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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for November 22-26, 2012.

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 08:21:42
ARB Newsclips for November 22-26, 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.


Kettleman City activists seek to block expansion of toxic dump.
Environmental activists and leaders of this impoverished
community, outraged by unreported spills of cancer-causing
chemicals, are trying to block expansion of a toxic waste dump
that is the largest of its kind west of the Mississippi River.
Activists say the history of the troubled Chemical Waste
Management dump and new citations alleging failure to report 72
hazardous materials spills over the last four years show the
company cannot be trusted to protect public health. Posted.

Proposal to increase no-burn days in Central California.  Central
California air officials are proposing to further curtail
residential wood burning in an effort to reduce airborne
particulate pollution in one of the nation's most polluted
regions, according to a plan released this week.  The proposal by
the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District would
increase the number of no-burn days for fireplaces, other wood
burning heaters and outdoor devices. Posted. 



Conservation groups debate gas drilling ties.  As a natural gas
drilling boom sweeps Pennsylvania and other states, conservation
groups are debating whether it makes sense to work with the
industry to minimize impacts to the environment — and whether to
accept industry donations.  The big question is "how to deal with
this overwhelming impact," said Phil Wallis, executive director
of the Pennsylvania chapter of the Audubon Society, adding that
the industry "in general, is interested in resolving these
issues."  Posted.  BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY. 

Richmond's coming air data deluge. The Aug. 6 fire at Chevron's
Richmond refinery reopened a long-simmering community debate
about who is monitoring what residents are breathing. In the wake
of the fire, there now are multiple air monitoring efforts under
way, but will they result in actions to clear the air - or just
produce more smoke screens? Hours after a corroded pipe leaking
hydrocarbon vapor erupted into a fire that sent an enormous black
plume wafting over the Bay Area, Richmond residents seized the
moment to revive the conversation about the effects of living
next to a huge oil refinery. Some 15,000 people sought emergency
medical treatment for breathing problems and illness. The
community demanded to know what was spewed into the air and how
it might affect residents' health. Posted.

New Online Tool Calculates Health Benefits, Economic Value of
Climate Change Efforts that Reduce Air Pollution. AirCounts™—a
new online tool to help large and medium-sized cities calculate
the health benefits and monetary value of air quality
improvements—was introduced today by its developer, Abt
Associates. "As cities across the globe begin establishing
climate change policies and programs that include improving air
quality, they'll need to answer questions about the health
benefits and economic value that can be realized from those
programs," said Mike Conti, vice president of Abt Associates'
Environment & Resources Division. Posted.

Poseidon proposes wetlands project in San Diego Bay. In Carlsbad,
Poseidon Resources wants to filter salt from seawater to serve a
thirsty county. And in San Diego Bay, the company plans to
submerge 66 acres of dry scrub to create a saltwater marsh.
By restoring wetland in an area once covered by farms and salt
flats, Poseidon aims to compensate for marine life harmed by its
proposed desalination plant. That facility would take in 100
million gallons of seawater per day, use reverse osmosis to
generate 50 million gallons of highly purified drinking water and
then discharge the leftover water back into the Agua Hedionda
lagoon. Posted.

Central Valley residents tire of receiving L.A.'s urban waste.
Every day, the trucks rumble into the Central Valley by the
dozens, chugging over the Grapevine loaded with lawn clippings
from Beverly Hills, sewage sludge from Los Angeles and rotting
yogurt and vegetables from around Southern California. Los
Angeles officials and others say the daily caravan is an
essential step toward recycling thousands of tons of urban waste
and turning it into compost and fertilizer in California's vast
agrarian middle. Posted.


Is California’s Cap-and-Trade Program the Solution to Reducing
U.S. Carbon Emissions?  Cap-and-trade is strongly advocated as an
ultimate solution to reducing U.S. carbon emissions.  California
led the country by passing the Global Warming Solution Act
(AB32), which creates an instate carbon cap-and-trade program. 
AB32 enforcement begins next year by capping Power and Industrial
sectors’ carbon emissions.  Posted. 

