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newsclips -- Newsclips for August 6, 2012

Posted: 06 Aug 2012 14:35:24
ARB Newsclips for August 6, 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.


Dust from Asia Fills North America's Atmosphere. Nearly half of
the tiny droplets and particles suspended high in the atmosphere
over North America comes from other continents, an examination of
satellite data reveals. "That is a big number: half. I wasn’t
expecting anything like that," study researcher Lorraine Remer of
the University of Maryland says in a video released in
conjunction with the new study on aerosols. Specifically, the
research team found that 70.5 million tons (64 teragrams) of
foreign aerosols — which include naturally occurring dust as well
as pollution — arrive over North America every year. Posted.


Climate Change Study Ties Recent Heat Waves To Global Warming.
The relentless, weather-gone-crazy type of heat that has
blistered the United States and other parts of the world in
recent years is so rare that it can't be anything but man-made
global warming, says a new statistical analysis from a top
government scientist. The research by a man often called the
"godfather of global warming" says that the likelihood of such
temperatures occurring from the 1950s through the 1980s was rarer
than 1 in 300. Now, the odds are closer to 1 in 10, according to
the study by NASA scientist James Hansen. He says that
statistically what's happening is not random or normal, but pure
and simple climate change. Posted.

WCI Inc. director steps down after 4 months. The executive
director of the Western Climate Initiative Inc. has stepped down
after four months on the job. Anita Burke cited personal reasons
in stepping down. She was hired at the end of March to help set
up the first economywide greenhouse gas market in North America.
The cap-and-trade system set to begin in California next year is
in the midst of preparing for an initial auction of allowances
this November to large emitters of carbon dioxide. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/2012/08/06/8 BY SUBSCRIPTION


CARB enforcement campaign to focus on trucker compliance,
education.  August may be the dog days of summer, but in
California it’s Gear Up for Clean Truck Month, with the
California Air Resources Board (CARB) launching a multi-agency
campaign to make sure that trucks traversing the state’s highways
are in compliance with state 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," said CARB
Executive Officer James Goldstene. "All our diesel regulations
were adopted with one thing in mind — protecting public health. 


Gas industry advertising shifts toward issues. Black-and-white
images show steelworkers inside a mill. They walk outside and
hand a short section of pipe to a natural gas crew, shown in full
color. "Drilling is just the beginning," says the new Range
Resources Corp. TV ad that ties Western Pennsylvania's steel
history to the gas drilling industry that's taken hold here in
recent years. The "baton" handoff ad shot with local workers at
U.S. Steel Corp.'s Edgar Thomson Works in Braddock runs during
NBC's Olympics broadcasts across most of PennsylvaniaPosted.

Iowa Ethanol Production: Midwest Fuel Plants Slow Down As Effects
Of Drought Set In.  Ethanol plants are voluntarily slowing
production as corn prices climb and supplies tighten amid a
widespread drought that has generated discussion about whether
more of the crop should be devoted to food production.  Ethanol
production nationally has dropped by 20 percent since the
beginning of the year and is at a two-year low, said Bob Dinneen,
CEO of the Renewable Fuels Association, a national trade group. 


Craving Energy and Glory, Pakistan Revels in Boast of Water-Run
Car. In a nation thirsting for energy, he loomed like a messiah:
a small-town engineer who claimed he could run a car on water.
The assertion — based on the premise that he had discovered a way
to easily split the oxygen and hydrogen atoms in water molecules
with almost no energy — would, if proven, represent a stunning
breakthrough for physics and a near-magical solution to
Pakistan’s desperate power crisis. “By the grace of Allah, I have
managed to make a formula that converts less voltage into more
energy,” the professed inventor, Agha Waqar Ahmad, said in a
telephone interview. Posted.

Military adding more electric vehicles to fleet.  Electric
vehicles are becoming a more common sight on military bases as
the Department of Defense adds “road-capable” electric cars such
as the Chevy Volt to a fleet of thousands of smaller
battery-powered vehicles.  Last month, the first two Chevy Volts
arrived at Marine Corps Air Station Miramar, Calif., where they
will be used as nontactical government vehicles. Eighteen Volts
are about to hit the roads at Joint Base Andrews, Md., Marine
Corps and Air Force officials said.  The moves are part of the
Defense Department’s “green initiatives,” which seek to reduce
the country’s dependence on foreign energy sources.  Posted. 


Highway 99 work for high-speed rail delayed until 2014.  Work to
shift part of Highway 99 through central Fresno to make way for
high-speed train tracks may not begin until at least early 2014. 
That's the official expectation after the California High-Speed
Rail Authority voted Thursday to approve an agreement with
Caltrans for moving the 2.5-mile stretch of the highway between
Ashlan and Clinton avenues.  The agreement, worth up to $226
million, calls for Caltrans to work as a contractor for the rail
authority. The state highway agency will be responsible for
design and construction to nudge the highway over by about 100
feet to accommodate new high-speed train tracks between the
highway and the adjacent Union Pacific Railroad freight tracks. 


