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newsclips -- Newsclips for April 19, 2013 Posted: 19 Apr 2013 13:17:37
ARB Newsclips for April 19, 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. CAP AND TRADE Business group slams cap-and-trade suit, backs Quebec alliance. A prominent business group slammed a recent lawsuit against California’s cap-and-trade system Wednesday and announced support for a new plan to extend the program to Quebec. The transnational linkage would expand the market by allowing firms in either state to trade carbon allowances starting in January 2014, followed by their first joint auction a month later. Companies could buy the allowances to offset their greenhouse gas emissions, a key part of Assembly Bill 32…Posted. http://www.bizjournals.com/sacramento/news/2013/04/18/california-business-alliance-dismisses.html AIR POLLUTION State air pollution association cites 'remarkable progress' in report. Acknowledging the “daunting challenges” that remain before reaching air quality standards, the California Air Pollution Control Officers Association nonetheless cited its “remarkable progress” toward that end. Despite the state’s population having increased by 65 percent between 1980 and 2010, and the daily miles driven by all vehicles increasing by 137 percent, smog-forming pollutants were reduced by 55 percent during the same period, according to a report the association released Wednesday. Posted. http://www.ivpressonline.com/news/ivp-state-air-pollution-association-cites-remarkable-progress-in-report-20130418,0,7041188.story Air quality improves in High Desert. Air quality in the High Desert has improved over the past 12 years despite a growing population, according to the Mojave Desert Air Quality Management District. The MDAQMD reports a 19 percent decline in days where air pollution in the High Desert exceeds federal standards. Also, the number of days per year when air quality is considered “good” rose from 173 in 2000 to 184 in 2012. Posted. http://www.vvdailypress.com/news/quality-39945-victorville-air.html CLIMATE CHANGE Climate inaction likely to deepen EU divisions –paper. The European Union must take measures to prevent the destruction of crops and property by extreme weather or face instability and deeper social divisions as a result of potential climate change, a European Commission document said. The discussion paper, seen by Reuters, calls for a pre-emptive, EU-wide strategy, taking account of factors such as disruption to energy and food supplies. While most scientists agree that the planet has been warming…Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/19/eu-adaptation-idUSL5N0D621L20130419 Did Democrats actually discuss climate change at their California convention? Last fall’s presidential campaign didn’t focus on the environment. How much did Dems say here in the Golden State a week before Earth Day? Fresh off an astounding string of nearly across-the-board victories in last November’s elections, California Democrats met in Sacramento on April 12-14, to celebrate their successes and clarify their policy agenda over the next two years. Posted. http://www.newsreview.com/sacramento/did-democrats-actually-discuss-climate/content?oid=9620474 Industry seeks Supreme Court review of landmark GHG ruling. An industry coalition asked the Supreme Court yesterday to review a lower court ruling upholding U.S. EPA's regulations to address climate change. Led by the American Chemistry Council, the trade associations petitioned the high court to reconsider the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit's June 2012 decision on EPA's greenhouse gas rules (Greenwire, June 26, 2012). Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2013/04/19/1 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY E.U. market troubles will prevent emissions trade linkage -- Calif. air chief. California's top air regulator doesn't foresee linking with the world's largest carbon market because of a glut of credits overhanging the European market. Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board (ARB), yesterday dismissed speculation that the Golden State's carbon market -- the second-largest in the world, after the European Union's -- would accept credits from the E.U. Emissions Trading System. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/19/5 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Big changes in the country's drought profile this week. The area of the continental United States in moderate or worse drought dipped below 50 percent for the first time in nearly a year, according to the latest U.S. Drought Monitor. A series of storms across many of the drought-stricken areas alleviated water deficiencies in the soil, thanks to a major storm that barreled across the Rockies on Monday and continued eastward through the rest of the week. As of Tuesday, 47.8 percent of the lower 48 states is in moderate to exceptional drought, the smallest area since June 2012, and more improvement is expected next week. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/19/2 BY SUBSRIPTION ONLY Summertime, and the living in polar areas is warmer than the past 600 years. Recent summers in the Arctic and nearby areas were warmer than anything witnessed in the past 600 years, according to a recent study in Nature. The research released this month concludes that the frequency and magnitude of recent high temperatures between April and September in high northern latitudes were "unprecedented" since 1400. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/19/9 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS What investors got wrong in advanced biofuels. This is a guest post by Doug Williams, author of “Advancing Fuels: A Review of the Challenges Facing the Advanced Biofuels Industry.” The president’s recent budget proposal includes $282 million for advanced biofuel technology research. This is quite encouraging given the rather public pull-back in continued biofuels investment from the investment community. This pull-back is not surprising. The first wave of advanced biofuels investments (Advanced Biofuels 1.0 or ABs 1.0) haven’t quite worked out. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/18/idUS125691278220130418 RPT-Fitch: Future CO2 Prices Remain Risk for Utilities After EU Vote. Tuesday's decision by the European Parliament to reject the carbon allowances backloading plan will cement coal-fired power stations' advantage over natural gas-fired in the short term, Fitch Ratings says. However, it does little to reduce uncertainty about prices in the medium term, which is one of the main risks facing EU power generators. In this environment, a diversified and flexible generation fleet is the most positive for a utility's credit rating. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/19/fitch-future-co2-prices-remain-risk-for-idUSFit65540220130419 Renewable fuels make 'good business sense,' but RFS changes needed – Shell. Executives for Royal Dutch Shell PLC this week said they are pushing ahead with plans to research and develop advanced biofuels despite recently scaling back investments in the field and calling for changes in federal biofuels policies. The oil and gas company is focused on developing drop-in biofuels that can be used in existing fuel infrastructure and is working to commission a pilot facility in Houston, said Shell Vice President for Alternative Energy Matthew Tipper. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/Greenwire/print/2013/04/19/17 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY VEHICLES Nissan Leaf tops Kelley Blue Book's latest 10 best 'green' car list. In the end, it was a very close call, but the less-expensive and longer-ranged 2013 Nissan Leaf edged out a best-ever field of competitors to win top honors on Kelley Blue Book's newest 10 best "green" cars list. "We went round and around on which car would be No. 1," Jack Nerad, KBB's executive editorial director and executive market analyst, said in an interview. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-nissan-leaf-kelley-blue-book-best-green-car-20130418,0,4919194.story HIGH-SPEED RAIL Settlement reached in Calif. bullet train lawsuit. The California agency overseeing the state's effort to build the nation's first high-speed rail line received a boost Thursday when a judge approved a settlement in a major lawsuit that sought to block the project. However, the rail authority also faced a setback that could delay work and add to the project's soaring costs. The rail authority reached the settlement with a group of Central Valley farmers who sued to block the bullet train on environmental grounds. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_CALIFORNIA_HIGH_SPEED_RAIL?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT Related articles: http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/special-sections/rail/x411129125/Valley-farmers-reach-key-settlement-with-bullet-train-agency http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/18/california-high-speed-rail-settlement_n_3112479.html http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-04-18/california-to-pay-5-million-to-resolve-high-speed-rail-case http://www.kcra.com/news/politics/California-high-speed-train-settlement-reached/-/11797268/19805332/-/8pjn7wz/-/index.html California high-speed rail bidding rules were changed. The changes made it possible for Sylmar-based Tutor Perini to be ranked as the top candidate despite having received the lowest technical rating among bidders. State high-speed rail officials acknowledged Thursday that they changed their rules for selecting a builder for the bullet train's first phase in the Central Valley, a shift that subsequently made it possible for a consortium led by Sylmar-based Tutor Perini to be ranked as the top candidate despite receiving the lowest technical rating. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-high-speed-bidding-20130419,0,188616.story GREEN ENERGY COLUMN-Customized green portfolios make more of a difference. Green stock funds have always made me blue. There are dozens of socially responsible, "clean-tech" or environmentally friendly mutual and exchange-traded funds, but I have a hard time recommending them. They are typically too expensive because of their fees, have poor returns and are too concentrated in highly volatile stocks. Take the PowerShares Wilderhill Clean Energy ETF, which holds alternative energy/conservation companies based on a 56-stock index. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/19/column-wasik-greenfunds-idUSL2N0D52RB20130419 Exclusive: China's BYD mulls leaner, greener "re-birth" plan. BYD Co, one of the better known Chinese brands thanks to a stake held by billionaire U.S. investor Warren Buffett, may stop making conventional gasoline-fuelled cars within two years and focus on 'new energy' battery models as part of a "re-birth plan" to arrest a slump in sales. Shares in BYD, which once harbored long-term ambitions to be as big as Toyota Motor Corp, have tumbled by almost three quarters since a late-2009 peak, as net profit crumbled to just 81.4 million yuan ($13.15 million) last year from 3.8 billion yuan four years ago. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/19/us-autoshow-china-byd-idUSBRE93H19820130419 Camp Pendleton goes solar. Two more projects at dining facilities come online. Solar panel installation at Camp Pendleton is one of the latest examples of clean-technology employment in San Diego County. Camp Pendleton is energizing two new solar power projects this month installed by Sullivan Solar Power, the firm headquartered in San Diego announced. The $1.9 million photovoltaic systems at the Chappo and Edson dining facilities are expected to pay for themselves in 15 years, said Capt. Barry Edwards, a spokesman for the Marine base. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/apr/18/camp-pendleton-solar/?print&page=all Large energy-saving potential seen in air conditioning – report. Sales of air conditioners are soaring in the developing world, straining power grids and releasing potent greenhouse gases. For a rising middle class in countries like India and China, the units have become a badge of status and a staple of urban life. That makes it unlikely that the trend in sales will reverse anytime soon. However, a new study by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory finds that existing technologies could cut the energy burdens of air conditioning by up to half. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/19/6 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Solar industry jobs outstrip coal mining. California may lay claim to the largest pool of acting talent in the world. But when it comes to total employment, the state's solar industry cuts more paychecks than Hollywood, with an estimated 43,700 people employed in the manufacture, sale, distribution and installation of solar systems, according to a new national database of solar employment. And when measured across all 50 states, the solar industry employs 35 percent more people than coal mining, Bureau of Labor Statistics figures compiled by the Solar Foundation show. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/19/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Researchers take another step around solar energy's upper limit. With some clever techniques, researchers are finding loopholes around the upper limit for photovoltaic energy efficiency. Now a team from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is slightly closer to making such designs practical. In solar panels, the Shockley-Queisser (SQ) limit refers to the highest efficiency a single-junction photovoltaic cell can theoretically achieve, which is just under 34 percent. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/19/8 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Before Texas plant exploded: What did regulators know? Despite being located within a short walk of a nursing home, school and residential buildings, West Fertilizer Co in central Texas had no blast walls and had filed no contingency plan to the Environmental Protection Agency for a major explosion or fire at the site. It remains unclear what safety measures, if any, were required of the company or whether West Fertilizer failed to comply. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/19/us-usa-explosion-fertilizer-idUSBRE93I04W20130419 Senate Committee Approves Nominee for Energy Secretary. The Senate energy committee formally approved the nomination of Ernest J. Moniz to be energy secretary, the committee announced on Thursday. The 21-to-1 vote is an indication that Mr. Moniz, who served as an undersecretary in the Energy Department in the Clinton administration, will have no trouble being confirmed by the full Senate. Some opponents had complained that an energy initiative he leads at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology is financed heavily by the oil industry and other conventional energy industries. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/us/politics/senate-committee-approves-ernest-j-moniz-energy-secretary-nominee.html?ref=science&_r=0 Jerry Brown starts push to revamp California's environmental law. The governor is restrained in his expectations, however, acknowledging that the appetite for such change 'is bigger outside the state Capitol than it is inside.' As Gov. Jerry Brown toured China over the last week, he repeatedly contrasted that nation's speedy construction of modern transportation systems and other key public works with what he characterized as a lack of vision back home. A pillar of his plan to let the "bulldozers roll" on big projects in California has been an overhaul of the state's landmark environmental law…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-brown-environment-20130418,0,66904,print.story OPINIONS Ray of sunshine for SUSD. Stockton Unified has joined a growing list of school districts going solar. The move not only greens up Earth but greens up district treasuries, in SUSD's case saving the district an estimated $600,000 a year. That's the equivalent, trustees were told, of the savings that could be realized by closing two schools. Stockton Unified pays about $5 million a year for energy. Once the solar panels go up, the district will realize a "significantly reduced rate" compared to what it pays the Pacific Gas and Electric Co., according to district facilities chief Steve Breakfield. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130419/A_OPINION01/304190305/-1/A_OPINION Quebec, California not so distant when it comes to climate change. Climate change has no boundaries. It affects everyone in our global community. Actions taken in one place – like increasing emissions at an old power plant – have a negative impact on those living half a planet away. For this reason, effective solutions to climate change must also have no boundaries. We have watched as international climate negotiations have stuttered and stalled, yet we remain hopeful, seeing progress now building from the ground up rather than the top down. Posted. http://www.theglobeandmail.com/commentary/quebec-california-not-so-distant-when-it-comes-to-climate-change/article11402754 / California High Speed Rail: Part Two, Arguments Against. In Part One, I made a conservative-Republican argument for California high speed rail (HSR). The argument boiled down to millennial demographics, coalitions and a vision for the future. While I believe that HSR is inevitable and deserves support—all those nations building HSR around the world are not experiencing mass hallucinations that only American conservatives have avoided!...Posted. http://www.foxandhoundsdaily.com/2013/04/california-high-speed-rail-part-two-arguments-against/ BLOGS Volkswagen’s CrossBlue Coupé Concept is a Symphony of Gas and Electric Power. Forget that Volkswagen’s CrossBlue Coupé concept looks more like a compact four-door crossover than a coupe and that it isn’t actually blue. Gimmicky buzzwords and bold colors are all part of the deal where auto show unveilings are concerned. The decidedly orange CrossBlue concept comes to the Shanghai auto show this weekend, and it looks as if it may cross swords with the Mercedes-Benz Concept GLA. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/volkswagens-crossblue-coupe-concept-is-a-symphony-of-gas-and-electric-power/ Honda and Nissan Recall Vehicles Over Shift Interlocks and Brake Problems. Honda says it will recall about 204,000 of its most recent models because the automatic transmission can be shifted out of Park if the brake pedal is not depressed. In a report posted Friday on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s Web site, Honda said the problem affected 17,500 Acura RDXs from the 2013 model year, 128,000 CR-Vs from the 2012-13 model years and 59,000 Honda Odysseys, also from 2012-13. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/19/honda-and-nissan-recall-vehicles-over-shift-interlocks-and-brake-problems/ CA Air Board Head To Carmakers On ZEV Rules: Back Off, Boys. California is the largest single market for new vehicles in the United States: more than 1.5 million vehicles are sold each year. So when state officials speak, the auto industry has to listen. On Tuesday, Mary Nichols spoke. She heads the powerful California Air Resources Board, which has legal authority to set emissions regulations for vehicles sold in the state. Posted. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1083598_ca-air-board-head-to-carmakers-on-zev-rules-back-off-boys California To Have Up To 70 Hydrogen Fueling Stations By 2016? Our planet may have only gained 27 hydrogen filling stations in 2012, but California is hoping to have nearly 70 of its own in total by 2016. So says the California Air Resources Board (CARB), which provides a list of government-funded hydrogen stations in California on its website. Posted. http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1083615_california-to-have-up-to-70-hydrogen-fueling-stations-by-2016