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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 5, 2013

Posted: 05 Apr 2013 12:18:13
ARB Newsclips for April 5, 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.


Beijing residents rethink life in the big smoke.  A winter of
terrible air pollution in Beijing is likely to be followed this
summer by an exodus of expatriates fleeing the Chinese capital,
according to senior executives, diplomats and businesses that
cater to the expat community.  But it is not just foreign
residents who are contemplating leaving, and it is not just a
couple of months of hazardous smog that has persuaded them to go.

South Coast air officials may force disclosure of fracking
operations.  On Friday, regional air regulators will consider a
new rule that would force oil and gas companies to disclose more
information about the extraction process known as fracking.  The
proposed rule would require oil and gas companies to notify air
officials when fracking begins. They would also have to disclose
which chemicals they’re using, and whether they’re toxic.
(Formally known as hydraulic fracturing, fracking involves
shooting a high-powered mix of water, sand, and chemicals into
the ground to extract oil and natural gas.)  Posted. 

Air Quality Group: Spare the Air a Success.  For five winter
seasons and running, Bay Area residents have observed Spare the
Air, curbing their wood- burning activities on select days to
promote cleaner air.  Has it worked? The Bay Area Air Quality
Management District reviewed pollution levels from the last few
years and concluded that Spare the Air, along with other factors,
has pushed particulate matter levels (known simply as ‘PM’) lower
each year for the last several.  Posted. 

Home Depot settles Calif. pollution suits for $8M.  Home Depot
has agreed to pay $8 million to settle lawsuits alleging the
company violated Southern California's regional air quality
rules.  The agreement announced Thursday settles lawsuits filed
by the South Coast Air Quality Management District and the
district attorneys of Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside and San
Bernardino counties.  The lawsuits alleged that at 15 Southern
California stores between 2009 and 2012, Delaware-based Home
Depot USA, Inc., sold thousands of gallons of paint, sealers and
other liquids that contained volatile organic compounds, known as
VOCs, in violation of regional regulations.  Posted. 




The Man Who Could Put Climate Change on the Agenda.  Denis
McDonough, the White House chief of staff, is best known for two
things: his national security chops—he had key roles on the White
House National Security Council—and the high regard in which he’s
held by President Obama. McDonough has been part of Obama’s inner
circle for nearly a decade, and the president has called his new
chief of staff one of his “closest and most trusted advisers.” 


Climate change will increase extreme precipitation levels. 
Rainfall or snowfall dumped by the most intense storms could grow
significantly heavier in most of the United States by the final
decades of the century, according to a new climate change study. 
The paper, written by a research team led by scientists from the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, examines the
effects of rising greenhouse gas emissions on factors that
influence maximum precipitation.  Posted. 

Hansen paper emphasizes importance of retention and expansion of
nuclear power for health and climate reasons.  A new study by
James Hansen and Pushker Kharecha from the NASA Goddard Institute
for Space Studies and Columbia University Earth Institute has
found that global nuclear power has prevented an average of 1.84
million air pollution-related deaths and 64 gigatonnes of
CO2-equivalent (GtCO2-eq) greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions that
would have resulted from fossil fuel burning. The estimated human
deaths caused by nuclear power from 1971 to 2009 were far lower
than the avoided deaths: 4,900, or about 370 times lower than the
result for avoided deaths.  Posted. 

New study on CA's cap-and-trade and forest offsets.  California's
Global Warming Solutions Act created a voluntary cap-and-trade
market in an effort to achieve a 30 percent reduction in
greenhouse gas emissions by 2020. Some policymakers consider this
program a test market for a national model, as well as a possible
opportunity to use international forest offsets from REDD+
programs in developing countries. However, a new report points to
significant problems that prevent REDD+ forest offsets from
legitimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions.  Posted. 


High Speed Rail Proposed Routes.  The California High Speed Rail
Authority addressed a crowd of more than 200 valley residents
Thursday. Rail engineers recommended routes for the Chowchilla
Wye and alignments that stretch between Fresno and Bakersfield. 

High speed rail extends contracts totaling $50 million.  The
California High Speed Rail Authority extended the contracts of
two consulting firms, totaling nearly $50 million.  Project
leaders said the extensions were needed because of delays, and
that the new expense was anticipated and budgeted according to
guidelines approved by voters under Proposition 1A.  High Speed
Rail's Rob Wilcox said the project is still at the $68 billion
total price tag.  Posted. 


