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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for August 12, 2013.

Posted: 12 Aug 2013 12:50:24
ARB Newsclips for August 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.


Lignite power revenues boosted by cheap carbon prices. European
electricity revenues generated from lignite are now three times
as high as from hard coal, boosted by a collapse in the price of
carbon permits, undermining Europe's ambition to cut greenhouse
gas emissions. The money will be welcome to German utilities,
which are seeing their revenues squeezed by the government's 2011
decision to speed up its nuclear power exit, and by natural gas
prices that are so high that electricity generated from the fuel
is unprofitable. Posted.

Businesses soon may meet California air rules by paying someone
else to slash emissions.  It will be a lifeline of sorts for the
cement factories, oil refiners and hundreds of other businesses
struggling with California's stringent greenhouse-gas
restrictions.  Soon they'll be able to comply – in part – by
paying other people to reduce their own carbon emissions. 

Enviros not happy with California carbon offsets.  A component of
California's landmark offensive against greenhouse gas emissions
is not sitting well with some environmental groups. Under the
measure, companies would be able to meet the state's strict
greenhouse gas restrictions in part by purchasing offsets, or
credits that are generated when others achieve carbon emission
reductions. Posted. 



Forrister And Bledsloe Misunderstanding The Difference Between
Cap And Trade And A Carbon Tax. A small point in an otherwise
rather good NYT Op/Ed on the various methods of taking action
about carbon emissions and climate change. Their political
argument, that regulation is very much a second best solution but
if Congress won’t allow anything else then, well, whaddayagonnado
I have some sympathy with. However, there’s a definite economic
problem with this statement of theirs: Posted.

California Carbon Trading Would Counteract Emissions From
Expanded Chevron Refinery, State Says. The hundreds of activists
on hand earlier this month at Chevron’s Richmond refinery to
protest its contribution to global warming might be surprised to
learn that California says it has found a way to control the
company’s carbon footprint within the state, despite its plans to
expand. Posted.


China dumps pollution on California. China’s size, growth and
prosperity have become legendary. With one-quarter of the world’s
population and the second largest economy it is not surprising
that China has pollution problems. The recent Olympics held in
China prompted the Peoples Republic of China to cut smog by
drastically reducing motor vehicle use in Beijing. China will
spend $255 billion over the next five years to improve air
quality. Posted.

Aspen Fire causing unhealthy air across SJ Valley.  Air quality
authorities say smoke from a wildfire east of Fresno and
wildfires in Northern California and Oregon has the potential to
cause serious health problems for people living in parts of
California's Central Valley.  The San Joaquin Valley Air
Pollution Control District issued a health cautionary statement
on Tuesday for the entire air basin.  Posted. 

California fire sends smoke across Northern Nevada; Air Quality
warning issued.  A fire burning in Northern California has
blanketed Reno-Sparks and much of Northern Nevada in thick smoke.
 The American fire is currently burning about 17 miles northeast
of Foresthill, California.  About 150 firefighters are battling
the blaze in rugged terrain, and the fire has already consumed
800 acres.  Posted. 


Effects of climate change in California are 'significant and
growing' Environmental shifts, such as higher sea temperatures
and shrinking glaciers in the Sierra Nevada, point to
overwhelming evidence of climate change, state scientists say.
California is feeling the effects of climate change far and wide,
as heat-trapping greenhouse gases reduce spring runoff from the
Sierra Nevada, make the waters of Monterey Bay more acidic and
shorten winter chill periods required to grow fruit and nuts in
the Central Valley, a new report says. Posted.

Areas of Sacramento will be inundated as sea rises over the
years, study says. It could take a few hundred years – or even
2,000 – but the eventual, permanent flooding of low-lying areas
in Sacramento is guaranteed if greenhouse gases are not deeply
reduced, according to new research. A rising sea level due to
climate change is expected to dramatically alter the future
landscape of many of the world's coastal areas around the world.

Satellite to track climate change. The world's first satellite
dedicated solely to tracking atmospheric levels of carbon dioxide
is being developed at a Gilbert, Ariz., manufacturing facility,
as NASA scientists move to make space the next frontier in the
study of global climate change. The satellite, estimated to cost
about $468 million, promises to paint a more detailed picture of
the environmental impact of global warming…Posted.

