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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for July 30, 2012. Posted: 30 Jul 2012 14:14:37
ARB Newsclips for July 30, 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 "Greyjing"? Air pollution fouls Beijing's name. With its parks, centuries-old palaces, history and culture, Beijing should be one of the more pleasant capitals of the world. Instead, it's considered among the worst to live in because of chronic air pollution. Lung cancer rates are rising among the 20 million residents of China's capital, health officials say. For many multinational companies, Beijing is considered a hardship posting and, despite the extra allowances that classification brings, some executives are leaving. On some days, Beijing is enveloped in a brownish-grey smog... Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/30/uk-china-pollution-idUSLNE86T00U20120730 Imperial County air district reaches settlement with EPA. On Friday, Imperial County released a statement saying the Air Pollution Control District had reached a settlement with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that resolved a pending lawsuit. In September 2010, the air district filed a lawsuit in the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals for review of the EPA’s July 8, 2010, limited disapproval of the air district’s Regulation VIII Fugitive Dust Rules. The petition sought to vacate EPA’s disapproval of the rules…Posted. http://www.ivpressonline.com/news/ivp-imperial-county-air-district-reaches-settlement-with-epa-20120728,0,5046803,print.story LA Freeway Expansion, The I-710 Corridor Project, Could Improve Public Health: Report. Expanding a major Los Angeles freeway in an area known for traffic-related air pollution could improve public health, according to a draft environmental impact report issued last month by the California Department of Transportation. The project, known as the I-710 Corridor Project, could increase the number of lanes on the nearly 25-mile freeway, which runs north to south from East Los Angeles to Long Beach. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/07/30/la-freeway-expansion-the-_n_1719518.html CLIMATE CHANGE Scientists unlock ocean CO2 secrets key to climate: study. From giant whirlpools to currents 1,000 km wide, scientists said on Monday they have uncovered how vast amounts of carbon are locked away in the depths of the Southern Ocean, boosting researchers ability to detect the impact of climate change. Oceans curb the pace of climate change by absorbing carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels. The Southern Ocean is the largest of these ocean carbon sinks, soaking up about 40 percent of mankind's CO2 absorbed by the seas. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/29/us-climate-ocean-idUSBRE86S0ID20120729 Analysis: Evidence for climate extremes, costs, gets more local. Scientists are finding evidence that man-made climate change has raised the risks of individual weather events, such as floods or heatwaves, marking a big step towards pinpointing local costs and ways to adapt to freak conditions. "We're seeing a great deal of progress in attributing a human fingerprint to the probability of particular events or series of events," said Christopher Field, co-chairman of a U.N. report due in 2014 about the impacts of climate change. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/27/us-climate-extremes-idUSBRE86Q0PI20120727 COLUMN-U.S. bets on producing oil with captured CO2: John Kemp. The United States can extract billions of barrels of otherwise unrecoverable oil by injecting carbon dioxide (CO2) underground and also needs to bury CO2, produced by its reliance on coal for power and industry, to fight climate change. Until now, the CO2 used for recovering oil has been specially extracted from underground but the government is working to use the lure of oil extraction to encourage the capture and storage of carbon produced from power stations. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/30/column-kemp-oil-co-idUSL6E8IUGHM20120730 Storms Threaten Ozone Layer Over U.S., Study Says. Strong summer thunderstorms that pump water high into the upper atmosphere pose a threat to the protective ozone layer over the United States, researchers said on Thursday, drawing one of the first links between climate change and ozone loss over populated areas. In a study published online by the journal Science, Harvard University scientists reported that some storms send water vapor miles into the stratosphere…Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/27/science/earth/strong-storms-threaten-ozone-layer-over-us-study-says.html?ref=science&pagewanted=print Prominent climate-change denier now admits he was wrong. Washington - The verdict is in: Global warming is real and greenhouse-gas emissions from human activity are the main cause. This, according to Richard A. Muller, professor of physics at the University of California, Berkeley, a MacArthur fellow and co-founder of the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and hundreds of other climatologists around the world came to such conclusions years ago, but the difference now is the source: Muller is a long-standing, colorful critic of prevailing climate science…Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/29/4672565/prominent-climate-change-denier.html San Diego County Climate Plan Draws Lawsuit. Environmentalists said the county's plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions falls short and they are taking the matter up in court. California is requiring all municipalities to develop climate action plans when they update their community's general planning documents. The documents are supposed to help local governments map out growth in a way that reduces the impact on climate change. San Diego County has a plan, but critics argued the document isn't changing the way the county does business. Posted. http://www.kpbs.org/news/2012/jul/27/san-diego-copunty-climate-plan-draws-lawsuit/ Greenhouse gas measurement company raises $7 million. Picarro continues to attract interest in its technology for detecting and measuring a range of greenhouse gas emissions. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has emerged as part of a consortium keeping tabs on the emissions impact of the Summer Olympics in London. Meanwhile, it has added another $7 million in venture capital from Focus Ventures, DAG Ventures, NTT Electronics nd Mingxin China. Posted. http://www.zdnet.com/greenhouse-gas-measurement-company-raises-7-million-7000001752/ FUELS Ethanol Lobby Expects Opponents to Ask EPA to Suspend Law. The Renewable Fuels Association, the largest U.S. ethanol trade group, said it expects livestock and poultry industry supporters to ask the Obama administration to suspend the nation’s ethanol requirement as early as today. The groups may ask the Environmental Protection Agency to waive the mandate requiring refiners to use 13.2 billion gallons of ethanol this year and 13.8 billion in 2013 because of higher corn prices caused by drought in the grain-rich U.S. Midwest. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-30/ethanol-lobby-expects-opponents-to-ask-epa-to-suspend-law-1-.html http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/30/us-usa-ethanol-waiver-idUSBRE86Q1FR20120730 Gasoline prices rise slightly across much of the U.S. The average price of a gallon of regular gasoline rose slightly across most of the nation over the last week, according to the AAA Fuel Gauge Report. In California, the average climbed 1.8 cents to $3.798 a gallon. The U.S. average rose 1.5 cents to $3.486 a gallon. Analysts attributed the rise to the recovery in U.S. oil prices. Crude futures are again hovering around the $90 a barrel level after falling to the lowest price of the year of $77.69 a barrel during the final week of June. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-gas-prices-rise-20120730,0,5914378.story VEHICLES Car dealers fear Obama fuel standards will make new vehicles unaffordable. The White House is expected to OK federal standards in the next few weeks that will nearly double vehicle gas mileage for vehicles by 2025, as automotive dealers warn the changes could slam the recovering retail car industry because they will come with sticker prices that will keep buyers off their lots. The recommendations call for “fleet wide” gas mileage of 54.4 miles a gallon by 2025 -- essentially the average gas mileage for cars, trucks, vans and all other vehicles in a model year. Posted. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2012/07/29/car-dealers-fear-new-obama-fuel-standards-will-make-new-vehicles-unaffordable/ Do-it-yourself: How to build your own electric car, hacker style. By day, David Brown is a security consultant at Booz Allen Hamilton. But in his spare time, he’s one of a growing number of do-it-yourself electric vehicle creators. In the past couple of years, Brown retrofitted a 1974 Volkswagen Beetle into an electric car, and he talked about his “Voltswagon” project at the Defcon hacker conference on Saturday in Las Vegas. Electric cars can save you a lot of money when it comes to skipping gas purchases, and they’ve been getting more popular since Tesla launched its first electric car in 2008. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/29/idUS321869576920120729 HIGH-SPEED RAIL Bay Area to Sin City? Las Vegas bullet train backers gamble on record loan. Call it the bachelor or bachelorette party of tomorrow: you and your friends sipping cocktails aboard a futuristic train as it whips travelers across the desert to Las Vegas. You might have to wait awhile, but it's not such a long shot. Lost in the fractious debate over California high-speed rail is a separate, little-publicized plan for a second bullet train that would connect the Golden State with Sin City. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/california-high-speed-rail/ci_21188241/bay-area-sin-city-las-vegas-bullet-train?source=rss GREEN ENERGY Walmart Unveils 100th Solar Installation in California. Investment in Solar Power Adds Thousands of Contract Construction Jobs. Walmart's College Avenue store in San Diego was today unveiled as the 100th California Walmart store now using rooftop solar panels to generate power, contributing to the company's broader goal of being supplied 100 percent by renewable energy. Walmart's investment in solar power typically generates an average of 48 contract positions per site. By working with California-based SolarCity, the company's focus on solar power has generated more than 3,000 contract construction jobs in California. Posted. http://www.marketwatch.com/story/walmart-unveils-100th-solar-installation-in-california-2012-07-30 MISCELLANEOUS Drillers in Utah Have a Friend in a U.S. Land Agency. VERNAL, Utah — Bill Stringer leaned into the office of his top deputy here at the Bureau of Land Management one recent day to share his latest victory. “We got upheld!” Mr. Stringer said, meaning his bosses in Salt Lake City had gone along with his staff’s recommendation to allow oil drilling near Desolation Canyon, a national historic site known for its pristine wilderness and white-water rafting. Despite objections from environmentalists, more oil wells would dot the huge stretch of federal land Mr. Stringer oversees. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/28/us/politics/bureau-of-land-managements-divided-mission.html?ref=science&pagewanted=print Electricity trading probed. It's been a decade since companies like Enron Corp. manipulated California's electricity market to generate billions in excess profits. Enron went out of business long ago, and California's energy market has been a place of relative calm. Now, however, another big power trader is being investigated for allegedly gaming the state's electricity system. State officials believe a subsidiary of JPMorgan Chase & Co., the New York investment bank, pulled down an extra $73 million by exploiting a small wrinkle in California's electricity market over several months in 2010 and 2011. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/30/v-print/4672960/electricity-trading-probed.html OPINIONS The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic. CALL me a converted skeptic. Three years ago I identified problems in previous climate studies that, in my mind, threw doubt on the very existence of global warming. Last year, following an intensive research effort involving a dozen scientists, I concluded that global warming was real and that the prior estimates of the rate of warming were correct. I’m now going a step further: Humans are almost entirely the cause. My total turnaround, in such a short time, is the result of careful and objective analysis by the Berkeley Earth Surface Temperature project, which I founded with my daughter Elizabeth. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/the-conversion-of-a-climate-change-skeptic.html?_r=1&pagewanted=all&pagewanted=print Canada’s Oil, the World’s Carbon. Last month, the State Department formally invited public comment on the issues it should consider in a new environmental assessment of the Keystone XL, a 1,200-mile pipeline that would connect the Alberta oil sands to an existing pipeline in Nebraska. The review process was triggered when TransCanada filed a new pipeline application after its first proposal was rejected by President Obama in January. The department’s first environmental assessment was grossly inadequate, one of the main reasons President Obama rejected the proposal. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/30/opinion/canadas-oil-the-worlds-carbon.html?ref=opinion&pagewanted=print Editorial: Is a sequel of Enron scandal scamming state? Customers of PG&E and other utilities may have thought that manipulation of the electricity markets was a sorry part of California history, one that ended when Enron, the thieving Texas energy giant, went bankrupt amid scandal and federal indictments. But it has come back, if accusations leveled by the California Independent System Operator are true. The ISO, which entered the lexicon a decade ago when California deregulated the electricity market and blackouts ensued, is a nonprofit corporation that oversees the state's electrical transmission system. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/07/30/4672483/is-a-sequel-of-enron-scandal-scamming.html?storylink=lingospot_related_articles Our View: Hold state agency accountable. Californians, understandably, have considerable angst about establishing a cap-and-trade program as a response to state law requiring a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020. The Legislative Analyst's Office has called the program, an offshoot of the passage of Assembly Bill 32, "one of the most wide-ranging and complex regulatory efforts in the history of the state." That's why public oversight is essential as the state attempts to build a regional market. Posted. http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2012/07/28/2440835/our-view-hold-state-agency-accountable.html Dan Logue: CARB exemption violates public trust. It has only just come to light that written into a budget trailer bills passed last month was a special exemption for one of the state's most controversial public agencies — the California Air Resources Board. The exemption will allow CARB to use a private third-party corporation to conduct its cap-and-trade auction without having to comply with state laws, called the Bagley-Keene Act, that require state agencies to keep meetings and records open to the public. This is a gross violation of the public's right to know about state agency actions that affect them. Posted. http://www.appeal-democrat.com/articles/exemption-118148-public-logue.html Wolverton: I'm not charged by Ford's Focus Electric. I love the idea of electric cars. But I wasn't enamored with the Ford Focus Electric. I drove the Focus Electric for three days this past week. During that time, I commuted to and from work, ran errands and made a trip up to San Francisco. In other words, I used it much like I would my own Prius. I found a lot to like about the car. It's well built. Features like a navigation system, keyless door locks and a high-end sound system come standard. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/business/ci_21167487/wolverton-review-not-charged-by-ford-focus-electric The Coming Food Crisis: Blame Ethanol? Obviously, this seems to me to be a highly undesirable outcome. So, what do we do? The answer seems to me to be ridiculously simple. Since making less ethanol presents such a dire picture—-let’s try making MORE ethanol. We are not limited to how much corn we can grow. We can plant more corn. But we are limited in the amount of land available that we can plant corn on. Especially, if the drought continues. Fortunately, we are not limited to what we can make ethanol from. We do not have to use corn—we can other things. Other things that grow well where corn does not. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/williampentland/2012/07/28/the-coming-food-crisis-blame-ethanol/2/ BLOGS How the Supreme Court’s health care ruling could weaken the Clean Air Act. Legal scholars are still trying to sift through the broader implications of the Supreme Court’s recent ruling on health-care reform. Yet some experts now wonder if the precedent set by the June decision could eventually be used to weaken U.S. air pollution rules. In an article this week, Jonathan Adler of Case Western University argues that the Medicaid portions of last month’s Supreme Court ruling could end up having far-reaching effects. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/07/27/how-the-supreme-courts-health-care-ruling-could-weaken-the-clean-air-act/ Ethanol company CEO says the biofuel is a "most hated" industry. Oh, how the mighty have fallen. The ethanol industry in the U.S. has gotten billions in farm subsidies and has been praised by politicians of both major parties, but the recent bad press has not only led to the end of 30 years of corn subsidies to make the biofuel, but also for the entire industry to now be "one of the most hated industries in the world." That's how Todd Becker, president and CEO of Green Plains Renewable Energy, phrased it to CNBC recently. It can be easy to see why, since the ethanol has been very publicly blamed for affecting gas prices and hurting some engines. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/07/30/ethanol-company-ceo-says-the-biofuel-is-a-most-hated-industry/