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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 14, 2013

Posted: 14 Jun 2013 11:42:31
ARB Newsclips for June 14, 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.


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. It now goes
to the floors of the Assembly and Senate for a vote by Saturday,
the constitutional deadline to send the budget to the governor's
desk.  Posted. 


Air pollution can cause heart arrhythmias (study).  For people
with existing heart problems, exposure to high levels of air
pollution can trigger the irregular heartbeats that may lead to a
stroke or heart attack, according to a new study.  Past research
has linked air pollution to ventricular fibrillation, electrical
confusion in the lower chambers of the heart which can cause
sudden death.  The new study also finds an association with
atrial fibrillation (AF), erratic quivering in the heart's upper
chambers and the most common type of irregular heartbeat. Posted.




China Vows Fresh Measures to Fight Air Pollution.  China on
Friday announced a series of measures aimed at cleaning up the
nation's badly polluted air, pledging to speed up the elimination
of outdated factory equipment and boost the supply of clean
energy.  "The control of air pollution is not only an important
matter concerning people's livelihoods but also an opportunity to
upgrade the economy," the State Council, or cabinet, said in a
statement posted on the central government website.  The
authorities will speed up efforts to eliminate outdated equipment
and close obsolete plants in key industries, such as steel,
cement and electrolytic aluminum, the statement said. These are
sectors where China is grappling with overcapacity.  Posted. 


UN climate talks marred by decision-making spat.  U.N. climate
talks have hit a stumbling block that some delegates say poses a
serious challenge to their already slow-moving effort to craft a
global response to climate change.  As the latest negotiation
session ended Friday in the German city of Bonn, one track of the
talks was paralyzed by a request by Russia, Ukraine and Belarus
to review the decision-making procedure in the two-decade-long
U.N. process.  Posted. 



US researchers explore deep Caribbean reefs.  Scientists with the
Smithsonian Institution have discovered at least one new fish
species at a deep reef off Curacao while conducting a yearlong
project to gather data on temperature and biodiversity for
monitoring climate change effects in the Caribbean.  The
discovery occurred in recent weeks off the southern edge of the
Dutch Caribbean island as scientists used a submarine to explore
depths up to 1,000 feet (305 meters).  Dr. Carole Baldwin, a
Smithsonian research zoologist, told The Associated Press on
Thursday that the team is studying 25 to 30 other specimens of
fish and invertebrates collected during the trip that they
believe are new species.  Posted. 


Climate change could slash snowfall in Southern California
mountains.  Climate change is likely to wipe a lot of the white
from those postcard winter scenes of Los Angeles ringed by
snow-capped mountains, according to new research.  A UCLA study
released Friday projects a significant decline in snowfall on the
ranges that provide a dramatic backdrop to urban Southern
California.  By mid-century, the amount of snow draping the
mountains could decrease 30% to 40%, researchers say. If
greenhouse gas emissions continue unabated, the ranges could lose
two-thirds of their snow by century’s end.  Posted. 


California's efforts to clean up diesel engines have helped
reduce impact of climate change on state, study finds. 
Reductions in emissions of black carbon since the late 1980s,
mostly from diesel engines as a result of air quality programs,
have resulted in a measurable reduction of concentrations of
global warming pollutants in the atmosphere, according to a
first-of-its-kind study examining the impact of black carbon on
California's climate.  The study, funded by the California Air
Resources Board and led by Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan of the
Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of
California, San Diego, estimates that reductions in black carbon
as a result of clean air regulations were equivalent to reducing
carbon dioxide emissions in California by 21 million metric tons
annually or taking more than 4 million cars off California roads
every year.  Posted. 


Supreme Court strikes down parts of L.A. port's Clean Truck
Program.  The Supreme Court handed the American Trucking Assn. a
partial victory on Thursday, ruling that drivers don't have to
affix the "How am I driving?" placards on its trucks or have
off-site parking plans in order to haul goods in and out of the
Port of Los Angeles.  The trucking association sued the city of
Los Angeles, which operates the port, to overturn the Clean Truck
Program.  The program, enacted in 2008 to curb pollution at the
largest port in the country, sought to restrict the types of
trucks that carried goods to and from the port.  Posted. 

Other related stories:





Study: CA’s low carbon fuel standard will work.  To hear the oil
industry tell it, California’s “low carbon fuel standard” is a
train wreck waiting to happen.  The standard, adopted by state
air quality regulators in 2009, requires oil companies to cut the
greenhouse gas emissions associated with fuel they sell in the
state. By 2020, the “carbon intensity” of California fuels is
supposed to fall 10 percent.  The oil industry has fought back,
challenging the standard in court. There aren’t enough advanced
biofuels available, the industry argues, to make the system work.
The state wants oil companies to rely on products that just
aren’t there, at least not in the quantities required.  Posted. 


