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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for June 17, 2013 Posted: 17 Jun 2013 14:30:28
ARB Newsclips for June 17, 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. CAP AND TRADE Greenhouse gas credit prices soar. Investors may finally be sensing some money-making opportunities in a state program meant to combat climate change with the help of private market forces. Changes announced this spring in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative program have sparked a surge of interest in the program, which controls greenhouse gas emissions from power plants through the sale of state-issued pollution credits. Begun in early 2009, RGGI covers nine northeastern states and is the first cap-and-trade climate change program in the nation. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Greenhouse-gas-credit-prices-soar-4602912.php Climate talk shifts from curbing CO2 to adapting. Efforts to curb global warming have quietly shifted as greenhouse gases inexorably rise. The conversation is no longer solely about how to save the planet by cutting carbon emissions. It's becoming more about how to save ourselves from the warming planet's wild weather. It was Mayor Michael Bloomberg's announcement last week of an ambitious plan to stave off New York City's rising seas with flood gates, levees and more that brought this transition into full focus. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/06/15/3344550/climate-talk-shifts-from-curbing.html http://www.modbee.com/2013/06/15/2763867/climate-talk-shifts-from-curbing.html BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY AIR POLLUTION China announces new measures to curb air pollution. China's Cabinet has announced measures to curb the country's notorious air pollution, one of the many environmental challenges facing the country that are increasingly angering the public. The broad measures approved by the State Council include putting strict controls in place for industries that produce large amounts of waste and pollution, but it will likely be up to local governments to work out the details. In a meeting chaired by Premier Li Keqiang, the State Council approved 10 "tough measures to accomplish tough tasks," the council said in a statement on its website late Friday. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_CHINA_AIR_POLLUTION?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_23467533/china-announces-new-measures-curb-air-pollution?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/15/us-china-pollution-policy-idUSBRE95E03T20130615 http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/China-launches-pollution-control-effort-4603170.php http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/16/world/asia/china-sets-new-rules-aimed-at-curbing-air-pollution.html?_r=0 BEAUMONT: Air district raps warehouse analysis. The city of Beaumont should re-do an environmental report that greatly underestimates air pollution and truck traffic that would be generated by a 5 million-square-foot warehouse complex planned near Highway 60, regional air quality officials say. The city inappropriately relied on a 20-year-old environmental analysis for the 284-acre project on the west side of Beaumont between Highway 60 and Oak Valley Parkway, according to a June 4 letter to the city from the South Coast Air Quality Management District. The analysis originally was done for a plan that was mostly housing, the letter says. Posted. http://www.pe.com/local-news/topics/topics-environment-headlines/20130614-beaumont-air-district-raps-warehouse-analysis.ece China Smog Measures Seen as Most Aggressive Yet by Deutsche Bank. A Chinese government plan to fight air pollution announced last week marks the country’s “most aggressive” push to address smog to date, according to Deutsche Bank AG. The 10 measures, which include stricter controls on coal-burning emissions and road traffic, will push up the cost of burning the fuel, push energy consumers to use cleaner energy sources and result in more public-transport use, Ma Jun, Deutsche Bank’s chief economist for Greater China in Hong Kong, wrote in a note today. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-17/china-smog-measures-seen-as-most-aggressive-yet-by-deutsche-bank.html Speed Bump for Channel Cargo Ships? Two types of titans travel to the Santa Barbara Channel by the thousands. One is the largest mammal on earth: the endangered krill-eating, water-spouting blue whale. The other is the behemoth, oil-burning, smoke-spewing cargo ships that local environmentalists and air quality managers have been lobbying for decades to rein in. Last year, county officials say, cargo ships made about 2,200 trips through the Channel on the 155-mile last leg of a long voyage from the Pacific Rim to Long Beach and Los Angeles, burning oil the consistency of asphalt in engines as big as a small power plant and potentially risking the lives of whales frolicking in and around the Channel, especially in the summer season. Posted. http://www.missionandstate.org/speed-bump-for-channel-cargo-ships/ CLIMATE CHANGE Why Dwindling Snow—Thanks Largely to Climate Change—Might Dry Out Los Angeles. While the national government remains slow to deal with climate change, many cities have been moving ahead. Why the difference? Well, cities tend to be more homogenous politically, which makes any kind of decisive action easier to push through. But the real reason is that city managers know that they will be the first ones forced to deal with the likely consequences of global warming: rising sea levels and