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newsclips -- Newsclips for August 23, 2013 Posted: 23 Aug 2013 13:37:26
ARB Newsclips for August 23, 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 California’s Cap-and-Trade Program Makes Encouraging Headway. As the federal government gets started implementing a national Climate Action Plan, the country’s boldest state-level experiment is making strong progress. Yesterday, California announced the results of its latest auction of carbon pollution permits, completely selling out of its permits for future carbon pollution for the first time. Posted. http://insights.wri.org/news/2013/08/california%E2%80%99s-cap-and-trade-program-makes-encouraging-headway#sthash.MT1uvyK5.dpuf California carbon market going so well, it sold out of permits. If sales from the latest auction of carbon permits under California’s new cap and trade system are any indication, industry is taking seriously the state’s determination to cut its emissions. Friday’s auction was the fourth since the program’s debut last November, and it marked the first time demand for permits for the years beyond 2013 actually overwhelmed supply. Posted. http://reneweconomy.com.au/2013/california-carbon-market-going-so-well-they-sold-out-of-permits AIR POLLUTION Yosemite smoke fuels air quality alert in Reno. Heavy smoke from a wildfire burning near Yosemite National Park has triggered an air quality alert in Reno and surrounding areas more than 150 miles away. Washoe County Health District spokesman Phil Ulibarri said Thursday the air quality index has risen into the unhealthy range for sensitive groups. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/22/5673527/yellowstone-smoke-fuels-air-quality.html#storylink=cpy AK Steel reaches $1.6M settlement with feds. AK Steel Corp. is paying a $1.6 million civil penalty to resolve air pollution violations that occurred at its now-closed coke plant in Ashland. The settlement also calls for AK Steel to spend at least $2 million to improve emissions at its Ashland West Works facility. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/22/5673121/ak-steel-reaches-16m-settlement.html#storylink=cpy Two California fires leave Sparks under blanket of smoke. Air Quality in the Truckee Meadows reached an "unhealthy" point at 3 p.m. Thursday afternoon when government authority AirNow reported a 166 Air Quality Index (AQI) rating, which was explained as causing health concerns for all people. The AQI can be thought of a "yardstick that runs from 0 to 500," according to airnow.gov, and the greater the number, the greater the pollution and risk on public health. Posted. http://www.dailysparkstribune.com/view/full_story/23430161/article-Two-California-fires-leave-Sparks-under-blanket-of-smoke Campaign for change targets air pollution in valley. A billboard in rural Tracy with the face of a local county supervisor asks drivers to rethink how they get around, which is part of a campaign organizers hope will save the county from a $30 million penalty. The billboard, alongside eastbound 11th Street west of Bird Road, depicts San Joaquin County District 5 Supervisor Bob Elliott and the message, "Make One Change — Carpool." Posted. http://www.tracypress.com/view/full_story/23430745/article-Campaign-for-change-targets-air-pollution-in-valley?instance=home_news_lead_story Valley may be near meeting air standard, avoiding fine. The San Joaquin Valley's first Air Alert of the year has ended with zero violations of an ozone pollution standard, meaning the Valley may be closer than ever to meeting that standard and ditching a $29 million annual penalty. The Air Alert was called as hot temperatures earlier this week, combined with back-to-school traffic, boosted levels of harmful ozone. However, the pollution level at monitoring stations throughout the Valley stayed within limits. Posted. http://www.recordnet.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20130823/A_NEWS/308230318&cid=sitesearch CLIMATE CHANGE House Republicans schedule rare hearing on climate change. House Republicans have summoned the leaders of 13 federal agencies to a hearing next month to examine their plans to implement a sweeping climate change agenda that President Obama outlined in a June speech. Organized by the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Energy and Power, the Sept. 18 hearing seeks information "from relevant federal agencies about U.S. climate change policies…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/nation/politics/politicsnow/la-pn-house-gop-hearing-climate-change-20130822,0,3748834.story?track=rss African farmer delegation touring US Midwest. A dozen farmers and business owners from Africa are visiting farm equipment factories in the Midwest to study technology that might help them produce more soybeans and corn back home — while manufacturers in the U.S. are hoping the visit could lead to new opportunities in a market that is expected to grow in coming years. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/23/5675199/african-farmer-delegation-touring.html#storylink=cpy Climate change in focus during congressional break. Members of Congress have come to expect controversy sometimes during their August break. Four years ago, it was health care. This year many thought it would be immigration. But in California, global warming has become an unexpectedly hot topic. Thanks to California Sen. Barbara Boxer, the White House and environmental groups…Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/Climate-change-in-focus-during-congressional-break-4754263.php 'Uncertain' Science: Judith Curry's Take On Climate Change. While the Obama administration presses forward with plans to deal with climate change, Congress remains steadfast against taking action. It's not easy to find a scientist who will agree with that point of view. But Republicans have found an ally in a climate scientist by the name of Judith Curry. Curry actually entered the public eye in 2005, with a paper in Science magazine warning that hurricanes were likely to become more intense as a result of climate change. Posted. http://www.npr.org/2013/08/22/213894792/uncertain-science-judith-currys-take-on-climate-change Global warming: What happens if the sun loses its spots? Solar physicists increasingly say we could be entering a 'grand solar minimum' of no sunspot activity, the last one of which coincided with the Little Ice Age. Climate scientists are looking at how that could impact global warming. The question is of more