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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 22, 2013.

Posted: 22 Mar 2013 11:57:39
ARB Newsclips for March 22, 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.


As Pollution Worsens in China, Solutions Succumb to Infighting.
China’s state leadership transition has taken place this month
against an ominous backdrop. More than 16,000 dead pigs have been
found floating in rivers that provide drinking water to Shanghai.
A haze akin to volcanic fumes cloaked the capital, causing
convulsive coughing and obscuring the portrait of Mao Zedong on
the gate to the Forbidden City. So severe are China’s
environmental woes, especially the noxious air, that top
government officials have been forced to openly acknowledge them.

It's official: Traffic pollution can cause asthma in children.
Researchers in Europe have confirmed scientifically what parents
in traffic-congested Southern California have known anecdotally
for years: Poor air quality associated with busy roads can cause
asthma in children. The study, which examined children’s health
in 10 cities, concluded that 14% of chronic childhood asthma
cases could be attributed to near-road traffic pollution. Posted.


Pre-Viking tunic found by glacier as warming aids archaeology. A
pre-Viking woolen tunic found beside a thawing glacier in south
Norway shows how global warming is proving something of a boon
for archaeology, scientists said on Thursday. The greenish-brown,
loose-fitting outer clothing - suitable for a person up to about
176 cms (5 ft. 9 inches) tall - was found 2,000 meters (6,560 ft)
above sea level on what may have been a Roman-era trade route in
south Norway. Carbon dating showed it was made around 300 AD.

Climate needs less U.N. talking, more market action-EU draft.
Fewer United Nations climate summits and more incentives through
carbon pricing could speed up international efforts to slow the
pace of global warming, a draft European Commission paper seen by
Reuters says. U.N. climate talks have yet to recover from a
disastrous Copenhagen summit in 2009 when talks ended in failure
and subsequent annual meetings have been heavily criticised for
dragging on for weeks yet achieving little. Posted.

'Climate-smart' growing techniques are hard to find but
essential, backers say. Global groups are hoping to encourage
farming practices that account for climate change without
sacrificing yields or profits -- a concept known as
"climate-smart agriculture." The policy is not enshrined in any
international treaty like the Kyoto Protocol, but the United
Nations and other global organizations are promoting it with the
recognition that climate change will likely cause average global
crop yields to decrease. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/22/7 BY

Advocates say new strategies are needed to move climate action.
Advocates of action on climate should abandon the quest for
subsidies and carbon taxes and instead push for funding
innovation, experts said here yesterday. A new strategy is needed
because the drive for penalties on carbon, renewable energy
mandates and similar moves has produced few results, said Bjørn
Lomborg, director of the Copenhagen Consensus Center. "We've been
tackling global warming badly for 20 years," Lomborg said. "We've
actually expected to really cut carbon, and we've managed
virtually nothing." Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/22/9 BY


Analysis: Thrifty truckers wary of pricey natural gas vehicles.
Tuckers considering natural gas as an alternative to high-priced
diesel say the cost of vehicles that run on the cheap and
cleaner-burning fuel is still too high for them to see a timely
payback on their investment. A push to run more of the nation's
truck fleet on cleaner, domestically produced natural gas is
rapidly gaining momentum. Posted.


Sierra Club blasts new plan to improve fracking. The Sierra Club
and some other environmental groups are harshly criticizing a new
partnership that aims to create tough new standards for fracking.
The criticism Thursday came a day after two of the nation's
biggest oil and gas companies made peace with some national and
regional environmental groups, agreeing to go through an
independent review of their shale oil and gas drilling operations
in the Northeast. Posted.




COLUMN-"Blend wall" explains rising ethanol costs: Wynn. U.S.
data suggests the percentage of ethanol in the gasoline supply is
nearing the "blend wall" - the 10 percent level beyond which
refiners fear to go - but perhaps not close enough to explain a
sudden jump in the price of compliance credits. Other
explanations for the price rise could include new expectations
that the blend wall will be reached next year; a lack of
available product after a fall in U.S. ethanol output last year;
speculative buying of compliance credits; or a combination of
these. Posted.

