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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 1, 2013.

Posted: 01 Mar 2013 15:32:10
ARB Newsclips for March 1, 2013. ARB Newsclips for March 1, 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.


Better air quality so far this winter, say smog police. With
spring finally in the air, the Valley’s air pollution experts
look back on the depths of winter with favor. They say Friday
that there was dramatically improved air quality in the San
Joaquin Valley air basin portion of the Central Valley this
winter resulting in fewer residential wood-burning curtailments
than during the previous season. The annual wintertime program
that reduces particle pollution ended its 10th season Feb. 28.


A carbon market takes root in California. When California held
its first-ever auction of greenhouse gas emission allowances last
fall, allowances sold for $10.09, just pennies above the $10
floor price set by state regulators. Some observers warned that
the low price meant the state's new cap-and-trade program
wouldn't work and was a sign that companies were not
participating. But in the second auction last week, the
allowances sold for $13.62 each, higher than many analysts had
expected. Posted.

Californians are Set to Benefit from Cap-and-Trade Proceeds.
Since California’s cap-and-trade program for greenhouse gases
officially entered into force this year, many have focused on its
cost to businesses – particularly energy companies and industry.
Those firms now have to pay for each tonne of greenhouse gas they
emit into the atmosphere, either by buying allowances for those
emissions at state-run auctions or by buying the allowances from
each other. Posted.


Carbon market debate leans towards tighter pollution cap. Hours
of debate on reform of the European Union's Emissions Trading
Scheme on Friday showed support for tighter annual pollution
limits, but hardly any backing for a change to an overall EU 2020
goal on carbon cutting. Both measures would reduce the oversupply
of carbon allowances, which pushed the EU ETS to a record low of
less than three euros per tonne earlier this year. The price
collapse means the ETS, a core piece of EU environment policy, is
unable to engineer a shift to lower carbon energy, prompting the
European Commission to propose a combination of short-term and
long-term changes. Posted.


Study of Ice Age Bolsters Carbon and Warming Link.  A meticulous
new analysis of Antarctic ice suggests that the sharp warming
that ended the last ice age occurred in lock step with increases
of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, the latest of many
indications that the gas is a powerful influence on the earth’s
climate.  Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/01/7 BY

Sahara Desert dust affects California water supply, study finds.
Dust particles blown from Asian and African deserts can increase
rain and snow in the Sierra Nevada, researchers report.
High-altitude dust blown thousands of miles across the Pacific
from Asian and African deserts can make it rain and snow in the
Sierra Nevada, according to new research that suggests tiny
particles from afar play a role in California's water supply. The
study, published Thursday in the online edition of the journal
Science, grew out of researchers' questions about two similar
Sierra storms in winter 2009. Posted.

Sacramento area sees third driest Jan.-Feb. ever recorded.
Sacramento had the third driest first two months of the year
since rain totals were recorded downtown. Only 1.32 inches of
precipitation was recorded in January and February in Sacramento,
according to the National Weather Service. That places 2013 in
third behind 1889 (.48) and 1920 (1.10). Here's the top eight
driest starts to a new year from the NWS: Posted.



State Department to issue assessment of Keystone XL on Friday.
The State Department will release on Friday a long-awaited draft
environmental assessment of the Keystone XL pipeline, a project
that would link Canada's oil sands to Texas refineries, several
government sources said. The State Department will release the
assessment of TransCanada Corp's pipeline, which will examine a
new route in Nebraska as well as emissions associated with the
pipeline, the sources said. Posted.

China's natural gas drive may cut oil demand by a tenth. China's
drive to fuel more vehicles with cleaner-burning natural gas
could reduce oil demand by nearly a tenth - equivalent to
Turkey's total oil consumption - and may help ease its cities'
toxic smog problem, too. The country's rise to become the world's
biggest car market has seen rapid growth, too, in oil demand over
the past decade, and has contributed to the heavy pollution that
chokes its cities. China is now the world's second-largest oil
consumer after the United States, burning some 9.6 million
barrels per day (bpd) - more than a tenth of global demand.

California gas prices peak; pump pain changes U.S. driving
habits. California gasoline prices may have already peaked for
the first half of the year and should head lower soon, analysts
said. Meanwhile, nationwide gasoline price averages over the
first two months of the year rose at such a blistering rate that
Americans were on pace to pay half a trillion dollars on gasoline
in 2013 for the first time ever, analysts said. The high prices
were causing big changes in the driving habits of American
motorists, with gasoline consumption dropping sharply. Posted.