Investing in the grid: When the going gets tough, the tough get …
creative.  The unexpected storms that knocked out power to
millions in the Midwest and Mid-Atlantic last month highlighted
how fragile America’s electric grid is. But while front-page
photos of fallen trees and utility repair trucks capture people’s
attention, there’s a much more grave and fundamental threat to
our electric grid.  The U.S. grid system was born in the 1920s,
and has seen few major upgrades since the 1960s. With America’s
growing population and exploding demand — bigger houses, A/C
units, TVs, iThings — we have serious congestion and inadequate
capacity on our nation’s power lines.  Posted. 


Davis biotech company AgraQuest is a striking success story. If
this were Silicon Valley, the story of AgraQuest Inc. would
barely make a ripple. In the Sacramento area, where high-tech
startups struggle and big payouts are rare, what's happened to
the Davis biotech company is nothing short of remarkable.
AgraQuest, which makes chemical-free pesticides and fungicides,
agreed to be sold last month for $425 million – one of the
richest takeovers the region has seen in years. The buyer is
agribusiness giant Bayer CropScience. AgraQuest's sale could
bring more jobs, as Bayer plans to make the Davis firm the center
of its green-products business. It also could inspire young firms
struggling in Sacramento's often difficult entrepreneurial
climate. Posted.


Get It Right on Gas. WE are in the midst of a natural gas
revolution in America that is a potential game changer for the
economy, environment and our national security — if we do it
right. The enormous stores of natural gas that have been locked
away in shale deposits across America that we’ve now been able to
tap into, thanks to breakthroughs in seismic imaging, horizontal
drilling and hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” are enabling us
to replace much dirtier coal with cleaner gas as the largest
source of electricity generation in America. And natural gas may
soon be powering cars, trucks and ships as well. Posted.

Is It Hot Enough for Ya? CLIMATE change is hardly a seasonal
issue, but summer is the only time of year when Americans and the
news media regularly fix their attention on the everyday heat
emergency that’s already altering life on our planet. Indeed,
this summer’s record-shattering weather across the United States
has created a heightened level of interest in and concern about
the consequences of climate change. For the moment, we have an
opportunity to make fundamental changes to the way our country
deals with the environment, changes that would lock in public
acceptance of climate change. Posted.

Coal-generated electricity -- a burning issue. Will the U.S. have
to wean itself off its abundant energy source? Responding to
Robert Bryce's July 27 Op-Ed article on coal-generated
electricity, "Dirty but essential," Irvin Dawid wrote in a letter
published Wednesday: "Bryce begins his Op-Ed article on coal at
Peabody Energy's huge North Antelope Rochelle Mine near Gillette,
Wyo. Is that really the best place to get an idea as to how
'essential' coal is to our future? "I would point Bryce to a
Georgia Power Co.plant featured in a July 14 NPR report. Posted.

Climate science still trumps skeptics. My Op-Ed article on
climate science and climate hype provoked plenty of online
responses -- as pretty much anything touching on this very touchy
subject inevitably will. Also quite predictably, several of the
comments repeated critiques of mainstream climate science that
have been raised and thoroughly debunked literally hundreds of
times. Here’s a sampling, along with my responses: "theblooms"
writes:  "Anthropogenic Global Warming is FAR FROM PROVEN.  If
the evidence is so damn clear-cut, then why did the East Anglia
University Climate Research Unit cook the books and falsify the
data?" Posted.

Pete Stark has climate bill Obama, Romney should support. Re
"Presidential contenders can't duck climate change" (Editorial,
July 31): The editorial board notes, "Both candidates must be
pressed on what policies they would pursue, both nationally and
globally. If Muller can change his tune on climate change, Obama
and Romney can at least discuss the issue and offer solutions.
The stakes involved couldn't be higher." U.S. Rep. Pete Stark,
D-Fremont, has offered a solution: the Save Our Climate Act (HR
3242), which will use a modified version of the fee-and-dividend
model to reduce emissions, shrink the deficit, and trigger
extensive job growth simultaneously. Posted.

Editorial: More changes to CEQA? Only if vetted in the open. Gov.
Jerry Brown has again raised the possibility of changes to the
California Environmental Quality Act. That's the sweeping 1970
state law that requires public and private developers to analyze
the impacts of their projects, study alternatives and implement
mitigation measures. CEQA is a powerful legal tool, and like the
legal profession itself, nearly everyone has a love-hate
relationship with it. Developers have used the law to derail
projects of competing developers. Posted.

Changing Views About A Changing Climate.  What is the role of
humans in climate change? "Call me a converted skeptic,"
physicist Richard Muller wrote in an Op-Ed in the New York Times
this week, describing his analysis of data from the Berkeley
Earth Surface Temperature project. Though Muller was once a
notable skeptic regarding studies connecting human activity to
climate change, he has now concluded that "humans are almost
entirely the cause" of global warming.  Posted. 