Cap-and-trade spending legally limited. Among the revenue that
will strengthen California's general fund this year is cash from
the state's new cap-and-trade program to limit greenhouse-gas
emissions - about half a billion dollars - but officials may be
legally barred from spending much of that money. The nonpartisan
Legislative Analyst's Office says lawmakers and the governor will
probably be able to use only $100 million or so of the $500
million they were counting on spending in this year's budget.

Cap-and-trade market seems fraud-proof. California's new
cap-and-trade system uses the power of markets to fight global
warming. But as Californians know all too well, markets can be
manipulated. Twelve years ago, Enron and other companies figured
out ways to game the state's recently restructured electricity
market, sending power prices soaring. The crisis bankrupted
California's largest utility, Pacific Gas and Electric Co., and
cost Gov. Gray Davis his job. That experience haunted the
regulators who created California's cap-and-trade system, and
they vowed not to let history repeat itself. Posted.


Will U.S. role at climate talks change after storm? During a year
with a monster storm and scorching heat waves, Americans have
experienced the kind of freakish weather that many scientists say
will occur more often on a warming planet.  And as a re-elected
president talks about global warming again, climate activists are
cautiously optimistic that the U.S. will be more than a
disinterested bystander when the U.N. climate talks resume Monday
with a two-week conference in Qatar.  Posted. 

Euro debt crisis saps EU's ability to lead climate debate. The
EU's debt crisis has sapped its ability to lead the way in global
climate talks, which began in Doha on Monday, and build on a
fragile victory it clinched a year ago.  The European Union is
one of the few to have promised to sign up to a second
emissions-cutting period under the Kyoto process, the only
international pact on tackling climate change.  Posted. 

U.S. holds to climate goals despite poor nations' pleas.  About
200 nations met for annual U.N. talks on global warming with
little prospect of a breakthrough and recriminations over how to
keep alive hopes of a new, global U.N. deal to fight climate
change meant to start up in 2020.  "We're sleepwalking off a
cliff," Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists said.
There was a lack of ambition to confront rising world greenhouse
gas emissions at the two-week meeting, the first in an OPEC
nation, he said.  Posted. 

Sea snails show impact of more acidic ocean.  Oceans soak up
about a quarter of the carbon dioxide released into the
atmosphere each year and as CO2 levels in the atmosphere increase
from burning fossil fuels, so do ocean levels, making seas more
acidic.  Ocean acidification is one of the effects of climate
change and threatens coral reefs, marine ecosystems and wildlife.

Timeline: How the world found out about global warming.  Here is
a timeline of the road to action on global warming:  300 BC -
Theophrastus, a student of the Greek philosopher Aristotle,
documents that human activity can affect climate. He observes
that drainage of marshes cools an area around Thessaly and that
clearing of forests near Philippi warms the climate.  Posted. 

Factbox: Climate negotiating positions of big greenhouse
emitters.  The current emissions-cutting pact, the Kyoto
Protocol, commits most developed states to binding targets for
cutting emissions but expires at the end of this year. It may be
extended for a period of five or eight years, but several
industrialized countries have already said they will not sign up
to further emission cuts.  Following are the negotiating
positions of the some of the biggest greenhouse gas emitters
ahead of the U.N. meeting.  Posted. 

Focus Turns to Climate.  Environmentalists have seized on recent
comments by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on climate change to push
him to call for far stricter controls on carbon dioxide
emissions.  The effort comes as the nine states in the
cap-and-trade system called the Regional Greenhouse Gas
Initiative are preparing to adopt new rules on emission levels
for power plants.  Posted. 

State awaits Obama's next move on environment.  "I am a firm
believer that climate change is real, that it is impacted by
human behavior and carbon emissions. And as a consequence, I
think we've got an obligation to future generations to do
something about it," President Barack Obama said Nov. 14.  The
president has been sending signals on the environment like policy
test balloons. He mentioned climate change twice since
re-election, once during his victory speech, and above, during a
press conference at the White House.  Posted. 

