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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for November 9, 2012.

Posted: 09 Nov 2012 12:30:49
ARB Newsclips for November 9, 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.


Maya civilization's collapse linked to climate change: study. For
a clue to the possible impact of climate change on modern
society, a study suggests a look back at the end of classic Maya
civilization, which disintegrated into famine, war and collapse
as a long-term wet weather pattern shifted to drought. An
international team of researchers compiled a detailed climate
record that tracks 2,000 years of wet and dry weather in
present-day Belize, where Maya cities developed from the year 300
to 1000. Using data locked in stalagmites - mineral deposits left
by dripping water in caves - …Posted.

Australia to sign up to new Kyoto climate commitment, NZ out.
Australia will sign up to the second round of Kyoto climate
commitments, Climate Change Minister Greg Combet said on Friday,
but the push for global emissions cuts remained divided with New
Zealand joining major countries to opt out of the Kyoto scheme.
With new U.N. climate negotiations due to start in Qatar this
month, Australia joins Europe and a handful of other nations
engaged in the second phase of emissions reductions. The first
Kyoto period is due to end on Dec. 31, with the new commitment
period starting on Jan. 1, 2013. Posted.

U.S. weather forecaster drops El Niño watch.  The U.S. national
weather forecaster has called off its El Niño watch five months
after raising the alert as it is now less likely that the
much-feared phenomenon that can wreak havoc on global weather
will emerge. Since June, the weather forecaster had predicted
that El Niño conditions, essentially a warming of waters in the
equatorial Pacific Ocean that can cause a major drought in Asia,
would develop gradually during the Northern Hemisphere winter.

Long-shot carbon tax suddenly part of fiscal cliff debate. A
potential tax on big polluters, a taboo subject in the United
States in recent years, has come back into the spotlight as some
sense potential for a revenue windfall at a time lawmakers look
for ways to the so-called "fiscal cliff" of tax rises and
spending cuts due in early 2013. The aftermath of Superstorm
Sandy, which devastated parts of the U.S. East Coast last week,
has raised fresh questions about the links between climate change
and extreme weather events, which also makes the idea of a carbon
tax more appealing. Posted.

California Carbon ‘Crippled’ by Buyer Hesitation: Energy Markets.
California carbon is trading at a record low as legal threats,
political opposition and rule changes plague the days leading up
to the first auction of permits under the state’s greenhouse-gas
program. Less than a week before the first allowance sale, the
program is facing scrutiny from legislators, economists and
companies such as San Antonio-based Valero Energy Corp., whose
chief executive officer described the regulations last week as
being “hijacked” by academics and extremists. Posted.

UN: Sandy shows need for action on climate change.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon says one of the lessons from
Superstorm Sandy is the need for global action to deal with
future climate shocks. A new round of global climate talks starts
in Doha, Qatar on Nov. 27, and Ban urged nations to reach a
binding agreement by 2015 to curtail emissions of heat-trapping
gases in order to stop the planet from overheating. Posted.

Climate change may come faster than predictions made by most
computer models. Climate change is likely to be worse than many
computer models have projected, according to a new analysis. The
work, published yesterday in Science, finds evidence that Earth's
climate is more sensitive to the amount of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere than some earlier studies had suggested. If the new
results are correct, that means warming will come on faster, and
be more intense, than many current predictions. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/11/09/2  BY

California Carbon Credits May Benefit Vt. In January, California
will begin enforcing a carbon cap and trade system. Polluters in
that state will be able to buy carbon offset credits from
landowners anywhere in the U.S. and some forest owners in Vermont
are already signing up for this new marketplace. Others are
watching very closely.
 Bill Keeton is a professor of Forest Ecology and Resources at
the University of Vermont. He spoke with Vermont Edition about
how Vermonters could take advantage of a California program.


Electric vehicle prices must fall for sales to take off –study.
U.S. sales of plug-in electric and hybrid vehicles are rising,
but they won't gain real traction until manufacturers lower
prices and demonstrate clear economic benefits, market researcher
J.D. Power and Associates said in a study released on Thursday.
Sales of plug-in vehicles, such as General Motors Co's Chevrolet
Volt and Nissan Motor Co's Leaf, rose to 37,361 through October,
but that represents only 0.3 percent of total industry sales.


LightSail raises $37 million from Bill Gates and others to back
company's cleantech energy storage system. LightSail Energy, a
developer of new technologies for energy storage, has landed
$37.3 million in Series D venture capital financing. Investors
Bill Gates, Peter Thiel. Khosla Ventures, and Innovacorp were
among the notable financiers that participated in the venture
funding round. Founded in 2009, LightSail Energy has developed
technologies to make renewable energy such as solar and wind
power available at times when the power is needed, rather than
only when they are available. Posted.

What will the election mean for renewable energy?  Tuesday’s
election was a pivotal moment for renewable energy in America.
During President Barack Obama’s first term, the amount of
electricity generated through renewable sources doubled. On
Tuesday the President was re-elected; Democrats increased their
numbers in the Senate; and in many states Democrats won
governorships and took control of state legislatures.  What will
that mean for renewable energy?  Posted. 


Salinas Valley man faces prison time for falsely labeling
chemical-based fertilizer as organic. The former president of
Salinas Valley farming company has been sentenced to nearly a
year in prison after pleading guilty to falsely labeling
chemical-based fertilizer as organic. Federal officials say Peter
Townsley, who formerly operated California Liquid Fertilizer in
Gonzales, was sentenced to 364 days in prison and fined $125,000
Wednesday in federal court. He had earlier pleaded guilty to two
counts of fraud. Posted.

