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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for May 13, 2013

Posted: 13 May 2013 13:40:03
ARB Newsclips for May 13, 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.


Airline industry leans toward global carbon offset scheme. The
global airline industry favors offsetting carbon emissions by
buying carbon credits rather than participating in an
industry-wide cap-and-trade system, the head of the trade
association for global airlines said Monday. Tony Tyler, chief
executive of the International Air Transport Association (IATA),
said a global carbon offsetting system…Posted.

ARB fines Sears $285,000 for selling scooters.  The California
Air Resources Board (ARB) announced yesterday that it had levied
a fine of $285,000 against Sears Holdings Management Corporation
for offering to sell certain gasoline powered scooters in 2011.
The engines that powered the scooters at the time were not
certified to meet California emission standards for small,
off-road engines.  Residents in Bakersfield's suburbs and urban
areas may have seen the scooters whizzing down streets and other
areas as an alternative form of transportation or recreation for
many people. Posted. 

Nations ponder how to handle busier, more polluted Arctic. As
scientists warn that climate change is driving the Arctic into a
dangerous and unprecedented state, Arctic leaders head to Sweden
this week to hash out how to govern and protect the rapidly
warming region. At the ministerial meeting of the Arctic Council
on Wednesday in Kiruna, Sweden, leaders will be grappling with
everything from whether to accept applications from countries
like China to how to improve Arctic infrastructure. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059981040/print BY


Project aims to track carbon footprint of LA and other big
cities. Every time Los Angeles exhales, odd-looking gadgets
anchored in the mountains above the city trace the invisible
puffs of carbon dioxide, methane and other greenhouse gases that
waft skyward. Halfway around the globe, similar contraptions atop
the Eiffel Tower and elsewhere around Paris keep a pulse on
emissions from smokestacks and automobile tailpipes. Posted.


Experts: CO2 record illustrates 'scary' trend. The old saying
that "what goes up must come down" doesn't apply to carbon
dioxide pollution in the air, which just hit an unnerving
milestone. The chief greenhouse gas was measured Thursday at 400
parts per million in Hawaii, a monitoring site that sets the
world's benchmark. It's a symbolic mark that scientists and
environmentalists have been anticipating for years. Posted. 


U.S. Revises CO2 Reading That Showed Key Threshold Passed. The
U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration revised down
readings that showed the amount of carbon dioxide in the
atmosphere surpassed a threshold not seen for 3 million years.
Preliminary data published May 10 showed the gas reached a
concentration of 400.03 parts per million, or ppm, at NOAA’s
Mauna Loa monitoring station in Hawaii the day before. The figure
for May 9 has now been revised down to 399.89 ppm, and is still
deemed preliminary. Posted.

Climate change forecast to shrink habitat of common plants,
animals.  The habitats of many common plants and animals will
shrink dramatically this century unless governments act quickly
to cut rising greenhouse gas emissions, scientists said on Sunday
after studying 50,000 species around the world. The scientists
from Britain, Australia and Colombia said plants, amphibians and
reptiles were most vulnerable as global temperatures rise and
rainfall patterns change. Posted.



Greenhouse gas milestone; CO2 levels set record. Worldwide levels
of the chief greenhouse gas that causes global warming have hit a
milestone, reaching an amount never before encountered by humans,
federal scientists said Friday. Carbon dioxide was measured at
400 parts per million at the oldest monitoring station which is
in Hawaii sets the global benchmark. The last time the worldwide
carbon level was probably that high was about 2 million years
ago, said Pieter Tans of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric
Administration. Posted.


Carbon dioxide at 3 million-year high. The level of the most
important heat-trapping gas in the atmosphere, carbon dioxide,
has passed a long-feared milestone, scientists reported Friday,
reaching a concentration not seen on Earth for millions of years.
Scientific instruments showed that the gas had reached an average
daily level above 400 parts per million - just an odometer moment
in one sense, but also a sobering reminder that decades of
efforts to bring human-produced emissions under control are
faltering. Posted.



Airbus to Work With Air Canada to Study Renewable Jet Fuel.
Airbus SAS, Air Canada (AC/A) and BioFuelNet Canada agreed to
work together to study clean jet fuel with the aim of eventually
supplying the Canadian carrier as the aviation industry seeks to
cut emissions in half. The companies signed the agreement in
Montreal today, Blagnac, France-based Airbus said in an e-mailed
statement. They will do an initial study, to be finished this
year, of the different processes and raw materials available for
biofuel production. Posted.

