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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for February 28, 2013.

Posted: 28 Feb 2013 11:51:22
ARB Newsclips for February 28, 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.


Pollution expected on China's congress agenda. Air quality
worsened in China's capital and surrounding regions on Thursday,
as the country's new leaders geared up for a major congress where
public anger has likely pushed pollution onto the agenda.
Particularly bad bouts of dirty air in recent weeks and
unprecedented coverage of the pollution by state media are
focusing attention on the issue ahead of two meetings next week
that mark the highlight of the Chinese political calendar and lay
out priorities for the rest of the year. Posted.





Beijing Air Pollution Tops Hazardous Levels Days Before Congress.
Beijing’s air pollution climbed to hazardous levels days before
the national legislature opens its annual meeting, drawing new
attention to environmental degradation that the government has
promised to address. Concentrations of PM2.5, fine particles that
pose the greatest health risk, rose to 469 micrograms per cubic
meter at 10 a.m. near Tiananmen Square, compared with an average
of 275 in the previous 24 hours, the Beijing government reported.

Campaign to diagnose air quality concludes in California. NASA's
DISCOVER-AQ team completed an intense flight and ground-based air
quality research campaign in the San Joaquin Valley of Central
California this month. This is the second destination in a
five-year mission to study air pollution in the part of the
atmosphere where people live and breathe, a region called the
boundary layer. Posted. http://climate.nasa.gov/news/870 


California bill would ban smoking in multi-unit housing. Millions
of Californians would not be able to smoke tobacco inside their
own homes under new legislation that would raise the bar
nationwide for fighting secondhand smoke. No state ever has
ventured into personal bedrooms and living rooms with its smoking
restrictions, but California is going even further than that by
targeting owner-occupied residences as well as rental units. 


Keystone rejection would send strong signal-EU climate chief. The
European Union's top climate change official said on Thursday
that if the Obama administration rejects the controversial
Keystone XL pipeline, it would send a strong message that the
United States is serious on combating climate change. "That would
be an extremely strong signal for the Obama administration,"
Connie Hedegaard, the EU Commissioner for Climate Action, told
reporters in a briefing in Washington on Thursday. Posted.

Public concern about environment overshadowed by crisis. Public
concern about environmental issues hit a 20-year low last year, a
poll showed, as worries about the aftermath of the global
financial crisis overshadowed growing evidence of man-made
climate change. Canada-based research group GlobeScan surveyed
22,812 people from 22 countries, asking them to rate the
seriousness of six issues - air pollution, water pollution,
species loss, automobile emissions, fresh water shortages and
climate change. Posted.


Shell bets on gas to limit climate change until 22nd century.
Royal Dutch/Shell believes a policy-led shift to gas, carbon
capture and nuclear power could keep a lid on climate change into
the 22nd century while a more free market approach would result
in carbon emissions some 25 percent higher. Sketching possible
paths of development for global energy use, Shell, which has bet
the most heavily of all the top oil firms on a big future for
natural gas, promoted its use as a way to moderate greenhouse gas
emissions between now and 2100. Posted.

EU Climate Chief Says Talks on Airline Emissions Will Test Obama.
European Union Climate Commissioner Connie Hedegaard said an
early test of President Barack Obama’s commitment to combating
climate change is how he negotiates an international agreement on
aviation emissions. “I really believe that when it’s about
finding a global way forward for aviation now, we -- the U.S. and
the European Union -- should be on the same side, working for the
obvious, namely that if I take a long-haul plane.  Posted.


California oil production rises slightly. The U.S. oil industry's
revival may finally have reached California. The amount of oil
pumped from the ground in California rose last year for the first
time since 1997, according to federal government statistics
released Wednesday. The increase was tiny - less than 1 percent -
and came at a time of booming oil production in some other
states, thanks to the combination of horizontal drilling and
fracking. Posted.

US natural gas supplies fell last week.  The nation's natural gas
supplies rose last week, the government said Thursday. The Energy
Department's Energy Information Administration reported that
natural gas in storage dropped by 171 billion cubic feet to 2.229
trillion cubic feet for the week ended Feb. 22.  Analysts
expected a drop of 166 billion to 170 billion cubic feet,
according to a survey by Platts, the energy information arm of
McGraw-Hill Cos.  Posted. 




Diesel overtakes jet as more profitable product for European
refiners. Diesel has become the more profitable product for
European refiners on bullish global supply pressures, displacing
jet after nearly three months, according to trading sources and
Platts data.  The 10 ppm FOB Rotterdam barge crack -- the value
of the product versus crude -- was assessed at $18.32/barrel
Wednesday, while its jet counterpart was at $17.82/b, Platts data
shows. Trading sources said refiners would now be considering
making the switch to maximizing production of ultra-low sulfur
diesel… Posted.

EPA drops 2012 cellulosic requirements to zero. U.S. EPA has
altered its cellulosic biofuel requirements for 2012 -- from 8.65
million gallons to zero. A federal court decision Friday vacated
EPA's 2012 cellulosic biofuels standard. As a result, obligated
parties -- oil companies required to show EPA that they blend
biofuels in their fuel supply -- won't need to provide
information on their compliance. The agency will submit refunds
to companies that have submitted payments for 2012 cellulosic
waiver credits.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/28/4 BY

Natural gas compared to diesel. With the expansion of natural gas
supplies, the transportation industry is looking at it as an
alternative to diesel. "From a North American perspective natural
gas is really taking off as a transportation fuel," says Deidre
Donaldson Meyer, SaskEn-ergy director of business development.
"(For example) approximately one in every two transit buses in
the U.S. is now a natural gas bus." Posted.


