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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for May 29, 2013

Posted: 29 May 2013 12:51:23
ARB Newsclips for May 29, 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.


Study: Del. power plant not big air pollution risk. A small-scale
study of people living near the NRG Energy power plant near
Millsboro suggests that the plant is not a major source of
particulate air pollution for area residents. The study released
Tuesday instead suggests that the greatest risk of air pollution
comes from upwind areas in other states in the mid-Atlantic and
Northeast, and from indoor sources, such as tobacco smoke and
cleaning products, within residents' own homes. Posted.



EU greenhouse gas emissions lowest to date. The EU's
environmental agency says the 27-nation bloc's greenhouse
emissions in 2011 were the lowest since it began monitoring them
in 1990. The European Environment Agency says greenhouse gas
emissions dropped 3.3 percent compared to 2010, and were 18.4
percent below 1990 levels. It cited a milder winter in 2011 as
the main reason for the drop. Agency director Jacqueline McGlade
said Wednesday the European Union was "making clear progress
towards its emission targets." The agency said nearly two-thirds
of the emission reductions came from Britain, France and Germany,
while the largest increases were in Romania, Bulgaria and Spain.



The California Carbon Challenge: Connecting Californians to
Climate Solutions. California has long been a leader in its
efforts to simultaneously address climate change and grow the
economy. Starting today, Californians will be able to choose
their favorite strategies to continue that progress, with a new,
interactive online game called the California Carbon Challenge
(www.cacarbonchallenge.org), created by Next 10 (www.next10.org),
a leading nonpartisan, nonprofit research group.  The California
Carbon Challenge is the latest interactive Next 10 simulator. The
California Budget Challenge (www.budgetchallenge.org) has allowed
more than 340,000 users to create a state budget - virtually - by
growing or cutting services and raising or reducing taxes.

Mount Everest region glaciers retreating as climate warms. Even
the world’s tallest mountain – first conquered by man 60 years
ago today – cannot escape climate change. A recent study led by a
graduate student at the University of Milan in Italy reveals
declining snow amounts and retreating glaciers in the Mount
Everest region, reaffirming fears that many scientists hold –
increasing global temperatures could cause irreversible damage.
The research presented at an American Geophysical Union (AGU)
conference in Mexico earlier this month, shows that the glaciers
in the Everest region have shrunk by 13 percent over the last 50
years. The snowline has also moved uphill nearly 580 feet.


Insight: California environmentalists fear frack fight a
distraction. The state regulator is hammering out rules for
hydraulic fracturing, while the legislature is debating 10 bills
on the practice. The drilling technique known as "fracking" has
caused so much concern about environmental problems that it is
the subject of a Hollywood movie. But most Monterey drillers
employ another technique using acid, and only one bill under
consideration would regulate that method. Posted.

San Onofre breakdown: Boxer wants Justice Department
investigation.  Newly published documents stoked a high-powered
standoff Tuesday over whether the operator of the San Onofre
Nuclear Generating Station may have skirted the appropriate
review of replacement steam generators that have sidelined the
plant, and whether a restart can occur without trial-like public
hearings. Sen. Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., called on the Justice
Department, along with state and federal regulators, to review
whether the Rosemead-based utility misled nuclear safety
officials about the extent of design changes in order to avoid a
more rigorous regulatory review — forwarding correspondence by
Edison dating back nearly to the outset of the equipment project.

Letter shows Edison anticipated problems with San Onofre
generators. A letter from a Southern California Edison executive
shows the company became concerned about the potential for
serious design flaws in replacement steam generators at the San
Onofre nuclear plant as early as 2004. U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer
(D-Calif.), who released the letter Tuesday, said it showed that
Edison misled regulators about the extent of differences between
the old and new generators and said she will ask the U.S. Justice
Department to investigate. The U.S. Nuclear Regulatory
Commission's office of investigations and office of inspector
general are already investigating whether there was any
wrongdoing by Edison. Posted.

New Mexico county first in nation to ban fracking to safeguard
water.   Sitting in the tidy living room of the home they built
themselves, Sandra and Roger Alcon inventory what they see as the
bounty of their lives: freedom, family, community, land, animals
… and water. "We've lived off the land for five generations,"
said Roger Alcon, 63, looking out on a northern New Mexico
landscape of high mesas, ponderosa pines and black Angus cattle.
"We have what we need. We've been very happy, living in peace."

Some in Europe Are Rethinking Opposition to Fracking. In oil-rich
parts of Texas, hydraulic fracturing has almost become a way of
life. Drilling rigs and pumping equipment pepper the landscape,
and enormous trucks carrying oil field supplies rumble down
narrow, dusty roads. In Europe, things could hardly be more
different. Opposition to hydraulic fracturing — the process of
injecting water, sand and chemicals into the earth to blast apart
rock and retrieve oil or natural gas — is widespread and
entrenched. Some countries, including France, ban the practice,
which is also known as fracking. Posted.


