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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.


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.

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. 


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.


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.

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.


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. 

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.

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.


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.


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.

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.


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.

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.

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.


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.

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