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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for February 21, 2013.

Posted: 21 Feb 2013 11:57:21
ARB Newsclips for February 21, 2013. 

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.


China to push compulsory insurance for polluting industries.
China will force heavily polluting industries to participate in a
compulsory insurance program to ensure they can adequately
provide compensation for damage, the government said on Thursday.
Pollution has become a core concern for the stability-obsessed
ruling Communist Party because of the public anger and protests
it generates and because the issue cannot easily be hidden from
view. Companies that must participate in the scheme include
mining and smelting industries…Posted.

Ozone levels linked to cardiac arrest.  Cardiac arrests are more
likely when levels of air pollution - especially soot-like
particles and ozone - have been high in recent days or even
hours, according to a large study from Texas.  Evidence already
links airborne particles with heart disease and lung problems but
the new findings are the first to show that high ozone may
immediately raise the risk that a person’s heart will stop
beating.  Posted. 


Activist investors put climate-change issue up for vote at bank.
PNC Financial Services Group shareholders will consider the
resolution at the April 23 annual meeting. It seeks a review of
how its loans lead to greenhouse gas. Activist investors have
succeeded for the first time in placing a shareholder resolution
on the risks of greenhouse-gas emissions up for a vote at a major
bank, a step toward making climate change an important
consideration for corporations. Posted.

Don’t believe in climate change? Talk to a clam digger.  Behind
the counter at Seattle’s Taylor Shellfish Market, a brawny guy
with a goatee pries open kumamoto, virginica, and shigoku oysters
as easily as other men pop beer cans. David Leck is a national
oyster shucking champion who opened and plated a dozen of them in
just over a minute (time is added for broken shells or mangled
meat) at the 2012 Boston International Oyster Shucking
Competition. You have to be quick, these days, to keep up with
demand. Posted. 


California ARB to hold public workshop on new GHG and emissions
standards for heavy-duty engines and vehicles.  The California
Air Resources Board (ARB) will hold a public workshop on 11 March
to discuss proposals for several regulations and regulation
amendments related to on-road heavy-duty vehicles.  At this
workshop, staff will be soliciting input on proposals multiple
proposals: a new regulation to harmonize with GHG emissions
standards for medium- and heavy-duty engines and vehicles that US
EPA adopted in 2011; amendments to ARB’s existing Heavy-Duty
Vehicle GHG Emission Reduction Regulation to align with the
proposed new GHG regulation; a new set of optional oxides of
nitrogen (NOx).  Posted. 


Scientists explore new ways to make isobutanol. Researchers at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology have found a more
efficient method for making isobutanol, a promising advanced
biofuel and chemical ingredient, from yeast. Traditionally, yeast
cells can produce isobutanol in the cytosol, the gel-like fluid
inside the cell. But MIT chemical engineering professor Gregory
Stephanopoulos and his team of researchers found a way to
engineer yeast to process the isobutanol in the mitochondria --
the "power plant" that generates most of the cell's energy.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/21/6 BY


Tesla CEO expects profitable quarter. Tesla Motors CEO Elon Musk
predicted Wednesday that the maker of luxury electric cars would
reach profitability in the current quarter, a milestone for a
startup that just began mass production last year. Musk made the
prediction while reporting a $396.2 million loss for 2012, up
from $254.4 million in 2011. Tesla spent heavily last year as it
refurbished a closed auto factory in Fremont to make the
company's new Model S sedan and opened stores across North
America to sell it. Posted.


Rebates for California electricity ratepayers clear hurdle. A
judge rules in favor of a complaint filed with federal regulators
that power wholesalers allegedly manipulated the market during
the energy crisis of 2000. California electricity ratepayers
could get rebates of as much as $1.6 billion from more than a
dozen power wholesalers that allegedly manipulated the market
during the energy crisis of 2000, the state Public Utilities
Commission announced. Posted.

County looks to recharge rooftop solar. County supervisors are
hoping to remove some of the cloud over residential solar energy
financing, starting with looking at what’s working up and down
the Golden State. Supervisors Dianne Jacob and Dave Roberts are
pushing for a study of residential and commercial funding plans
to help decide how best to expand the county’s public-private
solar financing. From the county perspective, the home piece is
what’s missing, thanks to a ruling by the Federal Housing
Financing Agency four years ago. Posted.

