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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 18, 2012

Posted: 18 Jul 2012 12:26:54
This is a service of the California Air Resources Boardís Office
of Communications.  You may need to sign in or register with
individual websites to view some of the following news articles.

White House weakened EPA soot proposal, documents show.  The
White House recently modified an Environmental Protection Agency
proposal to limit soot emissions, according to documents obtained
by The Washington Post, inviting public comment on a slightly
weaker standard than the agency had originally sought.  The
behind-the-scenes tweaking of the proposed soot standards, which
affect particles measuring less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter,
sparked criticism that the White House was interfering with
science-based decisions.  Posted. 

Nefarious forces hampering Shellís Arctic drilling include air,
water, ice.  Guys, I have some bad news. Shellís attempts to
drill exploratory wells in Alaska arenít going that great. Cue
the Shell-denfreude.  First, there was that ship that tried to
escape, only to be dragged back into servitude. Then the company
had to go hat-in-hand to the Environmental Protection Agency,
asking if maybe, just this once, the agency would be cool with a
little more air pollution coming from their drilling rig. 

Green streets can cut pollution, says study.  The creation of
"green walls" in urban areas could cut pollution by up to 30%,
scientists have suggested.  UK researchers say more trees and
other vegetation at street level would clean air in areas that
are normally exposed to higher pollution levels.  Plants in towns
and cities have been shown to remove nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and
particulate matter (PM), both of which are harmful to human
health.  The findings appear in the journal Environmental Science
and Technology.  Posted. 

Expert paints bleak air pollution picture to children's asthma
group.  While politicians like to tout improvements in pollution
and air quality, that's not the world that scientists like John
Froines see.  "Air pollution is not getting better, it's getting
worse," said Froines, a retired UCLA professor and director of
the Southern California Particle Center.  Speaking at a meeting
Tuesday of the Long Beach Alliance for Children with Asthma,
Froines said the more that scientists learn about air pollution
and its effects, the more alarming the picture becomes.  Posted. 

Earth Log: Bad ozone day renews debate about warnings.  The air
turned scary corrosive for two hours in Fresno last Thursday.
Even in the San Joaquin Valley, where breathing bad air is a way
of life, this was dangerous.  The ozone overload on a steamy,
windless day was the highest in nearly two years. And it
triggered a now-familiar debate.  How are we supposed to know
when ozone is that high? Ozone is not like dust or smoke, which
you can see and smell. By comparison, ozone is odorless and
invisible.  Kevin Hall, who heads the Central Valley Air Quality
Coalition, says there should be some kind of warning system above
and beyond the air district's everyday forecasts and publicity
campaign.  Posted. 


Average Chinese person's carbon footprint now equals European's. 
The average Chinese person's carbon footprint is now almost on a
par with the average European's, figures released on Wednesday
reveal.  China became the largest national emitter of CO2 in
2006, though its emissions per person have always been lower than
those in developed countries such as Europe.  But today's report,
which only covers emissions from energy, by the PBL Netherlands
Environmental Assessment Agency and the European commission's
Joint Research Centre (JRC) show that per capita emissions in
China increased by 9% in 2011 to reach 7.2 tonnes per person,
only a fraction lower than the EU average of 7.5 tonnes.  Posted.

U.S. leads the world in cutting CO2 emissions ó so why arenít we
talking about it?  Contrary to popular belief, the U.S. is making
progress on climate change.  We have cut our carbon emissions
more than any other country in the world in recent years ó 7.7
percent since 2006. U.S. emissions fell 1.9 percent last year and
are projected to fall 1.9 percent again this year, which will put
us back at 1996 levels. It will not be easy to achieve the
reductions Obama promised in Copenhagen ó 17 percent (from 2005
levels) by 2020 ó but that goal no longer looks out of reach,
even in the absence of comprehensive legislation.  Posted. 

Slow Ride Stories: Kick-starting conversations about climate
change.  The climate is a-changiní ó but the debate on climate
change isnít. As a result, climate scientists and environmental
advocates appear to be fighting a losing battle: A recent poll of
American attitudes toward climate change, put out in March by the
Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, revealed that the
number of climate skeptics in America is growing, and fewer
voters view climate change as a scientifically affirmed or
politically important issue.  With this news in mind, a two-man
film crew has hit the back roads of America to, in their words,
kick-start a new national conversation about climate change ó one
that might circumvent heated politics by focusing on local
perspectives.  Posted. 


MIT study questions fuel savings from ethanol blending.  The
renewable ethanol fuel blended into the United States' gasoline
supply does not lower prices at the pump as advocates have
claimed, according to a study released this week by the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The paper critiques
earlier studies sponsored by the Renewable Fuels Association
(RFA), which found that mixing ethanol with transportation fuel
reduced gasoline prices by 89 cents in 2010 and $1.09 in 2011.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/07/18/3  BY


AM Alert: Jerry Brown to sign funding bill for high-speed rail.
Gov. Jerry Brown will be in Los Angeles this morning and in San
Francisco this afternoon as he signs legislation authorizing
funding to start construction of the state's controversial
high-speed rail project.  The Los Angeles ceremony is scheduled
for 10 a.m. at Union Station, 800 N. Alameda St., and the San
Francisco event is set for 2 p.m. at Transbay Transit Center
construction site on Howard Street between First and Second
streets. Senate Bill 1029 squeaked out of the Senate earlier this
month with the bare minimum of votes to authorize $5.8 billion to
begin construction in the Central Valley. Posted. 