Monterey Bay affected by climate change. State study points to
fish declines, ocean acidification. Monterey Bay is a microcosm
of the "immediate and growing threat" of climate change in
California, the state Environmental Protection Agency said
Thursday. From rising sea levels and ocean acidity to declining
populations of chinook salmon and sea lion pups, global warming
is here, it said in a 258-page report, "Indicators of Climate
Change in California." Posted.

California Documents the Damage Already Done by Global Warming.
There is no need to worry about the approach of global warming.
It is already here, and the California Environmental Protection
Agency (CalEPA) has documented its effects in a new report.
Indicators of Climate Change in California (pdf) updates a report
from four years ago that, once you get past the
self-congratulatory back patting, charts the state’s steady
decline in resistance to global warming. Posted.

Australia is the developed nation most threatened by climate
change – report. Dangerous climate change threatens the health,
security and prosperity of Australians, and voters are concerned
about how it could drive up insurance premiums and food prices if
left unchecked, according to the latest report from the Climate
Institute of Australia. The report says Australians in particular
have a lot to lose from worsening bushfires, droughts, heat waves
and coastal flooding. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059985866/print BY


Oil-Sands Industry Turns to Algae to Appease Obama. Canada’s
response to President Barack Obama’s challenge to reduce
emissions of global-warming gases from the oil sands starts with
sewage and algae. The paste-like crude extracted from oil sands
is softened by heat and steam to make it flow though pipelines.
Burning natural gas to process the fuel creates carbon dioxide
that researchers say can be mixed with waste water and fed to
algae, which can be processed into cattle feed and other
products. Posted.


Ethanol’s Discount to Gasoline Narrows on Outlook Demand to Rise.
Ethanol’s discount to gasoline narrowed on speculation that the
lowest prices for the biofuel in almost 14 months will spur
demand. The spread, or price difference, tightened 0.69 cent to
75.63 cents a gallon at 11:05 a.m. New York time as futures
dropped 22 percent from their 2013 high of $2.744 in May. An
Agriculture Department report scheduled for release at noon in
Washington is expected to show farmers this year will harvest
14.036 billion bushels of corn…Posted.

2 oil spills may hold Keystone XL lessons. As the Obama
administration inches closer to a decision on whether to approve
the construction of the much-debated Keystone XL pipeline, costly
cleanup efforts in two communities stricken by oil spills portend
the potential hazards of transporting heavy Canadian crude. It
has been three years since an Enbridge Energy pipeline ruptured
beneath this small western Michigan town, spewing more than
840,000 gallons of thick oil sands crude into the Kalamazoo River
and Talmadge Creek…Posted.

The promise of advanced biofuels. Corn ethanol has gone a long
way to reducing our oil use, Holland writes, but it's gone about
as far as it can go due to the 'blend wall.' The next generation
of biofuels can pick up the slack, with support from the EPA's
Renewable Fuels Standard. This week, the EPA announced that it
was adjusting the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in order to
reflect market realities. As originally proposed earlier this

Harnessing Corn Oil Power. It’s no secret that revenue from corn
oil extraction has been key in keeping many ethanol plants
producing in recent times of tight margins. It accounts for an
increasing portion of total revenue as the majority of ethanol
plants have now adopted and optimized the technology to extract
the coproduct, also known as distillers corn oil. Bernie Hoffman,
vice president of business development and minority owner of WB
Services LLC, says that…Posted.


Chevron refinery fire one year later: Fallout, impact show no
signs of waning. When the No. 4 crude unit at Chevron's
century-old waterfront oil refinery burst into flames and sent
black smoke billowing into a cloudless sky Aug. 6, 2012, it was
easy for many to assume that the fallout from the accident would
be fleeting. After all, fires of similar scope had occurred at
the same refinery in 1999 and 2007, quickly drifting from the
spotlight once the smoke had cleared. Posted.