US defends 'enormous' climate efforts at UN talks.  The U.S.
defended its track record on fighting climate change on Monday at
U.N. talks, saying it's making "enormous" efforts to slow global
warming and help the poor nations most affected by it.  Other
countries have accused Washington of hampering the climate talks
ever since the Bush administration abandoned the Kyoto Protocol,
the 1997 treaty limiting emissions of heat-trapping gases by
industrialized countries. Posted 

What Climate Change and Rising Seas Mean to the California
Coastline.  How much could the sea rise here, and what does it
mean for real estate on our hundreds of miles of coastline? Val
Zavala discusses with Joshua Willis, a climate scientist at the
Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena and an expert on the role
of oceans in the world's climate.  Posted. 

What Climate Change Will Mean for the California Desert.  A
report released this month by the World Bank bears some upsetting
news: without a redoubled commitment to reduce global greenhouse
gas emissions, the world will very likely warm by an average of
3-4° Celsius by the end of this century. (That's
5.5-7°Fahrenheit.) For parts of the California desert that
already regularly experience long stretches of daytime
temperatures exceeding 100°, considering a boost of seven more
degrees Fahrenheit is daunting indeed.  Posted. 


Hong Kong's Hazy Outlook.  Diesel fumes from aging trucks and
buses that clog Hong Kong's narrow streets are putting Asia's
financial hub on course for one of its worst years ever for
roadside air pollution.  The city prides itself on its reputation
for modernity that attracts professionals from around the world.
And though smog regularly obscures Hong Kong's famed harbor, some
pollution has become an accepted fact of life.  Posted.  BY

New Conn. program to cut diesel emissions. The state of
Connecticut is making $360,000 in grants available to replace
on-road, heavy-duty diesel trucks with new, low-emission trucks.
The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection unveiled
the program on Friday. It is being funded with proceeds from a
federal court decree involving an environmental enforcement
matter. The judge in the case required that the money be spent to
reduce air pollution. Posted.


COLUMN-Extreme project risk still holds back GTL: John Kemp. 
Gas-to-liquids (GTL) beats other options like pipelines,
liquefied natural gas (LNG) and compressed natural gas (CNG) for
smaller gas deposits stranded thousands of kilometres from
consuming markets.  GTL plants are the most attractive way to
realise the value in natural gas when oil prices are above $60
per barrel and gas prices are below $8 per million British
thermal units, according to the 2012 "Global Energy Assessment",
a landmark study compiled by the International Institute for
Applied Systems Analysis.  Posted. 

Tamar group inks $4 bln Israel Corp natgas deals.  In all, Tamar
group will supply at least 16 billion cubic meters (bcm) of
natural gas in three, multi-year contracts. Israel Corp
previously had a deal to buy Egyptian gas, but Egypt stopped
supplying gas to Israel earlier this year.  The Tamar prospect,
whose estimated reserves of 274 bcm made it one of the largest
discoveries of the past decades, is expected to begin production
around April 2013.  Posted. 

Linde awarded major contract for LNG plant by PETRONAS in
Malaysia.  The technology company The Linde Group has received an
order for a mid-scale liquefied natural gas (LNG) plant from
Malaysia LNG Sdn. Bhd., a production subsidi­ary of Malaysia's
national oil and gas company PETRONAS. The new boil-off gas
re-liquefaction facility has a maximum design capacity of 1,840
tons of LNG per day and will be located in the Bintulu LNG
complex in Sarawak, East Malaysia.  Posted. 

Ivory Coast's Foxtrot to invest nearly $1 bln to up gas output. 
Ivory Coast-based Foxtrot International, along with partners Gaz
de France and state oil company Petroci, plans to invest around
500 billion CFA francs ($987.76 million) over five years to boost
offshore gas production, Foxtrot's managing director said. 

Westport introduces advanced LNG tank system for natural gas
trucks; unsaturated LNG for large SI engines.  Westport
Innovations Inc. is introducing a new on-board liquefied natural
gas (LNG) storage solution that supports the use of cold
(unsaturated) LNG fuel for large SI-engine vehicles that would
have earlier required warm (saturated) LNG. By carrying fuel as
cold LNG, the Westport LNG Tank System can increase fuel storage
times and improve vehicle range by up to 10%.  Posted. 

