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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 3, 2012

Posted: 03 Aug 2012 12:09:27
ARB Newsclips for August 3, 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.

Judge dismisses lawsuit over Wyoming coal leases. A federal judge
has dismissed a legal challenge from environmental groups that
sought to block federal coal leases in Wyoming's Powder River
Basin on the grounds that burning the coal would contribute to
global warming. The Sierra Club and WildEarth Guardians had
challenged the federal government's sale of leases on 2 billion
tons of coal. The leases are on U.S. Bureau of Land Management
lands near Arch Coal's Black Thunder mine and Peabody Energy's
North Antelope Rochelle mine - two of the world's largest coal
mines. Posted. 

Half of air particulates in North America imported from Asia. 
Atmospheric aerosols, tiny solid particles such as soot and dust,
affect not only air quality—and therefore human health—but also
the climate. Aerosols absorb and scatter both incoming and
outgoing radiation, directly affecting air temperature, and also
indirectly influence climate by influencing cloud formation. 
Unfortunately, the contribution from aerosols is one of the more
uncertain aspects of global climate models, in part because of
their complicated movement: they can travel thousands of miles
with the wind, affecting countries and even continents far from
their source. A paper published in this week's issue of Science
shows that the volume of these traveling particles can actually
rival the amount produced locally. This means that regulations on
local emissions will only help fix part of the problem.  Posted. 


California defends use of offsets in CO2 market. California's air
regulator this week defended its decision to allow emitters to
use offset credits in the state's forthcoming emissions trading
system, refuting claims made in a lawsuit by two green groups
that there is no way to ensure the environmental integrity of
those projects. The plaintiffs who brought the case,
environmental groups the Citizens Climate Lobby and Our
Children's Earth Foundation, argued that there is no way to
accurately measure the environmental impact of carbon offset
projects, and have asked the court to step in to prevent the
California Air Resources Board (ARB) from issuing them carbon
credits. Posted. 

Majority of Californians say they know nothing about emissions
cap-and-trade program.  California's landmark global-warming bill
was a white-hot topic in the 2010 governor's race and remains
former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger's signature environmental
achievement.  But as the state prepares to unroll the law's
cap-and-trade program in November with the first state auctions
of emissions permits, a new poll finds that 57 percent of
Californians say they have never heard anything about the
program.  The statewide poll by the Public Policy Institute of
California further found that 30 percent of respondents said they
had heard "a little," while just 12 percent said they had heard
"a lot."  Posted. 

Cap and Trade Company Pitches to Hoopa.  Hoopa has trees. Old
growth trees and lots of them compared to most places in
California, or even the nation.  Hoopa’s old growth forests make
it a competitive player in California’s carbon offsetting market.
California’s 2006 Global Warming Solutions Act set forth an
ambitious plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels
by the year 2020.  The Cap and Trade program started on January
1, 2012, with an enforceable compliance obligation beginning in
2013.  According to Sean Carney, president of Finite Carbon, a
national carbon credit brokerage firm, Hoopa’s forests are second
to none in terms of potential for cleaning pollution produced by
big industry like Pacific Gas and Electric, LA Department of
Water and Power, Chevron, BP and Shell.  Posted. 

Northern ice study defies theories. Greenland’s ice seems less
vulnerable than feared to a runaway melt that would drive up
world sea levels, according to a study showing that a surge of
ice loss has petered out. “It is too early to proclaim the ice
sheet’s future doom” caused by climate change, lead author Kurt
Kjaer of the University of Copenhagen wrote in a statement of the
findings in Friday’s edition of the journal Science. An
examination of old photos taken from planes revealed a sharp
thinning of glaciers in northwest Greenland from 1985 to 1993,
the experts in Denmark, Britain and the Netherlands wrote.
Another pulse of ice loss in the area lasted from 2005 to 2010.


August brings CARB truck enforcement heat.  Don’t be surprised if
you see California Air Resources Board enforcement staff along
California entry points, ports and truck stops this month. 
August is “Gear Up for Clean Truck Month” at CARB, which has
organized an enforcement blitz aimed at making truck and trailer
owners aware of the state’s emissions regulations.  CARB staff
says they want to increase awareness, which may come in the form
of a warning or a citation.  “We just want people to know what
they need to do,” said Bruce Tuter, manager of compliance and
outreach for CARB’s mobile sources division.  Posted. 

State launches new crackdown on polluting trucks. Use a truck in
your business? Better make sure it’s up to snuff when it comes to
emissions. That’s because the state is launching a statewide,
month-long enforcement campaign to spot polluting trucks.The
California Air Resources Board says the multi-agency campaign is
to make sure that trucks are in compliance with air pollution
laws."Our goal this month is to do everything in our power to
make sure truckers know the rules and that they understand how to
comply," says CARB Executive Officer James Goldstene. Posted. 


