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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for November 27, 2012.

Posted: 27 Nov 2012 14:41:23
ARB Newsclips for November 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.


Traffic pollution tied to autism risk: study. Babies who are
exposed to lots of traffic-related air pollution in the womb and
during their first year of life are more likely to become
autistic, according to a U.S. study. The findings, which appeared
in the Archives of General Psychiatry, support previous research
linking how close children live to freeways to their risk of
autism, the study's lead author says. Posted.



AQMD issues one-day bans on fireplace use in Los Angeles,
Riverside areas. As temperatures begin to drop and the winter
season approaches, the South Coast Air Quality Management
District this week issued its first-ever mandatory "no burn
alerts" prohibiting residents in some areas from lighting up
their wood-burning fireplaces. In an effort to reduce harmful
pollutants that become trapped during particular weather
conditions, the Diamond Bar-based smog control agency began
implementing the mandatory program on Nov. 1 for the second
consecutive year. Posted.

New fireplace rules not coming until 2016 or later. A valley air
district proposal that could increase restrictions on residential
wood burning in the San Joaquin Valley will not become official
until at least 2016 or 2017, air district officials said Monday.
An article in Monday's Californian, based on an Associated Press
report, was unclear on when the new restrictions might take
place. Posted.

First no-burn alerts issued. The South Coast Air Quality
Management District has issued its first two no-burn orders for
Southern California. Neither alert affected Southwest County. To
fight the buildup of particle pollution or soot during the cooler
months, the district put in place last year a program to curb
fireplace and wood stove fires when pollution is expected to
reach the unhealthful range. The program runs November through
February. Posted.


Looking to Cities, in Search of Global Warming’s Silver Lining.
Heat, carbon dioxide and air pollution are already having
significant effects on trees, plants and crops, and for most
plant scientists, the debate over climate change ended long
before the arrival of extreme weather like Hurricane Sandy. Now,
some of those scientists have moved beyond political questions to
explore how rising levels of heat and emissions might provide at
least some benefits for the planet. Posted.

U.N. Climate Talks Promise Little Drama. The last three United
Nations climate change summit meetings have been disorderly
affairs, marked by brinkmanship, breakdowns and a weary sense
that there has to be a better way to address the intensifying
challenge of a simmering planet. The meeting of the United
Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change this year, which
opened Monday in Doha, Qatar, promises to be a more staid affair
than the three previous sessions — in Copenhagen in 2009; Cancún,
Mexico, in 2010; and Durban, South Africa, last year. 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.

Rich, poor spar at climate talks.  The first signs of tensions
emerged at the U.N. climate talks on Tuesday as delegates from
island and African nations chided rich countries for refusing to
offer up new emissions cuts over the next eight years which could
help stem global warming.  The debate mostly swirled around the
Kyoto Protocol — a legally-binding emissions cap that expires
this year and remains the most significant international
achievement in the fight against global warming. Posted. 


UN climate scientist: Sandy no coincidence. Though it's tricky to
link a single weather event to climate change, Hurricane Sandy
was "probably not a coincidence" but an example of the extreme
weather events that are likely to strike the U.S. more often as
the world gets warmer, the U.N. climate panel's No. 2 scientist
said Tuesday. Jean-Pascal van Ypersele, the vice chairman of the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, predicted that as
stronger and more frequent heat waves and storms become part of
life, people will stop asking whether global warming played a
role. Posted.


Tensions emerge at UN climate talks as delegates debate extending
Kyoto Protocol.  The first signs of tensions emerged at the U.N.
climate talks on Tuesday as delegates from island and African
nations chided rich countries for refusing to offer up new
emissions cuts over the next eight years which could help stem
global warming.  The debate mostly swirled around the Kyoto
Protocol — a legally-binding emissions cap that expires this year
and remains the most significant international achievement in the
fight against global warming.  Posted. 

US defends 'enormous' climate efforts at UN talks. Anticipating
an onslaught of criticism from poor nations, the United States
claimed "enormous" strides in reducing greenhouse emissions at
the opening of U.N. climate talks Monday, despite failing to join
other industrialized nations in committing to binding cuts. The
pre-emptive U.S. approach underscores one of the major showdowns
expected at the two-week conference as China pushes developed
countries to take an even greater role in tackling global
warming. Posted.