The future of energy: More carbon dioxide? An FDR grandson and
oilman is betting yes.  Elliott Roosevelt Jr., a grandson of
President Franklin D. Roosevelt, grins and leans toward visitors
in his Dallas office to describe his biggest discovery in 53
years as an oilman.  After nursing a single 10-barrel-a-day well
in a desolate stretch of west Texas for two decades, Elliott
Roosevelt, 76, is embracing a technique he says can liberate a
third of the 1.8 billion barrels of petroleum stuck a mile below.
He plans to inject carbon dioxide into limestone, potentially
freeing oil valued at about $58 billion in early April — more
than the gross domestic product of Bulgaria — and reaping this
bounty from a 38-square-mile area drillers abandoned long ago. 

Green groups urge U.S. to back off Indian solar trade case.  U.S.
environmental groups are pressing President Barack Obama's
administration to back off a World Trade Organization case
against India they say threatens the ability of the world's
second most populous country to cut greenhouse gas emissions. 
"We're really worried about this proliferation of trade cases on
renewable energy," Ilana Solomon, trade representative for the
Sierra Club, said in an interview on Thursday.  Posted. 


TEMECULA: Students encouraged to enter energy conservation
contest.  American Residential Services, a residential heating
and air conditioning service company in Corona, has partnered
with the Temecula Valley Foundation for Excellence in Education
with a contest to get students to “think green.”  Temecula Valley
Unified School District students in grades four to 12 can submit
their best ideas on how to reduce the load on the energy grid and
share the type of impact their idea could have on the community. 


The limits of renewable energy.  We’re losing the race against
global warming. Worldwide coal production increased about eight
times faster than solar- and wind-power generation last year.
China added more new coal plants in 2011 than are running in
Texas and Ohio, even as it leads the world in wind-power
capacity. Meanwhile, the United States is only modestly cutting
carbon emissions by transitioning from coal to natural gas, which
is still a carbon-rich fuel.  Posted. 

In the Pipeline: Air quality leaders' responses not based in
facts.  OK, hot off the presses, grim lowlights from the new Air
Quality Management District (AQMD) staff report, published
Wednesday, with proposed amended rules for 444, the beach bonfire
ban.  To anyone that has not quite grasped just how agenda-driven
this organization is, and how intensely focused they are in
imposing their draconian ban on beach bonfires, please take a
moment to read some of their opinions following the meeting last
Friday where many of us from Huntington Beach got up and spoke
our minds — and common sense.  Posted. 


Whom Do You Trust on Climate Change?  As the debate on global
warming steadily drifts away from whether it is real toward how
it will affect our future, a new British study looks at the
sources people trust to stay informed on the issue.  An online
poll commissioned by the Carbon Brief, a British climate and
energy news blog, found that 69 percent of respondents in the
United Kingdom consider scientists the most trustworthy source on
the issue (49 percent say they are ‘quite trustworthy’, while 20
percent say they are ‘very trustworthy’).  Posted. 

Who’s Afraid of Environmental Regulations? (Not Small
Businesses).  There has been a lot of chatter about the burden of
regulations on small businesses.  It turns out that small
business owners do worry about regulations a lot — but not so
much environmental regulations.  According to a new survey, what
they really care about are licensing and tax regulations.
Environmental regulations just don’t matter much.  The Thumbtack
internet site provides services to small businesses and conducts
a business climate poll with support from the Kaufman Foundation.
Their results reflect a roughly representative sample of over
7000 small business owners.  Posted. 

Some NY cabs could avoid hybrid ban.  The Nissan NV200 is having
a rough go of it as New York City's Taxi of Tomorrow. The Greater
New York Taxi Association wants the van banned on the grounds
that it isn't a hybrid, and has gone so far as to sue the city to
keep the NV200 out of taxi fleets. According to The New York
Times, the city has responded by proposing to allow taxi drivers
to use certain hybrid vehicles. The Taxi and Limousine
Commission's proposal would allow any vehicle with an interior
volume of 138 cubic feet or more. Unfortunately, that excludes
nearly every machine that isn't the size of the NV200.  Posted. 

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