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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for October 1, 2012

Posted: 01 Oct 2012 14:30:54
ARB Newsclips for October 1, 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.


UCLA researchers say last year's Carmageddon improved air
quality. Air quality near the closed 10-mile portion of the 405
Freeway reached levels 83% better than typical weekends,
according to a team at UCLA's Institute of the Environment and
Sustainability. The reprieve lasted for only one weekend, but
UCLA researchers say that last year's Carmageddon closure of the
405 Freeway rid Los Angeles of both traffic and another notorious
problem: pollution. Posted.

Utah taking public comment on clean-air plans. State regulators
are calling for stricter controls on industrial emissions along
the heavily populated Wasatch Front. The Utah Air Quality Board
will start taking public comment Monday on three sets of plans to
reduce air pollution in northern Utah. Up for consideration are
new emission standards for industrial baking ovens, dry cleaners,
furniture makers and other operations. One of the three plans
calls for expanding vehicle emission tests to Cache County.

Fairbanks warned of sanctions for lack of air plan. The
Environmental Protection Agency says Fairbanks could lose highway
money and see federal regulations imposed if it doesn't meet a
December deadline for a plan that will meet clean air standards.
Agency officials voiced concerns in a letter to Fairbanks North
Star Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins. Posted.

Spare the Air continues through Monday. A Spare the Air alert
will continue through Monday, according to the Bay Area Air
Quality Management District. The district, which was also
declared an alert for the weekend, forecasts concentrations of
ground-level ozone pollution that will be unhealthy. Residents
are encouraged to drive less and reduce their energy use to lower
the levels of pollution. A heat wave expected to send
temperatures into the triple digits in some parts of the East Bay
is a contributing factor, the district said. Posted. 

Drive as little as possible, San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution
Control District officials advise. With temperatures expected to
be well in the 90s this week, the San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District advises residents to reduce their
driving. The pollution district advises you to take the following
steps through Wednesday: Carpool or vanpool. Ride your bicycle,
walk or use mass transit. Eliminate vehicle idling and reduce the
number of vehicle trips. Employers making employee telecommuting


Fish to shrink as global warming leaves them gasping for oxygen.
Fish are likely to get smaller on average by 2050 because global
warming will cut the amount of oxygen in the oceans in a shift
that may also mean dwindling catches, according to a study on
Sunday. Average maximum body weights for 600 types of marine
fish, such as cod, plaice, halibut and flounder, would contract
by 14-24 percent by 2050 from 2000 under a scenario of a quick
rise in greenhouse gas emissions, it said. Posted.

Nichols Says Rail ‘Legitimate’ Use of Some Carbon Revenue. The
construction of a high-speed rail line connecting California’s
biggest cities would be a “legitimate” use of some revenue
generated from the state’s auctions of carbon allowances, the
state’s air chief said. Using all of the money generated from the
sale of carbon permits for the rail project is “not the intent”
of California’s carbon program, Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the
state’s Air Resources Board, said during a renewable energy
conference in San Francisco today. Each permit allows for the
release of one metric ton of emissions in the state. Posted.

Heat keeps rising in Northern California - for now. It's been
more than a decade since Sacramento experienced 100-degree
weather in October, but the city could broil under century-mark
heat today or Tuesday. The National Weather Service is
forecasting 99 degrees for today and 100 on Tuesday, very hot
weather for early autumn. The toasty temps are courtesy of a
high-pressure system parked over Northern California. The hot
temperatures come in the wake of 26 days of 90-degree weather or
hotter in September - breaking the previous September record of
24 set in 1974. Posted.

Different green energy ideas from McKenna, Inslee. Climate change
may have faded as a national issue, but it remains prominent in
the Washington governor's race. When it comes to incentives and
regulations to help green-energy producers, the two main
candidates for Washington governor see things differently, The
News Tribune (http://is.gd/J0pESP) reported in Sunday's
newspaper. Democrat Jay Inslee made reducing greenhouse-gas
emissions his signature issue as a congressman. He said it should
be an all-out effort in the style of the Apollo project that put
a man on the moon. Posted.