DOE seeks input on barriers to thermochemical liquefaction
conversion of biomass to drop-in transportation fuels.  The US
Department of Energy (DOE) has issued a Request for Information
(RFI) (DE-FOA-0000796) to garner input from researchers in
industry, academia, and other interested biofuels stakeholders to
identify key technical barriers in converting biomass via
thermochemical direct liquefaction pathways to transportation
fuels in the gasoline, diesel, and jet fuel ranges.  Posted. 

With Ban on Drilling Practice, Town Lands in Thick of Dispute.
This old farming town near the base of the Rocky Mountains has
long been considered a conservative next-door neighbor to the
ultraliberal college town of Boulder, a place bisected by the
railroad and where middle-class families found a living at the
vegetable cannery, sugar mill and Butterball turkey plant. But
this month, Longmont became the first town in Colorado to outlaw
hydraulic fracturing, the oil-drilling practice commonly known as
fracking. Posted.

Va. uranium panel meets in Richmond for last time. A multi-agency
state panel studying the possibility of uranium mining in
Virginia conducts its final public meeting Tuesday before
submitting its report to legislators in December. The Uranium
Working Group meeting is scheduled to review statutory and
regulatory changes that would be required if a 30-year ban on
uranium mining is ended so a mining company can tap a
119-milllion-pound deposit of the radioactive ore in Southside
Virginia. The Richmond meeting is also expected to examine
emergency preparedness and response plans, should mining be
allowed. Posted. 

Baker Hughes Converts Fleet of Hydraulic Fracturing Units to
Bifuel. Baker Hughes Incorporated (NYSE: BHI), through its
subsidiary Baker Hughes Oilfield Operations, has converted a
fleet of its Rhino™ hydraulic fracturing units to bifuel pumps as
a way to improve operational efficiency, lower costs, and reduce
health, safety and environmental impacts. The new pumps use a
mixture of natural gas and diesel, reducing diesel use by up to
65 percent with no loss of hydraulic horsepower. The converted
fleet, which meets all U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
emissions standards, also can reduce a number of emissions
including nitrogen oxides, carbon dioxide and particulate matter.

Propane distributor hopes to entice motorists with alternative
fuel option. Greg Schultze has made it his mission to educate
anyone who will listen about the benefits of propane gas. But
spare Schultze any "King of the Hill" jokes or comparisons to the
cartoon's propane-selling Hank Hill character. The regional sales
manager for Delta Liquid Energy is serious when it comes to
discussing propane as a viable, cleaner source of transportation

Iran plans new oil storage, airline hikes fares. Iran is planning
to build new oil storage facilities so it can store more of the
fuel it is having a hard time selling due to Western sanctions
over its disputed nuclear program. State-run Press TV quoted
Mahmoud Zirakchianzadeh, Director of the Iranian Offshore Oil
Company, as saying nearly 8.1 million barrels will be added to
Iran's crude oil storage capacity by the next summer. Iran has
the world's third largest proven oil reserves and was OPEC's
second largest exporter, but sanctions have stymied the flow
since summer. Posted.


Marin Voice: Electric trolleys are a viable transit option in
Marin.  A DICK SPOTSWOOD column was a big disappointment to those
of us who look toward a more sustainable future in California,
thanks to new technologies and attitudes about energy, housing
and development, as well as transportation. Spotswood (IJ, Sept.
23, "SMART 'transit hub' housing won't lessen carbon footprint")
sees these changes as a smoke screen for increasing housing. 
There is a larger view that he is missing, and it is about
Sonoma-Marin Area Rail Transit connecting to Marin.  Posted.

Authorities: Marijuana growers using solar power.  Illegal
marijuana growers are increasingly using solar power to operate
large-scale operations in an attempt to remain off the grid and
avoid detection from law enforcement agents, authorities said. 
In isolated regions of the country, law enforcement agencies say
they are finding more growers going green and trying to be
self-sufficient by drawing power directly from the sun.  Posted. 

