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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 22, 2012. Posted: 22 Jun 2012 11:57:15
ARB Newsclips for June 22, 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 Smoky Haze from Indonesian Fires Engulfs Southeast Asia. For much of the year, this city’s iconic Petronas Towers, the world’s tallest twin buildings, are gleaming landmarks visible far from the city center. But last weekend, the 88-story structures in the Malaysian capital were shrouded in a smoky haze that prompted doctors to warn people with respiratory problems to wear face masks. The haze, attributed mostly to fires burning on the Indonesian island of Sumatra, has become a recurring summer blight, engulfing parts of Malaysia, Thailand, Brunei and Singapore and leaving a litany of health and economic costs in its wake. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/23/world/asia/smokey-haze-from-indonesian-fires-engulf-southeast-asia.html?_r=1 Rio conference attendees to see, smell pollution. Rio De Janeiro -- People streaming into Rio for a sustainable development conference may be dreaming of white-sand beaches and clear, blue waters, but what they are first likely to notice as they leave the airport is not the salty tang of ocean in the breeze, but the stench of raw sewage. That's because the airport sits by a bay that absorbs about 320 million gallons of raw waste water a day: 480 Olympic swimming pools worth of filth. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/21/MNFK1P51R5.DTL&type=printable CLIMATE CHANGE NASA experts team with teachers to give students better lessons. In a move that put local high school teachers back into the student seats, CSU Channel Islands teamed with experts from NASA to educate youths through their teachers. About 15 teachers from schools in the Oxnard Union High School District have spent the week with science experts in the Promoting Educational Leadership Climate Science Summer Institute. Organizers hope to educate teachers on the issues surrounding climate change and ultimately to reach youths, according to Bill Patzert, a research scientist at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/21/nasa-experts-team-with-teachers-to-give-students/ Climate Change to Heat Up LA Region: Study. The Los Angeles region is expected to see more days above 95 degrees by the middle of the 21st Century, according to a first-ever report from UCLA on the local impacts of climate change. The report, "Mid-Century Warming in the Los Angeles Region," predicts that temperatures will rise an average of 4.6 degrees Fahreneit if greenhouse-gas emissions continue to increase at current levels. The change would mean three times today's number of extremely hot days in downtown LA, and four times as many in the surrounding valleys and mountain areas. Posted. http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/47912474 FUELS South Jersey power plant scrapping coal burner. A power plant in southern New Jersey will scrap a coal-fired burner and use cleaner natural gas to fuel two others as part of an agreement with the state. The B.L. England plant in Cape May County's Upper Township will shut down one of its coal-fired units and convert two others to natural gas. "This agreement will bring one of the oldest plants here in New Jersey into the 21st century, and keep it there for a long time to come with extremely low emissions," said Robert Martin, New Jersey's environmental protection commissioner. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/21/south-jersey-power-plant-scrapping-coal-burner/ Delta gets approval for pipeline transfer. State regulators have approved a pipeline transfer that's part of Delta Air Lines' plan to buy a suburban Philadelphia oil refinery and produce its own jet fuel. The Pennsylvania Public Utility Commission on Thursday approved the transfer involving ConocoPhillips to Monroe Energy, LLC, the Delta subsidiary that will operate the facility in Trainer, Delaware County. Delta Air Lines, Inc. hopes the $150 million deal could help saved $300 million in fuel costs annually. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/22/delta-gets-approval-for-pipeline-transfer/ Everett-based Coast Guard ship testing biofuel. The buoy tender Henry Blake made its rounds of navigation aids on Puget Sound Thursday powered with fuel partly made from algae. It fueled up Wednesday at its home port in Everett with a 50-50 blend of diesel and algae oil as the Coast Guard's first ship to test biofuel, officials said. The Coast Guard is partnering in the research with the Navy, which plans to demonstrate its "Great Green Fleet" with the Nimitz strike group during the Rim of the Pacific, or RIMPAC, international military exercise beginning June 29 around the Hawaiian Islands. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/21/everett-based-coast-guard-ship-testing-biofuel/#ixzz1yXoU3QFQ VEHICLES Natural Gas for Vehicles Could Use U.S. Support. The fuel is cheap and plentiful. But there is little infrastructure to deliver it to users, and so there is little demand for equipment to use it. That, in brief, is what is wrong with the natural gas vehicle market. And in those facts could be the genesis of an idea for a federal program that would create jobs, save money for consumers and reduce our dependence on foreign oil. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/business/natural-gas-vehicles-are-a-compelling-target-for-a-federal-program.html?pagewanted=all Sacramento airport offers free juice for electric automobiles. Sacramento International Airport announced this week it has installed new-generation electric vehicle charging stations on each floor of the parking garage that serves passenger terminals A and B. There are two chargers on each level, suitable for newer electric cars such as the Chevy Volt and Nissan Leaf, officials said. Use of the stations is free. Travelers who are charging up can leave their cars at the stations for the duration of their trip. The charger shuts off when the vehicle battery is fully replenished. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/06/22/4581261/sacramento-airport-offers-free.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/06/21/2252085/sacramento-airport-installs-electric.html#storylink=misearch Tesla starts delivery out of former Nummi plant. The closure of the West Coast's last big auto plant hit Fremont like a body blow. Toyota shuttered the New United Motor Manufacturing Inc. factory on April Fool's Day in 2010, wiping out 4,700 jobs. The Japanese automaker had run the plant for 25 years as a joint venture with General Motors and didn't want to go it alone after GM spiraled into bankruptcy. Fremont's most visible employer was gone. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/22/BUJ21P5AQG.DTL&type=printable Power surge for plug-in cars. It's a make or break moment for electric-car maker Tesla Motors. Tesla has lost nearly $1 billion selling high-end electric sports cars to the likes of George Clooney. Now it's going to attempt to sell them to the rest of us -- and try to make money doing so. The company's first mass-market, five-seat sedan will be delivered today. The car, called the Model S, will either propel the company to profitability or leave it sputtering on the fumes of a $465 million government loan. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20120622/WIRE/206221063?p=2&tc=pg GREEN ENERGY BrightSource Wins Bid for Solar Trust’s 500-Megawatt Project. BrightSource Energy Inc. (BRSE), the U.S. solar-thermal developer, was the top bidder at an auction today in Delaware to buy an unbuilt California power plant proposed by the bankrupt Solar Trust of America LLC. “BrightSource has been confirmed as the winning bidder for the Palen Solar Power Project,” the Oakland, California-based company said today in an e-mailed statement. “Once the court approves the sale and the conditions are satisfied, the acquisition will be complete.” Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-21/brightsource-wins-bid-for-solar-trust-s-500-megawatt-project.html Temecula Valley winery touts sustainability. The Ponte Family Estate Winery became the first Temecula Valley winery to join a certified list of sustainable California winegrowers last year. Now, it is promoting those environmental efforts with a new attraction for visitors: the Sustainability Tour. The winery started the tour in April as a way to celebrate Earth Day, and it has become permanent, available to visitors by appointment. The tour starts on the winery’s front porch and includes a visit to the vineyard, where guides point out methods that keep the drip-irrigation system as water-efficient as possible. Posted. http://www.pe.com/business/business-headlines/20120621-industry-temecula-valley-winery-touts-sustainability.ece State gives grant to Memphis turbine creator. The state Department of Environment and Conservation is giving a $125,000 grant to a Memphis company for development of a water turbine that will harness the power of the Mississippi River to generate electricity. The Clean Tennessee Energy Grant to Geoff Greene LLC was announced Thursday in Memphis by department officials. Company founder Geoff Greene invented a slow-turning turbine that will generate power that can be transferred into the local electricity grid. Using the grant and private funds, Greene plans to build a prototype to conduct reliability testing in the river. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/21/state-gives-grant-to-memphis-turbine-creator/ MISCELLANEOUS Arch Coal laying off 750 workers in Appalachia. One of the world's largest coal producers said Thursday it would lay off about 750 workers in the Kentucky, Virginia and West Virginia coalfields, the latest setback for an industry struggling to sustain market share as utilities switch to cleaner and cheaper alternatives to generate electricity. The bulk of the cuts by Arch Coal Inc., almost 600, are in Kentucky. The disappearance of high-paying mining work heightened anxiety in hardscrabble Kentucky towns where officials worried declining demand for coal would result in leaner budgets and more people on unemployment rolls. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/21/coal-official-says-arch-coal-plans-layoffs-in-ky/ http://www.nctimes.com/news/national/arch-coal-laying-off-workers-in-appalachia/article_91c90dcf-c923-52b5-99e7-495a5ae821cb.html Asthma and the inner city: East St. Louis children struggle with life-threatening disease. The 4-year-olds laughed as they ran out on the playground at the start of morning recess. Within minutes, one boy stopped, a terrified look on his face. Brenda Crisp and her staff immediately realized what was happening: Asthma attack. “He escalated from zero symptoms to a severe attack in no time at all,” Crisp said. “It came out of the clear blue.” An ambulance rushed the boy to the hospital, where he recovered for two days. Two years later, he still suffers asthma attacks and must take his nebulizer, which delivers a dose of corticosteroids and oxygen, wherever he goes. Posted. . http://www.environmentalhealthnews.org/ehs/news/2012/pollution-poverty-people-of-color-asthma-and-the-inner-city OPINIONS A Green Roof Would Help. Unlike water and air, air-conditioning is far from a natural resource. Our goal should focus on reducing demand, consumption and providing renewable alternatives for cooling needs whenever possible. Universal access to traditional electric air-conditioning is unrealistic and would be environmentally catastrophic. The case for conserving energy by reducing urban temperatures seems like a no-brainer. The — generally unproductive — space on roofs provides one strategy to reduce demand and consumption. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/roomfordebate/2012/06/21/should-air-conditioning-go-global-or-be-rationed-away/a-green-roof-would-help-reduce-air-conditioning-demand Going Green. Back in 1987, when we set up our consulting company called SustainAbility, no one knew the word. For years we had to spell out the name. Today, according to a 2010 Accenture survey of 766 chief executives worldwide, 93 percent see sustainability as important for the future of their businesses, 88 percent accept that they must drive new requirements through their supply chains, and an astonishing 81 percent say they have already integrated sustainability into their businesses. Job done, you might conclude. But you’d be wrong. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/opinion/global-agenda-magazine-going-green.html?pagewanted=all Save the planet? Here's a good place to start. Rio de Janeiro -- Addressing global warming and sustainable development is daunting: droughts in Africa; sea-level rise in the South Pacific; violent storms in the United States and plummeting fish stocks around the world. It's easy to get lost in all that we need to do. World leaders at the Rio+20 Earth Summit should start with two issues at the foundation of our planet's problems: fossil fuel subsidies and ocean acidification. Each year, governments give almost $1 trillion in tax breaks and subsidies to oil, gas, coal and other fossil fuel companies. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2012/06/21/EDQ81P51FR.DTL&type=printable Mercury News editorial: Tesla's the coolest green symbol of Silicon Valley. The 800 people who work at the old NUMMI plant in Fremont are breaking all the rules. They have good manufacturing jobs in Silicon Valley, which everybody knows is too expensive and over-regulated for factories. They're making something that, just a few years ago, sounded looney: an all-electric luxury sedan, with a less expensive version in the works to accelerate (although ever so quietly) zero-emission cars into the mainstream of family transportation. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/opinion/ci_20908770/mercury-news-editorial-teslas-coolest-green-symbol-silicon http://www.insidebayarea.com/opinion/ci_20909181/oakland-tribune-editorial-teslas-launch-brings-economic-hope http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_20909177/contra-costa-times-editorial-teslas-launch-brings-economic Erbe: Don't expect much at Rio summit. Don't expect much from the Rio + 20 Earth summit taking place in Brazil this week. Despite a dazzling display of more than 100 heads of state and 50,000 environmental activists, business leaders and policymakers, most analysts agree there will be much more disagreement at this United Nations meeting than agreement. The meeting is called Rio + 20 because the U.N. is trying to reinvigorate the progress sparked by a highly successful meeting on climate change it held in Rio two decades ago. It was known as the Earth summit. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jun/21/erbe-dont-expect-much-at-rio-summit/ State Of The Air Smartphone App Gives Air Quality Reports And Forecasts. It's the first day of summer, and the air where I live in Maine is nice and clean, with low levels of particulates and ozone. But people living in other parts of the country aren't so lucky. According to the American Lung Association, 41 percent of Americans live in areas where air pollution can make breathing not just more difficult but dangerous. How can you know what the air quality is like where you live? Well, you might turn to your smartphone for the answer. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/06/22/state-of-the-air-app-ala_n_1616916.html?utm_hp_ref=green http://www.forbes.com/sites/eco-nomics/2012/06/21/how-clean-is-the-air-your-iphone-now-has-the-answer/ Project: Home -- Light pollution can confuse wildlife. We humans like our nights, and we sure love to light them up, don't we? From streetlights to outdoor lighting at home, practically everywhere we go can be lit up enough to do pretty much anything we want in relative safety. But we may be approaching a tipping point for too much night lighting. It's called light pollution, and it's beginning to affect parts of the world — or at least where lights dominate, or even dot, the nightscape. And this isn't just an energy saving or night-purist thing, either — it's a nature thing. Posted. http://www.chicoer.com/fromthenewspaper/ci_20914830/project-home-light-pollution-can-confuse-wildlife BLOGS A Hybrid Approach to Solar Power. When photovoltaic cells make electricity from sunlight, they collect a lot of heat along the way. And they don’t work as well warm as they do cold. Four years ago I wrote about a hybrid system that was intended both to make electricity and gather usable heat on residential rooftops. That company, now called Echo Solar, is offering its product around the country. But the market for such hybrids goes beyond homes, especially if the second product is hot water, which can make steam and then electricity. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/a-hybrid-approach-to-solar-power/?ref=science Dispatches from Rio: None from Obama? I understand why President Obama is not going to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio, which is a reprise of the 1992 Earth Summit there at which President George H. W. Bush and nearly all the world’s leaders appeared. (He’s skipping the conference despite taking direct heat in a YouTube message to Rio from Senator James Inhofe, the Republican of Oklahoma and steadfast ally of big coal, and indirect heat from Senator John Kerry, the Democrat of Massachusetts who gave a long floor speech on global warming and the Rio meeting yesterday, decrying “the conspiracy of silence that now characterizes Washington’s handling of the climate issue.”) Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/dispatches-from-rio-none-from-obama/ Dreaming Up Whole New Carbon Markets. Normally, when supporters of renewable energy talk about carbon markets, they’re referring to a system of traded credits that industries buy to compensate for their emissions of greenhouse gases, like the ones already sold in Europe and under development in California and Canada. But at the Renewable Energy Finance Forum-Wall Street, an annual conference organized by the American Council on Renewable Energy, the talk on Wednesday was of developing a different kind of carbon market where the gas would be bought and sold like a commodity to encourage carbon capture. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/21/dreaming-up-a-whole-new-carbon-market/ U.P.S. Is to Put 150 Plastic-Body Trucks Into Service. After a yearlong field test in five regions, United Parcel Service has ordered the production of 150 delivery trucks with bodies built of composite plastic panels. The company said that relative to the aluminum-bodied P70 package car, as the company’s equivalent vehicle is known, each plastic-body truck would lower fuel consumption by 40 percent. The trucks are expected to be received in the fourth quarter of 2012 and to go into service on high-mileage routes, primarily in the Western region of the United States. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/22/u-p-s-to-put-150-plastic-body-trucks-into-service/ Are these the most epic diesel-powered burnouts ever? Here in the States, we generally think of diesel-powered vehicles in one of two ways. First, there are the gigantor pickups with their loud and burly turbodiesel engines. Second, there are the diesel fuel misers, such as Volkswagen's stable of TDI mobiles. In Europe, though, nearly every car is available with at least one optional diesel engine, and many of those are considered performance models. Of course, there's also a fertile aftermarket community willing to turn any diesel engine into a mouth-breathing torque monster, and all it usually takes is the installation of a massive turbocharger. Posted. http://www.autoblog.com/2012/06/21/are-these-the-most-epic-diesel-powered-burnouts-ever/