Higher temperatures bring new struggles in Calif. wine country.
Farmers have always been gamblers, long accustomed to betting on
the probabilities of the weather. But for the Napa Valley, where
the temperatures have been ideal for the wine industry, the
changes could be significant. "They're used to rolling the dice
every year," said Stuart Weiss, a conservation biologist and
chief scientist at the Creekside Center for Earth Observation,
which assists growers and municipalities dealing with the
disruptions caused by the changing climate. "Now, though, climate
change is stacking the dice." Posted. 

Kern County farmers not convinced climate change is issue. The
farming community in Kern County is split in its views on climate
change with a chunk saying it's not an issue and others saying it
profoundly affects their crops. The weather has been off in
recent years, but whether that's because of climate change and if
farmers will need to change their practices is up for debate
among Kern County farmers. Posted. 

Calif.'s air chief to discuss global cap-and-trade linkage at
Australia conference. California's top greenhouse gas regulator
will go to Australia next month to discuss the state's
cap-and-trade system with other governments, including those of
China and the European Union. Air Resources Board Chairwoman Mary
Nichols will attend the World Bank Partnership for Market
Readiness meeting Oct. 24 in Sydney, agency staff said last week.
The partnership includes the United States, Australia, Japan, the
United Kingdom and other governments that contribute funds to
countries developing market-based greenhouse gas systems,
including Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/10/01/6  BY


EU to monitor shipping emissions from next year. Global steps to
reduce greenhouse gas emissions from the shipping industry are
moving too slowly so the European Union will introduce its own
system next year in a bid to accelerate reform, its executive
body said on Monday. International shipping accounts for around 3
percent of the world's emissions of carbon dioxide, the
greenhouse gas widely blamed for global warming, and this share
could go to 18 percent by 2050 if regulation is not in place,
according to the International Maritime Organization. Posted.

Hydrogen Fuels Autorickshaws and Dreams of Cleaner Air.  Across
India, small three-wheeled autorickshaws ferry people and goods
from place to place, with tens of thousands in Delhi alone
buzzing and chugging through the traffic alongside buses, cars,
taxis, trucks and motorbikes. In January, the world’s first
hydrogen-powered autorickshaws took to the road on the grounds of
Pragati Maidan, the sprawling exposition center on the capital’s
east side. Posted. 


Soft Sales Crimp Outlook for Electric Cars. Many auto executives
were not that enthusiastic about battery-powered cars at their
outset, and now that sales of electric vehicles made by Tesla and
Renault have been disappointing, some carmakers are playing down
the technology. Martin Winterkorn, the chief executive of
Volkswagen, said last week, on the eve of the Paris Motor Show,
that the company would instead focus on plug-in hybrids, which
can travel short distances on battery power alone and switch to
gasoline or diesel fuel for longer trips. Posted.

Self-driving cars are approaching fast — and safely. As Google
has worked on a fully self-driving car, some automakers have
already employed autonomous safety features that are reducing
crashes. Having a hard time parallel parking? Press a button on a
touch screen and let the car park itself. Want to stay a safe
distance from the car ahead while traveling 65 mph? Switch on
adaptive cruise control and let a radar-linked computer handle
the accelerator, slowing and speeding your vehicle to keep pace.

Governor OKs free toll lane access for clean cars. Gov. Jerry
Brown announced Friday that he signed a bill that will allow the
next generation of clean-energy vehicles to access California
carpool lanes for free if they are converted to toll lanes. San
Francisco, Los Angeles, Riverside and San Diego are experimenting
with high-occupancy toll lanes - or HOT lanes - to help reduce
congestion. Brown signed AB2405 by Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield,
D-Woodland Hills, which seeks to encourage Californians to buy
plug-in hybrids and certified zero-emission vehicles, such as
those that run on electricity, hydrogen fuel cells or compressed
natural gas. Posted.

Tesla pulls into San Diego. Tesla is pulling into San Diego. The
luxury plug-in electric car maker has begun outfitting a showroom
store at the Westfield UTC shopping center on La Jolla Village
Drive. A spokeswoman for the car maker declined to how soon the
University City store might open. A boarded-over storefront
already bears the Tesla logo. Like Tesla's cars or not, U.S.
taxpayers have a stake in the future of the Palo Alto-based
upstart, whose ongoing expansion is backed by a Department of
Energy loan. Posted.