Spending cap-and-trade proceeds is legally restricted.
California's cap-and-trade program is expected to produce about
half a billion dollars in revenue this year for general fund
programs through the sale of carbon credits. But state officials
may be able to spend only a fifth of that revenue, according to
the state's Legislative Analyst's Office. State regulations
require proceeds from fees to be spent on programs related to the
fees. For example, fees collected at state parks must be used on
park-related activities. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/11/27/8  BY

U.S. touts its greenhouse gas reductions at climate talks. The
Obama administration has made "enormous" efforts to cut domestic
greenhouse gas emissions, U.S. Deputy Envoy for Climate Change
Jonathan Pershing said yesterday. Speaking in Doha, Qatar, on the
opening day of the U.N. climate change conference, Pershing said
U.S. emissions peaked "several years ago." He also appeared to
take umbrage at a suggestion that America hasn't pulled its
weight in the global quest to curb greenhouse gases, citing fuel
efficiency measures, financial investments in clean technology
and U.S. EPA regulations of power plant emissions. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/11/27/5 BY


Hybrid trucks could ease air pollution fueled by shipping. San
Diego, California, California - While shopping online might
contribute to air pollution due to increased trucking, perfecting
hybrid trucks could help control emissions and cut fuel
consumption in half.  Buses and trucks, particularly vehicles
used to transport goods, represent a huge percentage of global
fuel consumption and tailpipe emissions, said Gregory Shaver, a
Purdue University associate professor of mechanical engineering.
Growth in e-commerce is one phenomenon leading to significant
increases in the number of trucks needed to transport goods. 

Natural Gas Summit This Week.  The American Trucking
Associations' sold-out Summit on Natural Gas in Trucking will be
held this week, Nov. 28-30, featuring natural gas heavyweights
such as T. Boone Pickens.  The event starts with "Natural Gas
101: A Primer," by Rich Kolodziej, president of NGVAmerica,
followed by a panel discussion of natural gas production. Top
executives from Pilot Flying J, TravelCenters of America and
Love's Travel Stops will discuss infrastructure hurdles.  Posted.

Heavy-duty trucking sector could pay off efficiency upgrades in
18 months – study. By adopting technologies that pay themselves
off in less than two years, the road freight industry could
deliver hefty emissions reductions and save thousands of dollars
in fuel costs, according to a report released today by the Carbon
War Room. By adding a suite of seven efficiency technologies to
its tractor-trailer fleet, the U.S. trucking sector could save
624 million tons of carbon dioxide by 2022, according to the
report. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/11/27/4 BY


Iraq to help Jordan with free crude oil. Iraq says it is giving
neighboring Jordan 100,000 barrels of oil as a gift to help
overcome its economic difficulties. The decision by the Cabinet
Tuesday could be seen as an attempt by the Shiite-led Iraqi
government to offer support to one of its Sunni neighbors.
Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis have fled to Jordan because of
violence that followed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of their
country. Posted.

Truck, bus fleets targeted for fuel conversion. Praising natural
gas as a cheaper and cleaner alternative to diesel, drillers,
public utilities and government officials are trying to boost
demand for natural-gas-powered work vehicles of all sorts, while
also encouraging development of the necessary refueling
infrastructure. The savings are tempting. Natural gas costs about
$1.50 to $2 per gallon equivalent less than gasoline and diesel,
adding up to tens of thousands of dollars in savings for vehicles
that consume the most fuel. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/print/2012/11/27/10  BY

Study Shows Saltwater Algae May Become Viable For Biofuels.  The
findings of a U.C. San Diego study conclude that marine
(saltwater) algae can be just as efficient as freshwater algae in
producing biofuels.  The availability of significant saltwater
environments for algae production is obvious. According to a
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory's (PNNL) report, algal
fuels grown in saline water from existing aquifers and recycling
nutrients would be able to provide up to twice the goal for
advanced biofuels set under the Energy Independence and Security
Act - roughly 40 billion gallons or 20 percent of annual
transportation fuel demand.  Posted. 

UCSD/Sapphire team shows marine algae can be engineered to
perform as well as fresh water algae to produce enzymes and
biofuels; removing the constraint of fresh water.  Researchers
from UC San Diego and Sapphire Energy, Inc. have demonstrated for
the first time that genetically engineered marine algae can be
just as capable as fresh water algae in producing industrially
relevant products such as enzymes or biofuels.  Posted. 

