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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for December 4, 2012.

Posted: 04 Dec 2012 14:14:00
ARB Newsclips for December 4, 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.


Yolo air quality officials call for no-burn night Tuesday.  The
Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District has called a Don't
Light Tonight advisory for Tuesday due to forecasted higher
pollution levels. The Yolo-Solano AQMD asks that residents do not
burn wood in their fireplaces or woodstoves on Tuesday.  Wood
smoke contributes to fine particulate pollution. Certain weather
conditions, such as those expected to be present in the
Yolo-Solano area on Tuesday, keep smoke in neighborhoods and
elevate pollution concentrations.  Posted. 


RIVERSIDE: Rule tweak exempts utility from carbon auction.
Riverside Public Utilities officials are breathing a sigh of
relief that, thanks to a minor rule change, they don’t have to
participate in carbon auctions that are part of the state’s
greenhouse gas reduction strategy. City electric utility
officials were worried that having to buy and sell carbon credits
in a newly created market would essentially force them to gamble
with ratepayers’ money and potentially raise rates to cover price
fluctuations. Posted.


UN chief urges faster response to global warming.  U.N.
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Tuesday urged governments to
speed up talks to forge a joint response to global warming,
describing it as an "existential challenge for the whole human
race."  Ban addressed the opening of the high-level segment of
annual U.N. climate talks, involving environment ministers and
climate officials from nearly 200 countries. They're discussing
future emissions reductions and climate aid to poor countries. 


Fossil fuel subsidies in focus at climate talks. Hassan
al-Kubaisi considers it a gift from above that drivers in oil-
and gas-rich Qatar only have to pay $1 per gallon at the pump.
"Thank God that our country is an oil producer and the price of
gasoline is one of the lowest," al-Kubaisi said, filling up his
Toyota Land Cruiser at a gas station in Doha. "God has given us a
blessing." To those looking for a global response to climate
change, it's more like a curse. Posted.

Hazardous Air Pollutants Detected Near Fracking Sites. 
InsideClimateNews.org -- For years, the controversy over natural
gas drilling has focused on the water and air quality problems
linked to hydraulic fracturing, the process where chemicals are
blasted deep underground to release tightly bound natural gas
deposits.  But a new study reports that a set of chemicals called
non-methane hydrocarbons, or NMHCs, is found in the air near
drilling sites even when fracking isn't in progress.  Posted. 

EPA approves ethanol made from grain sorghum. U.S. EPA has found
that ethanol produced from grain sorghum, a high-energy and
drought-tolerant crop, achieves enough greenhouse gas emissions
reduction to count toward federal biofuel mandates. The decision
opens the door for refiners to use grain sorghum ethanol to
receive credit under the renewable fuel standard, which requires
that 36 billion gallons of biofuel be blended into the nation's
fuel supply by 2022. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2012/12/04/14  BY


L.A. Auto Show: Are electric vehicle prices about to drop?  Don't
be surprised to see a decline in electric car prices over the
next several months.  When Chevrolet introduced its Spark EV at
the Los Angeles Auto Show this week, it said the car will sell
for less than $25,000 after a federal tax rebate. That would be
lower than the prices of electric vehicles on the market now,
although there are attractive lease deals.  The Leaf starts at
$28,550 after the federal tax credit. California buyers get an
additional $2,500 state rebate. Posted. 

Fuel economy of cars sold in October at record level.  Americans
continue to look for fuel-efficient vehicles when they go car
shopping.  The average fuel economy -- what is on the window
sticker of a new car -- of new vehicles sold in the U.S. in
October was 24.1 miles per gallon, the highest level yet. It was
up 4 mpg, or 20 percent, from October 2007, according to the
University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute. 

Berkeley Lab team develops high-performance lithium
sulfide-carbon composite cathode materials for high-energy
batteries targeting EVs.  Researchers from Lawrence Berkeley
National Laboratory (Berkeley Lab) have developed nanostructured
lithium sulfide/carbon (Li2S–C) composite cathodes that show
promise for use in high-energy batteries. The paper on their
work, published in the ACS journal Nano Letters, follows shortly
after an earlier report from a Stanford team led by Yi Cui on
another approach to using lithium-sulfide materials to build
rechargeable batteries with specific energies…Posted. 

Research in rare earth-free technology pushed by governments and
OEMs.  In view of the increased interest in electrically-powered
vehicles, car manufacturers, research institutes as well as
governments are looking to reduce their dependency on rare earth
minerals. Investments are channelled to research and development
of technologies that reduce the use of rare earth metals or that
completely avoid their use, but maintain the efficiency of the EV
motor.  The market for rare earth minerals like neodymium,
cerium, lanthanum and praseodymium, which are commonly used in
high-efficiency permanent magnet electric motors, is
overwhelmingly dominated by China. Posted. 

Ford Super Duty to Get Natural Gas Engines.  Westport Innovations
Inc. announced that it will expand its product offerings with the
introduction of natural gas powered versions of the Ford F-450
and F-550 Super Duty trucks in mid-2013.  The new product
additions will complement the Westport WiNG System powered Ford
F-250 and F-350 trucks.  "Our CNG bifuel systems for Ford F-250
and F-350 trucks have been very well received and as a result,
our customers are making increasing requests for customized
options and natural gas trucks with higher gross weights," said
John Lapetz, vice president, North America Vehicle Programs,
Westport LD.  Posted. 