Tesla unveils faster electric car charging station. Tesla Motors
Inc. unveiled a solar-powered charging station on Monday that it
said will make refueling electric vehicles on long trips about as
fast as stopping for gas and a bathroom break in a conventional
car. CEO Elon Musk said at a news conference at the company’s
design studio that the company’s roadside Supercharger has been
installed at six highway rest stops in California. The innovation
is “the answer to the three major problems that are holding back
electrical vehicles, or at least people think are holding back
electrical vehicles,” Musk said before a curtain was lifted from
a giant model of one of the devices. Posted. 


Obama and Romney find little common ground on energy production.
Romney embraces greater reliance on fossil fuels — the greatest
contributors to climate change. Obama sees a future increasingly
tied to renewable energy. No matter who wins the 2012 election,
the next president will take office as the United States faces
vast new opportunities in energy production and profound
challenges to environmental protection. 
After decades of growing dependence on imported oil, the U.S. is
moving to energy self-sufficiency, thanks to greater domestic
supplies of oil and natural gas and reduced demand. Coal…Posted.

San Jose solar company opens factory, headed for Solyndra-type
loan. San Jose solar startup SoloPower opened the doors of its
first factory on Thursday, a key milestone toward allowing the
company to collect on a $197 million government loan guarantee.
The 225,000-square-foot facility in Portland, Ore., will one day
accommodate two of the company's planned four production lines.
Only the first line is producing panels so far. The remaining
three lines will be built with the help of its loan guarantee,
SoloPower said. Posted. 

Energy proposal raises debate over costs, jobs.  A proposal to
require that Michigan utilities steadily boost their use of
renewable energy sources over the next dozen years is stirring a
whirlwind of competing claims about costs, jobs and spinoff
issues that could leave voters dizzy with confusion. The measure
on the Nov. 6 election ballot would require electricity suppliers
to generate 25 percent of their power from wind, solar, biomass
or hydropower by 2025. If approved, the policy would be added to
the state constitution, meaning the legislature couldn't overturn
it. Posted. 

New law limits permit fees for rooftop solar. Legislation
limiting local permitting fees for rooftop solar installations
was among a raft of green energy bills signed by Gov. Jerry Brown
on Thursday. The law limits fees that cities and counties may
charge for solar permits to about $400 or slightly more,
depending on the size of the rooftop system, under the
legislation from Sen. Mark Leno, D-San Francisco. To exceed those
limits, a local agency must provide detailed evidence of
administrative costs and its efforts to streamline permit
requests and approvals. Posted.

Obama's blocking of wind farm adds to U.S.-China tension.
President Obama's decision to block a Chinese-owned firm's plan
to build wind farms demonstrates growing tensions around the
international competition to develop clean energy technology and
joins a list of disputes between the United States and China that
observers say could have lasting implications for the two
countries' relationship. The president last week blocked Ralls
Corp., which is owned by two executives of a Chinese energy firm,
from developing four wind farms in Oregon. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/10/01/6  BY


Environmentalists oppose PG&E plans for undersea air blasts. PG&E
plans to use underwater 'air cannons' emitting 250-decibel blasts
every 15 seconds for 12 straight days to map earthquake fault
zones near Diablo Canyon nuclear plant. Over objections of
Central Coast residents and environmental groups, Pacific Gas &
Electric plans to map earthquake fault zones near its Diablo
Canyon nuclear plant by blasting high-decibel air cannons under
the surface of the ocean. Posted.

Toxics cleanup dispute at former railyards in Sacramento. Workers
in Sacramento's downtown railyard this summer unearthed a
disconcerting find: a large container of contaminated soil,
likely buried by the Southern Pacific railroad company, which
once used the property to build and fix locomotives. It wasn't
the first such surprise. A few months before that, they had dug
up an old tank. The discoveries are adding fuel to a
behind-the-scenes disagreement over how much contamination
remains in the 240- acre property – once known as the biggest
industrial complex west of the Mississippi – and who will pay to
get rid of it. Posted.

Uranium Plant Using Laser Technology Wins U.S. Approval. RALEIGH,
N.C. (AP) — A nuclear power partnership of General Electric and
Hitachi has received federal approval to build the first plant to
enrich uranium for use in commercial reactors using a classified
laser technology. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission issued a
license to General Electric-Hitachi Global Laser Enrichment this
week to build and operate a uranium enrichment plant near
Wilmington, N.C., deploying the laser technology instead of
costlier centrifuges. Posted.