Mass. natural gas explosion damaged 42 buildings.  Building
inspectors assessing homes and businesses in western
Massachusetts' largest city after a natural gas explosion says
the blast damaged more than 40 buildings.  The Friday evening
explosion in Springfield leveled a strip club next to a day care.
It injured 18 people, many of them emergency workers.  Posted. 

Berkeley studying electrical power options.  Like it or not, most
PG&E customers get their electricity from a mix of sources,
including nuclear, hydroelectric, natural gas, coal, wind and
sun.  But there's a renewed effort in the Oakland-Berkeley area
to create a program -- formally called a Community Choice
Aggregation -- where decisions are made locally on what energy
sources to use and where to procure that power.  Posted. 

UK energy deal triples renewable subsidy by 2020.  The agreement
is expected to boost the share of renewables in Britain's energy
mix to 30 percent by 2020, outpacing European Union targets of 20
percent, and create thousands of new jobs.  "Today we've reached
a landmark agreement on energy policy that's going to deliver a
clear, durable signal to investors," British Prime Minister David
Cameron's spokeswoman said.  Posted. 

UPDATE 1-Russia's Gazprom wins 30-year gas export deal in Turkey.
 Gazprom clinched a long-term deal on Monday to export natural
gas to private companies in Turkey, securing a growing market for
the Russian gas export monopoly as it faces declines from its
core consumers in the European Union.  Turkey's energy market
regulatory authority gave private energy companies Akfel,
Bosphorus and Kibar licences to import gas from Russia's Western
Line over 30 years.  Posted. 

German local power grids need 30 bln euro investment –utilities. 
Germany needs more than 30 billion euros of investment in its
local electricity distribution grids in the next two decades to
ensure the success of its switch from nuclear to renewable
energy, local utility association VKU said.  "VKU estimates that
(existing) distribution grids need investments of 25 billion
euros ($32 billion) up to 2030," the group said on Monday. 

The rise and fall of the U.S. wind industry, in one chart. 
Twenty years ago, it would have been extremely difficult to find
a single wind turbine looming over the hills and plains of the
United States.  Things have changed since then — and dramatically
so. Thanks to a series of tax credits from Congress as well as
state-level mandates, wind power has taken off, with thousands of
turbines dotting the landscape in states such as Texas and
California.  Posted. 

Climate skeptic group works to reverse renewable energy mandates.
 The Heartland Institute, a libertarian think tank skeptical of
climate change science, has joined with the conservative American
Legislative Exchange Council to write model legislation aimed at
reversing state renewable energy mandates across the country. 
The Electricity Freedom Act, adopted by the council’s board of
directors in October, would repeal state standards requiring
utilities to get a portion of their electricity from renewable
power, calling it “essentially a tax on consumers of
electricity.”  Posted. 

Doubts on $30 billion aid for climate change overshadow UN talks.
 Doubts mounted about whether developed nations honored a pledge
to deliver $30 billion in aid for fighting and defend against
climate change after two analysts estimated different amounts had
been paid out.  The question over how much finance was provided
under the “fast-start” program has the potential to undermine
trust between donor and recipient nations during two weeks of
United Nations talks on a treaty to curb global warming.  Posted.

US/China research team proposes “solar energy funnel” to harness
photons for electricity; using elastic strain to capture a wider
spectrum.  Researchers from Peking University in China and MIT
are proposing using elastic strain as a viable agent to create an
optoelectronic material with a spatially varying bandgap that is
tunable for use in photovoltaics, photocatalysis and
photodetection. Posted. 

Study finds biodiesel from algae, yeast and bacteria can displace
both petroleum diesel and soybean biodiesel.  Biodiesel (fatty
acid methyl ester) derived from oleaginous microbes—microalgae,
yeast, and bacteria—can effectively displace both petroleum
diesel and biodiesel produced from plant oils, according to the
findings of a new study by a team from Utah State University. 