Boost electric-car tax credit, say advocates. Clean-energy
advocates are teaming up with legislators to boost a tax credit
for people who buy electric cars. The credit would go from $605
to $2,500, the same for compressed natural gas-powered cars. Rep.
Lowry Snow, R-Santa Clara, will sponsor a measure to equalize the
tax credits for action by the Legislature in January. Posted.

Today’s Cleaner Electric Cars And Tomorrow’s Even Cleaner
Electric Cars.  Uncovering a fraud is uniquely satisfying, which
is perhaps why news outlets continue to provide electric car
deniers with a platform to proclaim they aren’t as green as they
appear. But close examination reveals the latest round of
skeptics to be lacking in substance. Numerous peer-reviewed
articles have reached the same conclusion — from cradle to grave,
electric cars are the cleanest vehicles on the road today.

Price war rages on over electric cars.  As the auto industry
struggled to recover from the recession, it swore off the deep
discounting that destroyed profits and led to disaster. Now, a
price war has erupted in the industry’s smallest segment:
electric cars.  On Tuesday, General Motors cut $5,000 off the
price of its Chevrolet Volt plug-in electric vehicle in response
to rapid-fire discounting on battery-powered models this year.

The New Diesel Cars For 2014. With an increasing number of diesel
passenger cars appearing in showrooms, car buyers have more
options for fuel-efficient driving than they did only a few years
ago. After a brief hiatus several years ago, when new and tougher
emissions standards came into effect for diesel vehicles, the
number has steadily increased--and 2014 has a bumper crop of new
diesel vehicles. Posted.

Southern California Utility Girds For 350,000 Electric Cars. One
of the long-standing concerns over electric cars is just how much
demand the electricity grid would have to cope with should
millions of people start plugging in every night. California will
be a good test-bed for such concerns, with as many as 350,000
electric cars expected on the state's roads by 2020. That's
according to Southern California Edison (SCE)'s white paper,
"Charged Up" (pdf document), via KCET. Posted.


'Shovel-ready' bullet train construction delayed again. Serious
construction could start in 2014 — when 2012 had been promised.
Experts say officials underestimated the challenges of the
$68-billion project. The start of construction on California's
bullet train, one of the nation's largest "shovel ready" public
work projects that was awarded stimulus funding three years ago
by the Obama administration, is slipping past already-delayed
target dates, interviews show. Posted.

Feds say environmental law does not apply to California
high-speed rail. California's high-speed rail project is no
longer subject to the state's rigorous environmental laws after a
federal transportation board ruled that it has oversight of the
project, the state attorney general's office argues in a brief
filed Friday. The June decision by the federal Surface
Transportation Board -- which was sought by opponents of the
bullet train…Posted.


Bill before Calif. governor would allow high-speed rail officials
to manage land internally.  The California High-Speed Rail
Authority could manage property it has bought for the bullet
train without extra oversight under legislation now heading to
the governor.  The bill by Democratic Assemblywoman Bonnie
Lowenthal, of Long Beach, allows rail officials to negotiate
property access rights and sell excess land without getting
approval from the state Department of General Services.  Posted. 


Insight: California aims to 'bottle sunlight' in energy storage
push. California, whose green ambitions helped the solar and wind
industries take root, is taking an essential next step by
proposing a sharp rise in energy storage to better integrate
renewable power with the rest of the grid. Power from sun and
wind fluctuates dramatically, so capturing it for later use makes
the supply more predictable. Posted.

GREEN ENERGY: Schools anticipate energy grants. Inland Southern
California schools could receive more than $35 million for
energy-saving projects under the state formula to allocate money
from last year’s Prop. 39. The November ballot measure, passed
with 61 percent of the vote, ended a tax break for multistate
corporations and set aside $2.5 billion for energy-efficiency
projects over the next five years. Posted.

