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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 12, 2013

Posted: 12 Jun 2013 13:51:35
ARB Newsclips for June 12, 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.


Obama Quietly Raises 'Carbon Price' as Costs to Climate Increase.
Buried in a little-noticed rule on microwave ovens is a change in
the U.S. government’s accounting for carbon emissions that could
have wide-ranging implications for everything from power plants
to the Keystone XL pipeline. The increase of the so-called social
cost of carbon, to $38 a metric ton in 2015 from $23.80, adjusts
the calculation the government uses to weigh costs and benefits
of proposed regulations. Posted.


Capitol Alert: Cap-and-trade loan in state budget deal irks
Gov. Jerry Brown and California lawmakers have cleared the air by
announcing a budget accord, but environmental groups are choking
on a piece of the deal that would borrow half a billion dollars
intended for programs to curtail greenhouse gases. California's
fledgling cap-and-trade program auctioned off its first permits
in November, following through on a landmark 2006 law…Posted.

Brown: Prop. 39 helps justify disputed $500 million cap-and-trade
loan. Gov. Brown said his plan to take $500 million from
California's cap-and-trade auction funds -- money that was
intended to directly further efforts to fight greenhouse gas
emissions -- is a "reasonable accommodation" aided in part by
voters' approval last year of a measure to raise corporate taxes.
"We had Proposition 39 funding for many of these projects," Brown
told a Capitol news conference. The $500 million loan is part of
the governor's 2013-14 state budget draft, which was approved
Monday by a two-house conference committee. Posted.

Budget Agreement Diverts Money From Cap-and-Trade. California’s
budget agreement borrows $500-million from the state’s
cap-and-trade program. Environmentalists say the maneuver
neglects polluted communities. Environmentalists say money from
the sale of carbon pollution permits is supposed to go to
programs that help further reduce emissions. California Governor
Jerry Brown and lawmakers say it will, just not this year. “We’re
very upset. We’re very disappointed, says Vien Truong with the
Greenlining Institute. Posted.


Pollution-control equipment breaks down at Delaware City
Refinery.  Officials say a Delaware City Refinery unit is using
backup pollution control after a malfunction that sent a dark
plume of smoke billowing from a stack at the plant. A Department
of Natural Resources and Environmental Control alert says the
problem at PBF Energy’s refinery began early Tuesday and involves
an energy-recovery and pollution-control system linked to a
coker, which controls emissions.  Posted.

Regional implications of background ozone focus of House science
hearing. If U.S. EPA moves to tighten standards for atmospheric
ozone to safeguard health, that could throw a large segment of
the country into noncompliance and penalize rural areas where
ozone levels have little to do with local emissions, a House
subcommittee was told today. The House Science Subcommittee on
Environment heard mostly from witnesses critical of any plan by
the agency to lower the current ozone limit of 75 parts per
billion to 70 ppb or below. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059982741/print BY


US-China climate deal called "breakthrough" but no long-term cuts
yet. China and the United States took a major step in the fight
against climate change over the weekend, but what was termed a
"breakthrough" might not do much in the longer term to lock in
legally binding carbon emission cuts from the world's two biggest
emitters of greenhouse gases. Still, environmental groups and
some U.S. and global policymakers said the agreement could give
fresh momentum to the United Nations' arduous process of
finalizing a global treaty to replace the Kyoto Protocol on
climate change by 2015. Posted.

Environmental Rules Delayed as White House Slows Reviews. In one
of the signature moments of his 2013 State of the Union address,
President Obama vowed that if Congress failed to act on energy
and climate change, he would use his executive powers to do so.
Yet even as he was making this pledge, the White House was
blocking several Department of Energy regulations to require that
appliances, lighting and buildings use less energy and create
less global-warming pollution. Posted.

US-China climate deal was long in the works. Disparate interests
ranging from environmental activists to businesses and industry
are lining up to support a first-of-its-kind deal between the
U.S. and China to phase out a chemical blamed for climate change.
Although it took most proponents by surprise, the deal was in the
bag before President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi
Jinping arrived at the California desert retreat where they
announced it over the weekend. Posted.

Kan. school board approves new science standards. The Kansas
state school board Tuesday approved new, multistate science
standards for public schools that treat both evolution and
climate change as key concepts to be taught from kindergarten
through the 12th grade. The State Board of Education voted 8-2 on
for standards developed by Kansas, 25 other states and the
National Research Council. The new guidelines are designed to
shift the emphasis in science classes to doing hands-on projects
and experiments and blending material about engineering and
technology into lessons. Posted.

One scientist's battle to combat climate change. One morning in
early February, climate scientist Ken Caldeira stood ankle deep
on Australia's Great Barrier Reef, shielded from the glare in a
floppy blue sun hat. He and his research team were pumping the
equivalent of antacid over a patch of corals that emerges from
the sea at low tide, attempting to re-create the conditions
before carbon dioxide emissions from cars and factories began
altering ocean chemistry. Posted.