Fraud Fears Put a Chill in Fuel Program.  A government program
designed in part to foster innovative new producers of
alternative diesel fuels is now endangered by fears of burgeoning
fraud.  Congress in 2005 and 2007 set mandates requiring major
oil refiners to purchase credits representing gallons of
diesel-motor fuel made from alternative sources, such as cooking
oil and soybeans. The idea was to jump-start a new industry by
attracting start-ups that otherwise would have trouble competing
on price with established biodiesel producers.  But federal
charges that two small producers passed along worthless
credits—and warnings that more cases could be coming—have spooked
major buyers, threatening the viability of the small companies
trying to gain a foothold.  Posted. 

Argus launches California LCFS assessment. Global energy and
commodity price reporting agency Argus has launched the first
published market price assessment for California Low Carbon Fuel
Standard credits. Argus' expanded coverage of California
emissions markets includes weekly spot assessments of the LCFS
credits. The new data will be published weekly in Argus Air
Daily, Argus US Products and Argus US Ethanol. Through these
market services, Argus offers extensive renewable energy market
price data. Posted. 

Amid drought, high corn prices, industries urge continued support
of advanced biofuels. As oil companies, livestock farmers and
bipartisan legislators implore U.S. EPA to alter the required
level of corn ethanol gallons, leaders from the advanced and
cellulosic biofuel industries are warning them not to gut the
federal law to support biofuels. In an environment scorched by
drought, ethanol opponents say the federal renewable fuel
standard (RFS) -- which ensures that 15.2 billion gallons of
corn-based ethanol is mixed in the nation's fuel supply this year
-- is constricting the supply of animal feed and will raise
prices at the grocery store. Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2012/08/03/2 SUBSCRIPTION ONLY


U.S. Energy Department gives Ford $3.1M grant to improve
batteries. The U.S. Department of Energy is giving Ford a
$3.1-million grant to work on improving the efficiency of
advanced batteries for use in alternative-energy vehicles. Ford
will partner with a Texas firm, Arbin Instruments, to develop a
high-precision battery testing device to improve battery-life
forecasting and monitoring. The device will reduce the time and
expense required in the research, development, and qualification
testing of new batteries. Posted. 

Conversion EVs taking off and solar fast charging at home -
Electric Japan Weekly No44.  In Miyazaki prefecture the Japanese
company EVHonda, specialised in EV conversions, has organised
workshops for the conversion of cars to electric vehicles. The
training follows the “Guidelines for Converted Electric Vehicles”
published by the Association for the Promotion of Electric
Vehicles (APEV) in April 2011.  The Miyazaki branch of the Light
Motor Vehicle Inspection Organization underlined that the
introduction of converted EVs helps bring up the number of
electric vehicles in Miyazaki prefecture. The prefecture hopes
with these initiatives to create a centre of excellence that will
attract companies to the region. Okaden, a company in Sendai,
Miyazaki, is already specialising in EV conversions and would
like to see the EV business in the region expanding.  Posted. 


High-speed rail gains steam.  Plans for a high-speed rail line
connecting Houston with the Dallas-Fort Worth region are slowly
gaining momentum as local and state agencies, both public and
private, explore options on how best to build a potential line.
Those options include from where the funding may come from and
where the line would be built.  The America 2050 report,
conducted by the Texas Transportation Institute—a member of the
Texas A&M University System charged with solving transportation
challenges—ranked the Houston-to-Dallas corridor first in terms
of the need for a high-speed, intercity passenger rail.  Posted. 

High-speed rail board OKs plan for Caltrans to shift part of
Highway 99.  It's still not determined when shovels will start
digging, but some of the first real construction on California's
proposed high-speed train project could be done by the state's
highway department.  The California High-Speed Rail Authority on
Thursday authorized its executives to ink an agreement with the
California Department of Transportation to handle the design and
execution of a 2.5-mile relocation of Highway 99 through central
Fresno. The project could be worth up to $226 million.  The
authority's board, however, was shorthanded for the vote
following the resignation of board member Russ Burns. Burns,
business manager for the Operating Engineers Union Local 3, sent
his resignation letter to board chairman Dan Richard on Monday. 

California High-Speed Rail board member resigns for day job. 
California High-Speed Rail Authority board member Russ Burns
resigned this week to devote more time to his day job.  Burns,
who is business manager for the Operating Engineers Union Local
3, sent his resignation letter to board chairman Dan Richard on
Monday.  Co-vice chairman Tom Richards noted Burns' decision at
the start of Thursday's board meeting. Richards said Burns "is
needing to turn his time and his efforts toward the
administration of Local 3. We will miss him."  Posted. 


Hawaii wind farm that had fire is industry pioneer. The wind farm
on Oahu's North Shore that suffered a fire this week is an
industry pioneer that uses storage batteries to even out the
electricity it supplies. Energy Secretary Steven Chu two years
ago hailed the project as having the potential to set an example
for other wind developers around the nation. The department
guaranteed a $117 million loan to Kahuku Wind Power for
facility's construction. Posted. 