Climate change is here -- and worse than we thought.  When I
testified before the Senate in the hot summer of 1988, I warned
of the kind of future that climate change would bring to us and
our planet. I painted a grim picture of the consequences of
steadily increasing temperatures, driven by mankind's use of
fossil fuels.  But I have a confession to make: I was too
optimistic.  My projections about increasing global temperature
have been proved true. But I failed to fully explore how quickly
that average rise would drive an increase in extreme weather. 

Global Climate Change: Intervention Required. As an adult, I've
intervened to help family members come to grips with a serious
addiction, such as alcoholism. In the face of irrefutable
evidence that global climate change is causing irreparable damage
to the environment, when are you and I going to do an
intervention to wean humanity from its addiction to fossil fuel?
This summer's extreme weather has caused all but the most
dogmatic to conclude that Global Climate Change is affecting our
weather. Posted.

Wondering if climate change is real? Just ask my cows.  Of all
the ways nature has to kill you, drought may be the cruelest. The
desiccation proceeds day after punishing day. The afternoon sun
pounds the earth like a brazen hammer. As I write, the
temperature here in Perry County, Arkansas, has reached 108
degrees.  The countryside is dying. There’s nothing green in my
pastures except inedible weeds. Even pigweed is drooping. Our
pond dried up six weeks ago. The ground beneath is bare and
cracked. Up on the ridge, some hardwoods are shedding leaves and
going dormant; oaks are simply dying.  Posted. 

Straight talk on high-speed rail.  High-speed rail is a visionary
project that holds the potential to alter transportation patterns
in the state, but many difficult challenges must be overcome
before the promise of affordable high-speed rail travel comes to
pass, and any one of these challenges could significantly delay
or even derail the project’s completion. Approximately $4.7
billion in state and $3.3 billion in federal money have been
committed to fund initial construction of the high speed rail
system in the Central Valley and to improve existing rail and
transit connections to that system; however, just $37 million was
allocated to the San Diego region for improvements to the
trolley’s Blue Line.  Posted. 

Heed air board, throw away the green Kool-Aid.  In 2008, Barack
Obama vowed that once he was president a wave of well-paying
“green” jobs would lift the woeful U.S. economy. In 2010, Jerry
Brown vowed that once he was governor, a wave of well-paying
“green” jobs would lift the rotten California economy. But as has
been documented in the news pages of The New York Times and The
Washington Post, the green-jobs tidal wave proved to be a huge
myth.  Now it’s time to retire another green myth: the notion
frequently voiced by California Democrats that not only is there
little or no downside to complex environmental regulations,
sometimes they even help the economy. Posted. 

Air pollution: should it stop you exercising?  The people
involved with the Olympics are determined to make athletes of us
all. Bradley Wiggins's win has inspired fans to get on their
bikes; meanwhile Transport for London is encouraging passengers
to walk between venues during the Games. But before we start
doing Usain Bolt impressions through the city, scientists and
campaigners are suggesting that we ought to think about the
quality of air we are inhaling first.  Days before the opening
ceremony, there were warnings that Olympic athletes could
underperform, and even risk their health, because of London's
summer smog.  Posted. 


U.S. Fight Against E.U. Airline Emissions Plan Heats Up. A
meeting of 17 non-European nations hosted by the U.S. State and
Transportation departments in Washington last week ended with
assurances that the participants were working toward curbing
their emissions from aviation. Given that no European Union
countries were invited to the gathering, it was unsurprising that
all the participating nations reaffirmed their strong opposition
to the European Union’s Emission Trading Scheme (E.U. ETS).

Toyota and Tesla Trot Out the RAV4 EV. The RAV4 EV, a
battery-powered crossover jointly developed by Toyota and Tesla,
made its California debut this week. The vehicle, aimed at urban
markets here, will be offered for sale this summer for $51,000.
Tesla has a $100 million contract to supply the vehicle’s
electric motors, power electronics, proprietary lithium-ion
battery packs, single-speed gearboxes and software. The
components, the companies said, were similar to those in Tesla’s
new Model S sedan. 

On Climate Change, Nothing Ventured, Nothing Gained: Part 2. 
With Congress paralyzed late last year, President Barack Obama
decided to assert his authority more aggressively on a number of
issues: "If Congress refuses to act, I've said that I'll continue
to do everything in my power to act without them." He coined a
slogan: "We Can't Wait".  Global climate change certainly falls
into the "we can't wait" category. It's a very bad influence on
things we care about -- a healthy economy, affordable food,
protection from natural disasters, lower taxes, control of
federal spending, and the safety of the nation's infrastructure,
to name a few. Posted. 

Climate Change and Ozone Loss Linked and May Link to Skin Cancer
Incidence.  For decades, scientists have known that the effects
of global climate change could have a potentially devastating
impact across the globe, but Harvard researchers say there is now
evidence that it may also have a dramatic impact on public
health.  As reported in a paper published in the July 27 issue of
Science, a team of researchers led by James G. Anderson, the
Philip S. Weld Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry, are warning
that a newly-discovered connection between climate change and
depletion of the ozone layer over the U.S. could allow more
damaging ultraviolet (UV) radiation to reach the Earth's surface,
leading to increased incidence of skin cancer.   Posted. 

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