Clock is ticking, slowly, on rules for coal-fired power plants.
The fate of many coal-fired power plants may rest on how boldly
Obama tries to fulfill his pledge to cut greenhouse gas
emissions. On a curve of the Potomac River 37 miles northwest of
Washington, the Dickerson power plant has stood sentry over small
villages, crop fields and horse farms for more than half a
century. Burning mostly coal and some natural gas, Dickerson
emitted about 1.5 million tons of greenhouse gases in 2011, akin
to the pollution of about 275,000 cars. Posted.


Natural gas export plans stir debate. A domestic natural gas boom
already has lowered U.S. energy prices while stoking fears of
environmental disaster. Now U.S. producers are poised to ship
vast quantities of gas overseas as energy companies seek permits
for proposed export projects that could set off a renewed frenzy
of fracking. Expanded drilling is unlocking enormous reserves of
crude oil and natural gas, offering the potential of moving the
country closer to its decades-long quest for energy independence.

Clean Mobility stations selling locally-sourced biofuels on West
Coast. A new wave of gas stations is hitting the West Coast.
Propel Fuels is launching its Clean Mobility Centers in Fresno.
The stations will offer both E85 and biodiesels ranging from B5
to B99 that will be locally-sourced from producers in Central
California. "We think the Clean Mobility Center represents the
gas station of the future. We recognize that America's needs are
changing when it comes to gas stations. Posted.

New Fracking Rules Have Environmental Groups Worried. The Obama
administration is set to unveil major new regulations on
hydraulic fracturing, the controversial method of extracting oil
and gas, possibly as soon as Tuesday. The proposed regulation is
expected to be more lenient to the oil and gas industry than a
draft rule issued last year by the Interior Department,
reflecting heavy lobbying by fossil fuel companies, as well as
President Obama’s desire to support the nation’s recent boom in
natural gas development—and the jobs that come with it. Posted.

E.U. plows ahead with dirty designation for Canada's crude. The
European Union is pushing for a fuel-quality directive that would
target oil sands crude as the most damaging to the world's
climate, despite Canadian threats to contest the measure with the
World Trade Organization. The controversial directive, which is
still in draft form, would effectively levy an import tax on oil
sands crude brought to European refiners by piling on extra
costs. The European Union has mandated that refiners must cut
carbon content in fuels by 6 percent or pay a fine. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059981004/print BY

BASF to Commence Renewable Butanediol Production Using
Genomatica’s Patented Process.  BASF plans to begin production of
1, 4-butanediol based on renewable feedstock (renewable BDO)
using the patented process of Genomatica, San Diego, California.
The one-step fermentation process is based on sugars as a
renewable feedstock. The companies have agreed not to disclose
financial details of the agreement. The license agreement allows
BASF to build a world-scale production facility that will use the
Genomatica process to manufacture BDO based on renewable
feedstock. Posted. http://www.azom.com/news.aspx?newsID=36711 

Converting wastepaper to biocrude and hydrogen.  A pair of
researchers at the South Dakota School of Mines & Technology have
demonstrated homogeneously catalyzed subcritical aqueous phase
reforming (APR) of wastepaper to produce biocrude and hydrogen. A
paper on their work is published in the ACS journal Energy &
Fuels.  Wastepaper can be a combination of newspaper—a
lignocellulosic biomass containing cellulose (62%)…Posted. 


Tesla Profit Aided by Sales of California, U.S. Emission Credits.
Tesla Motors Inc. (TSLA)’s first quarterly profit, led by a surge
in deliveries of the electric-car maker’s Model S, got an added
bump from sales of California and U.S. environmental credits that
generated 15 percent of revenue. Such sales totaled $85 million,
the Palo Alto, California-based company said in a May 10 filing.
That included California zero-emission vehicle credits of $67.9
million and “other regulatory credits” of $17.1 million, Tesla
said. Posted.


New power plant in Industry will prevent brownouts.  Eight years
and $500 million in the making, the San Gabriel Valley has a new
electricity-producing plant that can supply up to 479 megawatts
of power for the state's energy grid at the flip of a switch. 
Called "a peaker" in energy parlance, the steel-and-aluminum
plant built on a dusty industrial parcel east of Azusa Avenue
uses clean-burning natural gas to power five General Electric
turbines and send electricity crackling through nearby Edison
high-tension lines. Posted. 


Amtrak unveils locomotives to replace aging fleet. When Amtrak
unveils the first of 70 new locomotives Monday at a plant in
California, it will mark what the national passenger railroad
service hopes will be a new era of better reliability,
streamlined maintenance and better energy efficiency. On a
broader scale, the new engines could well be viewed as emblematic
of the improving financial health of Amtrak, which has long been
dependent on subsidies from an often reluctant Congress. Posted.

