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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 6, 2013 Posted: 06 Jun 2013 13:51:13
ARB Newsclips for June 6, 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. AIR POLLUTION Poor ventilation in California classrooms may make kids ill, researchers say. It's a crisp, clear day, and you decide to throw open the windows to let the fresh air inside. Good thinking, health experts say. But when it comes to public schools, a majority of California elementary classrooms monitored for a new indoor air study failed to meet minimum state health standards for ventilating classrooms. In the largest study of its kind, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory researchers tracked the outdoor ventilation rate in 162 classrooms. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/06/5475120/poor-ventilation-in-california.html Your Place: Dander, black carbon polluting the air. You think tree pollen has been in great quantity this spring? An environmental research firm hired by Honeywell looked into what air purifiers had captured over two months in houses in Los Angeles and New York City and this is what was found: Black carbon - emission sources include diesel engines, vehicles, and residential heating. Heavy metals - trace metals include aluminum, chromium, nickel, tin and lead, a known neurotoxin. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/06/5475948/your-place-dander-black-carbon.html#storylink=cpy http://www.modbee.com/2013/06/06/2749800/your-place-dander-black-carbon.html#storylink=cpy http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/06/06/3330279/your-place-dander-black-carbon.html Options offered to prevent So. Cal fire pit ban. A proposed ban on fire pits at Southern California beaches has made more than a few people hot under the collar. But it may not happen. The Orange County Register ( http://bit.ly/11lEB2n) says regulations that stop short of a ban will be presented this week to the South Coast Air Quality Management District. A board vote could come next month. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/06/5476182/options-offered-to-prevent-so.html#storylink=cpy http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/06/06/3330363/options-offered-to-prevent-so.html Biomass power plant settles pollution violations. The operator of a biomass power plant on the Mississippi River in Cassville will pay $150,000 to settle air pollution violations. DTE Stoneman and the state Department of Justice have signed the agreement in Grant County Circuit Court. DTE Energy Services, of Ann Arbor, Mich., bought the plant in 2008 and later converted it from coal to biomass, including burning renewable wood waste. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Biomass-power-plant-settles-pollution-violations-4578741.php#ixzz2VSMEnYxP Invention backed by EPA just might make you a regulator. Inventor David Kuller is out to fix the most basic -- and, he says, most flawed -- of human actions. Breathing. "Very few people, outside of those studying yoga, are concerned with their breath," Kuller said. "But there's so much we can learn from the breath about our body. I think there's a movement of people learning how to breathe better, and we want to be at the pilot of that." The Obama administration agrees and has laid down a hefty bet that Kuller can help people breathe smarter. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2013/06/06/stories/1059982419 BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY CLIMATE CHANGE S.D. foundation gets climate-change grant. The San Diego Foundation has received a $425,000 grant from the Kresge Foundation to help fund programs addressing climate change. The money will support workshops, training and technical assistance aimed at helping San Diego communities adapt to projected impacts of shifts in climate. The Kresge Foundation is a $3 billion, private institution working to improve quality of life for future generations in areas such as the environment, arts, health and education. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/06/tp-sd-foundation-gets-climate-change-grant/ Researchers develop tool to set cost and emissions targets for energy sources. Climate change is an intractable problem, but not impossible to solve. There are a number of approaches, from sucking greenhouse gases from the air to switching to zero-emissions energy sources that could avert disaster. Yet the world's population continues to grow and use more energy, so policymakers have to place their bets on what technologies will pan out without bankrupting themselves in the process. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982365/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY USDA launches new efforts to help farmers adapt to climate change. Field-baking droughts, pine-beetle outbreaks, massive wildfires and other consequences of climate change have spurred the Agriculture Department to introduce new measures to cut greenhouse gases and make U.S. agriculture more resilient. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced three new programs to address climate change yesterday, following on actions earlier this year. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982384/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY FUELS California’s Low-Carbon Fuel Rule Is Working, Study Says, but Threats Loom. California is replacing oil with cleaner-burning fuels in cars and trucks, thanks to a landmark low-carbon fuel rule, according to a recent report. But the rule's fate is uncertain amid legal chaos and a shortfall in the production of clean biofuels. The report, conducted by researchers at the Institute of Transportation Studies at the University of California, Davis, said California drivers saved more than two billion gallons of gasoline in the two years since the launch of the rule…Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-06/california-s-low-carbon-fuel-rule-is-working-study-says-but-threats-loom.html Natural-Gas Price Break May Aid Motor-Fuel Use: Chart of the Day. Cars, trucks, trains and ships will increasingly run on natural gas after the fuel’s price broke a traditional link with crude oil, according to Edward L. Morse, Citigroup Inc.’s head of global commodities research. As the CHART OF THE DAY shows, the price of gas for immediate delivery dropped 32 percent at the Henry Hub in Erath, Louisiana, since 2010. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-06/natural-gas-price-break-may-aid-motor-fuel-use-chart-of-the-day.html EPA to investigate efforts to reduce methane leaks. The Environmental Protection Agency's Inspector General plans to investigate what actions are being taken to reduce methane leaks from natural gas pipelines. The IG says in memo dated Monday that they will review data and interview EPA staff, environmental groups, industry associations, and scientists. There's no estimate of when the investigation will be complete. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/EPA-to-investigate-efforts-to-reduce-methane-leaks-4579525.php#ixzz2VSLs7615 VEHICLES Lufthansa Tests Electric Taxiing to Reduce Fuel Spending. Deutsche Lufthansa AG (LHA), Europe’s second-largest airline, is testing electric ground-handling vehicles at Frankfurt airport to help cut a fuel bill that reached a record 7.39 billion euros ($9.7 billion) in 2012. Lufthansa is taking part in a 15.7 million-euro project at the airport, Europe’s third busiest by passenger numbers, to use electric service vehicles such as pusher tugs for plane taxiing, and to upgrade landing gear, Germany’s Transport Ministry said in a statement. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/print/2013-06-05/lufthansa-tests-electric-taxiing-to-reduce-fuel-spending.html Oak Ridge lab announces breakthrough with high energy-density car battery. Safe, low-cost, energy-dense batteries are widely considered to be the holy grail in furthering low-carbon energy use. Making high-performance batteries has proved elusive, but scientists at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory claim they've made a breakthrough. The Oak Ridge lab announced yesterday it has designed and tested a completely solid lithium-sulfur battery with about four times the energy density of comparable lithium-ion battery technology. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982380/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY HIGH-SPEED RAIL California high-speed rail's choice: Price or quality in building first leg? The leaders behind California's $69 billion bullet train face a stark choice Thursday: Should they save a hundred million dollars or more by hiring a contractor with the poorest qualifications or pick a more expensive firm they think would do a better job? Bullet train critics say the state will pay more in the long run by hiring a Southern California firm that came in with the lowest bid but has a history of cost overruns. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/california-high-speed-rail/ci_23398404/california-high-speed-rails-choice-price-or-quality?source=rss&utm_source=feedly GREEN ENERGY Mongolia Opens $122 Million Wind Farm With Aim to Cut Pollution. Mongolia is scheduled to start operations at its first wind farm this month, a $122 million project that’s the biggest power plant in 30 years and part of a government effort to cap pollution cloaking the capital city. The 50-megawatt facility developed by Clean Energy LLC using 31 turbines from General Electric Co. (GE) is located on a wind-raked ridge about 45 miles (72 kilometers) southwest of Ulaanbaatar. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-06/mongolia-opens-122-million-wind-farm-with-aim-to-cut-pollution.html House built by youth expected to achieve highest green standard. AKRON, Ohio -- At one time, the participants of YouthBuild Akron were considered underachievers. Now they're about to attain one of the highest achievements in their field. The young adults recently finished renovating a house on Akron, Ohio's Garfield Street that is expected to achieve LEED Platinum status, the highest level of certification offered under the U.S. Green Building Council's Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program. Posted. http://www.modbee.com/2013/06/06/2750035/house-built-by-youth-expected.html#storylink=cpy Mass. touts high rankings in clean energy tech. A research and consulting firm has ranked Massachusetts second in the country in clean energy technology. California was the only state above Massachusetts in the 2013 U.S. Clean Tech Leadership Index's overall clean technology rankings. The rankings are done by Clean Edge Inc., which credited the state for — among other things — its commitment to energy efficiency and early stage technology development. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/news/science/article/Mass-touts-high-rankings-in-clean-energy-tech-4578088.php#ixzz2VSIVkGwJ U.S. utilities grow renewable energy but lack incentives for efficiency. Electric utilities in Oregon, California and Texas led the nation last year in green power sales using voluntary programs in which customers pay a premium to receive electricity produced using clean sources, according to Energy Department figures released yesterday. The No. 1 utility for total green power sales was Portland General Electric, with 834,125 megawatt-hours, according to data compiled by the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982362/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DuPont extends, expands 2012 agreement with Chinese solar company. DuPont Co., a U.S. chemical company, announced yesterday that it has signed a second one-year, $100 million agreement with a wholly owned subsidiary of Chinese solar giant Yingli Green Energy Holding Co., which includes the installation of a solar plant at one of DuPont's facilities in China. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982363/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS Feds back California on JPMorgan energy trades. In a case with echoes of Enron and the energy crisis, California officials won a fight with a Wall Street power trader Wednesday over millions of dollars’ worth of disputed electricity trades. The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission ruled that traders at JPMorgan Chase & Co. improperly manipulated California's energy markets between 2009 and 2011. The decision was a victory for the California Independent System Operator, the Folsom entity that runs the state's transmission grid and oversees spot-market electricity trades. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/06/5475151/feds-back-california-on-jpmorgan.html#storylink=cpy The Cap-and-Trade Program & Data Centers: Encouraging Efficiency or Suffocating Investment? The West Coast's Largest Event for the Data Center Industry, DatacenterDynamics Converged San Francisco, Will Explore the Relationship Between California's Cap-and-Trade Program and Data Centers -- Does It Encourage Efficiency or Suffocate Investment? Now in its 8th year, DatacenterDynamics Converged San Francisco has become the largest event for the Data Center industry on the West Coast. Posted. http://www.marketwire.com/press-release/cap-trade-program-data-centers-encouraging-efficiency-suffocating-investment-1799140.htm http://finance.boston.com/boston/news/read?GUID=24365873 OPINIONS Solar energy is a poor substitute for carbon tax. Re "Bills advance that could have big impact on solar" (Editorials, June 3): Climate change is one of the most urgent problems in the world. The Bee has written many good articles about the imminent dangers from climate change. However, the action now that is the most important is for Gov. Jerry Brown and the Legislature to tax carbon. The bills referred to in this editorial regarding solar energy will not make very much impact in reducing carbon emissions. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/05/5471698/solar-energy.html#storylink=cpy Viewpoints: Climate debate is settled; carbon tax is vital. Last month, a team of international citizen scientist volunteers published the results of a survey of more than 12,000 peer- reviewed climate science papers published over the past two decades. They found that among climate research that takes a position on what's causing global warming, 97 percent agree that humans are responsible. Surprisingly, the survey found that the scientific consensus on human-caused global warming had already formed in the early 1990s, and has steadily grown stronger since then. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/05/5471547/climate-debate-is-settled-carbon.html#storylink=cpy An end-run with clean energy funds. Gov. Brown wants to take money from the Clean Energy Job Creation Fund and dole it out to school districts and community colleges without regard to their needs or plans. Approved by voters in November, Proposition 39 is expected to raise close to $1 billion a year by eliminating a tax break enjoyed by some multistate businesses. The money, however, comes with a significant string attached: For the first five years, half of it must be spent on projects that improve energy efficiency and reduce greenhouse emissions. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/editorials/la-ed-prop39-funding-20130602,0,1936247.story Science of global warming not in dispute. Even though fewer and fewer scientists remain skeptical about global warming every year, a letter writer ("Seeing the worst in recent events," May 30) insists that there is no science behind the global warming phenomenon. He has no perception of the time frame to which he refers. Forty years ago, the global cooling trend he refers to was projected to occur after the warming trend, over thousands, perhaps millions of years. Posted. http://www.ctpost.com/news/article/Science-of-global-warming-not-in-dispute-4580448.php#ixzz2VSLUtEOo Climate change: let's bury the CO2 problem. How often have you read that we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to solve the problem of climate change – shortly followed by frustration and disappointment? People might expect me, as a climate scientist, to be disappointed by the failure of the attempt by the MP Tim Yeo to set an ambitious decarbonisation target in Tuesday's debate on the energy bill. But I'm not. Not because I don't think it is possible, or even desirable: get climate policy right… Posted. http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2013/jun/05/bury-co2-problem-capture-store-carbon BLOGS Congress hates carbon pricing. The rest of the world doesn’t. The idea of slapping a price on carbon to reduce emissions and tackle global warming is moribund in Congress for now. But that’s not the case elsewhere in the world. A big new World Bank report (pdf) finds that more than 40 national governments and 20 sub-national governments have either put in place carbon-pricing schemes or are planning one for the years ahead. That includes either carbon taxes or some form of cap-and-trade. Here’s a map of the countries that are planning the latter: Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/04/congress-hates-carbon-pricing-the-rest-of-the-world-doesnt/ United planes to fly on advanced biofuel. United Airlines on Tuesday announced it has committed to buy at least 15 million gallons of cleaner-burning renewable jet fuel from a Los Angeles-based refinery, marking a potentially major breakthrough in the commercial aviation industry’s quest to pare carbon dioxide emissions. United is planning to use the advanced biofuel on flights out of its Los Angeles hub beginning next year. Posted. http://blog.sfgate.com/energy/2013/06/04/united-planes-to-fly-on-advanced-biofuel-2/ AIR QUALITY: Citizens can now collect pollution data. The implications are huge. Tech-savvy citizens can now bring attention to pollution in neighborhoods, school campuses and other places that might otherwise escape the notice of regulators. I can think of several places in the Inland Empire where community-level data would be help clarify the implications of living with some of the worst air in the United States. I’d first look at data from neighborhoods near freeways, rail yards and factories. Posted. http://blog.pe.com/category/environment/ Not Your Granddaddy's Garbage Burners: Why Burning Waste for Energy Fights Climate Change. When we think of climate change deniers, tea partiers and republicans often come to mind. But some of the most troubling stumbling blocks to reducing greenhouse gases come from urban liberals and left-leaning environmental groups who oppose burning municipal solid waste to produce energy. In California, when new Waste To Energy plants (WTEs) are proposed, they run into buzz saws of liberal opposition. Consequently, California leads the nation in landfilling, at 28 million tons. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/shawn-lawrence-otto/why-burning-trash-is-envi_b_3393445.html?view=print&comm_ref=false Wildfire Smoke A Rising Health Concern With Climate Change. Suffocating smoke blew into the streets and schools of Cashmere, Wash., in September -- the billowing byproduct of wildfires blazing in forests surrounding the town and a harbinger of what experts say is a public health threat that increases with climate change. "Everyone was in third period," ninth-grader Hugo Pina told Seattle's KING 5 News. "We were all studying. Students said their heads hurt. They couldn't breathe." Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/05/wildfire-smoke-health-climate-change_n_3391277.html Carbon pricing is catching on around the globe — just not in Washington, D.C. More than 40 national governments and 20 states or other “sub-national” governments are now charging polluters for emitting greenhouse gases, or plan to start in the coming years, according to a new report from the World Bank. The U.S., of course, is not one of the countries with a national cap-and-trade plan or carbon tax, but California and parts of New England are pushing ahead despite Congress’ refusal to act. Posted. http://grist.org/news/carbon-pricing-is-catching-on-around-the-globe-just-not-in-washington-d-c/ Arctic summers could be nearly ice-free in seven years. Everybody get ready to grab your swimsuit and head north. The latest melting projections by government scientists suggest that the Arctic could be nearly ice-free during summer in seven years — or maybe even sooner. But before you get all excited about the novelty of taking a dive into waters that once harbored year-round ice, we should warn you that the seven-year thing is a worst-case scenario. Posted. http://grist.org/news/arctic-summers-could-be-nearly-ice-free-in-seven-years/