China imposes strict fuel economy standards on auto industry.
China imposed long-debated stringent fuel economy standards on
Wednesday, making life tougher for cash-strapped small domestic
brands that are already struggling amid a slowdown of the world's
biggest auto market. The rules, jointly issued by five government
bodies including the National Development and Reform Commission,
would cut passenger cars' average fuel consumption to 6.9 liters
per 100 kilometers by 2015 and down further to 5.0 liters by
2020. Posted.

Researchers develop high-rate, high-yield bacterial process to
convert methane to methanol.  Researchers at Columbia University
have developed a biological process utilizing autotrophic
ammonia-oxidizing bacteria (AOB) for the conversion of methane
(CH4) to methanol (CH3OH). A paper on their work is published in
the ACS journal Environmental Science & Technology.  Posted. 


ARB to help consumers buy clean cars (Photos). California's Air
Resources Board (ARB) announced today that it has funded the
state's Clean Vehicle Rebate Project with an additional $6
million. Coupled with another $4.5 million from the California
Energy Commission two weeks ago, the new funds should extend the
rebate program until funds for next year become available.
Replacing traditional gas and diesel fired vehicles with
electrics and hybrids is an important tactic in improving the
state's air quality…Posted.

Utilities put pedal to the metal on electric-powered
transportation. As electric utilities transform the U.S. power
grids to harness 21st-century technology, they're putting
electrified transportation at the core of them. "An energy
revolution is actually under way," Thomas Farrell, president and
CEO of Dominion Resources Inc. and chairman of the Edison
Foundation, said yesterday at the charity's "Powering the People"
event in Washington, D.C. "It's time for all of us to reassess,
time to consider our many new opportunities." Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/22/6 BY


Apple makes renewable energy push with solar, fuel cells. Apple
Inc. now runs its largest U.S. data center entirely on renewable
energy, with a majority of the power generated on-site from solar
panels and fuel cells, the company's chief financial officer,
Peter Oppenheimer, said on Thursday. The data center in Maiden,
North Carolina, which supports Internet storage and Apple's
service-hosting iCloud product, produces 167 million
kilowatt-hours - the power equivalent of 17,600 homes for one

China needs $243 bln a year low-carbon investment by 2020-report.
China will have to raise up to $243 billion a year by 2020 to
finance clean energy development, said a report commissioned by
Beijing which will be presented to the government this month.
Premier Li Keqiang this month pledged more action in tackling
China's heavy pollution which sparked public anger this winter.
Last year, China accounted for one quarter of world investment in
renewable energy. Posted.

Buyers favor ‘green’ houses, but they’re often not easy to
identify or appraise.  When it comes to energy efficiency and
“green” features in homes, there’s a chasmal disconnect
separating consumers, real estate appraisers and the nation’s
realty sales system.  On the one hand, prospective buyers
routinely tell researchers that they place high priority on
energy-saving and environmentally friendly components in houses.

Renewed Tax Credit Buoys Wind-Power Projects. After a deep slump
at the end of last year, the wind industry is picking up.  First
Wind, a Boston-based developer and operator that was sitting on a
pile of stalled projects with the potential to power roughly
300,000 homes, now expects to go forward with many of them.
Broadwind, an energy manufacturing and services company, based in
Cicero, Ill., recently announced winning two new orders for wind
towers worth $62 million. Posted.

Aliso Viejo puts Green City Initiative on hold after meeting. 
Following a boisterous hearing that lasted more than three hours
in which Mayor Carmen Cave repeatedly had to call to order, the
Aliso Viejo City Council again postponed a vote on the Green City
Initiative, an effort to make the city more energy-efficient and
environmentally friendly.  More than 100 people attended
Wednesday night's meeting from throughout Orange County, many to
protest the initiative, which they said could lead to increased
costs and higher taxes.  Posted. 

