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newsclips -- Newsclips for July 5, 2012

Posted: 05 Jul 2012 12:28:13
ARB Newsclips for July 5, 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.

Many Native Americans live next to power plants. Beyond the
ancestral hunting fields and the rows of small, sparse homes, the
cemetery at the Moapa River Indian Reservation sprawls across a
barren hill with the tombstones of tribal members who died young.
Their deaths haunt this small desert community outside Las Vegas.
Children play indoors, afraid they might be next. Hoping to keep
out the air they believe is killing their people, tribal elders
keep their windows shut and avoid growing food on the land where
their ancestors once found sustenance. Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:

Clean the Skies. One evening last spring, Peter nearly stopped
breathing. He was riding in the car with his mother, April, who
was taking the 11-year-old boy back from a visit to the ER for
one of his chronic asthma attacks. He seemed to be getting better
— and then his throat began to constrict. He began to wheeze
loudly. He rolled his head back to get more air. "That was wrong.
'He should be better than this by now,' I remember thinking. I
knew something was wrong then," April recalls. "They had given
him some meds and the usual advice, but it was not working."
Posted.  http://magazine.ucla.edu/features/clean-the-skies/

Hong Kong’s dirty air costs $6 billion a year. As Hong Kong
strives to consolidate its reputation as a financial hub and
major offshore conduit for China’s wealth, the smog that often
envelops its skyscrapers exacts a heavy cost on its pro-business
credentials and competitiveness. The problem costs an estimated
$6 billion each year, according to health experts, with air
quality in the former British colony now among the worst in Asia.
Newspaper vendor Chung Tang, 74, knows just how bad it can be,
working all day at a bus stop in Sheung Wan, a busy neighbourhood
next to the central business district where pollution-free trams
trundle along steel rails, between the cars and buses, just as
they have done for more than 100 years.Posted. 

NY picks 23 groups to do citizen air sampling. The state
Department of Environmental Conservation has selected 23
community organizations to do sampling to help identify and
address local air quality concerns. Participants will use
Environmental Protection Agency-approved canisters to collect air
samples for an hour. The DEC will analyze the samples for
pollutants. If toxic pollutants are found, DEC will conduct
additional testing, determine the source of pollution and look at
ways to reduce it. Posted. 


N.C. to sea level forecasters: Ignore climate change data for
now. Scientists with a state commission in North Carolina will
not be permitted to issue formal predictions of sea level rise
based on climate change – at least for the next four years. After
enduring national ridicule for proposing a bill to outlaw any
coastal sea level projections based on climate change data, the
state’s Republican-controlled Legislature came up with a
compromise Tuesday. Lawmakers effectively put the sea level
debate on hold by asking for more studies – but none that involve
climate change. Posted. 

Conn. shoreline preservation group sets meetings. A task force
has scheduled three public hearings this summer to look into the
impact on property of rising sea level and extreme storms.  The
New Haven Register reports (http://bit.ly/LzituX) that the
Shoreline Preservation Task Force has set meetings this month and
in August in Branford, Fairfield and Groton.  The task force was
established in February to study and make legislative
recommendations about storm impacts and the effects of climate
change on shoreline communities. Posted. 

Global warming seen as a factor in wildfires. A growing chorus of
environmental groups is blaming climate change for the ferocity
of this year’s wildfires, heating up the debate over fire policy
as wetter conditions brought relief to the Colorado front. At the
“Forests at Risk” symposium held last week by the Aspen Center
for Environmental Studies, environmental advocates, federal
officials and scientists agreed global warming was a major player
in this year’s destructive fire season. Posted. 

How’s the weather, America? July 5, 2012 edition. Everything west
of the Mississippi is still on fire. Also, some spots east of the
Mississippi. Maybe also the Mississippi. InciWeb tracks wildfires
currently burning in the United States; right now, there are
literally hundreds of thousands of acres on fire or recently
burned. (Grist List has a horrifying, sad video from a family
that visited the “moonscape” that was once their neighborhood.)
On the plus side, people are more and more willing to point at
climate change as the culprit. Here’s Homeland Security chief
Janet Napolitano drawing that connection. Posted. 