flooding, deadly heat waves and water struggles. Posted. http://science.time.com/2013/06/17/why-dwindling-snow-thanks-largely-to-climate-change-might-dry-out-los-angeles/#ixzz2WUi0Pmcr Obama fails to use National Environmental Policy Act despite calls for climate change action. President Barack Obama has vowed to tackle climate change in his second term, but so far has not acted to strengthen a tool that does not require backing from Congress – the National Environmental Policy Act. NEPA, a statute that dates to the Nixon administration, calls on officials to weigh whether projects such as highways, dams or oil drilling could harm the environment. While it does not have the power to block development, NEPA forces officials to consider the environment before approving federal projects, and the White House has proposed that climate change should rank high among those concerns. Posted. http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/06/16/obama-fails-to-use-national-environmental-policy-act-despite-calls-for-climate-change-action/ http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/16/usa-climate-whitehouse-idUSL2N0D21RG20130616 Countries taking action to deal with rising water. From Bangkok to Miami, cities and coastal areas across the globe are already building or planning defenses to protect millions of people and key infrastructure from more powerful storm surges and other effects of global warming. Some are planning cities that will simply adapt to more water. But climate-proofing a city or coastline is expensive, as shown by New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s $20 billion plan to build flood walls, levees and other defenses against rising seas. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/17/tp-countries-taking-action-to-deal-with-rising/ http://www.insidebayarea.com/ci_23472139/beyond-nyc-other-places-adapting-climate-too?IADID=Search-www.insidebayarea.com-www.insidebayarea.com http://www.contracostatimes.com/ci_23472139/beyond-nyc-other-places-adapting-climate-too?IADID=Search-www.contracostatimes.com-www.contracostatimes.com http://www.modbee.com/2013/06/16/2765039/beyond-nyc-other-places-adapting.html#storylink=cpy BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Petaluma father and son to lobby for greenhouse-gas tax in Washington. A Petaluma man and his son will walk the halls of Congress later this month and meet with lawmakers to drum up support for a greenhouse-gas tax and alternative energy choices. Bruce Hagen, who works for Enphase Energy solar energy company in Petaluma, and his son Riley, 23, are part of Citizens Climate Lobby, a national grassroots lobbying group that is descending on Congress this month to make a case for more clean energy. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130616/ARTICLES/130619665/0/SEARCH DIESEL EMISSIONS ARB claims diesel engine controls reducing climate change impact in California. The project was led by Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Pacific Northwest National Laboratory. The study estimated that the black carbon reductions from air regulations also reduced carbon dioxide emissions by 21 million metric tons annually. That's equivalent to removing more than 4 million cars from California's roads every year. Posted. http://www.examiner.com/article/arb-claims-diesel-engine-controls-reducing-climate-change-impact-california HIGH SPEED RAIL Key green light for California high-speed rail. The California High-Speed Rail Authority won approval Thursday from a federal railroad oversight board to start construction this summer on the first leg of what would be the nation's first bullet train. The ruling removes an important hurdle for the rail authority to start construction of the $68 billion system in the Central Valley. A ruling against the state could have caused substantial delays and cost overruns for the project, which is under tight federal construction deadlines to collect billions of dollars in federal matching grants. Posted. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/special-sections/rail/x1028019688/Key-green-light-for-California-high-speed-rail FUELS Obama’s Keystone Silence Is Driving Green-Activists Away. Wendy Abrams’ opportunity came in the photo line. As she stepped up to take her picture with President Barack Obama during a fundraiser last month in Chicago, she made her pitch: How could a president who vowed to tackle climate change possibly approve the Keystone XL pipeline? Obama, she recalled, told her that environmental activists are too focused on the $5.3 billion Keystone project and promised she’d be pleased with his proposals on climate change later this summer. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-17/obama-s-keystone-silence-is-driving-green-activists-away.html Sonoma wades into Keystone XL pipeline debate. The Sonoma City Council, which two weeks ago took a controversial stand in support of an embattled oyster company in Marin County, is diving head first again into a national debate that extends well outside city limits. Mayor Ken Brown will seek council support Monday to send an official letter to President Obama and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry asking them to deny permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would convey oil products from Canada southward to the Gulf of Mexico. Posted. http://www.pressdemocrat.com/article/20130616/ARTICLES/130619663/0/SEARCH Fracking fuels water fights in nation's dry spots. The latest domestic energy boom is sweeping through some of the nation's driest pockets, drawing millions of gallons of water to unlock oil and gas reserves from beneath the Earth's surface. Hydraulic fracturing, or the drilling technique commonly known as fracking, has been used for decades to blast huge volumes of water, fine sand and chemicals into the ground to crack open valuable shale formations. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_FRACKING_AMID_THE_DROUGHT?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT VEHICLES Automakers Pressed to Sell No-Emission Cars to Reluctant Buyers. Automakers are coming under increasing pressure to sell zero-emission vehicles to U.S. consumers who haven’t shown much interest in them, with more states following California’s lead in setting sales targets. Nine states, including New York and New Jersey, have adopted versions of California’s goal of having electric, plug-in hybrid and hydrogen-powered models reach 15 percent of its new-car purchases by 2025. Automakers face fines and potentially restrictions on sales for not reaching the targets. One model made to meet the standards, Honda Motor Co. (7267)’s plug-in electric Fit, had total U.S. sales of 83 through May, according to market-researcher Autodata Corp. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-17/automakers-pressed-to-sell-no-emission-cars-to-reluctant-buyers.html GREEN ENERGY Siemens Will Shut Solar Unit on $1 Billion Loss in Two Years. Siemens AG (SIE) will close its solar power unit after struggling to find a buyer following losses of at least 784 million euros ($1 billion) euros since 2011 amid Chief Executive Officer Peter Loescher’s failed push into that business to expand renewable energy offerings. The shutdown of the solar division will affect about 280 workers at Europe’s biggest engineering company. Siemens, based in Munich, will finish several solar projects and the closure will cost a “double-digit million-euro” sum, spokesman Torsten Wolf said via phone. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-17/siemens-will-shut-solar-unit-as-it-loses-1-billion-in-two-years.html The power of uncertainty. A future without nuclear energy has been on the drawing board for Southern California since a radiation leak shut down San Onofre in January 2012. With the recent announcement of the facility’s permanent retirement, diverse architects of the state’s power grid are acting on those plans. Utility executives last week resubmitted a previously spurned application for a major new natural-gas plant on the southern outskirts of San Diego, as engineers look to shore up power supplies across an area larger than the state of Maryland. Any solutions will have to navigate increasing technological challenges and a complex landscape of environmental and clean-energy mandates in California. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/16/tp-the-power-of-uncertainty/ Solar-powered plane lands near Washington. A solar-powered plane nearing the close of a cross-continental journey landed at Dulles International Airport outside the nation's capital early Sunday, only one short leg to New York remaining on a voyage that opened in May. Solar Impulse's website said the aircraft with its massive wings and thousands of photovoltaic cells "gracefully touched down" at 12:15 a.m. EDT after 14 hours and four minutes of flight from Cincinnati, Ohio, to Dulles in Washington's Virginia suburbs. Posted. http://www.sbsun.com/ci_23477484/solar-powered-plane-lands-near-washington Renewable power has costs that could raise Calif. electric rates. The managers of California's electric power system quickly issued public assurances about avoiding summer blackouts when Southern California Edison announced this month that it would permanently close its troubled San Onofre nuclear plant. It was an easy call because they already knew that San Onofre, which has generated about 5% of the state's electric power, wouldn't be available this summer and had made plans to purchase power from other sources. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/06/15/3345352/renewable-power-has-its-costs.html MISCELLANEOUS Bloomberg Plan Aims to Require Food Composting. Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who has tried to curb soda consumption, ban smoking in parks and encourage bike riding, is taking on a new cause: requiring New Yorkers to separate their food scraps for composting. Dozens of smaller cities, including San Francisco and Seattle, have adopted rules that mandate recycling of food waste from homes, but sanitation officials in New York had long considered the city too dense and vertically structured for such a policy to succeed. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/nyregion/bloombergs-final-recycling-frontier-food-waste.html?ref=earth OPINION Viewpoints: Sacramento can lead the way in response to climate change. In my 12 years as a professional basketball player in the NBA, I learned a lot about resilience. You lose a tough game one night, and find a way to come back strong and win the next. Resilience is a quality you have to develop with your team, and as mayor of Sacramento, it's now a key priority for my city. There is a new movement emerging in cities, towns, and counties to become more resilient and able to bounce back from serious disruptions and disasters. If you look at the past two years, it's not hard to see why. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/17/5499998/sacramento-can-lead-the-way-in.html#storylink=cpy What to do about climate change. The International Energy Agency (IEA) last week warned that global carbon dioxide emissions in 2012 were the highest ever. Yet international climate negotiations have floundered. Many Americans and their representatives in Congress still doubt climate change is a problem worth addressing. And as the developing world advances, its peoples are polluting more to obtain higher standards of living. Forget for a moment the ideal or rational response; what’s the bare minimum global leaders could do? The IEA had some useful, if modest, suggestions. Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/climate-change-needs-a-rational-response/2013/06/16/00673116-d2db-11e2-9f1a-1a7cdee20287_story.html State investments in clean tech a win-win. America is the land of free enterprise. But government investments in infrastructure and technology have fueled private business growth since the dawn of our republic: the interstate highway system, the Internet, and advanced oil and gas drilling technologies all benefited from strategic government investment. In each case, the investments addressed a societal need while also enabling private business growth. Such investments are a win-win. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/12/clean-technology-state-investment/ “Odd Couple” Unites to Facilitate California Fracking. In one of economic history’s rare moments of collaboration between labor unions and Republican energy development entrepreneurs, this unusual, but powerful alliance set California’ anti-business Assembly and Senate super majority back on its heels. In this case, the rock-solid Democrat majority lost 12 of its Assembly members to join 25 Republicans to defeat an anti-fracking (oil and gas hydraulic fracking) bill that would have declared a moratorium against the use of this process throughout the “Golden State.” This defeat of the “greens” extremists is particularly remarkable since the California alliance of the Sierra Club with the “Air Resources Board” has been previously unstoppable. Posted. http://voices.mydesert.com/2013/06/14/odd-couple-unites-to-facilitate-california-fracking/ Plan Bay Area is an attack on a way of life. Plan Bay Area will fundamentally transform the 101 cities and nine counties into urbanized, transit-oriented, high-rise developments. It is a draconian, top-down, 25-year plan conceived by unelected bureaucrats supposedly in response to a problem (reducing greenhouse gas emissions) that will already be solved (per California Air Resources Board) due to transportation technologies such as more fuel-efficient cars, electric cars and telecommuting. The most unsettling parts of the plan deal with imposition of unfunded mandates on cities and counties. It subverts local control of land use and zoning decisions. Posted. http://www.mercurynews.com/top-stories/ci_23464661/plan-bay-area-is-an-attack-way-life BLOGS Why Colorado’s Fire Losses, Even with Global Warming, Need Not Be the ‘New Normal.’ As Coloradans grappled with the impact of the state’s latest wildfire disaster, some writers were quick to call this “the new normal” due to greenhouse-driven climate change. Global warming is almost surely contributing to drought and heat in ways that exacerbate fire risk, but the prime driver of losses in these recent fires is a heavily subsidized burst of development in zones of implicit fire danger. And assertions that such losses are the new normal distract from glaring opportunities to cut unnecessary (and costly) exposure to this danger in the West, even as the grander task of curbing emissions of greenhouse gases proceeds. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/15/why-colorados-fires-even-with-global-warming-need-not-be-the-new-normal/?ref=earth CAFE Rules: Only 1-3 percent of cars need to be electric by 2025. The advent of the electric car is upon us, but despite implications to the contrary, don’t look to Uncle Sam to be as much of a direct driver of this anticipated paradigm shift as some may have previously supposed. In other quarters, there has been much talk of automakers needing to develop electrified cars to help meet 2017-2025 Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) rules. These are part of federal regulations that stipulate fleet-wide automaker averages of “54.5 mpg” (about low 40s on the sticker) and greenhouse gas (tailpipe) emissions, but today it was said only a small portion of super-efficient, fleet-average-boosting cars will need to be all-electric. Posted. http://www.hybridcars.com/CAFE-rules-1-3-percent-cars-need-to-be-electric/-2025 You want to ration my what? When Stan Cox’s Losing Our Cool questioned America’s fetish for air-conditioning in 2010, some very nasty comments reached his inbox. But Cox, an agricultural researcher at the Land Institute in Salina, Kan., is not one to back down from saying what needs to be said. Now he's poking another cow most sacred: the free market. In his new book, Any Way You Slice It: The Past, Present, and Future of Rationing, he argues that environmental sanity might require something even more dreadful than limiting consumption. Are you ready for this? A sustainable world just might be one in which humans get equal shares of what they need. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/you-want-to-ration-my-what/ How climate change makes wildfires worse. Last year, Colorado suffered from a record-breaking wildfire season: More than 4,000 fires resulted in six deaths, the destruction of 648 buildings, and a half a billion dollars in property damage. Still reeling, Coloradans are once again fleeing in their thousands from a string of drought-fueled fires. So what role is climate change playing in the worsening wildfires? Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/how-climate-change-makes-wildfires-worse/