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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.


"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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

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.


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.

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.


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. 

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.


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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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.

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.

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.


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.

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.

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