Preindustrial carbon dioxide still warming the planet. Carbon
dioxide emissions that predate the industrial revolution continue
to haunt the world, new research has found, challenging
assumptions that coal-fired generators and gasoline engines
solely drive today's climate changes. When it comes to tracking
greenhouse gases, most scientists tabulate emissions from the
mid-19th century onward, when fossil fuels caught on as the main
energy source for production and transportation. It makes sense,
given that smokestacks and tailpipes are the largest man-made
emitters in the modern era. Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2012/07/05/3 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY


Fraud Case Shows Holes in Exchange of Fuel Credits. Gary L.
Miller knew something was afoot in the garage rented out behind
his auto equipment business. Through an open door, Mr. Miller
glimpsed piles of pipes, polyethylene tanks and pumps. But
nothing was hooked up. Nothing was being made.So it came as a
surprise — to say the least — when he learned that the tenant,
Rodney R. Hailey, had told a federal agency that he would produce
millions of gallons of biodiesel fuel there. Posted. 


U.S. files trade complaint against China over new auto tariffs.
The U.S. has filed an international trade complaint against China
for new duties it placed on many large American-made vehicles,
the Obama administration announced Thursday. The duties, which
range from 2% to 21.5%, are aimed at more than $3 billion in
annual sales of cars and sport utility vehicles exported into
China. The duties were slapped on the vehicles in December and
are unfair, U.S. Trade Representative Ron Kirk said Thursday. “As
we have made clear, the Obama administration will continue to
fight to ensure that China does not misuse its trade laws and
violate its international trade commitments to block exports of
American-made products,” Kirk said. Posted. 

Modesto workshop to discuss owning electric cars. People
intrigued by electric vehicles can learn more about them at a
July 21 gathering in north Modesto. The free event, "The Future
is Electric: Plug In and Get There," will run from 10 a.m. to 1
p.m. at the regional office of the San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District, 4800 Enterprise Way, off Bangs
Avenue. Attendees can learn about incentives of up to $13,000 per
vehicle and programs offered by the Modesto Irrigation District
and Pacific Gas & Electric Co.  Posted. 

Car, truck sales surge in June. From mini cars to monster
pickups, sales of new cars and trucks surged in June and eased
concerns that Americans would be turned off by slower hiring and
other scary headlines. Automakers sold nearly 1.3 million cars
and trucks in June, up 22 percent from the same month last year.
Chrysler posted its best June in five years. Sales soared at
Volkswagen, which is on track for its best year in the U.S. since
1973. Posted. 


Solar, wind energy a missed opportunity for Cuba. The sleepy
country setting that farmer Juan Alonso calls home hasn't changed
much since he was born 74 years ago, with the two rustic wooden
houses nestled among palm trees against a backdrop of green hills
and clear skies. Incongruously perched atop the homes are the
only visual clues that his 150-acre (60-hectare) farm inhabits
the 21st century: the gleaming solar panels that revolutionized
the lives of Alonso and his family. Posted. 

AP Newsbreak:

State farm bureau gets OK to sue over solar project. The
California Farm Bureau has won approval to pursue its legal fight
against solar development on Valley farmland. A Fresno County
Superior Court judge ruled last week that the California Farm
Bureau Federation can sue Fresno County for permitting a 90-acre
solar plant on agricultural land near Interstate 5. County
attorneys had argued that the farm bureau didn't have a local
connection to the proposed solar project and therefore couldn't
sue. Posted. 

