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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 18, 2013 Posted: 18 Jun 2013 12:10:46
ARB Newsclips for June 18, 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 China takes cautious step towards carbon emissions trading. China launched its first pilot carbon emissions exchange on Tuesday, though plans for a nationwide roll out and efforts to apply the scheme to some polluting heavy industries could be undermined by a slowdown in the world's No.2 economy. High-emission industries such as aluminium and steel are likely to resist higher costs as they are already battling weak prices due to tepid demand and a persistent supply gut. Posted. http://uk.reuters.com/article/2013/06/18/china-carbon-trading-idUKL3N0ET2P220130618 China Introduces Local Program for Reducing Emissions. China unveiled its first pilot carbon emissions exchange Tuesday, though plans for a nationwide rollout and efforts to apply the program to some heavy industries could be undermined by a slowdown in the nation’s economy. High-emission industries like aluminum and steel are likely to resist higher costs as they are already battling weak prices caused by tepid demand and too much supply. “It is a very big concern for Beijing and for local governments — how to strike a balance between controlling emissions and maintaining economic growth, especially amid a general slowdown in the economy,” said Shawn He, a lawyer and carbon specialist at Hualian law firm in Beijing. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/06/19/business/energy-environment/china-introduces-local-program-for-reducing-emissions.html?_r=0 China Test Markets May Help Set Emission Cuts, GreenStream Says. Karl Upston-Hooper, general counsel at GreenStream Network Plc in Helsinki, comments on emissions trading in China, including the nation’s seven test carbon markets and offsetting program called China Certified Emission Reductions, or CCERs. He spoke by phone on June 14. China started today its first test carbon market in Shenzhen.On how China will use its test markets to help determine a trajectory for its own emissions output after 2020: China negotiators will travel to a key United Nations climate conference in Paris near the end of 2015 “knowing what they can achieve. Environmental problems are a potential disruption to social harmony. The government knows it.” Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-18/china-test-markets-may-help-set-emission-cuts-greenstream-says.html China Carbon Permits Trade 22% Below Europe’s on Market Debut. China traded its first carbon dioxide permits for 22% less than today’s price in Europe as the nation inaugurated the Shenzhen Emissions Exchange as part of its plan to limit heat-trapping gases linked to climate change. The permits were priced from 28 yuan to 30 yuan ($4.90) a metric ton, according to Chen Hai’ou, chief executive officer and president of the exchange. That’s compares with 4.71 euros a ton ($6.30) today for European Union permits on London’s ICE Futures Europe exchange, the world’s biggest carbon market by traded volume. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-18/china-carbon-permits-trade-22-below-europe-s-on-market-debut.html AIR POLLUTION Autism Tied to Air Pollution, Brain-Wiring Disconnect in Studies. Researchers seeking the roots of autism have linked the disorder to chemicals in air pollution and, in a separate study, found that language difficulties of the disorder may be due to a disconnect in brain wiring. Researchers from Harvard University’s School of Public Health found that pregnant women exposed to high levels of diesel particulates or mercury were twice as likely to have an autistic child compared with peers in low-pollution areas. The findings, published today in Environmental Health Perspectives, are from the largest U.S. study to examine the ties between air pollution and autism. Posted. http://www.businessweek.com/news/2013-06-18/autism-tied-to-air-pollution-brain-wiring-disconnect-in-studies http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Autism-Tied-to-Air-Pollution-Brain-Wiring-4606871.php Singapore fumes after pollution hits 16-year high. Singaporeans rolled back military training, kept cough-stricken children indoors and considered wearing protective masks to work Tuesday after a smoky haze triggered by forest fires in neighboring Indonesia caused air pollution to briefly hit its worst level in nearly 16 years. The Pollutant Standards Index, Singapore's main measure to determine air quality, crept into the "unhealthy" classification Monday as smoke from roaring blazes on Indonesia's Sumatra island drifted across the sea and cast a gray pall over the city-state's skyscrapers. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/A/AS_SINGAPORE_HAZE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/17/5504480/singapore-fumes-after-pollution.html http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/17/singapore-fumes-after-pollution-hits-16-year-high/ http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Singapore-fumes-after-pollution-hits-16-year-high-4606423.php Sierra wildfires trigger warning of unhealthy San Joaquin Valley air. Local air officials issued a health caution Monday because of smoke from wildfires in the Sierra Nevada. Blazes in the foothills could affect the air quality in eastern parts of Merced, Madera, Fresno, Tulare and Kern counties, including the foothill and mountain areas, said officials with the San Joaquin Air Valley Pollution Control District. In addition, eastern portions of the Valley floor may be affected during overnight Monday, officials said. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2013/06/17/3347344/sierra-wildfires-trigger-warning.html Air officials issue health caution because of smoke from fires. Officials with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District issued a health caution statement Monday because smoke from two wildfires in the Sierra Nevada is making its way into the air basin. The health caution will be in effect until the fires are out, according to an air district news release. "Our standard is, if you can see smoke and smell smoke, you are being affected," Samir Sheikh, the district's director of air quality analysis, said in the news release. The wildfires are burning in Madera and Mariposa counties. Posted. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/local/x1028019956/Air-officials-issue-health-caution-because-of-smoke-from-fires CLIMATE CHANGE Obama considers sweeping climate plan. The Obama administration is considering a sweeping initiative to address climate change, including the first-ever limits on carbon dioxide from power plants, the country's biggest source of greenhouse gas emissions, according to people familiar with the discussions. The White House has yet to settle on specific measures, but "we're hearing that existing power plants are definitely in the mix," said a person with knowledge of the deliberations, who, like others, asked not to be identified to talk about White House discussions. An announcement could come by mid-July. