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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 27, 2012.

Posted: 27 Aug 2012 15:51:28
ARB Newsclips for August 27, 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.


TVA plans pollution reduction at Gallatin plant. The Tennessee
Valley Authority expects to spend as much as $1 billion to reduce
harmful emissions from a coal-fired power plant by up to 95
percent. According to The Tennessean (http://bit.ly/MVmo9x ), the
work at the Gallatin Fossil Plant, northeast of Nashville, is
projected to be completed by 2017. Four large scrubbers are
planned at the plant, which burns 13,000 tons of coal per day and
generates enough electricity to power 300,000 homes. Some
environmental groups, however, say TVA should instead invest in
energy efficiency, saving enough power to shut down the plant.

Greener cars have improved L.A. air quality. Smog-producing
compounds in Los Angeles are down 98 percent since the 1960s.
They're down by half just since 2002, thanks to higher-mileage
cars. Given the length of time the U.S. Government is taking to
set new gas mileage standards for 2025, you’d be forgiven for
thinking the only benefit from driving a high gas-mileage car is
the savings you make at the pump. Posted.

Chevron’s Richmond Refinery Fire: Another Case of Environmental
and Community Destruction. Chevron’s Richmond Refinery – the
company’s second largest refinery – recently spewed toxic smoke
over Richmond and San Pablo sending more than 14,000 people in
the East Bay to medical facilities with smoke-related complaints.
This is but the latest in Chevron’s legacy of environmental and
community destruction. Chevron is the second largest oil company
in the United States and the third largest corporation in the
U.S. with $26.9 billion in 2011 profits. Posted.

Court further splits challenge to mercury rule. In deciding how
to handle various complicated challenges to U.S. EPA's mercury
and air toxics rule, a federal appeals court has decided to
separate out another of the issues, meaning it will now hear
three separate cases on the matter. The U.S. Court of Appeals for
the District of Columbia Circuit issued an order Friday stating
it will hear as a separate case revisions to new source
performance standards that were included as part of the new rule,
known in EPA parlance as the MATS rule. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/08/27/23  BY


Nobody's Forcing Anybody to Disclose CO2 Emissions: Steer.
Resources are all the rage. With the world population headed
toward 9 billion people by 2050, from 7 billion today, companies
and governments are eager to ensure they have access to strategic
and industrial materials, now and for all time. The problem is
that resources are becoming more expensive as the global middle
class expands and is able to buy more stuff. The Goldman Sachs
Commodities Index (now the Standard & Poor's GSCI) has risen by
about 3.5 times between early 1991, when it launched, and today
(It closed at 670.51 on Friday). Greater competition for fewer
resources doesn't mean that everything is at risk of running out
next week, or even "peaking." Posted.

Intriguing Habitats, and Careful Discussions of Climate Change.
Boston — Sitting on an artificial mangrove island in the middle
of the ray and shark “touch tank,” Lindsay Jordan, a staff member
at the New England Aquarium, explained the rays’ eating habits as
children and their parents trailed fingers through the water.
“Does anyone know how we touch these animals when we are not at
the aquarium?” she asked. The children’s faces turned up
expectantly. “The ocean absorbs one-third of the world’s carbon
dioxide emissions,” Ms. Jordan said, explaining that it upsets
the food chain. “When you turn on your car, it affects them.”

On Glaciers, Balls of Dust and Moss Make a Cozy Home. Life has a
habit of turning up in the most unlikely of places. Geysers,
desert cliffs, even heaps of dung are environments that at least
a few creatures call home. Now balls of moss on glaciers are
joining this strange list. The clumps, known as glacier mice,
have been found to contain miniature ecosystems. And even in
freezing temperatures, scientists found, the inhabitants manage
to thrive. In high winds glacier mice, which form when clumps of
dust and organic debris develop a layer of moss over time, hop
across vast sheets of ice. Posted.

Warm Arctic sets record for summer sea ice melt. Scientists say
critical ice in the Arctic Ocean melted to record low levels this
overheated summer. The National Snow and Ice Data Center reported
Monday that the extent of Arctic sea ice shrank to 1.58 million
square miles and is likely to melt more in the coming weeks. That
breaks the old record of 1.61 million square miles set in 2007.
Figures are based on satellite records dating back to 1979. Data
center scientist Ted Scambos says the melt can be blamed mostly
on global warming from man-made emissions of greenhouse gases.