Cap-and-trade system must be done right.  It won't be on the
ballot, but California's cap-and-trade system for carbon
emissions is the other big story in November.  That's the month
when the state will launch the world's second-largest
cap-and-trade program. It's critically important that we get this
right, and there will be a lot of pressure to get it wrong.  The
first matter of importance is maintaining the price pressure of
the carbon credits themselves. The AB32 statute directs the Air
Resources Board to minimize all feasible emissions "leakage," or
the scenario by which greenhouse gas reductions in California
lead to increased emissions outside the state - particularly
because California businesses find it advantageous to relocate. 

Delaisla: Get informed on climate change. As the East Coast of
the United States recovered from a very hot spell, historic wild
fires were recorded in New Mexico, Colorado and throughout the
Southwest, with record temperatures in the Midwest and other
places. That's the scope of climate change as we know it. Mostly,
we simply see it as weather variation, not as the
long-warned-about global man-made warming. The picture is still
not large enough — a wide perspective calls for a director's cut,
a multi-screen theater of mind and a larger geographical notion,
that what happens in one screening room also is the story running
in the other theater. Posted. 

Ross Clark, Earth Matters: Addressing climate change a team
sport.  Most people today would agree that reducing our impact on
the climate is a good thing -- but knowing where to start is a
different matter.  You may have already turned your heating
thermostat down and switched out your incandescent light bulbs
for energy-saving fluorescent bulbs. And even if you're not ready
to buy a new car, you can decide your next vehicle will be
electric or a hybrid. Still, if you're like many concerned
residents overwhelmed with the prospect of climate change, you
may feel like these actions are simply sandbags against the
large-scale tidal wave of global warming.  Posted. 


Who Are Your Sources? Two years ago I traveled to southern
Indiana to write about a House race between an incumbent
Democrat, Baron Hill, against a Tea Party-supported Republican,
Todd Young.Mr. Hill said he believed that climate change was
real, human activity was causing it and government must act to
address it. He voted for a cap-and-trade bill that passed the
House by a narrow margin in 2009. Mr. Young said he was skeptical
about the human impact on the climate and that any global warming
trend was probably a cyclical phenomenon. His Tea Party
supporters agreed with him, and he won the contest by 10
percentage points. Posted. 

On Climate Change, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Part 1. 
Among political insiders in Washington, the conventional wisdom
is that action on global climate change is a dead issue for the
foreseeable future. But that need not, and should not, be the
case.  The atmospheric thermostat isn't on hold while we wait for
a better political moment. And outside the beltway where voters
are dealing with drought, floods, fires and heat waves -- and
soon, higher food prices -- the right political moment may
already have arrived. What remains is for our current and
prospective elected leaders to seize it.  Posted. 

Germany Installs Over 4 Gigawatts of Solar Power in First Half of
2012. Some more superlatives for Germany's solar power expansion:
PV Magazine reports that in the first hald of 2012 Germany has
installed just over 4.37 gigawatts of grid-tied solar power.
Remarkably just about 1.8 GW of that happened in June alone
(perhaps even more remarkable, this isn't even a record amount
for one month in Germany). If you're not already impressed,
consider some other indicators of the commitment to solar power
in Germany and the strong progress being made there: Back in May,
over one weekend solar power provided half of Germany's
electricity. Half! Posted. 

Congressman Introduces Carbon Tax Bill.  Today, Rep. Jim
McDermott (D-Wash.) introduced the “Managed Carbon Price Act of
2012″ (MCP), a bill imposing a tax on carbon
dioxide-equivalent greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from producers
of coal, oil, and natural gas, refineries, and other covered
sources. The MCP has roughly the same long-term goal as the
Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade bill, the Copenhagen climate treaty,
and California Assembly Bill 32 — an 80% emissions reduction
below 2005 levels by 2050.  Under the MCP, covered sources would
have to purchase (non-tradeable) permits equal to the quantity of
CO2-equivalent GHGs they emit. The Secretary of Treasury, in
consulatation with the Secy. of Energy and Administrator of EPA,
would “manage” permit prices to ensure that both the long-term
and interim reduction targets are met.  Posted. 

Electric vehicles: a boon for retailers?  There are comparatively
few electric vehicles on the road, but researchers are beginning
to uncover consumer behavior trends that could influence
everything from how utilities charge for electricity to where and
how people shop.  Electric vehicle charger maker ECOtality has
learned that electric vehicle (EV) owners spend significantly
more time in stores than typical customers when charging at those
locations. It has installed chargers at retailers including IKEA,
Kohls, Cracker Barrel, and Fred Meyer under a grant from the
Department of Energy (DOE).  Posted. 

Alt-fuel vehicle sales slowed in July as EV demand stalls. U.S.
sales of advanced-powertrain vehicles in July had their slowest
year-over-year growth rate in three months, and below-peak gas
prices may be putting domestic consumers in a little less of a
frenzy when it comes to lowering their refueling bills.
Additionally, electric-vehicle sales stalled, another small
indication that the American public remains somewhat hesitant to
plug in full time. Automakers sold more than 39,000 hybrids and
plug-in vehicles last month. That marked an impressive 66-percent
growth rate from July 2011's total of more than 23,000 units, but
which represented the slowest growth rate since April's 54
percent. Posted. 

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