Sundrop closes on land purchase for plant.  Sundrop Fuels, Inc.
has closed on the purchase of more than 1,213 acres of land in
Louisiana where the biofuels company plans to locate its plant
manufacturing "green gasoline."  The Town Talk reports
(http://townta.lk/WvI1xm ) Sundrop has had an option on the
property for more than a year while it moved forward with
pre-construction efforts, including permitting. The sale price
was $4,752,000, according to Rod Noles with NAI/Latter & Blum of
Alexandria, who represented the property owners.  Posted.

Tribe To Launch Biomass-Fueled Fuel Cell Plant in Northern
California. Fuel cells used to be a favorite promising technology
for many renewable energy advocates. They offered the possibility
of extracting electrical energy from chemical fuels without
burning them, reducing emissions and greatly increasing
efficiency. About 10 years ago the fuel cell buzz started to die
down a bit, but the technology hasn't gone anywhere. Posted.


Peugeot Bets on a Different Kind of Hybrid.  It’s the Hybrid Air
— an experimental vehicle that the French automaker PSA Peugeot
Citroën has been trumpeting lately as an exemplar of energy
efficiency. While some skeptics doubt whether it is truly
breakthrough technology, the Peugeot and Citroën concept cars
containing it may prove to be some of the more intriguing models
on display next week at the Geneva Motor Show.  Posted. 

Auto review: Tesla S is a bodice-ripper of an electric vehicle.
My affair with the Tesla Model S began innocently enough, as a
chance meeting brought on by unforeseen circumstances. The recent
New York Times towing incident prompted a radio station request
for me to talk about the all-electric S - an invitation I
initially declined because I hadn't met the car. The timing for a
personal introduction just hadn't been right.  Sure, I'd seen the
S around. I'd peered in its windows when it was parked in a mall
garage and taken in its cavernous luxury. Posted.

Calif. gives $4.5M recharge to electric vehicle rebate program.
California yesterday awarded $9.5 million to fund rebates on
electric cars and for development of a facility to turn sugar
beets into biofuels. The California Energy Commission (CEC)
pledged $4.5 million to help the state's Air Resources Board
recharge funding for a popular battery-operated car program. The
state gives rebates of up to $2,500 to people who purchase
zero-emissions vehicles like the Nissan Leaf, Ford Focus
Electric, Chevrolet Volt, cars made by Tesla, and TH!NK City.
Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/01/10 BY

Are California's electric-car charging stations too congested?
California is by far the largest single market for electric cars,
Voelcker writes, and that means charging stations in public
parking lots are now sometimes fully occupied, meaning they can't
recharge their electric cars' batteries. Electric cars aren't
evenly distributed across the U.S. By far the largest single
market for them is California. And in a sign of increasing
adoption rates--…Posted.


Population growth is threat to other species, poll respondents
say. About two-thirds of registered voters in the U.S. believe
society has a responsibility to address the problem if it pushes
other animal species to extinction, a survey finds. Nearly
two-thirds of American voters believe that human population
growth is driving other animal species to extinction and that if
the situation gets worse, society has a "moral responsibility to
address the problem," according to new national public opinion
poll.  A slightly lower percentage of those polled — 59% —
believes that population growth is an important environmental
issue and 54% believe that stabilizing the population will help
protect the environment. Posted.


COLUMN- Are we near peak biofuels?: Gerard Wynn. A stalled
biofuel industry will need to produce far more efficient fuels to
avoid setting off another bout of arguments over its contribution
to boosting energy security and cutting carbon emissions.
Biofuels had a difficult 2012. In the United States, Energy
Information Administration data show production through November
fell compared with the same period the previous year…Posted.

Why The U.S. Needs A National Climate And Energy Plan. I wrote
yesterday about a bill recently introduced by a freshman state
lawmaker that would require policymakers to plan for how
California will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050.
The prudent proposal reminds lawmakers that California’s
forward-thinking climate policy, which includes a declining cap
on GHG emissions and, most importantly, a price on carbon, must
be extended beyond 2020, when the state’s climate change law,
AB32, expires. Posted.


Some Far Out (at Least for Now) Energy Ideas.  The just-concluded
annual meeting of ARPA-E, an agency founded to nurture
interesting energy ideas that may or may not work, featured an
exhibition hall with scores of displays staffed by hopeful
entrepreneurs.  Many of them seemed to be Ph.D. engineers; in
some cases, you needed a Ph.D. yourself to understand what was
being presented.  Posted. 

Ford C-Max, Fusion hybrids subject of MPG lawsuit in California. 
A California lawsuit over the fuel economy claims for the 2013
Ford C-Max was first reported back in December. Based on the
numerous reports we've heard of disgruntled owners failing to get
their car's EPA fuel economy ratings on the C-Max and 2013 Fusion
Hybrid, we suspected there would be more to this story. The
Detroit News is reporting that two California law firms are
combining their lawsuits against Ford on this matter for "false
and misleading" claims.  Posted. 

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