Scientists look at genetic crops to beat drought. Colorado
scientists are looking at genetically modified crops as a way
farmers can beat the drought as worries continue about the safety
of eating altered foods. Colorado State University professor Phil
Westra says attitudes are changing toward crops that have been
altered to resist drought and pests because of a continuing
drought that has slashed harvests and increased the price of
food. Posted.

RIVERSIDE: Utilities officials fear state rules could spike
rates. Riverside Public Utilities officials and some other
municipal electric providers worry that customers could see their
electric bills spike when the state’s cap-and-trade program takes
effect next year. The program is designed to reduce California’s
greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by 2020 by issuing a set
number of pollution credits to industry and utilities — the “cap”
— and holding auctions for the credits — the “trade.” Posted.

Carbon efficiency failing to fight warming: study. A surge in
carbon emissions from power demand in the developing world is
overwhelming progress by nations including China and the United
States in improving efficiency, new research shows. Seeking to
cut costs, numerous nations in recent years have scaled back or
revamped the dirtiest plants that use coal, which among major
forms of energy is the highest emitter of carbon blamed for the
planet's rising temperatures. Posted.

Final Test Before California's Cap-and-Trade Program Kicks Off.
Next week’s scheduled practice auction of greenhouse gas
allowances for California’s largest polluters will provide an
important first look into how the state’s cap-and-trade program,
a key element of the Global Warming Solutions Act (AB 32), will
work going forward. With millions of dollars worth of allowances
planned to be auctioned in the coming year, and everyone watching
to see whether California can successfully implement the nation’s
first economy-wide cap-and-trade program, it’s important to get
this right. Posted.


Gas prices rise as refineries shut for Isaac. Pump prices are
heading higher as Tropical Storm Isaac forces several major
refineries along the Gulf Coast to halt production in preparation
for high winds and heavy rains. Fear of reduced gasoline supplies
sent wholesale gasoline prices up 7.7 cents, or 2.4 percent, to
$3.155 per gallon Monday. The average retail price for a gallon
of gasoline in the U.S. rose to $3.75 on Monday, and it could
pass $3.80 by Labor Day weekend, says Tom Kloza, chief oil
analyst at the Oil Price Information Service. Posted.

Most Coal-to-Gas Switching in U.S. Permanent, Moody’s Says. Coal
won’t win back much of the share of electricity generation that
it has lost to natural gas in the U.S., Moody’s Investors Service
said. “Coal will regain a bit of market share as natural gas
prices recover somewhat, but most coal-to-gas substitution to
date will be permanent,” Anna Zubets-Anderson, a Moody’s vice
president and senior analyst, wrote in the report. Production
from shale has boosted gas inventories and coal has faced more
scrutiny from environmental regulators. Posted.


Private sector must fund bulk of green energy: EIB. Most of the
funding for Europe's push into green energy needs to come from
the private sector, the president of the EU's long-term lending
arm said on Monday, adding that the continent's credibility
hinged on its ability to manage the shift. "If we want to switch
to renewables in Europe on a permanent basis, the lion's share
(of investment) needs to come from the private sector," Werner
Hoyer, president of the European Investment Bank (EIB), said at
the annual Handelsblatt renewable energy conference. Posted.

Energy use low, expectations high for La Valentina housing
project in Sacramento. The La Valentina project, a new 81-home
mixed-use "green" development at the corner of E and 12th streets
in Alkali Flat, opens to high expectations today. Many hope the
$25 million project, billed as the new wave of downtown
development, will be a model for Sacramento. "La Valentina
represents what is possible in the central city," said Meea Kang,
president of Domus Development. Posted.

Miners occupy coal mine in Sardinia in protest. Some 100 miners
are occupying a coal mine on Sardinia island to press for state
funds for a clean energy project they say will provide new jobs.
Miners at the Carbosulcis mine told Sky TG24 TV on Monday that
they want the government and Parliament to quickly approve
funding for a project to capture and store underground carbon
dioxide that otherwise would add to polluting greenhouse gases.