Good-bye granola: Hybrid cars go ainstream in California.  At
least one East Coast stereotype about California may be on the
mark: we love our hybrid cars — especially the Prius.  Toyota’s
iconic gas-electric vehicle became the No. 1 selling car or light
truck in California last year, topping perennial winners like the
Toyota Camry and Ford F-150 pickup. Prius jumped to the top spot
from No. 4 in 2011, a surge fueled in part by the introduction of
three new Prius models.  BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY.  Posted. 

California awards $18 million to build hydrogen fueling stations.
 Projects supporting California’s hydrogen fuel cell
infrastructure will see a hefty boost thanks to more than $18
million in grant funding, the state’s Energy Commission announced
this week.  The agency’s dollars will go toward installing, or in
some cases upgrading, hydrogen fuel stations in several counties
around Southern California. Ranging in size from $1.5 million to
more than $6.6 million, the five awards come through the Energy
Commission’s Alternative and Renewable Fuel and Vehicle
Technology Program.  Posted. 


Solar power hits state records.  Solar power generation is rising
in California, breaking records twice in the past week.  On
Friday, the state hit an all-time high output of 2,071 megawatts
of electrical generation 12:59 p.m. That record was broken again
at 12:53 p.m. on Monday, when output reached 2,104 megawatts.  It
was just last September that California for the first time peaked
at 1,000 megawatts.  Posted. 


Another View: State shouldn't spend cap-and-trade cash while
court cases are under review.  Most financial planners would
discourage a family from borrowing more money than they may be
able to pay back. The same sound advice would also apply to the
state of California and its plan to "loan" $500 million from the
Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund to its general fund.  The problem
is that substantial legal questions still surround how that money
was "taxed" and taken from Californians, and whether the process
should be stopped and the money collected to date refunded. 

Long Beach port at critical crossroads.  There have been many
critical times in the 100-plus years of the port of Long Beach,
but none were more serious than what the port is going through
now.  The port continues to face increased global competition. To
keep pace and move ahead, the port is spending billions on major
initiatives like the Middle Harbor container terminal, a new
Gerald Desmond bridge and other facility upgrades.  Posted. 


Talking Climate Online With David Roberts of Grist.  David
Roberts of the green blog Grist and I have a constructive, if
sometimes prickly, relationship as nodes in the network of online
communicators focused on human-driven climate change.  I’m in a
camp he sometimes refers to as “Very Serious People” (the capital
letters are required and it’s not a compliment most of the time).
He’s in a category whose members sometimes call themselves “dirty
hippies.”  Posted. 

Global warming appears to have slowed lately. That’s no reason to
celebrate.  A few things stand out. First, the planet has grown
considerably warmer since mid-century, by more than half a degree
Celsius. Second, even if the overall trend is upward, there’s a
fair bit of variation year to year. Some of that, as we can see,
has to do with El Niño and La Niña cycles, which can shift heat
into and out of the ocean.  There’s a third aspect of this chart,
however, that’s getting a barrage of attention lately. The past
decade has clearly been the warmest decade on record. But the
pace of warming in the last 15 years has been slower than it was
in the 20 years before that. And that’s despite the fact that
greenhouse gases are piling up in the atmosphere at a record
pace.  Posted. 

May new-vehicle fleetwide fuel-economy remains at record 23.7
mpg.  Former NBA great Shaquille O'Neal retired with a career
scoring average of 23.7 points per game. And like Shaq's scoring
average, the new-vehicle fleetwide fuel economy mpg number
doesn't want to budge, either.  May was the third straight month
that fleetwide fuel economy stayed at 23.7 miles per gallon,
according to TrueCar. That's a monthly record, but
year-over-year, fuel economy was up 0.6 mpg, with Nissan and
Chrysler having particularly strong gains.  Posted. 

Automakers top annual list of greenest global brands.  When
Interbrand released its report on the greenest global business
brands earlier this week, automakers topped the list.  But while
the industry has made gains, it isn’t a bastion of green policies
and often fights the efforts by regulators to reduce emissions. 
“The question remains as to whether the auto industry continues
to invest in fuel economy and zero emission technologies or will
they fight back whenever there is a periodic review,” said Simon
Mui, director of the California vehicles and fuels office at the
Natural Resources Defense Council.  Posted. 

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