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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 4, 2012.

Posted: 04 Jun 2012 15:12:57
ARB Newsclips for June 4, 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.


Obama’s EPA Overstates Pollution From Gas Fracking, Groups Say.
The Obama administration overstated the greenhouse-gas emissions
from unconventional natural-gas production, the American
Petroleum Institute and the America’s Natural Gas Alliance said
today in a study. The two industry groups, which oppose U.S.
regulation of hydraulic fracturing to extract gas from shale
formations, found in the study that total-gas emissions during
the process are about half the level estimated by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency.  Posted.

North Richmond in shadow of poverty and pollution. North Richmond
-- From the house where he was born, Henry Clark can stand in his
back yard and see plumes pouring out of one of the biggest oil
refineries in the United States. As a child, he was fascinated by
the factory on the hill, all lit up at night like the hellish
twin of a fairy tale city. In the morning, he'd go out to play
and find the leaves on the trees burned to a crisp. "Sometimes
I'd find the air so foul, I'd have to grab my nose and run back
into the house until it cleared up." Posted.

A smoggy month of May spurs group's call for tougher emission
controls. The country's air contained higher concentrations of
smog last month than it has during May the past five years, an
environmental group said today. Clean Air Watch found that smog
levels exceeded the 2008 U.S. EPA smog standard more often last
month, based on a survey of state air websites and EPA's online
air monitoring. In fact, the group found that the number of smog,
or ozone, "exceedances" last month, 854, was more than double
what was monitored in May 2011, 323. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/06/04/24 BY

RIVERSIDE: Study shows open-fire smoke harms young brains. 
Spending too much time around a smoky fire is not only harmful
physically, but mentally as well, according to a new study by two
Inland professors.  UC Riverside psychology professor Mary
Gauvain conducted the research with Robert “Lee” Munroe, an
emeritus professor of anthropology at Pomona’s Pitzer College.
They determined that memory, problem solving and socialization in
young children was hampered by prolonged exposure to the smoke
from cooking fires fueled by wood, dung or straw.  Posted. 

HOME: This endless dust-up has clear winner, loser.  Once a week,
Diane Foernssler takes arms against the dust that invades her
Darien, Ill., home, using everything from the vacuum cleaner to a
special mop for blinds and baseboards.  On those other six days,
however, the dust wins.  "It's everywhere and it never goes
away," said Foernssler, a fitness trainer and mother of two.
"It's a losing battle."  Unfortunately, she's right.  Experts
said dust's constant accumulation on all those books, clothes and
knickknacks has nothing to do with poor housekeeping. Posted. 


Canadian government overhauling environmental rules to aid oil
extraction. For years, Canada has been seen as an environmental
leader on the world stage, pushing other nations to tackle acid
rain, save the ozone layer and sign global treaties to protect
biodiversity. Those were the old days. The government of Canadian
Prime Minister Stephen Harper is rewriting the nation’s
environmental laws to speed the extraction and export of oil,
minerals and other materials to a global market clamoring for
Canada’s natural resources. Posted.

Fourteen Programs Show CO2 Trade Taking Off: World Bank. New
carbon programs in at least 14 emerging nations from China to
Costa Rica show emissions trading may take off even as U.S.
lawmakers focus on non-market-based regulations for climate
protection, a World Bank official said. Seven countries including
Mexico and Indonesia are considering emissions-crediting systems,
five mull domestic carbon markets while India and South Africa
are studying their own plans, Xueman Wang, team leader for the
bank’s Partnership for Market Readiness program, said in an
interview. Posted.

Climate change causes nuclear, coal power plant shutdowns.
Climate change, by warming water and reducing river flows, has
caused production losses at several nuclear and coal-fired power
plants in the United States and Europe in recent years and will
lead to more power disruptions in the future, researchers report.
The Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant in Alabama, for example, had to
shut down more than once last summer because the Tennessee
River's water was too warm to use it for cooling. Posted.

Climate and Clean Air Coalition Event. Remarks: Hillary Rodham
Clinton, Secretary of State, Swedish Climate Ambassador Anna
Lindstedt, Swedish Minister for the Environment Lena Ek
Stockholm, Sweden  June 3, 2012. Posted.

Biox to Build Second Biodiesel Plant at New York Harbor. Biox
Corp. (BX), a Canadian biofuels company, plans to build a
100-million liter (26-million gallon) biodiesel plant in Bayonne,
New Jersey, at New York Harbor. The plant’s annual production
capacity will be about 50 percent larger than the company’s
existing facility in Ontario, according to a statement today.
Demand for biodiesel in North American will grow because U.S. oil
companies are mandated to blend 36 billion gallons of biofuels
with their fuel products by 2022, Biox said. “Posted.