Toyota Introduces 2013 Prius Plug-in MPG Challenge. The Challenge
– which consists of five separate waves of competition, each with
up to eight challengers – awards those participants garnering the
highest overall MPG over the course of a 30-day period. It kicks
off with an event today in West Caldwell, N.J., to hand off
vehicles to the first wave of challengers. Participants will
borrow a Prius Plug-in for 30 days. To be eligible to win,
challengers must drive a minimum of 500 miles total and 75 miles
each week. Posted. 

Prius remains best-selling car in California in first quarter. 
The Toyota Prius just barely maintained its status as the
best-selling new car in California in this year's first quarter,
according to the California New Car Dealers Association. The
gas-electric Prius hybrid, which comes in multiple variations,
rang up 15,661 registrations in the first three months of the
year, just edging 15,369 registrations for the Honda Accord.
Other top-sellers statewide in the first quarter included the
Honda Civic (14,918), the Toyota Corolla (14,188) and the Toyota
Camry (12,991). The Prius was the best-selling new car in
California last year, with 60,688 registrations. Posted.


Solar Industry Anxious Over Defective Panels. The solar panels
covering a vast warehouse roof in the sun-soaked Inland Empire
region east of Los Angeles were only two years into their
expected 25-year life span when they began to fail. Coatings that
protect the panels disintegrated while other defects caused two
fires that took the system offline for two years, costing
hundreds of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.
It was not an isolated incident. Worldwide, testing labs,
developers, financiers and insurers are reporting similar
problems and say the $77 billion solar industry is facing a
quality crisis just as solar panels are on the verge of
widespread adoption. Posted.

Trina Solar Declines as Quarterly Loss Exceeds Estimates. China’s
third-largest panel manufacturer, fell the most in a week as
declining prices led to a first-quarter loss that exceeded
expectations. The company’s American depositary receipts, each
worth 50 ordinary shares, fell 14 percent to 5.84 at 11:09 a.m.
in New York, the most intraday since May 22. Trina’s net loss
more than doubled from a year earlier to $63.7 million, or 90
cents an ADR, Changzhou, China-based Trina said today in a
statement. That was 21 cents more than the average of 12
analysts’ estimates compiled by Bloomberg. Sales slumped 26
percent to $260.2 million. Posted.


LETTER: Nation needs tax on carbon use, now. Climate change isn’t
“alleged,” it’s a fact (“Carbon dioxide gas levels worrying,” May
12). According to NASA, global surface temperatures have risen by
about 1.4 degrees Fahrenheit since 1880. Ice caps are melting
faster. Sea levels are rising. The carbon dioxide concentration
in the atmosphere has been recorded at nearly 400 parts per
million, and many scientists foresee severe climate changes if
it’s not brought down to 350 ppm. A carbon tax would at least
compel those utilizing fossil fuels to pay some part of the costs
involved. And it would encourage use of alternative sources of
energy. Posted.


Former EPA chief Lisa Jackson takes a job at Apple. Apple, after
getting hit with criticism for using dirty energy at its data
centers, has been increasingly drawing on green power — wind,
solar, geothermal, and, now, former EPA Administrator Lisa
Jackson. Apple CEO Tim Cook announced Tuesday that Jackson, who
served as Barack Obama’s top environmental official during his
first term, will join the company as vice president for
environmental initiatives. Posted.

Coal is rebounding, natural gas prices are up, and the world’s
oil cartel is quite content. Times are good for the merchants of
fossil fuels. Coal is making a comeback in the U.S., natural gas
prices are rising, and Saudis are living like kings off an oil
market that is simply heavenly. Just last year, demand for coal
had dropped deeper than a canary lowered down a mine shaft.
Prices had been pushed down by the natural gas fracking boom.

Skipping the Gas Pump, and Getting Fuel From a Deep Fryer. Gerard
Lynn says he has found a way to buck the prices at the gas pump.
He makes his own biodiesel from the used cooking oil of a Bronx
fish and chips restaurant. “This is before,” Mr. Lynn, the owner
of Murlynn Air Compressor in Red Hook, Brooklyn, said recently as
he held up a glass jar filled with a murky brown mixture, tiny
particles of black, charred residue floating inside. “Those are
bits of French fries.” “And this is after,” he said, proudly
displaying a similar glass jar containing a clear liquid the
color of golden amber. Posted.

CLIMATE: Sobering graphics show Earth changes. The headline in
The Atlantic Cities says it all: “A Terrifying, Fascinating
Timelapse of 30 Years of Human Impact on Earth” A series of
satellite images shows changes on the surface of the planet —
from loss of rain forests to melting glaciers to expanding
cities. The Atlantic Cities has a sampling of the time-lapse
photos. You can find more at Google here and here. The opening
sequence at that last link shows Las Vegas from 1984 to 2012.
What’s also evident in that sequence is the shrinking of Lake
Mead. Posted.

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