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newsclips -- Newsclips for December 19, 2012 Posted: 19 Dec 2012 11:23:17
ARB Newsclips for December 19, 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. AIR POLLUTION EU Carbon Capture Funding Goes Unclaimed. Hundreds of millions of euros in European Union funding for technology that could turn coal into a clean fuel remains unclaimed because neither companies nor governments were willing to match the EU funds, the European Commission said Tuesday. The failure of the EU program to fund a single project illustrates how, after early hopes that it could become a key tool in the fight against climate change, the development of technology to capture and store the carbon dioxide emissions of power stations has lost momentum. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324407504578187393050121484.html?user=welcome&mg=id-wsj NY groups want details on fracking health study. A coalition of environmental groups is calling on state officials to release details of a health impact study for shale gas drilling and high-volume hydraulic fracturing. Representatives of a dozen prominent organizations signed a letter sent Tuesday to Health Commissioner Nirav Shah and Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joseph Martens. They asked them to make public the health impact study being evaluated by a scientific panel. They also called for public hearings in potentially affected areas and a 60-day public comment period on the health study. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2012/dec/18/ny-groups-want-details-on-fracking-health-study/#ixzz2FWCU9CST CLIMATE CHANGE Norway seeks to slow deforestation as climate "first aid". Prime Minister Jens Stoltenberg, whose country is rich thanks to offshore oil and gas, said new measures to slow global warming were needed now because a new U.N.-led climate deal is due to be agreed only in 2015 and enter into force from 2020. "In the meantime we must give the climate first aid," he told a news conference. "The government will step up its efforts to slow deforestation and work to cut emissions that give the greatest climate effect in the shortest time," he said. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/19/us-climate-norway-idUSBRE8BI12S20121219 Climate change is taking place before our eyes' – the weather of 2012. When in September the Arctic sea ice that freezes and melts each year shrank to its lowest extent ever recorded and then contracted a further 500,000 sq km, the small world of ice scientists was shocked. This was unprecedented, yet there was nothing unusual about the meteorological conditions in the Arctic in 2012, no vast storms to break up the ice, or heatwave to hasten the retreat. Only widespread warming of the atmosphere could have been responsible for less ice growth during the winter and more ice melt during the summer, the scientists concluded. Posted. http://www.guardian.co.uk/theguardian/2012/dec/18/weekly-review-2012-weather-environment FUELS California releases first-ever fracking regulations. Wading into one of the hottest environmental debates in the nation, California on Tuesday released its first-ever regulations for hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," the increasingly common -- and controversial -- practice of freeing oil and gas from rock formations by injecting chemicals under high pressure into the ground. The rules proposed by the administration of Gov. Jerry Brown would require energy companies to disclose their fracking plans to the state 10 days before starting operations. The companies also would be required to post to an online database with the locations of their work and the chemicals used, and they would face new rules for testing and monitoring their wells. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/science/ci_22219233/california-releases-first-ever-fracking-regulations Other related articles: http://www.contracostatimes.com/politics-government/ci_22219245/california-releases-first-ever-fracking-regulations?source=rss http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/Draft-of-fracking-regulations-released-4129560.php http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-me-fracking-20121219,0,5163638.story http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20121218/A_NEWS/121219881&cid=sitesearch IEA Issues Gloomy Outlook for U.S. Coal Industry. The U.S. coal industry faces a difficult period at home as shale gas reduces the fuel's share in power generation, but its problems are set to worsen as export markets diminish and large swaths of the industry could have to shut, the International Energy Agency warned on Tuesday. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324407504578187231686200320.html?KEYWORDS=fuels Supply Data Boost Oil Futures. U.S. crude futures gained 1.7% after weekly government data on domestic oil inventories showed falling supplies and a jump in demand for some fuel products. U.S. oil stockpiles fell by one million barrels last week to the lowest level since October, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration. Stocks of distillate, which include heating oil and diesel, fell by 1.1 million barrels, and a measure of demand for those fuels rose 20% from a week ago. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324461604578189382022480070.html?KEYWORDS=fuels VEHICLES Pike Research makes 10 electric vehicle predictions for 2013. Sales of plug-in vehicles (PEVs) in 2013 will continue to outpace the first years of hybrid vehicle sales as more than 210,000 PEVs will be sold globally and more than three dozen PEV models will debut, according to a year-end free whitepaper published by Pike Research, that makes 10 specific predictions about electric vehicles in 2013. More broadly, Pike envisions PEV sales in California—the leading market for such in the US—expanding into smaller urban and suburban regions with more dealers beginning to offer the vehicles. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/12/pike10-20121218.html GREEN ENERGY Britain sets five-year plan to spur solar, biomass energy. The Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) sought to give investors the certainty they need to build new solar and biomass power plants by deciding subsidy levels over the 2013-2017 period. Support levels for the solar photovoltaic (PV) industry, while higher than initial proposals made by the government in September, will be cut by 20 percent from current levels starting in April 2013, when the new scheme takes effect. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/18/us-renewable-subsidies-britain-idUSBRE8BH0R620121218 MISCELLANEOUS Portable sensors enable monitoring of pollution on smart phones; inferring pollution maps with greater granularity. Computer scientists at the University of California, San Diego have built a portable pollution sensors that transmit transmit their air quality readings to smart phones, allowing users to monitor air quality in real time. In a study of 16 commuters using CitiSense, reported in a paper at the Wireless Health 2012 conference, the CitiSense measurements were found to vary significantly from those provided by official regional pollution monitoring stations, enabling the identification of pollution hot spots and microenvironments that would otherwise be difficult using typical monitoring. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2012/12/citisense-20121219.html OPINION COLUMN-Turning gas into a transport fuel: John Kemp. Gas producers urgently need to find a way to turn abundant and low-value gas supplies into more valuable transport fuels like gasoline, diesel and jet. The fracking revolution has so far had a bigger impact on gas than oil. Soaring production has depressed the price of dry gas, and condensates like propane and butane, even as the price of crude oil remains close to record levels (on an annual basis). Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/19/column-kemp-gas-into-oil-idUSL5E8NJ3PQ20121219 Matt Ridley: Cooling Down the Fears of Climate Change. Forget the Doha climate jamboree that ended earlier this month. The theological discussions in Qatar of the arcana of climate treaties are irrelevant. By far the most important debate about climate change is taking place among scientists, on the issue of climate sensitivity: How much warming will a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide actually produce? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has to pronounce its answer to this question in its Fifth Assessment Report next year. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323981504578179291222227104.html?KEYWORDS=climate+KEYWORDS%3Dclimate+change Maybe Climate Change Just Really Isn't A Problem After All? As far as I’m concerned the great unknown of climate change has been what is the climate sensitivity? Everything else that we’ve been told I’m just fine with. That methane and CO2 are greenhouse gases for example. That uncontrolled emission of them might well lead to problems: that there has been warming since the industrial revolution. I’m just fine with all of those points, just as I am with the Stern Review’s point that the solution, if it is happening, is a carbon tax. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/timworstall/2012/12/19/maybe-climate-change-just-really-isnt-a-problem-after-all/ EDITORIAL: Chilling climate-change news. When politicians want evidence to back up their belief that mankind is heating up the planet, they turn to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The Nobel Prize-winning organization was responsible for the famous hockey-stick graph used to demonstrate the purported warming effect of man-made carbon dioxide. IPCC’s notoriety has turned out to be a two-edged sword, as leaks continue to undermine the group’s core message. In a statement Friday, IPCC officials confirmed the authenticity of a leaked draft of the forthcoming Fifth Assessment Report on climate. Skeptics seized upon a chart within the document that compares past IPCC predictions with actual temperature readings. Posted. http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/dec/18/chilling-climate-change-news/ BLOGS Energy Agency Sees Global Coal Boom Unabated, Europe’s Binge Temporary. The proportion of global energy supplied by coal is approaching that for oil. China and India see unabated growth in coal burning through the next five years. The surge in exports of coal from the United States to Europe should peak soon. The news release — appended below — says it all, and the findings it describes reinforce my assertion awhile back that there’s plenty of denial to go around in the arguments over climate and energy trends and policies. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/energy-agency-sees-global-coal-boom-unabated-europes-binge-temporary/ Scientists See Big Impacts on U.S. Ecosystems from Global Warming. A new analysis by dozens of scientists provides a useful update on measured and anticipated impacts of human-driven climate change on ecosystems from western forests to coastal waters. The report, “Impacts of Climate Change on Biodiversity, Ecosystems, and Ecosystem Services,” is one of a suite of studies feeding into what will be the third National Climate Assessment, an overarching analysis of impacts on everything from transportation systems to public health. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/19/scientists-see-big-impacts-on-u-s-ecosystems-from-global-warming/ On Our Radar: A Global Coal Boom. The record for converting natural gas to liquids is spotty. Nonetheless, a vast petrochemical complex in Qatar that is converting natural gas to diesel fuel reflects the betting that the global demand for cleaner diesel fuel will soar. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/on-our-radar-a-global-coal-boom/ Come January, Another Try on Nuclear Waste. The incoming chairman of the Senate Energy Committee suggests that the Energy Department should stop billing utilities more in waste disposal fees than the department is actually spending on addressing nuclear wastes. And he wants the department to pay for moving some of the wastes out of spent fuel pools at the nation’s highest-risk reactors and into dry casks. Posted. http://green.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/come-january-another-try-on-nuclear-waste/ Toyota to Pay Record $17.35 Million Fine for Delaying Recall. For the fourth time, Toyota has agreed to pay a fine to settle allegations by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration that the automaker delayed a safety recall. In a news release Tuesday morning, the safety agency said Toyota would pay $17.35 million, the maximum allowed by law. Toyota did not admit any wrongdoing and said it was paying the fine to avoid a continued dispute with the safety agency. The automaker said the same thing when agreeing to pay the three previous fines, which totaled $48.8 million. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/12/18/toyota-to-pay-record-17-35-million-fine-for-delaying-recall/ Earth Log: Healthy air may emerge from bureaucratic confusion. A new federal standard announced last week will force us to wipe out soot and other tiny debris in the air and save hundreds of lives by 2020 -- if we can just get through all the confusion. What confusion? It might seem like we're already on track. On Thursday, the local air district will consider a new plan with a 2019 target to clean up these dangerous tiny specks. But the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District is aiming the new cleanup plan at the old 2006 standard. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2012/12/18/3106515/earth-log-healthy-air-may-emerge.html#storylink=misearch Variable congestion charges may yield more stable air quality and improved health. This is concluded in a study by researchers from the School of Business, Economics and Law, University of Gothenburg, Sweden, and the Faculty of Science at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. CO2 emissions from cars are contributing to the global warming due to the so-called greenhouse effect. The purpose of congestion charges in large cities is to reduce both congestion and CO2 emissions from cars. However, researchers at the University of Gothenburg show that if the congestion charges are set right, they will also contribute to a more consistent air quality by evening out the emissions of nitrogen dioxide, particulate matter and carbon monoxide, implying positive health effects. Posted. http://phys.org/news/2012-12-variable-congestion-yield-stable-air.html Better Air Quality In Hong Kong. In early December of 2012 I attended the Better Air Quality conference in Hong Kong along with my colleagues Barbara Finamore and Rich Kassel. I had never been to Hong Kong before and wound up cutting a wide swath through their dumpling supply, especially here. Their subway system, the MTR, also blew me away: clean, graffiti-free cars come every 2 minutes during rush hour and the fares are cheap by U.S. standards. Port-related air pollution was the issue that drew me to the conference. Hong Kong has a serious air quality problem, well-documented by a local NGO called Civic Exchange. Posted. http://switchboard.nrdc.org/blogs/dpettit/better_air_quality_in_hong_kon.html