed gifts, recognizing the firm’s unquestioned
eco-correctness.  Posted. 

The Many Moving Pieces of California’s Cap and Trade Program. 
The calendar says May 2012, so what does that mean for
California’s attempts to implement a first-in-the-nation,
economy-wide Cap and Trade Program? Actually quite a bit. There
are many moving parts in this complex regulatory puzzle being
assembled by the California Air Resources Board (Board or CARB).
CARB has control over many of these moving parts, but there are a
few that they do not. How these all come together over the next
six to eight months (three if you count the practice auction in
August), will determine how successful the program will be moving
forward.  Posted. 


A.E.P. Backs Down on Coal Plant Retrofit.  American Electric
Power conceded defeat on Wednesday, at least temporarily, in its
push to save Big Sandy, its 49-year-old coal-burning plant in
eastern Kentucky, surprising state officials there by withdrawing
its $1 billion plan to retrofit the power plant so that it can
meet tough new federal environmental regulations.  A.E.P., as the
Ohio-based company is known, did not formally declare that it was
retiring Big Sandy. But it will now need to at least temporarily
shut it down because it will not have enough time to install the
required pollution controls before the first deadline it faces in
2015, a company official acknowledged.  Posted. 

Air Pollution Fuels Hospital Visits in Hong Kong.  Deteriorating
air quality in Hong Kong is sending more people to hospital, says
a new survey.  According to a pair of researchers at the Chinese
University of Hong Kong, who examined day-to-day pollution levels
and hospital visits over a six-year period, a rise in airborne
pollutants in Hong Kong was associated with a rise in emergency
hospital visits.  Published in Environmental Health Perspectives,
the study, led by professor Yu Tak Sun Ignatius and Ph.D
candidate Hong Qiu, comes as residents report increasing levels
of frustration with the city’s pollution.  Posted. 

In Italy, Electric Buses Wirelessly Pick Up Their Power. 
Battery-powered buses that do not require frequent stops at
charging depots might seem a maybe-someday proposition. But
Conductix-Wampfler, a wireless-charging engineering company based
in Weil am Rhein, Germany, claims the bus of the future is fully
operational on the streets of Turin and Genoa, Italy, and has
been for 10 years.  The Conductix-Wampfler IPT Charge system,
which powers about 30 buses in the northern Italian cities,
relies on primary coil charging units in the road surface at bus
stops, terminals and hubs. The secondary coil, which receives the
charge, is in the bus chassis. When a bus stops at a charging
station, the coils are positioned within 40 millimeters, or
roughly 1½ inches, of each other.  Posted. 

Who’s afraid of a low carbon price?  A big point of discussion at
the Africa Carbon Forum was around what today’s very low carbon
prices mean for market participants. Since 2008, the price of
European Union Allowances has dropped precipitously, from a high
of €28 to less than €8 today. Critics claim the collapse in
prices means the market has failed, that it is not delivering
emission reductions, and that it should therefore be scrapped.
Those critics are wrong, but the reasons differ depending on
which carbon market you wish to examine. This post will explore
the issues facing the compliance market (in the voluntary carbon
market, prices have held up better – read more here).  Posted. 

Seagrasses Can Store as Much Carbon as Forests.  Researchers at
The University of Western Australia.   have contributed to the
first global analysis of carbon stored in seagrasses which shows
they can hold as much carbon as the world's temperate and
tropical forests.  The study 'Seagrass Ecosystems as a Globally
Significant Carbon Stock,' published in the journal Nature
Geoscience provides further evidence of the important role the
world's declining seagrass meadows have to play in mitigating
climate change.  Posted. 

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