Chevron CEO Says Industry Must Deal With Fracking Concern. Energy
producers must deal with the “legitimate concerns” that gas
development associated with hydraulic fracturing is unsafe by
adopting tougher standards, Chevron Corp. (CVX) Chief Executive
Officer John Watson said. BP Plc’s 2010 oil spill at its
deepwater well in the Gulf of Mexico -- the worst in U.S. waters
-- fueled public skepticism of the industry, Watson said today in
Washington. Posted.

Could Genetic Engineering Make Renewable Fuel Cheaper? Wood and
straw are among the waste products our society produces in the
greatest abundance, so it would be great to find a way to turn
them into a clean-burning liquid fuel. There's a fungus that
breaks down plant fiber into sugar, but it doesn't do so all that
efficiently. Could genetic engineering change that?  According to
the Department of Energy, American farmers generate about 100
million tons of waste plant matter each year from growing grain
crops alone. Posted.


Electric vehicles become a patriotic move in Indy. For the
Republican mayor of Indianapolis, electric vehicles are not about
reducing greenhouse gas emissions and saving the environment.
Gregory Ballard, a veteran of the Persian Gulf War who served 23
years as a Marine before taking office in 2008, says electrifying
transportation is necessary to reduce dependence on foreign oil,
improve national security and keep young Americans from going to
war. Posted.

Lifetime costs of electric vehicles are competitive with
conventional cars – study. The lifetime cost of owning an
electric car is comparable to that of owning a conventional or
hybrid car, if not lower, according to a new study. Since their
introduction in late 2010, the market for plug-in electric
vehicles (PEVs) has grown relatively fast. Yet given the high
upfront cost of most electric cars, there have been doubts about
how well they'll fare in the auto market in coming years. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982687/print BY


Renewable Energy Investments Shift to Developing Nations.
Renewable energy investments are shifting to developing nations
as countries from Morocco to Chile pursue power sources that wean
them off fossil fuel imports, two studies promoted by the United
Nations said. China’s $67 billion of investment in wind, solar
and other renewable projects led developing nations to $112
billion of spending in 2012, according to an e-mailed statement
today from the UN and other groups involved in the studies.

The bright spot for the U.S. solar market in 2013: home roof
tops. The U.S. market is forecast to install 4.4 GW of solar
panels this year, a 33 percent increase from 2012, thanks in part
by an expected surge in residential installations, according to a
report released Tuesday. The country added 723 MW of solar panels
in the first quarter of 2013, up 33 percent from the first
quarter of 2012, said the report by the Solar Energy Industries
Association and GTM Research. Posted.

San Onofre closure will remake local power grid, PUC chief says.
The head of the California Public Utilities Commission said
Tuesday that the permanent closure of the San Onofre nuclear
plant leaves significant unanswered questions about the future
energy supply for Southern California, particularly for San Diego
and southern Orange counties. "How much we pay for power, how
much we need, what kind of summers we have for the next couple of
years, these are all matters of some uncertainty," CPUC Chairman
Michael Peevey said in a meeting with The Times. Posted.

Puerto Rico waste-to-energy plan gets key permit. The U.S.
government approved a key permit Tuesday that helps pave the way
for construction of a waste-to-energy plant in Puerto Rico that
local environmentalists have long opposed. The U.S. Environmental
Protection Agency awarded New York-based Energy Answers
International an air permit to operate a 77-megawatt facility in
the northern coastal town of Arecibo. It would be the U.S.
territory's largest recycling plant if approved. Posted.

Coal power pollution loses Europe millions of working hours a
year. The European economy lost five million working days in 2010
because of illnesses, such as asthma and heart attacks, linked to
pollution from coal-fired power plants. That is just one of the
stark findings contained in a new report by Stuttgart University,
commissioned by Greenpeace International, which calls on the
European Union to halt the development of 50 new coal power
plants and set binding renewable energy targets for 2030. Posted.

California Smashes Solar Record With 2 GW Generated Across State
Grid. California has just set a record for solar power
generation, shining new light on the role renewables can play in
the state’s clean energy future. Late last Friday, grid operator
California ISO (Cal-ISO) announced the state set an all-time
solar record just before 1:00 pm when it registered 2,071
megawatts (MW) worth of solar electricity system-wide. This
record equaled 5% of Friday’s peak demand of 36,000 MW…Posted.

Environmental Groups Question Rush on Solar Power Project. As a
developer of a large-scale solar energy project tries to rush
approval by a California state agency, a couple of environmental
groups are saying "not so fast." In 2012, BrightSource bought the
500-megawatt Palen Solar project in eastern Riverside County from
bankrupt developer Solar Millennium, which planned to use
parabolic trough concentrating solar technology. It was given the
green light by the California Energy Commission before Solar
Millennium went under. Posted.