Calif. consortium forms to push battery research. The eternal
quest to get battery costs down and efficiency up is gaining a
new champion. Enter CalCharge, a quasi-governmental effort aimed
at the Golden State's 40-odd energy storage startups. The
partnership between the U.S. Energy Department's Lawrence
Berkeley National Laboratory and the California Clean Energy Fund
(CalCEF), a nonprofit investment fund created after the 1999-2000
California energy crisis, is designed to help companies network,
develop their technologies and hone their business strategies.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/21/5 BY


HECA plant, air district need to supply details. California's
Central Valley has struggled with some of the worst air quality
in the United States for years, and yet the regulatory agency
charged with monitoring and improving that air quality, the San
Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District, is on the verge of
giving an OK that would make the air we breathe substantially
dirtier. District regulators have tentatively signed off on the
proposed Hydrogen Energy California power and chemical plant near
Tupman in western Kern County. Posted.

How Philosophy Explains High-Speed Rail.  I didn’t understand
Gov. Jerry Brown’s state of the state speech, but my fellow
members of the press let me know it was brilliant. All those
quotes – from philosopher to the Bible to the Little Engine That
Could – explained everything, I’m told.  So I’ve decided to
learn, to turn over a new leaf, and use philosophy and the sharp
quote to answer questions that haven’t been answered.  Posted. 

Air quality and the county’s economy.  Last week was the first
column in what will be a series addressing the ill effects that
extreme environmentalism has on our community.  Last week, this
column addressed the Precautionary Principle, a precept that
posits regulation is required if the possibility of risk to the
environment is perceived, even if evidence of risk does not exist
and damage to the economy will result.  Posted. 


China is getting a carbon tax. But how effective will it be?
China may soon get its very own tax on carbon emissions. That’s
the latest scuttlebutt from state-owned news service Xinhua,
which noted that the levy would be part of a broader effort to
improve the country’s environment. Carbon tax, you say? It’s easy
to see why this move is attracting so much attention. China is
the world’s largest emitter of greenhouse gases. Yet the country
has earned a reputation for bogging down international efforts to
tackle climate change. Posted.


Unlocking the Conspiracy Mind-Set. When I first met the NASA
climate researcher Gavin Schmidt a few years ago, we discussed
the proliferation of material on the Internet attacking
mainstream climate science. I asked him whether he thought
climate contrarians were flirting with conspiracy theory in their
views. “Flirting?” he said. “No. They’ve already had conspiracy
theory out on a hot date, and now it’s the morning after and
they’re sitting up in bed, having coffee.” Posted.

Electric Cars Going Out of Style? Not in China.  What is China
seeing in electric vehicles that the rest of the world is
missing?  Chinese car companies are behaving like they really
know something. If history is any guide, the answer could reside
with Xi Jinping and a future master plan for cars and energy in
China.  This week, Geely Automobile, Dongfeng Motors and other
Chinese automotive firms are bidding to take over Fisker, maker
of the Karma premium electric sedan. And Buffett-owned BYD plans
to launch the Denza — a brand new electric car developed in a
joint venture with Daimler – later this year.  Posted. 

Biofuel rush wiping out America’s grasslands at fastest pace
since the 1930s.  America’s prairies are shrinking. Spurred on by
the rush for biofuels, farmers are digging up grasslands in the
northern Plains to plant crops at the quickest pace since the
1930s. While that’s been a boon for farmers, the upheaval could
create unexpected problems.  Posted. 

Buy An Electric Vehicle, Get Cheap Solar Power (Honda & SolarCity
Team Up).  Now that the dust has settled on the Tesla vs. New
York Times battlefield, weren’t we just saying that electric
vehicles are selling quite well? That’s partly because car
manufacturers are pulling out all the stops to get a foothold in
the EV market before the competition really heats up. In the
latest maneuver, Honda has teamed with solar energy leader
SolarCity to offer cheap solar power to eligible customers. They
promise a utility bill for solar power that is less than the rate
for grid-supplied energy, and that applies to Acura customers,
too.  Posted. 

Top oil lobbyist: New climate bill will never reach Senate floor.
 The head of a powerful oil industry trade group predicts the
Senate will shy away from debate on new Democratic legislation
that imposes fees on carbon emissions from coal and petroleum. 
American Petroleum Institute CEO Jack Gerard said he did not
expect the Senate to vote on the bill sponsored by Sens. Barbara
Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.).  Posted. 

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