2nd annual Race to Reduce Awards to recognize leaders in energy
reduction, landlord/tenant collaboration. Are the Toronto
region's office buildings on track to meet their collective
energy reduction goal in the four-year Race to Reduce?
CivicAction's Greening Greater Toronto will answer that question
as it announces the winners of office building performance,
landlord-tenant engagement, and action and innovation at the
second annual Race to Reduce Awards. The 2012 Race to Reduce
awards take place on Wednesday, November 28 at the Metro Toronto
Convention Centre at 5:30 p.m. The event is one of several during
the week-long celebration of CivicAction's tenth-year
anniversary. Posted.

Clean Diesel Power Delivers Official U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree
To Washington, D.C. After a three-week, 28-city tour across the
United States, the 73-foot Engelmann Spruce Christmas tree that
will be illuminated outside the U.S. Capitol building arrived
this morning in Washington, D.C. "The People's Tree" began its
5,012 mile cross-country journey on November 2nd from the White
River National Forest in Colorado en route to the nation's
capital.  The tree's journey was under the supervision of the
U.S. Forest Service. Posted.

Solar power plants burden the counties that host them. When it
comes to attracting business to California's eastern deserts,
Inyo County is none too choosy. Since the 19th century the
sparsely populated county has worked to attract industries
shunned by others, including gold, tungsten and salt mining. The
message: Your business may be messy, but if you plan to hire our
residents, the welcome mat is out. Posted. 

New closing date set for sale of UP power plant. Escanaba Green
Energy could become owner of the Escanaba power plant in less
than a month. The Daily Press reports that Dec. 20 is the new
closing date for the sale of the coal-fueled plant in Michigan's
Upper Peninsula. The sale price is $1.6 million. Escanaba Green
Energy plans to invest more than $30 million to buy, modernize
and convert the facility to burn biomass. Company president
Charles Detiege says construction to convert the plant from coal
to wood chips could begin in April. Posted.


California's high-speed rail gains momentum, but doubts remain.
California's effort to build a high-speed rail line between San
Francisco and Los Angeles - the largest public works project now
under way in the United States - is picking up political
momentum, but even supporters wonder whether it can stay on track
to meet its goal by 2029. Posted.


German carmakers seek wider EU loophole on CO2 standard.  EU car
manufacturers are divided over how a 2020 EU target to cut carbon
emissions to an average of 95 grams per km should be shared out
across the European industry.  A proposal from German automakers'
body VDA would allow manufacturers effectively to add on around
10 grams of carbon per km to the EU target, campaigners say. 

Natural gas drillers target US truck, bus market.  If the trash
truck or bus rolling down your street seems a little quieter
these days, you're not imagining things. It's probably running on
natural gas.  Surging gas production has led the drilling
industry to seek out new markets for its product, and energy
companies, increasingly, are setting their sights on the
transportation sector.   Posted.  BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY. 

Freeway Drones for a Futuristic Highway Patrol. IT’S a future far
from Ponch and Jon, the Los Angeles-based motorcycle officers of
“CHiPs,” a TV series that rose to popularity in the 1970s. In
this take on the California Highway Patrol of 2025, patrol cars
and motorcycles would be replaced by computerized drones; chips
take over CHiPs. Here, the highway patrol vehicles of the future
will be mostly self-driving, if you accept the solutions offered
by the entries in this year’s Design Challenge, an annual
competition organized in conjunction with the Los Angeles auto
show. Posted.

Shanghai General Motors introduces Sail SPRINGO EV at Auto
Guangzhou 2012; green technology strategy to 2020.  At the
opening of Auto Guangzhou 2012, Shanghai General Motors launched
its first localized new energy vehicle, the Sail SPRINGO EV. The
vehicle was developed by Shanghai GM and the Pan Asia Technical
Automotive Center (PATAC), making it the first production
electric vehicle created by a Chinese joint venture.  Posted. 

GM and U Mich receive patent on plug-in series hybrid/extended
range electric vehicle powertrain using multiple free piston
linear alternator engines.  GM Global Technology Operations LLC
and the Regents of the University of Michigan recently were
awarded a US patent (Nº 8,261,860) for a plug-in series hybrid or
range-extended electric vehicle powertrain using multiple free
piston linear alternator (FPLA) engines.  Posted. 