Hundreds Turn Out To ‘Mow Down Pollution’. The 7,000th
gasoline-powered lawn mower in the 14 years of Supervisor Ron
Roberts’ Mowing Down Pollution campaign was exchanged today as
587 Black & Decker 36 Volt mowers were handed out at Qualcomm
Stadium. County residents began lining up at 3 a.m. for the
chance to both clean local air and trade-in their old, gas
powered lawn mowers for new, zero-emission models. Posted.


In the Spotlight: China leaves U.S. behind in pursuit of clean
energy. China is an environmental mess. Smog in Beijing is so bad
it's literally broken the air-quality index. In Shanghai, it's at
times turned the city into a scene from "Blade Runner."
Meanwhile, thousands of dead pigs – cause of death not yet known
– have been floating down a river that cuts through Shanghai and
provides part of the region's drinking water. More than half of
China's water is so polluted that even treatment plants can't
make it safe to drink. And China is now responsible for almost
half the world's coal consumption. Posted.

Viewpoints: Bid to halt fracking in state builds momentum. The
risks are sinking in. For months, discussions about fracking in
California have focused mostly on public disclosure. Should
people living near fracked oil and gas wells, for example, be
notified about this controversial procedure, which involves
blasting huge volumes of water mixed with toxic chemicals
underground? But being informed of fracking doesn't mean you'll
be protected from its dangers. Posted.

Do Your Part: Pick non-polluting lawn equipment. The sounds of
spring are most definitely here. You know, the loud buzz of the
lawn mowers, the piercing sound of leaf blowers, the incessant
whir of the trimmers. Not only is there the noise pollution to
contend with, there is also the air, land, and water pollution
that comes with gas powered lawn equipment. This summer, Do Your
Part to pick smarter equipment that will not only cut down
pollution but will cut down on your lawn maintenance costs. 
Let's start with what really gets under my skin. Posted.

Question of the week: Can we tax away climate change? The
overwhelming opinion of informed scientists is if we continue to
burn fossil fuels at the current rate, we are posing dangerous
and significant threats to the well-being of our children and
grandchildren. Shrinking polar ice caps and the fact that most of
the hottest years on record have occurred in the past decade
provide ample proof of these threats.
A carbon tax would be an important step in continuing a
critically important battle to control global warming and climate
change. Posted.

California cap and trade's dirty secret. It is too bad that this
otherwise insightful article overlooked a key flaw and dirty
secret embodied in the California Air Resources Board's
cap-and-trade law ("A better cap-and-trade?" HCN, 4/15/13). As
part of the carbon-trading scheme the ARB launched, the board
adopted forest carbon protocols that allow timber companies in
California and elsewhere to market carbon offsets by replanting
trees in destructively clear-cut forests. This was done to pander
to corporate timber giants like Sierra Pacific Industries, the
largest private landowner in California. Posted.

The gas tax system is broken. Are electric cars to blame? Both
state and federal gas-tax revenues are plummeting, and electric
cars are emerging as a culprit. Is that fair? In the face of
plummeting gas-tax revenues, both state and Federal, electric
cars seem to be emerging as a culprit and a target. Before we
discuss how to fix this ... first, a little Gas Tax 101. Posted.

SJ Valley air is cleaner but . . .  There’s something in the air.
 That’s a given since the San Joaquin Valley is among the worst
polluted  air basins in the nation often coming in at either the
worst or runner-up spot depending upon the particulate being
measured.  However, the valley’s notorious air quality reputation
often masks the good news.  Posted. 

Adding an Electric Car Cut the Payback Point of Our Solar Panel
Investment in Half.  When we discussed our home solar panel
project in mid-2011 with friends, one of the first questions
everyone asked was, “What’s the payback period before you break
even?” The second question, unsurprisingly, was, “How much is it
costing you?” but the focus always ended up on the payback. After
all, if you’re going to invest in green technology, you’re hoping
that at some point in the near future, you get ahead of the game.


Is Canada’s Oil Too Dirty for Europe? As the debate over the
construction of the Keystone XL pipeline continues in the United
States, a Canadian trade delegation is insisting that Canadian
oil extracted from tar sands — the product that would be
transported by an expanded pipeline — should not be classified as
being dirtier than other types of oil. Last week Canada’s natural
resource minster, Joe Oliver, threatened to take the European
Union to the World Trade Organization over its plans to classify
oil harvested from tar sands as “highly polluting.” Posted.

It’s not all about CO2: A plan to help reduce short-term climate
pollutants.  People are always lamenting the lack of small-scale,
practical legislation that can address climate change without
getting mired in polarized culture wars. Problem is, when
legislators introduce bills like that, they’re often completely
ignored. It’s the sexy, controversial stuff that gets attention. 
So, in the name of bucking that trend, let me call out a bill
just introduced by California Rep. Scott Peters (D). It’s called
the Super Pollutant Emissions Reduction Act, or SUPER Act.

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