Synthetic fuels could eliminate entire U.S. need for crude oil. 
The United States could eliminate the need for crude oil by using
a combination of coal, natural gas, and non-food crops to make
synthetic fuel, a team of Princeton University researchers has
found.  Besides economic and national security benefits, the plan
has potential environmental advantages. Because plants absorb
carbon dioxide to grow, the United States could cut vehicle
greenhouse emissions by as much as 50% in the next several
decades using non-food crops to create liquid fuels, the
researchers say.  Posted. 


GM rolls out new electric mini-car at LA Auto Show. General
Motors is giving its Chevrolet Spark a jolt of electricity. An
all-electric version of the mini-car will debut this week at the
Los Angeles Auto Show. It goes on sale this summer in California,
Oregon, Canada and South Korea, where it's made. Other markets
will follow. Unlike the Chevrolet Volt sedan, which can run in
all-electric mode but also has a backup gas engine, the Spark EV
is a pure electric. Posted.


Fresno EDC to hold workshops on high-speed rail work.  The Fresno
Economic Development Corporation will hold free workshops on
Friday and Saturday for small businesses looking for work as
subcontractors on California's high-speed rail project.  The
workshops are planned for experts to walk business owners through
the steps needed to become certified as small businesses or
disadvantaged business enterprises.  A list of the businesses
certified at the workshops will be provided to each of the five
contracting firms expected to bid for the first high-speed rail
construction segment between Madera and Fresno.  Posted. 

EV maintenance and repair costs: 35 % cheaper than for ICEs.  “In
addition to financial incentives and lower cost of electricity
compared to conventional fuels, EV owners can also save on
servicing costs to compensate for higher purchase costs” said
Prof. Willi Diez, IFA Institute Director.  The Institute
calculated these numbers on the basis of a small car with a
lifetime of 8 years and an annual mileage of 8,000km. For ICEs,
running on gasoline or diesel, maintenance and repair costs will
represent on average 3,650€, when owners of a battery-electric
car will only have to pay 2,350€.  Posted. 


New Sources of Energy Sought for Britain's Future. With a
generation of aging power plants nearing closure and tough
carbon-cutting targets kicking in soon, Britain’s government is
seeking to lay the groundwork for big changes in the country’s
electricity sector. A mammoth energy bill to be published this
week is likely to reshape Britain’s power landscape, encouraging
the growth of natural gas, a new generation of nuclear plants and
renewable technologies like offshore wind and solar. Posted. 

Veterans find jobs, and new mission, in clean tech. When military
veterans search for jobs, they often want more than a paycheck.
Many say they look for rewarding work and a team of dedicated
people focused on a common mission. With the war in Iraq
officially over and the American presence in Afghanistan winding
down, many veterans are finding new careers and that strong sense
of purpose in the growing clean-tech economy. 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. In a paper published in Nature Photonics, they
propose that a photovoltaic device made from a strain-engineered
MoS2 monolayer will capture a broad range of the solar spectrum
and concentrate excitons or charge carriers.  Posted. 


Environment compromise reached for beltway in southeast
Sacramento County. Environmentalists and proponents of a planned
$500 million expressway in southeast Sacramento County have
reached a lawsuit settlement that will allow the beltway to be
built but will reduce its potential growth impacts in the open
hills and river plain to the east. Representatives of the
Environmental Council of Sacramento and officials with the
Capital SouthEast Connector Joint Powers Authority said they
signed the landmark agreement Monday after months of
negotiations. Posted.


Grappling With the Permafrost Problem. The greatest single
uncertainty about climate change is how much the warming of the
planet will feed on itself. As the temperature increases because
of human emissions, feedbacks could cause new pools of carbon to
be released into the atmosphere, magnifying the trend. Other
types of feedbacks could potentially slow the warming. Over all,
climate scientists have only best guesses about how these
conflicting tendencies will balance out, though most of them
think the net result is likely to be a substantial rise in the
planet’s average temperature. Posted.

How Concerned Are You About Climate Change? After Hurricane
Sandy, many asked if climate change were to blame. While
scientists are not sure if the storm was caused or made worse by
human-induced global warming, they agree that it is clear that
humans are changing the environment. What have you learned about
climate change? How concerned are you about it? What do you think
should be done to address it?

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