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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. AIR POLLUTION 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/02/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-over-wyoming-coal-leases/#ixzz22V7Mk0uW 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. http://arstechnica.com/science/2012/08/half-of-air-particulates-in-north-america-imported-from-asia/ CLIMATE CHANGE 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. http://in.reuters.com/article/2012/08/03/us-california-carbon-idINBRE87209M20120803 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. http://www.mercurynews.com/elections/ci_21213312/more-than-half-californians-say-they-know-nothing?source=rss 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. http://www.tworiverstribune.com/2012/08/growing-money-on-trees/ 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. Posted. http://www.montrealgazette.com/technology/Northern+study+defies+theories/7033696/story.html#ixzz22VAgGZM4 DIESEL EMISSIONS 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. http://www.landlinemag.com/Story.aspx?StoryID=23975 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. http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=21611 FUELS 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. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444840104577550944057955070.html?KEYWORDS=fuels 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. http://www.ethanolproducer.com/articles/8995/argus-launches-california-lcfs-assessment 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 VEHICLES 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. http://www.freep.com/article/20120802/BUSINESS01/308020222/1014/business01 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. http://cars21.com/news/view/4836 HIGH-SPEED RAIL 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. http://impactnews.com/articles/high-speed-rail-gains-steam 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. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/02/2933888/high-speed-rail-board-member-resigns.html 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. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/08/02/2934990/california-high-speed-rail-board.html GREEN ENERGY 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/02/hawaii-wind-farm-that-had-fire-is-industry/#ixzz22V8KUiwO OPINION 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. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/opinion/editorials/article/Cap-and-trade-system-must-be-done-right-3755523.php 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. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/aug/02/delaisla-get-informed-on-climate-change/#ixzz22V7iOZax 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. http://www.mercurynews.com/ci_21224939/ross-clark-earth-matters-addressing-climate-change-team?IADID=Search-www.mercurynews.com-www.mercurynews.com BLOGS 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. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/08/03/who-do-you-count-on/ 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. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/william-s-becker/climate-change-politics_b_1725675.html 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. http://www.treehugger.com/renewable-energy/germany-installs-over-4-gigawatts-solar-power-first-half-2012.html 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. http://www.globalwarming.org/2012/08/02/congressman-introduces-carbon-tax-bill/ 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. http://www.smartplanet.com/blog/intelligent-energy/electric-vehicles-a-boon-for-retailers/18278 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. http://green.autoblog.com/2012/08/03/alt-fuel-vehicle-sales-slowed-in-july-as-ev-demand-stalls/