California approves Amp electric truck sales. Less than five
months after electric-vehicle maker Amp said it was switching
from passenger-vehicle conversions to delivery-truck
electric-vehicle production, the company earned a victory of
sorts by getting approval to sell its trucks in the most populous
US state. The California Air Resources Board (CARB) said Amp
could start selling its 2014 model-year E-100 heavy-duty electric
trucks. Amp started making those trucks, which have a
19,500-pound payload and a 100-mile single-charge range…Posted.

New low-temperature catalytic process for producing hydrogen from
methanol; potential future application for fuel cell vehicles. 
Researchers from Germany and Italy have developed an efficient
low-temperature catalytic process to produce hydrogen from
methanol. Hydrogen generation by this method proceeds at 65–95 °C
(149-203 °F) and ambient pressure with excellent catalyst
turnover frequencies (4,700 per hour) and turnover numbers
(exceeding 350,000).  Posted. 

XL Hybrids enters installation and distribution partnership with
Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products; expands hybrid drive
system to Ford E-series vans.  XL Hybrids, Inc., developer of a
low-cost hybrid electric powertrain designed specifically for
class 1 to 3 commercial fleet use (earlier post), signed a
non-exclusive installation partnership and distribution agreement
with Leggett & Platt Commercial Vehicle Products (CVP), one of
the top commercial vehicle upfitters.  Posted. 


Reducing Waste: Food waste recycling produces 'green' energy. In
Central Contra Costa, composting food and other organic materials
is very popular. Many people have backyard compost systems,
whether they use a container or have an open "pile." But there
are other options for organics recycling in addition to the
traditional backyard approach. And, since landfilled organics are
a major source of greenhouse gas emissions, it's beneficial when
those materials are put to a higher use. Posted.

Solar industry will boom globally and challenge cheap natural gas
– Citigroup. Large consumer electronic brands are likely to enter
the solar energy market and fuel a worldwide boom in panel
installations that will surpass most expectations as the rooftop
technology becomes cheaper than gas, a report by Citigroup says.
Although worldwide solar installations grew by an average of 59
percent per year from 2007 to 2012, much of that advance was due
to subsidies and legislation mandating solar spending. That's
about to change, according to the report. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/02/28/1 BY


Dan Walters: California bullet-train financing still shaky. On
Monday, the Assembly Transportation Committee held what was
supposedly an oversight hearing on the state's nascent bullet
train project. It was a joke. The committee's chairwoman, Long
Beach Democrat Bonnie Lowenthal, beamed as the boss of the
California High-Speed Rail Authority, Jeff Morales, emitted bland
assurances that the project was proceeding smoothly and tossed a
couple of softball questions. Posted.

How Will California Slash Greenhouse Gas Emissions 80% By 2050?
These are heady days for us California climate policy watchers.
Last month, the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reported
that the state’s carbon emissions declined in 2011 for the third
straight year. Last week, CARB convened its second successful
carbon allowance auction. And with each day, it seems, the state
sets a new solar power record. Posted.

Real test of Obama's climate commitment: coal. The test of
President Barack Obama's seriousness about addressing climate
change is not his pending decision on the much-debated Keystone
XL pipeline. It's whether he effectively consigns coal-fired
power plants - one of the biggest sources of carbon emissions -
to the ashcan of history.
Since his re-election, Obama has signaled a new focus on climate
change. "Some may still deny the overwhelming judgment of
science, but none can avoid the devastating impact of raging


The most shocking photo of Beijing air pollution I’ve ever seen.
China’s air pollution has been bad lately. Really, really bad.
We’ve posted photos of it before, but the above shot really
drives home how severe this has gotten. Both photos were taken in
Beijing by Bill Bishop, who runs an excellent all-things-China
e-mail newsletter called Sinocism (go subscribe). The photo on
the left shows his view on a clear day. That tall building is the
mammoth China World Trade Center Tower III. Posted.

Could a quiet sun cancel global warming? The current solar
maximum, the high point in the sun’s activity over an 11-year
cycle, is the lowest in over 100 years NASA say. Scientists
speculate solar activity may decline further in the coming
decades. Could a quieting sun cause the climate to cool enough to
stall or even reverse global warming from the build-up of
greenhouse gases? Posted.

An Emblem for Puerto Rico’s Climate Fight. More on amphibians as
a bellwether: Advocates for action on climate change in Puerto
Rico have a mascot: the coquí, a tiny tree frog. Named for its
high-pitched calls, a familiar evening serenade, the coquí is the
generic name for some 14 species of frog, some only half an inch
long, that long inhabited the island archipelago.  Three of the
species have gone extinct since the 1970s because of a warming
climate and habitat loss in the densely populated

A Fresh Look at China’s Long March on Energy and Emissions. The
Rhodium Group consulting firm has released a “report card” on
China’s energy trends and policies that describes the country’s
intensifying efforts to increase the proportion of renewable
sources like wind and hydroelectric dams and boost the efficiency
of coal use (essentially the metric called “greenhouse gas
intensity” by President George W. Bush). The blunting upward
trajectory in the graph above reflects progress, but a long path
ahead. Posted.

A Fresh Look at Nuclear Waste. The American program to dispose of
spent nuclear fuel and other highly radioactive wastes is at a
standstill for a variety of reasons. First-of-a-kind efforts tend
to be technologically difficult, but the real problems are not
hardware issues, according to a new book, “Too Hot to Touch: The
Problem of High-Level Nuclear Waste.” Posted.

Sequestration would be bad news for clean energy and a clean
environment.  If the environment could be likened to a punching
bag, beaten up by pollution, climate change deniers, and rampant
deforestation, then a colossal political impasse that the U.S. is
facing this week could be likened to a redwood log connected to a
battering ram being swung at Mother Earth’s punched-up face. 

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