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/news/nationworld/nation/la-na-obama-climate-20130618,0,1769572.story?track=rss Companies from GE to Staples Cash in on CO2 Cuts: Report. General Electric Co. (GE) and Staples Inc. (SPLS) are among companies cited by an environment group for acting to cut emissions tied to global warming after Congress failed to pass climate-change legislation. The World Wildlife Fund issued a report today, written in part by McKinsey & Co., that named GE and Staples as companies that improved by financial performance by tackling climate change. Investing in low-carbon energy sources, curbs on energy use and installation of modern heating or cooling technologies can help both the Earth and corporate balance sheets, according to the report. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2013-06-18/ge-to-staples-called-climate-champions-by-wildlife-group.html Algae genome could aid medical, climate research. Cal State San Marcos researchers unlocked the genome for a type of algae found around the globe, a finding they said has potential applications to fields ranging from climate change to dentistry. The study sequenced 13 strains of the phytoplankton Emiliania huxleyi, to document the first algal “pan-genome:” a set of genes shared by diverse algal varieties. While the different strains share 70 to 80 percent of their DNA, about 20 to 30 percent of their genes are unique to each strain, allowing them to inhabit virtually all the world’s oceans except the polar seas. Posted. http://www.utsandiego.com/news/2013/jun/17/algae-pan-genome-csusm-climate/ DIESEL EMISSIONS China's Sinopec cuts sulphur in diesel to clear urban skies. The refiner cut the sulphur content of its "ordinary" diesel to a maximum 350 parts per million (ppm), bringing it into line with the minimum standard for diesel produced for autos and trucks, it said in a release late on Monday. The new standard also means a quality change in Sinopec's diesel exports, although the refiner is not expected to export any of the fuel in June for the second month in a row. Sinopec is the country's dominate diesel exporter. The fuel upgrade means all diesel produced by Sinopec will be of quality similar to Euro III standards or higher. Posted. http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/06/18/china-diesel-upgrade-idUSL3N0EU22E20130618 GREEN ENERGY Saving energy is great. But how much is actually possible? It’s something we hear from policymakers again and again: The world squanders too much energy. And wringing out that waste should be one of the easiest ways for the United States and other countries to save money and curb pollution. But as it turns out, much of what we know about the topic of energy-efficiency is still fairly hazy. Sure, it’s technically doable to make cars more fuel-efficient or insulate homes to prevent heat from leaking out. But which of these efforts are really the most cost-effective? And if it’s such a no-brainer, why aren’t people already taking these steps? Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/06/18/saving-energy-is-great-but-how-much-is-actually-possible/ Official: Solar plane to help energy use on ground. The plane parked outside the airport looks more like a giant exotic insect or maybe an outsized balsa wood toy airplane. When it's in flight, there's no roar of jet engines. It's strangely quiet. And as it crisscrosses America, the spindly plane doesn't use a drop of fuel. Day, and even night, it flies on the power of the sun. And it's that fact that has the U.S. energy secretary, and the plane's two pilots and fans around the world, so excited. Posted. http://hosted.ap.org/dynamic/stories/U/US_SOLAR_PLANE?SITE=AP&SECTION=HOME&TEMPLATE=DEFAULT http://www.modbee.com/2013/06/17/2766807/official-solar-plane-to-help-energy.html MISCELLANEOUS UC Berkeley to help overhaul green job training for public utilities. The California Public Utilities Commission chose the University of California, Berkeley, to oversee big changes in job training meant to accelerate the state's shift to a green economy. Under a $500,000 contract that runs through spring 2014, the Donald Vial Center for Employment in the Green Economy -- part of Cal's Institute for Research and Labor Employment -- will coordinate changes in training for future workers at state utilities like PG&E Corp. (NYSE: PCG). Posted. http://www.bizjournals.com/sanfrancisco/news/2013/06/17/uc-berkeley-to-help-overhaul-green-job.html?ana=RSS&s=article_search&utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+bizj_sanfrancisco+%28San+Francisco+Business+Times%29 UC Davis professor earns prestigious prize for environmental work. UC Davis professor Daniel Sperling, one of the nation's most influential transportation thinkers and policymakers, is the recipient of the 2013 Blue Planet Prize, sometime called the Nobel Prize for environmental science. The prize, presented by a Japanese foundation, comes with $500,000 award. "I am deeply honored to receive the Blue Planet Prize, and I share it with my many brilliant and passionate collaborators," Sperling is quoted in a university press release. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/06/18/5505609/uc-davis-professor-earns-prestigious.html OPINION California's Cap-and-Tax Grab. Democrats in Sacramento are taking a victory lap for balancing this year's budget without raising taxes (not counting the $6 billion retroactive hike voters approved at political gunpoint in November). The dirty little secret is they're instead tapping California's new cap-and-trade program. California expects to generate $500 million this year from auctioning off permits to emit carbon, and between $2 billion and $14 billion annually by 2015. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887323734304578541822111512316.html?mod=wsj_streaming_stream BLOGS Global Warming and Our Inconvenient Minds. I spent the first 20 years of my climate reporting focused on the buildup of human-generated greenhouse gases as a biogeophysical problem. Fuels and forests burn. Gases rise. Heat flows. Ocean chemistry changes. You get the idea. In 2000, I wrote “Global Waffling: When Will We Be Sure?” — an early attempt to examine why humans have a hard time with looming threats like global warming. But it was only starting in 2006 that I shifted increasingly into exploring behavior and climate and began learning why we split into factions on climate policy shaped more by worldviews than data. Posted. http://dotearth.blogs.nytimes.com/2013/06/17/global-warming-and-our-inconvenient-minds/