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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.


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. 

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. 


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.

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. 

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.

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

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


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. 


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. 

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. 
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. 


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.


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.

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. 

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

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


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.

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. 

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


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. 

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. 


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.

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. 

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. 


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. 

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.

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.

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