Electric Cars Charged Without Cables, Without Touching.  When it
comes to introducing risk free electric cars into the mainstream,
car rental is a no-brainer. Wireless charging systems could be
just the right push to increase the adoption and convenience. 
Wireless Charging Saves The Day. If youíve been reading our
latest electric car articles on TorqueNews.com lately, youíll
probably have noticed we are slightly enamored with the promise
of ease and convenience when it comes to the wireless charging of
electric cars.  Posted. 


County protects farmland from solar development. The Kern County
Board of Supervisors approved a compromise plan Tuesday that will
guide solar project developers who want to build large-scale sun
farms on valley farmland. Some solar power developers and farming
interests grudgingly supported the policy, developed by the Kern
County Planning Department, which would set up a pathway for
developers and planners to follow to determine what farmland is
best to build solar power plants on. Posted. 

Lodi gathering input toward a greener future. Lodi officials are
searching for community input into how the city can lower
greenhouse gas emissions and incorporate environmentally friendly
features to its infrastructure. The city has hired Los
Angeles-based consulting firm AECOM to create a climate action
plan that will outline how the city can incorporate more public
transit, offer residents the opportunity to include more
energy-efficient features into their homes and how to ensure that
industrial businesses are operating in a way that limits their
carbon footprint. Posted. 

Life Tech to install electricity-generating Bloom Fuel System at
its headquarters. Life Technologies Corp. will install a fuel
cell system to provide electricity for its headquarters,
manufacturing and distribution center, the company said
Wednesday. The 1 megawatt Bloom Energy fuel cell system will
reduce Life Tech's carbon emissions by 30 percent, increase
energy reliability and reduce costs when it begins operating in
August, the biotech and instrumentation products company said in
a press release. Posted. 

Power play: Can utilities turn energy efficiency into fun and
games?   At any given moment, Collin Faunce can see exactly how
much energy heís using in his house. When he turns on the
dishwasher, his consumption spikes on the colorful head-up
display on his computer monitor. If he and his wife, Erica, set
the air conditioning just a few degrees higher, they can watch
the dollars spared tick upwards in real time. They donít have to
wait for the monthly bill to understand their savings, and when a
gadget siphons away precious energy, the Faunces can immediately
identify the culprit.  Posted. 


Not so fast on blaming global warming.  CAN YOU BLAME the
scorching weather on climate change? Not really. Or at least not
yet.  In a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)
report released last week, researchers attempted to determine how
much they could attribute six extreme weather events last year to
human-caused global warming. Even now, months on, some experts
worry that drawing conclusions is precipitous. Figuring out what
caused a flood in Thailand or a drought in Texas is hard. Doing
it quickly is harder.  Posted. 

Viewpoints: Join fight for cleaner air in EPA proposal. My
daughter was 8 when she was hospitalized because of a severe
asthma attack. Air pollution had long been a professional concern
for me, but this experience elevated the issue to a highly
personal and very frightening level.  Although the quality of the
air we breathe has improved significantly since 1970, when a
bipartisan Congress passed the Clean Air Act, millions of
Americans are still experiencing for themselves variations of my
family's story Ė and not always with a happy ending. Fortunately,
there's something that we can do. Posted. 

My Word: Who better than an Eagle Scout to show bold initiative
on carbon pollution.  Boy Scout spirits will soar Aug. 1 during
the centennial celebration for Eagle Scouts everywhere.  Please
join me in encouraging Eagle Scout -- and Boy Scouts national
President and Exxon Mobil CEO -- Rex Tillerson to play a
prominent role.  I have asked him to change the course of human
history with true climate solutions leadership this year.  Eagle
Scouts should live by "We leave our campsites cleaner than we
found them" as well as the Scout Law and Scout Oath. We share
reverence for God; our family, neighbors and society; and our
environment, which supports life for all species.  Posted. 



EC proposes 30% stricter emissions standards for 2020. As they do
with fashion and culinary wonders, the Europeans are continuing
to take the lead in tightening fuel-economy standards as well.
The European Commission (EC) has proposed fleetwide
greenhouse-gas emissions standards for cars that are about 30
percent stricter by the end of the decade than they were last
year. Van emissions standards would be tightened by about 20
percent, Green Car Congress reports. Posted. 

Bloomberg says buyers, not automakers, should get more federal
funding for plug-in vehicles. The U.S. government would be more
effective at spurring plug-in vehicle sales if it provided more
financial incentives to consumers instead of automakers. At
least, that's the opinion in a Bloomberg News editorial. Saying
that finding alternatives to gasoline "a worthy public goal,"
Bloomberg says the government should expand purchasing incentives
beyond the $7,500 it provides for buyers of some plug-ins and
hybrids. President Obama has said he wants 1 million plug-in
vehicles to be on U.S. roads by 2015; the Corporate Average Fuel
Economy (CAFE) standards he proposed last year would mandate
about a 70 percent fuel economy improvement by 2025. Posted. 

Wireless EV Charging Mats on the Horizon.  Several automakers are
developing technology that would help alleviate drivers' range
anxiety. What if you could charge your Nissan Leaf while stopped
at a red light? Several automakers are developing cordless
charging mats that would, in theory, allow drivers of electric
vehicles to do just that. The idea is that when the car is
positioned over the charging mat, coils on the car's
undercarriage would engage with the charger. Posted.

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