Canada Says ‘Anonymous’ May Attack Energy Firm Computers.
Canadian security agencies have warned energy companies such as
Imperial Oil Ltd. (IMO) their computers may be attacked by the
Anonymous hacker group because of the industry’s work developing
Alberta’s oil sands, government documents show. The Royal
Canadian Mounted Police, public safety department and
Communications Security Establishment Canada all investigated
threats against the industry between the start of 2011 and
mid-March, according to documents obtained this month by
Bloomberg News under freedom of information laws. Posted.

Critics fight New Mexico plutonium plan. Nuclear watchdogs are
fighting a proposal to ship tons of plutonium to New Mexico,
including the cores of nuclear warheads that would be dismantled
at an aging and structurally questionable lab atop an earthquake
fault zone. Opponents voiced their opposition at a series of
public hearings that opened this week on the best way to dispose
of the radioactive material as the federal government works to
reduce the nation's nuclear arsenal. Posted.

DEQ fines helps purchase new equipment. Criminal fines are
allowing the state Department of Environmental Quality and state
police to buy air monitoring equipment, vehicles, clothing,
safety goggles and first aid kits. Tim Knight, administrator of
DEQ's assessment division, tells The Advocate
(Http://bit.ly/SHncRv) the $1 million in fines allows the state
to purchase the items. The money comes from a federal judge's
order last year that Houston-based Pelican Refining Co. pay $12
million for violating the U.S. Clean Air Act and obstructing
justice. The fines stemmed from broken or poorly functioning
pollution-control equipment at the company's Lake Charles
refinery and the filing of false reports. Posted.


Carbon Tax Silence, Overtaken by Events. DON’T expect to hear
much about climate change at the Republican and Democratic
conventions. Yes, there will be plenty of speeches about
unemployment, budget deficits and other immediate problems. But
the threats posed by global warming are decades away — or so we
have been told repeatedly in recent years. Many climate
scientists, however, are now pointing to evidence linking rising
global temperatures to the extreme weather we’re seeing around
the planet. The United States has just endured its hottest
12-month period on record. Posted.

Staying Cool in the Developing World. To the Editor: “The Cost of
Cool” (Sunday Review, Aug. 19), about the exorbitant — and
rapidly rising — costs of air-conditioning in the increasingly
crowded cities in the tropics, where cool living and working
conditions appear to be a prerequisite to economic development,
points to an urgent need for family planning. Three inexorable
global trends — climate change, resource depletion and population
growth — are on a catastrophic collision course. Although
substituting clean energy sources — solar, wind, tidal — for
reliance on fossil fuels may have promise in some undefined
future, the only practical immediate course is to limit
population growth. Posted.

Another View: AB 32 will add costs, hurt California economy.
Californians are tired of divisive politics taking the place of
meaningful policy debates. But in their Aug. 16 Viewpoints
article "Clean energy law drives innovation, creates jobs,
attracts investments," W. Bowman Cutter and Matthew E. Kahn do
just that and distract from the real discussion surrounding AB
32. Despite their claim that it will produce tremendous economic
benefits for California, many studies have found that AB 32 will
harm California's economy; the only debate is how much. Posted.

Cap and trade is a good thing. Re "Will jobs be lost with cap and
trade?" (Dan Morain, Aug. 19): As a local businessman with strong
community ties, I support California's efforts to implement AB
32, specifically the cap and trade program. Instead of buying
into the opposition's sky-is-falling argument, let's focus on the
facts. California's clean energy policies are attracting clean
technology investments, creating jobs and reducing our reliance
on imported energy. By putting a cap on carbon, we can reduce air
pollution and other threats attributed to climate change
including forest fires and sea level rise. Posted.

Cap and trade threatens food production. Re "What will be price
of cap and trade?" (Dan Morain, Aug. 19): I wish you had placed
the article "rediscovering nature's food emporium," by Stuart
Leavenworth on the front page below the cap and trade article.
Maybe people would get the linkage: if the government runs the
processors of locally grown food, such as Pacific Coast
Producers, out of the state or country, we'll all need to be
trekking off to the Sierra to collect gooseberries or green yampa
flowers. That will be in the afternoon after we've, hopefully,
caught a salmon in the morning. Posted.