Burning wood for energy will hasten climate change – study. The
best strategy for using forests to curb climate change is to
leave them alone, a new study asserts. While this may seem
intuitive to many, the best way to manage forests -- especially
for the collection of biomass to be used for energy -- has been
an elusive one. Although burning wood to produce electricity does
emit the same carbon dioxide as burning fossil fuels, biomass
energy proponents asserts that their power is carbon-neutral, as
the growth of trees to maintain a steady supply of biomass will
sequester an equivalent amount of CO2 that is burned. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/04/7 BY


California High-Speed Rail Losing Support, Poll Shows. A majority
of voters no longer support building a $68 billion high-speed
passenger rail system connecting California’s population centers,
a new poll shows, even as Governor Jerry Brown is pushing the
project forward. While 53 percent of voters approved a bond issue
for the project in 2008, a USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times poll
published in yesterday’s edition of the newspaper, found that 59
percent would oppose it if given another chance to vote. Brown, a
74-year-old Democrat, allocated some of the $9.95 billion of
bonds for the system in his budget for the fiscal year that
begins July 1, even though a deficit in the spending plan has
ballooned to $15.7 billion. Posted.

Jerry Brown moves to protect high-speed rail project from
environmental lawsuits. The Brown administration, laboring to
start building California's high-speed rail project by early next
year, is preparing a proposal to insulate the project from
environmental lawsuits, limiting circumstances in which a court
may block construction of the line. The proposal, criticized by
environmentalists as it emerged on Friday, would protect the $68
billion project from court-ordered injunctions that might
otherwise be issued under the California Environmental Quality
Act. Posted.

What is PZEV anyway?  It doesn't have anything to do with peace
or electric vehicles. We'll dissect a Subaru Impreza Premium PZEV
for answers to this conundrum of marketing, science, and
politics. Mostly politics.  It's likely you've seen the term
"PZEV" on a vehicle recently. You might have even assumed it was
some kind of hybrid or green vehicle. If you guessed the latter,
you'd be close.  The "EV" in the term PZEV doesn't stand for
"electric vehicle" as we've come to know the acronym. Instead,
PZEV stands for Partial Zero Emissions Vehicle. It's a sort of
mashup category of cars created almost entirely through politics.
 Posted.  http://www.torquenews.com/1080/what-pzev-anyway

Chevy Volt Outsells Other Leading Plug-in Cars in May. ay was the
second-highest sales month for the Chevrolet Volt since its
launch in December 2010, with 1,680 units delivered, and
exceeding numbers posted by ostensible rivals.  The Volt’s
all-time record was set in March this year, when Chevrolet sold
2,289 of the extended-range electric plug-in cars, topping a
previous high watermark set in December of 1,529 Volts sold. 

Audi RS5 Convertible on its Way to the US. A roofless version of
the Audi RS5 is heading to the US. This information has been
revealed in images the German car company filed last fall at the
European design patent office. Car and Driver obtained the
pictures from the California Air Resources Board (CARB). The
pictures reveal the model is heading to the US. The CARB
organization certifies vehicles as being compliant with the
state’s emissions standards, and is required for any vehicles
that will be sold there. Posted.

Calif. governor seeks help steering bullet train around CEQA. The
California governor's office is negotiating with green groups and
legislative aides to shield high-speed rail from the state's
tough environmental law. Democratic Gov. Jerry Brown's senior
policy adviser Ken Alex this week is expected to show green
organizations a draft bill that would limit how much the
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) applies to the bullet
train, those involved in talks said. Although the exact language
remained in flux late last week, some environmental groups said
they feared the $68.4 billion train development was seeking to
circumvent resource protections. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/06/04/4 BY

Sacramento scales back solar project at Sutter's Landing Park.
When Sacramento officials proposed putting solar panels on an old
city landfill two years ago, they did so with the intention of
providing clean energy to thousands of homes. However, in a twist
that surprised many at City Hall, the people who might be
expected to celebrate such a green venture ended up being the
plan's loudest critics. Environmentalists and wildlife advocates
argued that the field in Sutter's Landing Park – sitting atop a
mound of buried trash that boasts majestic views of the downtown
skyline – is a key feeding ground for the threatened Swainson's
hawk. Posted.

Hewlett-Packard develops 'net-zero' data center. Computer giant
Hewlett-Packard Co. last week joined the ranks of
energy-conserving information technology firms by rolling out the
architecture for its new Net-Zero Energy Data Center. The new
architecture, built around energy efficiency measures and the
incorporation of on-site renewable power supplies, could allow
the data centers to run virtually off the grid much of the time,
said officials with the company's research division in Palo Alto,
Calif. The efficiency steps alone should allow data centers to
reduce their energy consumption by 30 percent, according to
company officials. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/04/3 BY

Sun-powered 'boosters' to increase output at fossil-fueled power
plants. Intermittent sources of renewable energy are sometimes
coupled with burning fossil fuels to regulate power output, but
Areva Solar is turning that relationship around and using
renewable energy to augment electricity generation at fossil fuel
plants. The Silicon Valley-based company, part of the French
multinational conglomerate Areva SA, is promoting its solar
booster technology as an affordable way to increase renewable
energy production at existing coal- and gas-powered facilities.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/06/04/6 BY