Editorial: California's first cap and trade foray doesn't yet
answer question: Will it reduce greenhouse gas? California dipped
its toe into the cap-and-trade water and found it to be neither
too hot nor too cold. Air Resources Board chairwoman Mary D.
Nichols proclaimed the first auction of carbon allowances to be a
success. Numerous environmentalists who want cap and trade to
succeed also praised it. But in reality, the first live auction
conducted last week and assessed this week was like taking a test
drive in an alternative fuel vehicle. Maybe it will fit
California's needs. Maybe it won't.
Nichols and others said the goal of cap and trade, in which
polluters pay to offset their carbon emissions, is not to
generate money for the state. Posted.

Get real about rail: Letters to the Editor for Sunday, Nov. 25,
2012.  The newspaper is on the right track by pointing out how
proponents of the bullet train from Southern California to San
Francisco are out of touch with reality. The voters were sold a
bill of goods for a bullet train that has already proven to be
unrealistic. Estimated costs have risen. Projected ridership,
revenues and ridership are all problematical.  Posted. 

All Fresno must care about west Fresno air.  How would you feel
if you knew that where you live is prematurely cutting 27 years
off of your life?  I'm not talking about living in some
underdeveloped or war-torn region of the world. Recent research
from the Central Valley Health Policy Institute reveals that west
Fresno residents, who are primarily African-American and Latino,
are expected to live an average of 27 years less than residents
of other parts of Fresno.  Posted.

AHRON HAKIMI: Amtrak rolls out its vision for better service in
Central Valley. 
Regardless of whether the high-speed rail project continues
forward at its present rate, a lesser-known expansion proposal of
the existing Amtrak system throughout the San Joaquin Valley has
been quietly gathering steam. Beginning at 6:30 p.m. this
Thursday, Caltrans will host a public workshop on Amtrak's San
Joaquins Vision Project at the Kern Council of Governments
office, 1401 19th St., Suite 300, in Bakersfield. The San Joaquin
line, which runs from Bakersfield to Oakland and Sacramento, is
the fifth-busiest run in the nation. Posted.

WILLIAM DICKINSON: Earth's explosive population growth
manifesting as climate change. Climate change, global warming --
call it what you will -- forces us to deal with the consequences
of another threat to humankind: overpopulation. If today's 7.1
billion people have already dangerously overloaded our atmosphere
with greenhouse gases, what can we expect when world population
tops 9 billion by midcentury? This is an existential question the
climate denial folks don't want to answer and, to their relief,
it is one rarely asked. Posted.

will unveil a new car that executives expect few customers to
buy, and few dealers to order, according to The Wall Street
Journal. But this failure has a perverse bright side, because
Chrysler CEO Sergio Marchionne expects to lose up to $9,000 on
each one he sells.  Posted. 


First cap-and-trade auction a bust for California budget. State
environmental leaders this week hailed California's first
cap-and-trade auction a success, but it was hardly so for the
state budget. Gov. Jerry Brown and state lawmakers assumed three
auctions this fiscal year would generate $1 billion total for the
state, half of which they want to plug the state budget deficit.
But most of the $289 million raised this month is dedicated for
utilities and their ratepayers, leaving only $55.8 million for
state purposes. Posted.

What's your QELRO? Fast guide to UN climate lingo.  Every time
U.N. negotiators meet for their annual climate talks, they come
up with a new set of unintuitive acronyms, as if to make sure
that people outside the climate bubble won't understand what
they're talking about.  So here's a guide that will help you
crack the code to the climate lingo at the two-week conference
that started Monday in Doha, Qatar.  Posted. 

While we dither on spending to prevent disaster, Big Oil doubles
down on causing it.  Disaster cleanup is a lousy way to spend $19
billion, even if it creates thousands of temporary jobs. A much
better way is to spend money to prevent the worst effects from
happening at all. So far, Americans have shown little interest in
such foresight. From The New Yorker's James Surowiecki:  Posted. 