Bankrupt Chinese solar company may continue to operate, despite
problems. The bankruptcy of Chinese solar manufacturer Suntech
Power Holdings Co. may spawn a new chapter in the annals of
Chinese business history as the first-ever implosion of a central
government bond-backed business entity, one that only a few years
ago seemed certain to flourish into the 21st century. But
Suntech's recent balance sheet crisis -- culminating in its
default last week on a payment toward $541 million in private
equity financing to mostly U.S. debtors…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/03/22/2 BY

Amendment takes strange-bedfellows approach to repealing
renewable tax credit. An amendment that could see a vote in the
Senate later today takes an unusual approach to repealing a
popular renewable energy tax credit by tying it to an unrelated
-- and much less popular -- tax increase implemented in the
health care reform law. Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.), a leading
critic of the wind industry who fought unsuccessfully last year
to end the production tax credit…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2013/03/22/5 BY


New power plants rejected, for now. Utilities regulators on
Thursday rejected a proposal to build two natural gas power
plants in San Diego and Otay Mesa at a packed public meeting on
Thursday in San Diego. They warned that the region must come up
with cleaner alternatives quickly. In a unanimous decision, the
five voting members of the California Public Utilities Commission
rejected the 300-megawatt Pio Pico Energy Center, adjacent to an
existing power plant in unincorporated Otay Mesa…Posted.

Restarting San Onofre Isn’t Cost Effective, New Study Suggests.
San Onofre may be offline for another summer, and a new analysis
suggests this will be cheaper than restarting the plant.
California’s Public Utilities Commission is investigating how
much Southern California Edison, the operator of San Onofre, is
charging ratepayers for the plant, and whether those costs are
reasonable. But the PUC will not decide until next year if
ratepayers should be reimbursed. Posted.

Beekeepers sue EPA to ban pesticide, protect bees. Commercial
beekeepers and environmental organizations filed a lawsuit
Thursday against federal regulators for not banning the use of
two pesticides they say harm honeybees. In the suit, filed by the
Center for Food Safety in the U.S. District Court in San
Francisco, the group asks the U.S. Environmental Protection
Agency to suspend the use of insecticides clothianidin and
thiamethoxam - known as "neonicotinoids," a class of chemicals
that act on the central nervous system of insects. Posted.


COLUMN-Losing weight will be next vehicle advance: Wynn. Cutting
vehicle weight may be the next main advance in reducing the
financial and environmental cost of motoring. Until now carmakers
have met a trend towards tougher fuel economy standards worldwide
by reducing engine sizes and introducing technology for example
to cut motors when a car is idling. In the next step up, choices
include electric and hybrid power technologies but these add
thousands of dollars to the upfront cost of a vehicle. Posted.

'Temperature Rising': Will Climate Change Bring More Extreme
Weather?  According to the historical record dating back to 1895,
2012 was the hottest year this country has ever seen. But it's
not just that the temperature has risen — from deadly tornadoes
to the widespread coastal damage inflicted by Superstorm Sandy,
we seem to be living through a period of intensified and
heightened weather extremes.  Posted. 


Global Study of Monsoons Finds Ocean Variations Have Driven
Recent Shifts. The seasonal rains called monsoons matter
enormously to human affairs, from the Indian subcontinent to the
American Southwest. Getting a better understanding of the forces
that will shape these features of the climate system in coming
decades is a big research priority, but also a very tough
challenge given the many factors in play.  In a study published
in this week’s Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
researchers analyzing monsoon patterns around the Northern

San Onofre design choices led to nuclear plant shutdown. An
executive with the company that manufactured faulty equipment
that led to the shutdown of the San Onofre nuclear plant defended
decisions made in the design of the replacement steam generators.
The company made choices in designing support structures at San
Onofre that were intended to prevent one type of vibration, but
ended up creating another type of vibration that ultimately led
to the plant's closure, said Frank Gillespie, senior vice
president with Mitsubishi Nuclear Energy Systems. Posted.

Air Quality Chief Sees Valero Reversal as Vindication of Climate
Law. California's top air regulator has found a victory of sorts
in this week's decision by the nation's largest oil refiner to
keep its California refineries. A spokesman for Texas-based
Valero Energy Corp. told the Wall Street Journal that it has
reconsidered its plan to sell its two California refineries. The
larger of the two is in Benicia, on the northeast fringe of the
Bay Area. At a San Francisco panel organized by the greenbiz
group E2 (for Environmental Entrepreneurs)…Posted.

Thousands sign school climate change petition started by
15-year-old.  Over 12,000 people have signed a petition started
by a 15-year-old girl to keep climate change in the national
curriculum for under 14-year-olds. Esha Marwaha from Hounslow in
west London said she was outraged that the draft key stage 3
geography curriculum for English schools had vastly scaled back
discussion of the phenomenon.  "Climate change is the most
pressing and threatening issue to modern-day society. Posted. 

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