An eco-stadium? Promises, promises. The Natural Resources Defense
Council had backed streamlining the environmental review for a
downtown football venue, gathering pledges from Anschutz
Entertainment Group to 'green' the stadium. Let the disputes
begin. Feelings of betrayal dividing friends, lovers, and
political allies have provided grist for Shakespeare and Verdi,
among other great scrutinizers of the human condition. It's
intriguing to ponder what they would have made of the breakup
between the Natural Resources Defense Council and Anschutz
Entertainment Group, the would-be developer of a downtown Los
Angeles football stadium. Posted.

Editorial: PUC should say no to gas project. The California
Public Utilities Commission is set to decide Thursday whether to
authorize Sacramento Natural Gas Storage to store approximately 8
billion cubic feet of repressurized natural gas under a
residential neighborhood at the southeastern corner of
Sacramento. One commissioner has issued a proposed decision to
grant the permit. Another commissioner recommends denial. This
decision should not be even a close call. The PUC should deny the
permit. The gas storage project is simply too dangerous and there
is no urgent need for it. Posted. .

STATE: To prosper, California should cut tax rates.  Revenue for
California’s government appears to have dried up. The nonpartisan
Legislative Analyst’s Office recently announced that personal
income tax receipts are now $3 billion behind schedule. By the
end of the fiscal year, on June 30, the tax take may fall even
further.  Dwindling tax revenues are a product of Californians’
declining incomes. And with unemployment at 11 percent, incomes
probably won’t head north soon. But if history is any guide,
California may be on the cusp of another economic boom.  Posted. 

California as a model for climate policy.  California, long
America's environmental trendsetter, is once again pushing the
envelope. This month, the state required large insurance
companies to provide detailed information about the financial
risks that climate change poses, not only to the companies
themselves but also to their customers and investors.  The
insurance industry is the biggest in the world; globally, its
companies control an estimated US $16 trillion worth of assets, a
sum greater than the gross domestic product of the United States.


Even our power plants are vulnerable to climate change. Most
modern power plants have a hidden weakness. They need water to
stay cool. Lots of water. In the United States, coal, gas and
nuclear plants account for roughly 40 percent of the nation’s
freshwater use, drawing from rivers and lakes to prevent their
turbines from overheating. Sweet, sweet cooling water. (Susan
Montoya Bryan - Associated Press) Yet this water could prove
increasingly hard to come by. Over the next 50 years, if global
warming proceeds apace, many rivers will get warmer or reduce
their flow. Posted.

Climate Change Threatens Power Output, Study Says.  As the
climate gets warmer, so do the rivers and lakes that power plants
draw their cooling water from. And that is going to make it
harder to generate electricity in decades to come, researchers
report.  In an article in the journal Nature Climate Change,
scientists measured temperatures now and projected what they
would be at midcentury. The temperatures vary according to the
time of year, and, even if the extremes remain similar, they will
be more frequent — meaning that the water will be too warm to
allow full power production, they predict.  Posted. 

The new new hydropower: Small-scale turbines have big potential. 
Canals are ecologically barren channels built for the utilitarian
purpose of draining rainwater and snowmelt away from rivers and
delivering it to farmers, factories, and homes. But something
unusual has been lurking in an irrigation canal in rural
Washington that promises to turn these concrete water conveyors
into climate-friendly power plants.  Posted. 

Global Temperatures Rising on a Trajectory That is Devastating. 
Many governments do not appear to be implementing policies to
meet their 2020 emission reduction pledges, and could increase –
not shrink, the gap between real emissions and what’s needed to
keep global temperature rise to 1.5 or 2 degC, according to the
Climate Action Tracker  , a joint project of Climate Analytics,
Ecofys and the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research.  

How Cheap Will Algae Biofuel Really Get? A bit energy wonky but
interesting: The Oil Drum has a breakdown of a recent Department
of Energy presentation on current cost of various renewable fuels
and how inexpensive DoE thinks those analyzed might get over the
next five years. What caught my attention most is the state of
algae biofuels (mostly because I've been thinking about how we're
ever going to be able to keep flying without fossil fuels and
algae is one of the few biofuels still in the running without
serious land use and/or human rights and/or yield issues).

Energy Efficient LEDs Displace Conventional Technology and Costs
Shrink Overall.  Improving lighting efficiency is an investment
in the future.  Yet costs have been prohibiting many people from
becoming early adaptors of energy efficient commercial lighting
such as LED lighting. This is finally starting to change as we
now have research that shows the costs of LED lighting is finally
coming down, according to a recent report from Pike Research,
LEDs will displace more than 52 percent of the global market for
lamps in commercial buildings by 2021. Posted. 

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