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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 13, 2012. Posted: 13 Jul 2012 12:50:27
ARB Newsclips for July 13, 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 Sand, salt, volcanoes add to EU clean air challenge. Desert sand, sea salt, volcanic ash and other forms of natural pollution are adding to rising levels of man-made dirt sullying the air and making it harder, especially for Mediterranean countries, to meet EU environmental regulations. A report released this week from EU body the European Environment Agency (EEA) found the highest levels of natural pollutants were in Spain, which frequently experiences forest fires, most recently this month. Out of 42 instances, where the levels in Spain were reported above legal limits, 18 were caused by natural pollution, said the report, which is the first European study of its kind. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/13/us-eu-pollution-idUSBRE86C0LN20120713 San Joaquin Valley Air District Honored for Smog Check Program That Repairs Polluting Vehicles for Low-Income Drivers. California business and labor leaders today recognized the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) for its low-income vehicle repair program that cleans up the region's oldest and dirtiest passenger cars and trucks. Tune In & Tune Up is a voluntary program that provides convenient Smog Check testing and $500 repair vouchers to help low-income drivers pass Smog Check. Posted. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/san-joaquin-valley-air-district-honored-for-smog-check-program-that-repairs-polluting-vehicles-for-low-income-drivers-2012-07-12 CLIMATE CHANGE TPG, Samsung-Backed Carbon Capture Project Leads in EU Funds. A U.K. carbon-capture project part- owned by Samsung Group and developed by a British company held by TPG Capital is first in line for a share of as much as 1.5 billion-euros ($1.8 billion) in European Union funding. The Don Valley Power Project in northern England proposed by 2Co Energy Ltd. leads a list of ventures selected as candidates in a European Commission funding program, the commission said today in a report on its website. Four of the eight projects on the list are based in the U.K. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2012-07-12/u-k-carbon-capture-project-leads-in-eu-funding-contest.html Temperatures climbing, weather more unstable, a majority says in poll. Most Americans say they believe temperatures around the world are going up and that weather patterns have become more unstable in the past few years, according to a new poll from The Washington Post and Stanford University. But they also see future warming as something that can be addressed, and majorities want government action across a range of policies to curb energy consumption, with more support for tax breaks than government mandates. The findings come as the federal government released a report Tuesday suggesting the connection between last year’s severe weather and climate change. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/post-stanford-poll-finds-more-americans-believe-climate-change-is-happening/2012/07/12/gJQAh92wgW_story.html Sea level higher than previously thought during last warming. During the last period of global warming, which peaked roughly 125,000 years ago, sea levels may have risen up to 30 feet higher than today’s levels, according to researchers. A study published Thursday in the journal Science examined data from coral reefs throughout the globe and concluded that ancient sea levels were roughly a third higher than previously estimated. Drawing parallels between today’s period of planetary warming…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-sea-level-20120712,0,54118,print.story Antarctica faces an array of climate problems, including invasive species. Antarctica faces a growing array of threats from human activities, including overfishing, tourism, oil and gas exploration, and climate change, according to an international group of researchers. Protecting the continent may require revisiting the international agreements that govern its use, including the 50-year-old Antarctic Treaty, they write in an essay published yesterday in the journal Science. The treaty and related agreements established Antarctica as a scientific preserve, set forth a series of regulations to protect the icy polar environment and banned military activity there. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/13/6 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Unexplained CO2 uptake slows climate change, baffles scientists. The world's plant and animal ecosystems have been absorbing more carbon dioxide than normal since 1988, reducing the impact of climate change, scientists say. C02 is naturally consumed by plants and then sequestered in the ground, a cycle that has picked up speed, says a report released by a global research team. The increased land uptake is about 1 billion metric tons of carbon per year -- more than 10 percent of global fossil fuel emissions for 2010 -- the report says. The findings have scientists around the globe reeling. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/13/12 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DIESEL EMISSIONS Caterpillar to pay CARB $510,000 for shipping engines deemed illegal. Caterpillar Inc. will pay the California Air Resources Board $510,000 after a lengthy investigation showed the diesel engine manufacturer shipped and sold nearly 590,000 engines without installing emissions control devices. The investigation was pursued by CARB, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the U.S. Department of Justice, according to a CARB news release. The federal portion of the investigation was concluded last year. All told, the company will pay $2.5 million in total fines as a result of the emissions violations. Posted. http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=23888 FUELS Natural gas research funds reach Bay Area. The Energy Department announced Thursday $30 million in grants to propel research on powering cars and trucks with natural gas, including awards to two projects in the Bay Area. SRI International, in Menlo Park, is slated to receive $875,000 to develop low-pressure natural gas storage systems for light-duty vehicles using porous carbon materials that allow more of the natural gas to be stored densely. If successful, the technique would eliminate the need for an external tank. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Natural-gas-research-funds-reach-Bay-Area-3703703.php Murkowski criticizes BLM well cleanup efforts. Sen. Lisa Murkowski on Thursday called the U.S. Bureau of Land Management's approach to addressing abandoned wells in the Alaska Arctic an "embarrassment" to the federal government. Her comments came during a Senate hearing she requested in Washington, D.C., focused on the cleanup of so-called legacy wells in the National Petroleum Reserve-Alaska. Murkowski, R-Alaska, said it's the "height of hypocrisy" that the federal government doesn't live up to the same standards that it holds private industry to in plugging and reclaiming well sites. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/jul/12/murkowski-criticizes-blm-well-cleanup-efforts/#ixzz20W9ip2yh State regulators reject Sacramento gas storage plan. In an impressive display of David besting Goliath, a group of Sacramento residents succeeded Thursday in blocking a $70 million plan to store 7.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas beneath their working class neighborhood. The California Public Utilities Commission, in a 3-2 vote, rejected the plan by Sacramento Natural Gas Storage LLC to store the gas 3,800 feet below the Avondale/Glen Elder neighborhood in southeast Sacramento. It was a post-San Bruno moment. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/13/4628252/state-regulators-reject-sacramento.html http://www.modbee.com/2012/07/13/2280141/state-regulators-reject-sacramento.html#storylink=misearch VEHICLES Up to speed on CARB. Paul Condran, equipment maintenance manager for Culver City, said his city pioneered the use of compressed natural gas vehicles. Businesses and cities throughout the state continually struggle to keep pace with changing California Air Resources Board rules and regulations. And so it wasn't surprising that many turned out Thursday in Irwindale for a "Get up to speed with CARB" workshop. Posted. http://www.sgvtribune.com/news/ci_21067281/up-speed-carb HIGH-SPEED RAIL UCLA study of Japan's bullet train raises questions about California project. A UCLA analysis of Japan's Shinkansen bullet train and its impact on the growth of cities along its route calls into question claims by state officials that California's high-speed rail project will create up to 400,000 jobs. A new UCLA economic analysis of Japan's Shinkansen bullet train and its impact on the growth of cities along its route calls into question claims by state officials that California's high-speed rail project will create up to 400,000 permanent jobs. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-high-speed-study-20120713,0,28886,print.story High-speed rail project will be a boon for Caltrain. The passage of Gov. Jerry Brown's infrastructure initiative for California high- speed rail is an important milestone in bringing modern, electric train service to the Bay Area. The initiative ensures funding for the modernization of Caltrain, a project that is critical to the Bay Area and the state. We are grateful to the governor, the elected officials, the communities served by Caltrain and the people who have supported the effort to preserve and improve this vital service. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_21066267/high-speed-rail-project-will-be-boon-caltrain?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com High-speed rail is en route to U.S. and bringing carbon reductions, Lahood says. High-speed rail is coming to America and will leave a lighter carbon footprint behind it, U.S. policymakers and international railroad experts predicted this week at the 8th World Congress on High Speed Rail in Philadelphia. "Our generation's job is to invest in high-speed rail and high-performing passenger rail, and that's exactly what we're going to see across the country," Secretary of Transportation Ray Lahood told reporters. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/13/3 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY One effort to kill Calif. bullet train dies; another vows 'redoubling'. An effort to derail California's bullet train has failed. Opponents of the project came up short in their attempt to get the "No Train Please Act" on the ballot, the California secretary of state said this week. The initiative, which would have blocked funding for the line, didn't gather the needed 807,615 voter signatures. The endeavor ends as the train moves forward with plans for construction. The state Legislature last week sanctioned nearly $8 billion to build the initial leg and fund other early rail work (Greenwire, July 9). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/13/4 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY Renewable Energy Still A Working Progress As It Develops In California. California is trying to lead the way in renewable energy use but the amount of green energy used on hot summer days may be much less than you think. CBS13’s Steve Larges went into the nerve center of California’s energy grid. It’s kind of like air traffic control for California, only it’s for energy. What they are looking for, especially on hot days, is how much green energy is going into things like keeping the air conditioning running. Four o’clock in the afternoon is a busy time for California’s power grid. Posted. http://sacramento.cbslocal.com/2012/07/12/renewable-energy-still-a-working-progress-as-it-develops-in-california/ Retrofit loans could trim utility costs. When Fritz Grupe started building houses in the 1960s, energy efficiency standards were pretty modest. "You needed to put 2 inches of insulation in the ceiling and none in the walls," he said this week. "That was the code. Because the utility bills in those days were eight bucks a month." We can yearn for those good old days, Grupe said, or we can bring all those good old homes up to code to make summertime energy bills - and summertime heat - more bearable. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120713/A_NEWS/207130320&cid=sitesearch U.S. ranks 9th in energy efficiency, falling below China. The United States ranked ninth in a major new international energy efficiency rating system, falling below China, Australia and the European Union in more than two dozen categories of energy use. Topping the list was the United Kingdom, where analysts found major improvements in energy savings over the past decade and hailed the promise of the country's new "Green Deal," which aims to overhaul the energy efficiency of homes and small businesses. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/13/5 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY http://grist.org/news/of-the-worlds-12-largest-economies-the-u-s-is-the-ninth-most-energy-efficient/ MISCELLANEOUS Heat islands surrounded on all sides by perspiration. There is not a single tree on Jim Lewallen's block. Looking east down Main Street, he spots a towering palm perhaps three blocks away. To the west, he can make out the forested grounds near the county courthouse. "It's pretty hot, and the reason is there's so much concrete around here. Concrete on the ground, concrete on the buildings, concrete all over the place," said Lewallen, 53, an artist who spent Thursday painting in the air-conditioned lobby of the Main Street Manor apartments. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20120713/A_NEWS/207130317&cid=sitesearch Prescribed burn planned in North County on Friday. North County residents are likely to see smoke Friday. Local landowners, Cal Fire, the county Air Pollution Control District, and the California Air Resources Board will collaborate on a 25-acre prescribed burn near Garden Farms. The burn will take place between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. at the eastern end of Santa Clara Road in southeast Atascadero. Cal Fire says the burn is a training exercise that allows fire crews to use live fire “and gain valuable experience using prudent ignition and containment techniques.” Posted. http://www.sanluisobispo.com/2012/07/12/2140763/smoke-fire-prescribed-burn-friday.html OPINIONS Editorial: PUC makes the right call on gas storage. It took more than five years but in the end, the California Public Utilities Commission listened to the concerns of residents from Sacramento's Avondale/Glen Elder neighborhood and rejected a proposal to store 7.5 billion cubic feet of natural gas under their homes. It was the right decision. As the three commissioners who voted against the proposal stated, the need for the project did not outweigh its potential risks. Those risks included gas leakage, water contamination and even explosions. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/13/4628000/puc-makes-the-right-call-on-gas.html Contra Costa Times editorial: Apple owes Silicon Valley an explanation. The Silicon Valley's commitment to green technology is a source of pride, and Apple is a valley trend-setter. Its decision to withdraw its products from a prominent green product registry erodes its image as an environmental leader and raises a more disturbing possibility: That other tech competitors will take its departure as a free pass to also drop out of the Electronic Product Environmental Assessment Tool, or EPEAT, system. Apple's response earlier this week to The Loop isn't good enough. Posted. http://www.insidebayarea.com/news/ci_21060622/contra-costa-times-editorial-apple-owes-silicon-valley?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com Ronald Stein: California's costly global warming crusade. The key to successful public policy is flexibility – the ability to continue to assess the feasibility and viability of regulations before and even after they are implemented. Unfortunately, sometimes the desire to "get it done" eclipses the need to get it done right. It's frighteningly clear that the California Air Resources Board, in its eagerness to pursue the goals of Assembly Bill 32, the state's global warming law, has lost sight of the significant flaws and disastrous economic impacts its policies will have California businesses and residents. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/opinion/california-363481-carb-global.html BLOGS Amid Chatter on Climate and Energy Views, a Look at Deeds. There is endless cogitation, here and elsewhere, over views on human-driven global warming and America’s energy menu. Much of this, I’m afraid, is about as useful as watching “water sloshing in a shallow pan.” Lots of motion, no depth. Here’s a quick look beyond climate and energy beliefs and words to climate and energy deeds, provided in the latest report on American’s actions related to energy conservation and greenhouse gases from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication and Center for Climate Change Communication at George Mason University. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/12/amid-chatter-on-climate-and-energy-views-a-look-at-deeds/ Ethanol 15: The View from the Road. How much progress is ethanol making? As I write in The Times, this week a gas station operator in Lawrence, Kan., just west of Kansas City, became the first in the nation to offer e15, the 15 percent ethanol blend that was approved in 2010 for some cars by the Environmental Protection Agency. The fuel is intended to be an alternative to e10, the blend that is now standard around most of the United States. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/13/ethanol-15-the-view-from-the-road/ European electric vehicle charging-station revenue will jump tenfold by 2020. Here's one European "union" that plug-in advocates will support. Europe's electric-vehicle charging station revenue will jump more than tenfold by the end of the decade as automakers work towards a unified charging standard and demand for plug-in vehicles rise, Pike Research says. Annual European charging-station revenue will increase to about $1.27 billion in 2020 from about $90 million this year, according to Pike Research. Germany alone will account for almost a quarter of Europe's charging equipment sales through the end of the decade. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/12/european-electric-vehicle-charging-station-revenue-will-jump-ten/