Family-owned Muir Beach firm to build San Rafael Airport solar
project. Synapse Electric, a Muir Beach-based company managed by
a local married couple, has been selected to install a $3 million
photovoltaic project at the San Rafael Airport. The Marin Energy
Authority announced in May that it had signed a 20-year agreement
to buy electricity produced by the 972-kilowatt solar
installation. Posted. 


Feds settle Western energy corridor lawsuit. Parts of a plan for
designating thousands of miles of energy corridors in 11 Western
states will be revamped under a settlement reached by federal
land managers, more than a dozen environmental groups and one
Colorado county. The settlement was filed Tuesday in federal
court in San Francisco and must be approved by a judge. At issue
are more than 6,000 miles of corridors for power lines; oil,
natural gas and hydrogen pipelines; and other energy distribution
systems that were carved out by the Bush administration as part
of the 2005 Energy Policy Act. The corridors were finalized in
2008, and environmentalists sued in 2009 over concerns that more
than half of the corridors passed through sensitive areas from
Washington south to New Mexico. Posted. 

Japan reactor on grid; panel slams crisis response. Nuclear power
returned to Japan's energy mix for the first time in two months
Thursday, hours before a parliamentary investigative commission
blamed the government's cozy relations with the industry for the
meltdowns that prompted the mass shutdown of the nation's
reactors. Though the report echoes other investigations into last
year's disaster at the Fukushima Dai-ichi plant, it could fuel
complaints that Japan is trying to restart nuclear reactors
without doing enough to avoid a repeat. Thursday's resumption of
operations at a reactor in Ohi, in western Japan, already had
been hotly contested. Posted. 


The Most Sensible Tax of All. ON Sunday, the best climate policy
in the world got even better: British Columbia’s carbon tax — a
tax on the carbon content of all fossil fuels burned in the
province — increased from $25 to $30 per metric ton of carbon
dioxide, making it more expensive to pollute. This was good news
not only for the environment but for nearly everyone who pays
taxes in British Columbia, because the carbon tax is used to
reduce taxes for individuals and businesses. Posted. 

Hot Enough for You? When the weather is cold, we think it's cool
to make fun of global warmism. Invariably when we do so, global
warmists get hot under the collar. You fool! they thunder.
Climate isn't the same thing as weather! Of course we understand
that. Cool down, it's a joke. It's a joke designed to make a
point--a point worth revisiting now that it's hot out. And it is
hot: As we write, Google informs us that the temperature in New
York, outside our lovely air-conditioned apartment, is 88
degrees. Over the weekend we were in Tennessee, and at one point
our rental-car thermometer informed us the outside temperature
was 111, albeit on blacktop. Posted. 

The EPA wins, for science’s sake. LAST WEEK, as the nation’s
attention was on the Supreme Court and health care, the U.S.
Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit issued a
ringing ruling concerning America’s response to global warming
that does two critical things. First, it emphatically dismisses
arguments that the science is too uncertain to justify federal
action. Second, it assures Congress that, if lawmakers don’t act
on global warming, the courts won’t stop the Environmental
Protection Agency (EPA) from doing so independently of Congress,
using the powers the EPA has under the Clean Air Act. Both should
persuade lawmakers to develop, at long last, a comprehensive
response to climate change instead of leaving the job to the
EPA’s command-and-control regulation. Posted. 

Feeling the Heat. Still don't believe in climate change? Then
you're either deep in denial or delirious from the heat. As I
write this, the nation's capital and its suburbs are in
post-apocalypse mode. About one-fourth of all households have no
electricity, the legacy of an unprecedented assault by violent
thunderstorms Friday night. Things are improving: At the height
of the power outage, nearly half the region was dark. Posted. 

High-speed rail boosts economy. During the course of any modern
political debate, we often hear a familiar refrain from those who
oppose particular investments.  They usually say something along
the line of "This project will burden future generations with
debt." We're currently hearing of lot of this concerning
high-speed rail in California. And while concern about our debt
is a legitimate and important point of view, it does not apply to
California's high-speed rail project.  Investment in high-speed
rail will actually help to reverse the downward economic spiral
that leads to deficits and long-term debt. How can this be?