Paris to ban older cars, ruining all of your chase scenes.  If
you know Paris, you know that it is primarily populated by men
with pencil-thin mustaches who wear berets and carry around
baguettes in paper bags. A lot of them wear shirts with thick
horizontal stripes. These men don't talk much, they mostly loiter
around in the background speaking a language comprised mostly of
sniffs and grumbles.  Posted. 

Sandy-battered neighborhood gives thanks for solar [VIDEO]. 
Since Hurricane Sandy, the historic Belle Harbor Yacht Club in
the Rockaways -- one of New York City's hardest-hit neighborhoods
-- has become an indispensable hub for supplies, volunteers, and
a much-needed round of drinks. Three weeks after the storm, the
oft-maligned Long Island Power Authority still hasn't reconnected
this building, not to mention its neighbors, back to the grid,
leaving locals to face the prospect of a cold, dark Thanksgiving.

Did You Save Some Turkey Fat? Other Oils? Most of us tend to pour
the oil directly down the drain. A quick wash with dish liquid
convinces us that we’re breaking down the fat sufficiently.
Unfortunately, that’s when the work might begin for the plumber.
Fat, oil and grease (FOG) poured down a drain will eventually
cool, clinging to the sides of pipes and making it harder for
water to flow through the vast arterial networks underground. But
some people are aware that our Thanksgiving effluent has
potential as biofuel. And as it turns out, several cities across
the United States are running public or privately run FOG
recycling drives. Posted.

The Worldwide Vulnerability of Forests. One of the great
scientific tasks of the day is to understand how and why trees
die. It may seem like a question that would have been answered
many decades ago, but it was not — at least not at a detailed
physiological level. Now, amid growing signs worldwide that
forests are at risk as the climate changes, scientists are trying
to catch up to events. Posted.

Another Path to Biofuels. Last week I wrote about two companies
that are racing to be first in commercial-scale production of
motor fuel from nonfood sources. A large group of other companies
is pursuing various other strategies, one or two steps behind.
One of those companies is planning to use algae. Posted.

Creating a Vital Long View for Gauging Environmental Change. Last
year, Michael SanClements, an ecologist affiliated with the
Institute of Arctic & Alpine Research at the University of
Colorado, sent a Dot Earth “Postcard” about a project studying
soil microbes in Antarctica. Here’s a fresh contribution from
SanClements, along with colleague Jeff Taylor, from the other end
of the planet — Alaska’s Arctic tundra. They are both staff
scientists with the National Ecological Observatory Network, an
initiative supported by the National Science Foundation that has
a goal of creating a view of ecological change that spans the
continent over the next three decades. Posted.

An 83-Second History of 20 Years of Climate Diplomacy. If you
want to review the history of climate diplomacy before you start
seeing coverage from Doha, Qatar, next Monday of the 18th round
of negotiations under the United Nations Framework Convention on
Climate Change, two choices are to click on the 83-second
animation above or click here for my past coverage for The Times.

As Doha Climate Talks Convene, Report Finds Broken Promises. All
eyes are on Doha, Qatar, this week as world leaders, politicians,
academics and environmentalists gather to work on a global
solution to climate change at the United Nations Framework
Convention on Climate Change. O.K., not all eyes. After deep
disappointment at the Rio+20 conference in June, when nations
wrestled with the related challenges of sustainable development,
more and more people may be ignoring these global confabs.
Still, it is in Doha that the slow-turning wheels of global
politics will try to devise plans to both mitigate climate change
and adapt to it. “This conference is not merely procedural, it
can also bring about important policy,” said Martin Kaiser, head
of the International Climate Politics unit of Greenpeace. Posted.


Air quality agency issues Southland no-burn alert. Much of Los
Angeles is being asked to hold off lighting wood-burning
fireplaces or open pits starting at midnight Saturday and
continuing for 24 hours to avoid releasing unhealthy soot that
becomes trapped in the air by a wintertime weather pattern. The
first-ever no-burn alert comes with a $50 fine for first-time
residential violators and applies to the downtown area, West
Hollywood, Burbank and much of the eastern San Fernando Valley.

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