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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 25, 2013. Posted: 25 Apr 2013 13:19:53
ARB Newsclips for April 25, 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 Concerns remain over Quebec’s cap-and-trade design. Last Friday’s unanimous decision by California’s Air Resources Board to link its cap-and-trade carbon market with Quebec as of Jan. 1, 2014, is designed to allow companies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions at lower cost. Concerns still exist, however, about the efficiency of Quebec’s own cap-and-trade design. Posted. http://www.montrealgazette.com/business/Concerns+remain+over+Quebec+trade+design/8289420/story.html AIR POLLUTION No End to Power Rout as Carbon Market Vote Fails: Energy Markets. Europe’s failure to rescue the region’s carbon market is likely to encourage utilities to burn record amounts of coal, putting power prices in Germany on course for the worst-ever sequence of quarterly declines. Electricity for next year, the benchmark contract already trading near an almost eight-year low, may drop a further 4.8 percent through June, according to a Bloomberg News survey, extending an unprecedented eight quarters of losses. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/no-end-to-power-rout-as-carbon-market-vote-fails-energy-markets.html Scientist Says Pollution From China Is Killing a Japanese Island’s Trees. A mysterious pestilence has befallen this island’s primeval forests, leaving behind the bleached, skeletal remains of dead trees that now dot the dark green mountainsides. Osamu Nagafuchi, an environmental engineer with a passion for the island and its rugged terrain, believes he knows the culprit: airborne pollutants from smog-belching China, hundreds of miles upwind. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/world/asia/japanese-scientist-blames-china-for-yakushimas-dying-trees.html?ref=earth Bay Area air pollution reaches Devils Postpile National Monument. That fresh, pine-scented mountain air that you happily breathe in the Sierra Nevada could be hazardous to your health. Samples taken by federal scientists in Devils Postpile National Monument, southeast of Yosemite National Park, show that ozone levels occasionally exceed state air pollution standards. “Even at remote eastern Sierra locations, ozone air pollution may be a problem for human and ecosystem health…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-air-pollution-devils-postpile-20130424,0,2553188,print.story CLIMATE CHANGE Slow Start on Environment in Second Obama Term. SHORTLY after winning re-election in November, President Obama promised assertive leadership on climate change and energy. In his State of the Union address in February, he vowed that if the assembled lawmakers failed to pass broad climate legislation, he would act unilaterally. And yet in the ensuing months, little more has been heard from the president or his cabinet on the matter. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/slow-start-on-environment-in-obamas-2nd-term.html?pagewanted=all FUELS Poland Prioritizes Cheap Power in Shift Away From Coal. Poland is prioritizing low-cost electricity as it revamps its energy policy and shifts away from its reliance on coal-fired generation, the nation’s environment minister said. Marcin Korolec said he’d like to phase out subsidies for both clean power and fossil fuels, though the country must also replace aging power stations including some that are more than 40 years old. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/poland-prioritizes-cheap-power-in-shift-away-from-coal.html Merkel Says Clean-Energy Policy Must Allow Profits for Gas. Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel said the country’s system to spur clean-energy generation needs to change, including reducing green subsidies paid by consumers, to ensure gas-fired plants are able to operate at a profit. National and state leaders “in the next months and at least one to two years” need to find a way to change the so- called EEG law on subsidies, Merkel told a Frankfurt conference. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-04-25/merkel-says-clean-energy-policy-must-allow-profit-at-gas-plants.html AG criticizes oil pipeline plan review. New York state's top lawyer accused the Obama administration Wednesday of breaking federal environmental law by ignoring climate change in its review of a controversial pipeline project that would carry Canadian tar sands oil through the U.S. Attorney General Eric Schneiderman released a 21-page letter to Secretary of State John Kerry, whose office last month released its environmental review of the Keystone XL pipeline that would carry tar sands oil from Canada through the U.S. Midwest and ultimately to Texas, where it would be refined or exported. Posted. http://www.timesunion.com/local/article/AG-criticizes-oil-pipeline-plan-review-4461635.php#ixzz2RUmAfc1B House OKs bill to disclose 'fracking' chemicals. In a pre-emptive move, the Florida House voted Wednesday evening to require oil and natural gas companies to disclose the chemicals pumped underground as part of hydraulic fracturing operations - a process better known as "fracking." That method for extracting oil or gas hasn't been used in the Sunshine State to date, but supporters of the measure say parts of the Panhandle and southwest Florida have been identified as as geological areas suitable for fracking. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/apr/24/house-oks-bill-to-disclose-fracking-chemicals/#ixzz2RUZOBWVq California Cities Snub Fossil Fuels, Nuclear Power. California's leading cities are sending messages to the energy industry powers-that-be on Tuesday, and that message is "we want change." On Tuesday, the Los Angeles City Council finalized a much-lauded agreement to wean the city's Department of Water and Power (LADWP) off coal-fired electricity, and went on to oppose reopening of the San Onofre nuclear power plant. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/utilities/california-cities-snub-fossil-fuels-nukes.html?utm_source=feedly VEHICLES Obama administration missed clues on Fisker. The Energy Department did not realize for four months that troubled automaker Fisker Automotive Inc. had missed a crucial production target that was required as part of a half-billion dollar government loan, documents released Wednesday show. The mistake allowed Fisker to obtain an additional $32 million in government funding before the loan was suspended in June 2011. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_FISKER_AUTOMOTIVE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT OTHER RELATED STORIES http://www.sfgate.com/business/energy/article/Obama-administration-missed-clues-on-Fisker-4458578.php http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-fisker-congress-20130425,0,180749,print.story http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_23097204/white-house-knew-fisker-was-trouble-early-2010?source=rss&utm_source=feedly Detroit Electric forms EV venture with China's Geely. Detroit Electric, the Michigan-based startup electric-car maker, said Thursday it will partner with China's Geely Automobile to develop electric cars for the Chinese market. Geely owns Sweden's Volvo Cars and recently withdrew as a potential bidder for Fisker Automotive, the failing California green-car startup. Detroit Electric earlier this month unveiled its own model, a $135,000, battery-powered sports car that it says will go into limited production in August in the Detroit area. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/04/25/autos-electric-geely-idUSL2N0DC1TR20130425 GREEN ENERGY Mobile Chargers Prepare for Their Day in the Sun. WHETHER you’re comparing restaurant menus while sitting in the park or turning on the air-conditioner before getting home, life is becoming increasingly mobile thanks to smartphones and tablets. And with new apps appearing constantly, the possibilities for this kind of connected living could be endless — if only the batteries lasted long enough. Now, a range of solar technology companies are offering small, portable chargers and accessory cases that provide power on the go. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/25/business/energy-environment/solar-chargers-advance-in-mobile-device-market.html California's Dream to Be the Saudi Arabia of Solar Is Dead. Three years ago California regulators in quick succession approved nine multibillion-dollar solar thermal power plants. They were to be built in the desert and would generate 4,142 megawatts (MW) of carbon-free electricity. The state, it was said, was on its way to becoming the Saudi Arabia of solar. Not any more. Today, the developers of four of those projects have since gone bankrupt and only three solar thermal power plants are under currently under construction. Posted. http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/california-s-dream-to-be-the-saudi-arabia-of-solar-is-dead-20130424?utm_source=feedly California Launches First 'Battery University' to Push Energy Storage Technology. The United States’ first graduate program in battery technology launches this autumn at a Silicon Valley university. Given the spate of bankruptcies of American battery makers such as A123 Systems and Ener1 over the past year, one might ask if that horse has already left the barn. But battery storage has emerged as the linchpin for scaling up intermittent sources of renewable energy such as solar and wind…Posted. http://www.nationaljournal.com/energy/california-launches-first-battery-university-to-push-energy-storage-technology-20130424?print=true Can new LED street lamps bring back 'starry nights' to light-polluted cities? Light-emitting diodes, better known as LEDs, require much less electricity than traditional incandescent light bulbs. In recent years, they have become one of the go-to lighting alternatives to cut back on energy consumption and shave a couple of bucks off the electric bill. Now, according to new research, special LED streetlights could also help reduce the nighttime haze of light pollution that makes it difficult to see stars in most cities. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/print/2013/04/25/7 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS California suspends operations at Vernon battery recycler. Toxics regulators say Exide Technologies has been releasing hazardous waste into the soil beneath its plant because of a degraded pipeline. State regulators took the highly unusual step Wednesday of suspending operations at a Vernon battery recycler that has discharged harmful quantities of lead for years and more recently has been deemed to pose a danger to as many as 110,000 people because of arsenic emissions. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-exide-arsenic-20130425,0,6553581.story Bill to change environmental review could help Sacramento's Kings arena. Sacramento's proposed downtown arena project could get a boost under major environmental legislation unveiled Wednesday by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg. Steinberg's proposed rewrite of the landmark California Environmental Quality Act, months in the planning, aims to reduce the chance that urban projects like the Downtown Plaza arena will get hit by lawsuits that stall construction. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/04/25/5369762/kings-arena-takes-shape-steinberg.html#storylink=cpy USDA, dairy industry renew greenhouse gas deal. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack says the federal government is renewing a pact with the dairy industry aimed at decreasing greenhouse gas emissions. Vilsack says the federal government has helped thousands of dairy farms implement conservation plans, build anaerobic digesters and conduct energy audits under the original 2009 agreement. The dairy industry has committed to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 25 percent by 2020. Posted. http://www.vcstar.com/news/2013/apr/24/usda-dairy-industry-renew-greenhouse-gas-deal/#ixzz2RUaQJRgR OPINIONS California high-speed rail estimates “astounding”. The idiocy of California’s proposed high-speed rail line continues to astonish. For reasons why, consult “California High-Speed Rail: An Updated Due Diligence Report” http://heartland.org/sites/default/files/california_high_speed_rail_report.pdf prepared for the Reason Foundation by Wendell Cox and Joseph Vranich. Cox and Vranich point out that the high-speed rail authority’s projections are hopelessly unrealistic. Posted. http://washingtonexaminer.com/california-high-speed-rail-estimates-astounding/article/2528101 BLOGS How Do You Find the Best Green Cars? Spring is in the air, and Earth Day is just behind us. Apparently, that means it’s green car choosing season, at least for the people who take the time to determine such things. But with the list of more environmentally friendly cars and trucks at an all-time high, choosing the best one can be tough. Kelley Blue Book and the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy tried to make the choice simple by doing the choosing for consumers. Posted. http://wheels.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/04/24/how-do-you-find-the-best-green-cars/ The changing face of U.S. drought: shrinking but still sprawling. Drought across the Lower 48 in the last year has undergone wild swings. From just regional pockets of drought last spring to one of the worst droughts on record last summer, drought has now begun an aggressive retreat. Consider that in April 2012 just 37 percent of the contiguous U.S. was experiencing at least moderate drought conditions, a number that shot up over 63 percent by mid-summer. Now it’s back down to 47 percent. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/capital-weather-gang/wp/2013/04/25/u-s-drought-dramatically-shrinks-but-still-sprawling/ Connect The Dots On Climate Change: The Tangible Effects Of A Warming World. Climate change means drastic and long-term effects like rising sea levels and the increased likelihood of extreme weather events. But across the world, we are already witnessing the consequences of a warming world. In the U.S., climate change means that allergies are getting worse as pollen counts increase, and some of your favorite foods -- from apples to oysters to coffee and wine -- are also in jeopardy. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/04/25/connect-the-dots-climate-change_n_3131945.html