Near-loss of 35-year solar monitoring program shows key problems
with satellite system. For Jeff Privette, a scientist at the
National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National
Climatic Data Center, 2011 was not a great year. Privette keeps
track of climate sensors on satellites as part of his job, and
one of the climate sensor programs he follows was having issues.
This sensor, currently mounted on a satellite mission known as
SORCE, tracks how much energy from the sun hits the top of
Earth's atmosphere… Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059985871/print BY

Local wind power at heart of industry's 2012 growth – report.
With the American wind market showing record growth and offshore
wind farms gaining support, a new report commissioned by the
Department of Energy shows that the bulk of this increased
capacity is coming from a small-scale, local, decentralized
sector known as distributed wind power. Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059985874/print  BY


Inventor Musk to share plans for high-speed travel. Twice as fast
as an airplane, cheaper than a bullet train and completely
self-powered: that's the mysterious transportation system that
inventor and entrepreneur Elon Musk is promising to reveal design
plans for Monday. Musk has been dropping hints about his
"Hyperloop" system for more than a year during public events,
mentioning that it could never crash, would be immune to weather
and would move people from Los Angeles to San Francisco in half
an hour. Posted.

APCD study to be reviewed at meeting.  Over the last year,
implementation has been under way of the San Luis Obispo County
Air Pollution Control District’s Rule 1001 that requires the
Off-Highway Vehicle Division of State the California Department
of Parks and Recreation to mitigate the silica dust coming from
its park on the Dunes.  Recently, APCD director Larry Allen told
the board of directors the State Parks Department has not been
complying with Rule 1001.  Posted. 

Poll shows strong support for action on climate, fracking, but
will it trigger political moves? It took less than 48 hours for
California's environmental advocates to start lobbying using new
poll results that show residents want swift action on climate
change and limits on unconventional oil drilling. Bill Magavern,
policy director of Coalition for Clean Air, cited the poll from
Public Policy Institute of California when he lobbied for S.B.
605, legislation that would direct proceeds from the state's
carbon cap-and-trade auctions…Posted.


Analysis: Mexico aims for NAFTA-style growth boost from energy
reform. Mexico's plans to break a 75-year state monopoly on
energy could boost flagging growth and double foreign investment,
potentially providing the biggest leg-up to its economy since the
North American Free Trade Agreement two decades ago. The
government is finalizing proposals to lure private investors into
the oil, gas and electricity industries in order to boost
production and lower energy costs for manufacturers…Posted.

A Clean-Car Boom. In a welcome development for the planet, the
cars on American streets are becoming much more climate-friendly
much sooner than many had expected. Consumers are increasingly
buying fuel-efficient hybrid and electric vehicles thanks to
breakthrough innovations and supportive government policies.  The
transportation sector accounts for 28 percent of American
greenhouse gas emissions, the most after power plants. Posted.

The Inevitable Convergence: Corporations, Carbon, and Consumers.
Extreme heat, recurrent nationwide weather anomalies, and intense
wildfires resulting in catastrophic loss of life by fearless
responders have refueled Administration policy announcements
working to define a regulatory approach to control carbon
dioxide. These shocking and tragic events drive media coverage
and release a torrent of policy debates on just what America
should do about climate change. Posted.


UPDATE: Could Canada’s Foot-Dragging on New Greenhouse-Gas Rules
Threaten Keystone? In February, then-environment minister Peter
Kent told Canada’s parliament the Conservative government was
“very close” to unveiling new rules governing greenhouse-gas
emissions from oil and gas producers. Six months later, there’s a
new environment minister in Ottawa, and no sign that those
rules–first promised by the Conservatives back in 2008–are about
to emerge. Posted.

Why do Californians use less electricity than everyone else?  The
average Californian uses about 33 percent less electricity at
home than the average American in the rest of the country. That
shouldn’t be overly surprising, given the state’s mild weather. 
What is surprising, though, is that California’s electricity use
has basically stayed flat for the past four decades, in stark
contrast with the rest of the United States.  Posted. 

Climate Change in California: Ready Or Not, It’s Here. A new
State of California report released yesterday verifies what
scientists have been telling us for some time—climate change is
here, and it is now affecting the state’s water supplies, farm
industry, forests, wildlife and public health. The alarm is being
sounded by Cal/EPA’s Office of Environmental Health Hazard
Assessment (OEHHA) in a report that compiled 36 indicators of
climate change…Posted.

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