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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.


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. 

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.


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. 

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.


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. 

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. 

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.  


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. 

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.

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.

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. 


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.

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. 

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.


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. 


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. .


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.

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. 

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.


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.

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.


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