RIVERSIDE: Low electric rates being used as business magnet.
Looking to capitalize on one of its assets — the city-owned water
and power utility — Riverside is offering lower electricity rates
as a way to lure new companies to the city. The Riverside City
Council on Sept. 11 approved a temporary economic development
electrical rate aimed at new commercial and industrial customers.
“We’re looking at bringing in new jobs and filling empty
buildings,” Councilman Mike Gardner said Friday, Sept. 28. New
commercial ventures would receive discounts of 30 percent, 20
percent and 10 percent through the end of 2013, 2014, and 2015
respectively. Posted.

The clunky, lagging transition to renewable energy. History
suggests that it can take up to 50 years to replace an existing
energy infrastructure, and we don't have that long, Cobb writes.
No doubt you've heard people speak of an energy transition from a
fossil fuel-based society to one based on renewable
energy--energy which by its very nature cannot run out. Here's
the short answer to why we need do it fast: climate change and
fossil fuel depletion. Posted.


COLUMN-You can count on new burst of infrastructure spending. As
global economies from Beijing to Berlin struggle to keep their
heads above water, a new wave of stimulus spending is under way.
Given that infrastructure spending is almost always a function of
population growth - which does not seem to be slowing down in
emerging markets - this is a potent trend if you are a long-term
investor. While any nascent U.S. plan depends upon the outcome of
the November election, the agenda for other countries is full
speed ahead. Posted.

A Dirty Internet: How Data Centers Waste Energy. “Power,
Pollution and the Internet” (“The Cloud Factories” series, front
page, Sept. 23) exposes the problem with data centers and
unnecessary energy waste. While “cloud” data centers are in the
spotlight because of their huge energy appetites, they should not
obscure the millions of smaller server rooms in American
businesses wasting about $2 billion in electricity a year.

Green Desert: Answers sought at energy summit. As an energy
reporter, going to conferences can get a bit ho-hum. You go, you
see the energy reporters from other papers or green websites, you
hear a lot of the same talking heads saying a lot of the same
things over and over. What you really want is for someone to say
something that will shake things up, get folks looking at things
from a different angle and take the conversation to a new level.
That certainly is what I hope happens when officials from across
the Inland Empire and beyond converge on Palm Springs on Thursday
and Friday for the Southern California Energy Summit. Posted.

Bad air hurts parks. While recent news and opinions present
myriad positions about who's to blame and what needs to be done
to fix the Valley's dirty air, the fact remains that we suffer
from some of the worst air pollution in the world, according to
the World Health Organization. Dirty air is dangerous for our
health and quality of life in the Valley and iconic national
wonders such as Yosemite, Sequoia, and Kings Canyon national
parks. The San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District,
through the approval of its governing board, is responsible for
cleaning up stationary sources of air pollution. Posted.

Believe it or not, climate change is a reality ag must face.
Today: cherries and the Valley mind. In the past few days, the
media reported that climate change threatens Valley crops. What
is interesting about this is most Valley farmers don't believe in
climate change. Farmers are realists; but most Valley farmers
reject (what I believe to be) global warming reality. Something
in the Valley's conservative mindset impels them to. Posted.


Was climate change responsible for the Mongol hordes? Was climate
change responsible for the Mongol hordes? First scientists told
us that a “distinct drying” during the third century might have
encouraged the fall of the Roman Empire, prompting critics to
decry the idea as the “latest global warming scare tactic.” Now
the journal Science is highlighting similar speculations that wet
and warm conditions in the central Asian steppe in the 13th
century help explain the exceptionally rapid expansion of the
infamously cruel Mongols under Genghis Khan. Posted.

“Spare the Air” Alert Issued for Monday. A Summer Spare the Air
Day has been issued for Monday October 1, 2012. The following is
from the Bay Area Air Quality Management District: During these
summer months when ground-level ozone, or “smog,” becomes a
pollution problem, the Air District issues Spare the Air Smog
Alerts on days when air quality is forecast to be unhealthy. All
summer long, we urge residents to cut back on any activities that
cause pollution – such as driving, using oil-based paints,
gasoline-powered lawn mowers, or household aerosol products like
hair sprays. Posted.

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