Natural gas, renewable energy will power the future Texas grid –
study. The path to low-carbon electricity generation in Texas
will likely require the co-development and integration of both
natural gas and renewable energy resources like wind and solar
power, a new research report commissioned by the Texas Clean
Energy Coalition has found. The white paper, prepared by the
Brattle Group for the Austin-based nonprofit, states that despite
perceived competition between natural gas and renewable energy
resources in Texas…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059982682/print BY

Shale gale is blowing business to wind power in Texas – report.
Texas' natural gas boom is proving a boon to the state's
substantial wind power energy industry as well, a consulting
house concludes in a new report. The Brattle Group, commissioned
earlier to assess Texas' expanding power grid and electricity
market for the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT),
took aim at comparing and contrasting the state's fleet of
natural gas power plants and its massive wind farms. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059982688/print BY


CORONA: Prado Basin mercury spill reported. A mercury spill was
discovered in the ecologically sensitive Prado Basin in Corona,
but it took almost six months for the U.S. Army Corps of
Engineers to report the toxic discovery to state officials,
according to documents released Tuesday, June 11. More than 9
ounces of mercury was found in a former oil field south of Monica
Circle, on the southwestern edge of the basin, officials with
Riverside County’s Department of Environmental Health said.


Bloomberg’s race to protect NYC from climate change. The Mall has
monuments to heroism, freedom and sacrifice. Pretty soon it will
also have a monument to failure. Drive on 17th Street NW, just
south of Constitution Avenue, and you’ll see concrete footings, a
mound of dirt and jersey barriers — all part of an oft-delayed
project to build a floodwall to protect downtown Washington from
a rising Potomac River. The flood wall, and similar initiatives
elsewhere, amount to tacit acknowledgments that the fight against
climate change… Posted.

'Unburnable Carbon' or No, Fossil Fuel Companies Face a Climate
Catch-22. Long Eaton Coal PlantWhat happens when your most
valuable assets become liabilities? International oil, gas and
coal companies may be about to find out. This week, the
International Energy Agency (IEA) released a special update to
its annual World Energy Outlook, which reveals that governments
face severe challenges if they hope to limit the rise in global
temperatures to below the internationally recognized 2 °C target.


On climate, a short-term bridge, not a long-term plan. The
International Energy Agency (IEA) — an autonomous energy research
group supported by 28 industrialized countries, including the U.S
 — reported on Monday that the world is wildly off-target in its
effort — if you can call it that — to limit global temperature
rise to only 2 degrees Celsius relative to pre-industrial levels.
Last year saw the highest level of energy-related carbon dioxide
emissions ever…Posted.

G.M. and BMW Adopt D.C. Electric Car Charging. General Motors and
BMW say they are moving ahead with technology that can give
electric cars an 80 percent charge in 20 minutes. Charging time
is a major problem in a car that can travel only 100 miles or
less between charges. Today, electric cars almost always use the
existing alternating current power grid for charging, which means
that the energy must first be converted from A.C. back into the
D.C. format car batteries use to store energy. Bypassing the
on-board hardware that does that conversion means avoiding a
bottleneck and reducing charging time. Posted.

Enviro Groups Slam Budget's Cap-And-Trade Funds Diversion.  The
budget deal finalized by Gov. Jerry Brown and legislative leaders
Monday night borrows $500 million from California’s cap-and-trade
auction revenues, as Brown proposed last month. That’s bad news
to environmental groups. California League of Conservation Voters
CEO said in a statement that the funds grab was "a particular
insult to voters." Bill Magavern, policy director at the
Coalition for Clean Air, told the Sacramento Bee that the
decision was "disappointing and shortsighted." Posted.

Island in the sun: Why are our cities heating up faster than
everywhere else? There are hot islands, there are really hot
islands, and then there are urban heat islands [PDF] — cities
that are hotter, often considerably, than their more rural
surrounds. Sound a little strange? Well, you can tell your foil
hat-wearing, climate-denying friends it’s nothing new, having
been documented as far back as 1810. Simply put, cutting down all
the trees, paving over every inch of earth, burying streams in
storm drains, and building enormous structures warms things up a
bit. Posted.

This is the longest 100 percent recycled bridge in the country. 
It’s made of 100 percent recycled materials — detergent and
shampoo bottles, car bumpers, dashboards. In fact, it’s the
longest recycled bridge in the country. OK, it’s still not very
long — only 24.6 feet. But it’s sturdy! And it’s 80 percent
post-consumer waste! Impervious to insect infestations and
exceptionally durable, the 100 percent recycled bridge is made of
materials that will not absorb moisture or rot. Posted.

Here’s how the world can get on track with climate goals. The
world is driving itself into a future of climate hell, but
experts say it’s not too late to take the off-ramp. Despite
declining greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. and other
developed nations, global emissions broke a new record last year.
They were pushed 1.4 percent higher than the year before by rapid
growth in China and India, and by Japan turning to fossil fuels
instead of nuclear power. Posted.

SEAT unveils plug-in hybrid prototype based on the new Leon
hatchback; smart charging and V2G. SEAT, a Spanish motor company
and member of the Volkswagen Group, has unveiled a plug-in hybrid
R&D prototype based on the new Leon hatchback. The Leon Verde
(“Green”) prototype is the culmination of the four-year Cenit
Verde research project in Spain, and was presented at the
official closing event of the project.
The plug-in hybrid combines a 120 hp (90 kw) 1.4 TSI gasoline
engine with a 75 kW electric motor. Posted.

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