New judge appointed in low-carbon fuel case. A federal appeals
court has appointed a judge to sit on a panel considering the
lawfulness of California's low-carbon fuel standard after one
died and her replacement recused himself. Judge Ronald Gould, who
was appointed by President Clinton, will replace the late Judge
Betty Binns Fletcher, the President Carter pick who died at age
89 just days after the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard
arguments in the case Oct. 16 (Greenwire, Oct. 24). Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/print/2012/11/08/2  BY

Air Force ships Calif. radioactive waste to Idaho landfill. After
California regulators refused to allow the U.S. Air Force to
label residue from radioactive aircraft instruments as “naturally
occurring” – declaring it unsuitable for a Bakersfield-area dump
– the military turned to Idaho with the same story. There,
military officials met with success. The Air Force is now sending
radioactive waste from Sacramento County’s McClellan Air Force
Base to a Grand View, Idaho, hazardous waste landfill. This
solution involved a bit of legal semantics rejected in California
despite 10 months of Air Force lobbying: Posted.


U.S. carbon tax works, with support: Wynn. Academics and
lawmakers have proposed a U.S. carbon tax to curb carbon
emissions and trim the debt pile, but the idea depends on
prominent Republican support, so far absent. Without a deal on
cutting the fiscal deficit the United States faces a $600 billion
package of automatic tax increases and spending cuts which could
tip the country back into recession. While that is clearly a step
too far, the consensus is that a more gradual combination of
spending cuts and/or tax hikes is required to avoid a borrowing
crisis. Posted.

California's Model Climate Policies Will Maintain Momentum in
Obama Second Term. A second Obama White House guarantees
California a federal supporter in its crusade to slow global
warming. For decades, California has been the engine of growth
behind America's sputtering clean energy economy—adopting
groundbreaking clean air and climate policies as federal efforts
lagged behind. The hope was that California's initiatives would
become the template for a national law to slow global warming.


Science Panel Warns Spy Agencies Are in the Dark on Risks from
Warming. For years, there’s been a building chorus of warnings on
the looming prospect of “climate conflict” and “global warring”
that might be set off as greenhouse-driven warming disrupts
longstanding weather patterns in already-turbulent parts of the
world (think sub-Saharan Africa) or rising seas dislocate coastal
populations (think Bangladesh). Solmon Hsiang of Princeton and
Matthew Burke of the University of California, Berkeley,
generated a graph of data showing a relationship between conflict
rates (vertical axis) and periods of unusual warmth in East
Africa (horizontal). Posted.

Will Storm’s Wall Street Impact Influence U.S. Carbon Policy? I
encourage you to read Tina Rosenberg’s Fixes post, “A Change in
the Weather on Wall Street.” The piece nicely summarizes why this
storm, unlike other recent weather disasters with a
climate-change component, has prompted so many politicians,
including President Obama, to end their self-imposed silence on
global warming. One reason, she writes, is that it disrupted the
lives of Wall Street titans along with the common folk in the
region. That cut through the reality of the rich-poor “climate
divide.” Posted.

Turning Wood Chips into Gasoline.  KiOR, a renewable fuel
start-up based in Pasadena, Tex., said Thursday that it had
produced a crude oil made from wood chips at a plant in
Mississippi and expected to refine it into gasoline and diesel
and sell it commercially later this month. That would be a first
for the cellulosic biofuel sector.  In a conference call with
investment analysts, company executives would not say just how
much they had made at the conversion plant, in Columbus, Miss.,
or how well it was running. But they said the remaining step,
refining the oil into products, would involve standard
technology.  Posted. 

Warmer still: Extreme climate predictions appear most accurate,
report says.  Climate scientists agree the Earth will be hotter
by the end of the century, but their simulations don’t agree on
how much. Now a study suggests the gloomier predictions may be
closer to the mark.  “Warming is likely to be on the high side of
the projections,” said John Fasullo of the National Center for
Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., a co-author of the
report, which was based on satellite measurements of the
atmosphere.  Posted. 

How to press for climate change progress.  The past week has been
huge for people who want to see the United States go big on
climate change. First Hurricane Sandy vaulted climate change back
into the public debate. Now the reelection of Barack Obama means
that there will be someone in the White House who cares strongly
about the issue. The combination creates an opportunity to press
for climate action.  That makes it all the more critical for
people who care about climate change to get things right. If they
remember one thing, it should be this: they will need to build
coalitions if they want to go big.  Posted. 

Voters Chose Leaders Who Will Confront Climate Change.  This
election was a resounding victory for climate action. Americans
were presented with the clearest choice yet on global warming,
and they chose the presidential candidate who confronted the
climate threat, not the one who turned it into a punch line.
Voters made the same choice in Congressional races across the
country. They overwhelmingly favored leaders who called for more
clean energy and other climate solutions.  Let's be clear here.
The issue of climate change appeared throughout this election.

Delhi Journal: Five Ways to Avoid the Pollution.  Air pollution
in New Delhi has reached “unheard of” levels, experts say.  The
air quality index for PM10 (particles with a diameter of 10
microns or less) touched 1,000 in areas of the city earlier this
week. To put that in perspective: PM10 levels above 301 are
considered “hazardous” to health, by U.S. government standards.
In 2010, the capital’s PM10 averaged 249, making it the most
polluted city in India.  Early Friday, PM10 levels in Delhi
ranged from 600 to 800, with a few areas in the north of the city
exceeding 900, according to government data.  Posted. 

California leads in green car sales, but there are surprises on
the lists.  A recent study of new car registrations by Edmunds
reveals that some big car-buying states aren't as interested in
electric or gas-electric hybrids as other states.  It's no
surprise that California – the Number One car-buying state – is
the top green car buyer as well. A large number of "early
adopters," strong local incentives and access to High Occupancy
Lanes with a single person in the cab likely tilted a large
number of buyers into alternative power trains, experts said. 

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