Electric vehicles can play strong role in achieving energy
security – experts. Electric vehicles received strong
endorsements from business and political leaders at an energy
security event yesterday, despite the fact that alternative
vehicle sales remain low. Sen. Alexander Lamar (R-Tenn.), who
owns a Nissan Leaf all-electric car, said it was essential to
invest in research and development to bring down the prohibitive
costs of electric vehicles (EVs). Plug-in vehicles currently
represent less than 1 percent of all U.S. sales. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2012/12/04/8  BY


State lacks strategy on alternative energy, report says. The 2020
deadline on using more renewable sources could mean high bills
for electrical customers and damage to the environment, study
finds. California's push to add wind and solar energy to its
existing power grid could saddle ratepayers with soaring
electrical bills and despoil the state's environmental resources
unless officials act soon, according to a report released Monday
by a government watchdog agency. Posted.

Group issues warning about Calif. energy plan.  A California
watchdog group says the state's clean energy strategy will saddle
ratepayers with soaring utility bills unless officials act soon
to organize state energy agencies.  In a report released on
Monday, the nonpartisan Little Hoover Commission lauded
California's effort to reduce reliance on fossil fuels. But it
described the state's collection of energy agencies as
dysfunctional and balkanized and said their lack of organization
threatened to make the state's clean energy push an expensive
failure.  Posted. 

Report says California's green transformation could push up
energy prices. California's aggressive plans to build a
clean-energy economy could mean higher energy prices for
consumers and businesses, according to a report released Monday
by the Little Hoover Commission. The report largely focuses on
California's so-called renewable portfolio standard, which
requires utilities to obtain a third of their electricity from
renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020. Utilities like
PG&E are well on their way to meeting that goal. Posted.


BARSTOW: EPA to remove contaminated soil. Crews have begun
excavating chemical-laden soil in and around a Barstow property
believed to be the source of contamination that forced a shutdown
of the city’s drinking water supply in late 2010.
The property was once occupied by the owner of the now-defunct
Mojave Pyrotechnics Inc., a fireworks manufacturing company that
operated in the 1980s. Posted. 

Cupertino: Open space district files lawsuit against county over
Lehigh Cement's EIR. The Midpeninsula Regional Open Space
District is filing a lawsuit challenging the environmental impact
report for a recently approved reclamation plan for Lehigh
Southwest Cement's Permanente Quarry near Cupertino. The
district's lawsuit is against Santa Clara County and the county's
board of supervisors over their late-June decision to approve the
long-awaited reclamation plan. "Our deep concerns for the
quarry's air and water quality impacts, hazardous materials and
related recreational impacts remain unaddressed," district board
president Curt Riffle said. Posted.


The road to a climate change deal goes through Doha.  CLIMATE
CHANGE is global. Unless enough big-emitting nations stop pumping
carbon into the atmosphere, no single country’s efforts will
matter much. That is why, despite the many unmet deadlines, petty
squabbles and dashed hopes, it is still important for world
leaders to gather and work toward a climate deal, as they have
done many times in the past two decades and as they have been
doing in Doha, Qatar, since last Monday.  Posted. 

U.S. energy revolution transforms climate debate.  The last few
years have seen the beginnings of an energy revolution in the
U.S. The coming of shale gas and now shale oil has transformed
not just its energy outlook, but also the climate change debate. 
The game has changed: Energy independence, the goal first set by
Nixon in the early 1970s, looks like being achievable, at least
for the North American continent.  Posted. 


Want to slow Arctic melting? Stop flying over the North Pole.  As
the world keeps warming up, sea ice in the Arctic has been
disintegrating rapidly. It’s reached the point where scientists
are now debating whether it will take four years or 40 before we
start seeing ice-free summers up north.  So is that it? Is the
Arctic doomed? Perhaps not quite yet. A new study suggests one
way that humans could slow the melting of the sea ice — by
preventing international flights from crossing over the Arctic
circle. Posted. 

E.P.A. Updates a Decades-Old Water Quality Standard. Last week
the Environmental Protection Agency issued a new set of water
quality guidelines for monitoring bacterial outbreaks in inland
and coastal waters used frequently by recreational swimmers. The
standard was last updated in 1986. The move was prompted by a
federal court order and a requirement of the Beaches
Environmental Assessment and Coastal Health Act of 2000. Posted.

A Climate Scientist Proposes a ‘Fair Plan’ for Limiting Warming.
Michael Schlesinger, a climatologist at the University of
Illinois, has been immersed in both climate science and policy
analysis for decades. Lately he has been working with younger
researchers on papers aiming to clarify some of the basic
questions about the human contribution to recent warming and to
find a way for established and emerging industrial powers to
divvy up the task of cutting greenhouse gas emissions. Posted.

Bumps on the road to EV infrastructure in California.  About a
third of the electric cars in the U.S. are spinning on California
roads, but the state still has much work to do to build the
charging infrastructure to support them.  There are about 1,000
public chargers in the state right now, and New Jersey-based NRG
is poised to install 200 fast chargers and the wiring for 10,000
more regular chargers throughout the state by 2016.  Posted. 

Fossil fuels beat renewables in race for state and local
incentives.  Over the weekend, The New York Times launched a
series considering how state and local incentives to private
business benefit the localities that bestow them. The bottom line
seems to be: not much. Incentives frequently fail to prevent
companies from relocating or going out of business, and often
cost huge amounts of money while returning very little value to
the public.  Posted. 

The Most Successful Electric Car Cities.  Electric vehicles (EVs)
are becoming increasingly popular as cities all over the world
started recognizing their advantages and introducing initiatives
to promote the use of the plug-in transport. Although EVs are
still largely considered to be somewhat ‘cars of the future’,
there’s a rising global movement committed to making these
electric cars a reality of today. Posted. 

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