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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for December 12, 2012. Posted: 12 Dec 2012 13:05:44
ARB Newsclips for December 12, 2012. This is a service of the California Air Resources Boardís Office of Communications. You may need to sign in or register with individual websites to view some of the following news articles. CLIMATE CHANGE TIMELINE-Struggles of the EU's carbon market. German state prosecutors searched the offices of Germany's biggest lender, Deutsche Bank , on Wednesday in a widening probe linked to a tax evasion scheme involving the trading of carbon permits. The EU's flagship scheme to tackle climate change, the Emissions Trading System (ETS), forces some 12,000 emitters to buy carbon permits to cover their emissions output. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/12/eu-carbon-market-idUSL5E8NCAQ020121212 Plant hardiness zones and climate change. The year 2012 began with a revision of the USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map, replacing one that came out in 1990. Itís a pretty cool map. As before, its zones are based on average lowest annual winter temperature, but thanks to advances in the ways temperatures are recorded (by factoring in the effects of features such as hills and lakes, for instance) itís far more precise. Itís also fun to read. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/lifestyle/home/plant-hardiness-zones-and-climate-change/2012/12/11/08dbc7ac-3d95-11e2-8a5c-473797be602c_story.html FUELS Polish energy advisor: keep using coal for energy. An advisor to the Polish government says the country should keep using its coal for decades to come, despite a European Union policy of replacing the polluting fossil fuel with cleaner sources. Krzysztof Zmijewski, an expert on carbon gas emissions, said Wednesday that as global demand for energy rises, Poland should continue to use coal, a resource it has plenty of, though the technology needs to be cleaner to reduce carbon emissions. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Polish-energy-advisor-keep-using-coal-for-energy-4111746.php http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/12/12/3098712/polish-energy-advisor-keep-using.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/polish-government-advisor-keep-using-coal-despite-eu-plan-to-switch-to-clean-energy/2012/12/12/980facea-447a-11e2-8c8f-fbebf7ccab4e_story.html US crude oil supplies grew by 800,000 barrels. The nation's crude oil supplies increased last week, the government said Wednesday. Crude supplies grew by 800,000 barrels, or 0.2 percent, to 372.6 million barrels, which is 11.5 percent above year-ago levels, the Energy Department's Energy Information Administration said in its weekly report. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/12/12/3098679/us-crude-oil-supplies-grew-by.html#storylink=misearch#storylink=cpy Lawmakers seek to rekindle mining reform efforts. While the U.S. government reaps billions of dollars in royalties each year from fossil fuels extracted from federal lands and waters, it does not collect any money from gold, uranium or other metals mined from the same places, Congressional auditors reported Wednesday. The federal government doesn't even know how much these so-called "hard rock" mines produce from federal public lands in the 12 western states where most of the mining occurs, the Government Accountability Office report found. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/12/lawmakers-seek-to-rekindle-mining-reform-efforts/#ixzz2ErF7xEk4 VEHICLES All-electric mass transit rolling into town. The doors slide open Star Trek-style, and you step aboard the softly humming passenger bus. Wow, you tell the driver, that all-electric engine sure is quiet. "No, that's the air conditioning," he says. Well, then, when do you plan to start this bus? "Oh, it's already running," he says. "The air conditioning is the loudest part." For the first time since trolleys clanged through the streets of Stockton before World War II, all-electric mass transit is rolling into town. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121211/A_NEWS/212110318&cid=sitesearch Indy to replace entire fleet with electric, hybrid. Indianapolis wants to become the first major city to replace its entire fleet with electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles in a move the mayor says is designed to reduce U.S. reliance on foreign-produced fuels, city officials said Wednesday. Mayor Greg Ballard signed an executive order Wednesday mandating the city to replace its current sedans with electric vehicles. The city will also work with the private sector to phase in snow plows, fire trucks and other heavy vehicles that run on compressed natural gas, and it will ask automakers to develop a plug-in hybrid police car as one doesn't yet exist. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/12/indy-plans-to-move-city-fleet-to-electric-hybrid/#ixzz2ErFUfJNq HIGH-SPEED RAIL Can high speed rail swerve past fiscal cliff? The future of high speed rail in California, as it now stands, depends on the federal government. And depending on your perspective, the ambitious first-of-its-kind transportation project needs either just a little nudge from Washington in the short run... or a great big push before it's all over. Either way, it's far from a done deal. And the current fiscal cliff debate dominating the nationís capital may not help. Posted. http://www.news10.net/news/california/article/220717/430/Can-California-high-speed-rail-avoid-fiscal-cliff GREEN ENERGY Rooftop Solar Just Keeps Getting Cheaper. The cost of installing solar panels on your roof has dropped significantly, according to a report by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, and not just because of the notorious crash in photovoltaic panel prices. Materials and labor costs have fallen for typical solar installations as well, according to a different report the lab released in late November. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/photovoltaic-pv/rooftop-solar-just-keeps-getting-cheaper.html MISCELLANEOUS If Mercury Pollution Knows No Borders, Neither Can Its Solution. The harm that can be caused by consuming or breathing mercury is well known and terrible. A pregnant woman, eating too much of the wrong kind of fish, risks bearing a child with neurological damage. Adults or children exposed to mercury can experience mood swings or tremors, or sometimes even respiratory failure or death. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/12/13/business/energy-environment/if-mercury-pollution-knows-no-borders-neither-can-its-solution.html?_r=0 Opt-out fee for utility 'smart meters' gets public hearing. State regulators are holding a public hearing as they decide how much it should cost customers to opt out of so-called smart meters that report power consumption by radio frequency to utilities. Restoring an analog meter currently cost customers of San Diego Gas & Electric an initial $75 fee and $10 a month thereafter. Low-income customers pay a $10 fee and $5 a month. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2012/dec/11/opt-out-fee-utility-smart-meters-gets-public-heari/ OPINIONS Dan Walters: San Francisco's environmental hypocrisy exposed. San Francisco, it could be said, is the nation's capital of trendy environmentalism Ė as long as it affects someone else. This became very evident a few years ago when it was suggested Ė in a series of Bee articles, among other places Ė that San Francisco should give up its exclusive water supply from the Hetch Hetchy Valley in Yosemite National Park, allowing it to be restored to its natural state. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/12/5048191/dan-walters-san-franciscos-environmental.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters Commentary: Are California oil companies warming to carbon tax? Oil companies and taxes are a little like gasoline and lit matches. The oil industry spent $93 million to blow up a 2006 initiative that sought to raise an oil severance tax. Taxes are not part of oil executives' DNA. But ever so cautiously, the industry is contemplating a California carbon tax. It's all very preliminary. But that oil representatives are mulling a tax reflects their concern about California's efforts to restrict greenhouse gas emissions. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/11/5044075/commentary-are-california-oil.html Global climate talks stall again. The following editorial appeared in the Baltimore Sun on Tuesday, Dec. 11: One can just imagine the future "Jeopardy" TV quiz show answer: The name of the international conference that took place in early December 2012 that critics universally panned for accomplishing little despite overwhelming evidence of a global ecological catastrophe on the horizon. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/12/5048761/global-climate-talks-stall-again.html BLOGS Solar Installations Surge on Lower Costs and Government Support. The number of solar installations grew strongly in the nationís residential, commercial and utility sectors in the third quarter, largely as a result of falling costs, a federal investment tax credit and state programs that support renewable energies, the solar industryís main trade group reported on Tuesday. The Solar Energy Industries Association said that 684 megawatts of solar photovoltaic capacity was installed in the quarter, 44 percent more than in the third quarter of 2011. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/11/solar-installations-surge-on-lower-costs-and-government-support/