District by District, Climate Change in Los Angeles. Last year,
as part of a series about planners mapping out adaptations to
climate change, I wrote about how the city of Chicago was
expecting that its climate would be comparable to that of Baton
Rouge today by the end of the century. Chicago based its
predictions on global climate models that had been adjusted to
use data from local weather stations and to take into account the
moderating effect of Lake Michigan. Still, the model was
described as little more than a schematic evaluation of the
potential regional impact. Posted. 

A New Climate Science Resource from the National Academies. The
National Academies, the nation’s preeminent independent
scientific advisory body, has released a series of videos
building on themes laid out in its America’s Climate Choices
reports over the past couple of years. Above, you can watch the
material as a single long video. Below you can find links to
seven themed sections. Posted. 

Can China Follow U.S. Shift from Coal to Gas? Here’s an effort to
look ahead from a promising American environmental trend to a
prospect for the same in China, starting with two observations.
First, the combination of abundant and cheap natural gas and
tightening regulations on coal-burning power plants in the United
States — along with a general intensification of efforts to
conserve energy — has led with unpredicted speed to a remarkable,
and likely persistent, drop in coal-based electricity generation
and related decline in emissions of the most important greenhouse
gas, carbon dioxide. Posted. 

Too Much Wood, Too Little Power. I was in Malawi for six hours
before my laptop fried. While charging overnight, it became the
sorry victim of a routine power surge. Though it sputtered back
to life the next day, I was very bluntly forced to acknowledge
the power issues Malawians in the cities deal with on a regular
basis, along with the complex ecological trade-offs people weigh
to meet their needs. While only a minority of Malawians are
actually hooked up to the electrical grid, the consequences of
frequent blackouts and surges for all become clear in hospitals.
A flickering light or faulty generator can mean the difference
between life and death for a woman undergoing a caesarean section
or a premature baby dependent on a ventilator. Posted. 

Crescendo Partners to Tap Market for Canada’s EnviroResolutions.
Australia’s Crescendo Partners has been appointed to assist in a
capital raising for Vancouver-based technology solutions provider
EnviroResolutions Inc. The company and related entities will fold
into an already listed Over-The-Counter Bulletin Board shell
company later this month. EnviroResolutions is seeking to raise
an additional US$5 million, Crescendo Partners Director Paul
Shmukler told Deal Journal Australia. The group owns a technology
that is patented across 127 countries until 2030, ENVI-Clean. It
says the technology is the most efficient single system emissions
cleaning technology available for use in a market with an
indicative size of up to US$1 billion. Posted. 

Wildfire, heat wave: Is it climate change? As wildfires devour
acreage across the West and a heat wave broils in the East, the
question seems natural: Are we feeling the effects of global
warming? Scientists still answer cautiously. No single weather
event, they say, can be linked directly to global climate change.
But some researchers have begun to draw a broader connection
between sweltering temperatures, tinder-dry forests and a warming
planet. While direct links are still elusive, the statistics,
they say, reveal climate change hovering in the background —
pushing conditions more consistently toward extremes, and causing
those extremes to increase in severity. Posted. 

House chair Issa questions CARB's influence on new
truck-efficiency rules. Darrell Issa, tree hugger. Just kidding.
Issa, the House Oversight Committee Chairman, recently sent a
letter to the Environmental Protection Agency questioning why the
California Air Resources Board was influential in drafting last
year's heavy-duty-truck greenhouse-gas emissions standards,
Truckinginfo reported. Issa (R-Calif.), who gave the EPA until
today, July 5, to respond to a list of questions, took issue with
the fact that CARB appeared to have more influence than a number
of other non-federal entities, according to the publication. Issa
also said the new rules would place undue costs on independent
truckers who'd need to upgrade their rigs in order to meet the
new standards. Posted. 

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