Editorial: CEQA end run could come back to haunt the Delta and
Sacramento. When making sausage, competent chefs know they can't
rush the process – unless they want to risk their fingers getting
stuck in the meat grinder. Up until Thursday, it appeared that
the sausage makers of the Legislature were prepared to make a
bloody mess of a dish with a last-minute overhaul of the
California Environmental Quality Act. Fortunately, Senate
President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg intervened, meaning that the
upper house will not take up the measure before the session comes
to a merciful end this week. As we've said in previous
editorials, CEQA is ripe for manipulation and needs updating.

Dan Morain: City of Davis, military join to lobby for solar. The
U.S. Navy has come to the defense of the ecotopian college town
of Davis, where streetlights have been adjusted to make
stargazing more productive. Defense Department representatives
have been walking the Capitol halls advocating for a bill that
could help Davis and any other town or military base in the state
become more energy independent, while permitting civilians to
more easily plug in to solar power. Posted.

Sacramento needs to become more bike-friendly. Sacramento is more
than 20 years behind Portland and other cities in the Bicycling
Magazine Rating. For some people, a bike is transportation. For
others, it is a form of recreation and fitness. Sacramento
planners need to view the needs of pedestrians, mass transit and
bicycling as being interconnected. Agencies need to coordinate
their efforts. Many city governments have made a radical cultural
shift away from the automobile culture embracing the

If we ruin the air, what will our children breathe? Watching the
sun set into the Pacific Ocean from a hotel tucked in among the
dry scrub hills of San Diego, I have a chance to reflect on life
here in Southern California, on climate changes and on what's in
store for future generations. I'm here with a group of 22
Japanese university students who will spend a month studying
English at San Diego State University, and I'll stay a week while
they settle into their classes and host families. As always, I'm
charmed by the students' optimism and contagious excitement.
Posted. http://www.japantimes.co.jp/text/fe20120826sh.html 

The Apocalypse of Overpopulation and Climate Change : Fighting
for Water and Food. As we are coming closer to December 21, 2012,
anxiety is building up for many. It is of course the prediction
of the Mayan calendar, the one of Nostradamus, and the belief of
Christian fundamentalists that the fateful “judgment day” phase
has already begun with a few potential candidates playing the
role of the anti-Christ. As a rationalist, I can not adhere to
any of this and especially not the part of the return of Jesus.


For Climate Change, a Possible Trial Could Echo the Scopes Monkey
Case. Eighty-seven years ago, people and organizations who
believed in freedom of scientific inquiry arranged for a test
case of Tennessee's law against teaching the theory of evolution.
The result was theater so cogent that it was later distilled as
the play "Inherit the Wind." Now the climate scientist Michael E.
Mann may be laying the groundwork for his own version of that
trial, threatening to sue National Review for defamation. The
offending piece was a blog post by Mark Steyn, which described
Dr. Mann as "the man behind the fraudulent climate-change
'hockey-stick' graph, the very ringmaster of the tree-ring
circus." Posted.

From Katrina to Isaac – How Much Has Hurricane Forecasting
Improved? With the tropical storm that will soon be Hurricane
Isaac heading in the general direction of New Orleans seven years
(possibly to the day) after Hurricane Katrina topped the flood
protections there, I looked back at the archived track forecasts
for the 2005 storm and posted the link on Twitter and Facebook.
The Facebook entry elicited a notable response from Marshall
Shepherd, the director of the program in atmospheric sciences at
the University of Georgia. In comparing the track forecasts for
Isaac with that for Katrina, he noted how much of what is called
the “cone of uncertainty” – the wide area over which the track
could range — had shrunk in comparing the forecasts seven years
apart. Posted.

Will Emissions Disclosure Mean Investor Pressure on Polluters? A
new financial tool developed by the investment firm South Pole
Carbon, in partnership with the Swiss Federal Institute of
Technology, provides greenhouse gas emissions profiles of more
than 40,000 publicly listed companies. This index is aimed at
encouraging greater disclosure from companies while, hopefully,
also pushing investors to build more responsible portfolios.
“Investors have long been aware that the greenhouse gas profile,
especially of major emitters like electric utilities, is a
potential liability,” said Paul Bledsoe, a senior adviser on
energy issues at the Bipartisan Policy Center. Posted.

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