than passing interest to climate scientists as they ponder the prospect that the sun may be about to enter such a period. Posted. http://www.csmonitor.com/Science/2013/0821/Global-warming-What-happens-if-the-sun-loses-its-spots First-of-Its-Kind Easement from Sea Level Rise Impacts. Through a first-of-its-kind easement designed to protect coastal areas from the impacts of sea level rise and storm surge, the State of Maryland has preserved 221 acres in Dorchester County along the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Historical Park and Scenic Byway. Governor Martin O’Malley and the Board of Public Works today approved funding to preserve the land through a Coastal Resilience Easement. Posted. http://smnewsnet.com/archives/77304 Air capture needed as a tool to fight climate change, scientists say. Pulling vexing carbon emissions straight from the sky might become an important way to keep climate change in check. As pilot projects move forward, the prospect of capturing carbon dioxide from the air is growing increasingly plausible, though it may be some time before the technology, the demand and the costs align to make a dent in global emissions. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986373/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Study proposes large 'carbon farms' to reverse rising temperatures. A recent study by German researchers presents the possibility of "carbon farming" as a less risky alternative to other carbon capture and storage technologies. It suggests that a significant percentage of atmospheric CO2 could potentially be removed by planting millions of acres of a hardy little shrub known as Jatropha curcas, or the Barbados nut, in dry, coastal areas. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986367/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Drop in sunspots may affect global warming, say climate scientists. Climate scientists say the sun may be entering a "grand solar minimum" of no sunspot activity, leading to studies on how that could affect global warming. Solar physicists in the United States and Australia have concluded that a 50-year grand minimum in sunspot activity may reduce global average temperatures during the period by a few tenths of a degree Celsius. They think the warming trend would resume once solar activity returned to normal. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986365/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DIESEL EMISSIONS DOE awards $1.3M to two projects testing fuel cell technology in refrigerated trucks. The US Department of Energy (DOE) will award a total of $1.3 million to fuel cell manufacturers Nuvera and Plug Power ($650,000 apiece) a project testing the use of hydrogen fuel cell refrigeration units (transport refrigeration units, TRUs) in delivery trucks. The companies will provide matching funds and labor of their own. A team from Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) led by Kriston Brooks will oversee and evaluate the two-year program. Posted. http://www.greencarcongress.com/2013/08/20130823-doe.html FUELS U.K. develops sustainability criteria for wood-based renewable energy. The United Kingdom issued an official response to questions on biomass and biogas energy yesterday, clarifying the government's take on what it considers "sustainable" and establishing the nation's first guidelines for producing renewable energy by burning wood or turning it into a gas. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059986372/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Could LNG fuel flights of the future? Ever since he was 6 years old, Jon Gibbs has been fascinated with aircraft. But while toy planes seemed pretty cool to him as a kid, Gibbs now thinks he's onto something more significant, and literally cooler: cryogenic aircraft fueled by liquefied natural gas. Unlike conventional, oil-based jet fuel, super-cooled LNG is condensed from simple methane gas and sells for a fraction of the price. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059986357/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Calif. urges tougher BLM rule, cites fears on Monterey Shale. California lawmakers yesterday urged the Bureau of Land Management to toughen its proposed rule for hydraulic fracturing on federal land, calling it essential to protect public health and the environment. A group of 14 state senators and Assembly members signed a letter to BLM that calls for expanding the draft regulation beyond fracking. The lawmakers said that the government needs also to monitor other forms of well stimulation like acidization, where hydrochloric or hydrofluoric acid is injected into shale to allow oil to flow. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059986380/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY GREEN ENERGY Energy prices, politics create uncertain climate for utilities. Before the recession ground the state's growth to a halt, Southern Co. made the decision to add two large nuclear reactors at Georgia Power's Plant Vogtle. The thinking was that the $14 billion reactors, scheduled to come online in 2017 and 2018, would generate enough electricity to support whatever population increases Georgia might see over the next several years. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/23/5674795/energy-prices-politics-create.html#storylink=cpy Californian labs chase a dream energy: fuel from sun and water. It sounds like magic, far-out fiction, a California dream. Yet earnest scientists are hard at work on a new alchemy: brewing fuel for cars - synthetic gasoline - from little more than water and sunshine. Mimicking the way plants turn sunlight and carbon dioxide in the air into energy and oxygen, the Joint Center for Artificial Photosynthesis at the California Institute of Technology is in a race to trump nature and slow global warming. Posted. http://www.smh.com.au/business/carbon-economy/californian-labs-chase-a-dream-energy-fuel-from-sun-and-water-20130823-2sfj4.html#ixzz2coomoMIK GE to make more energy-saving bulbs for Wal-Mart. General Electric Co. has agreed to make a more efficient light bulb -- one that's not compact fluorescent or light-emitting diode-based -- for Wal-Mart Stores Inc. GE will invest $30 million into production of the bulbs. The company plans to hire more than 150 people for new light bulb production lines at three U.S. factories. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059986382/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY OPINIONS Climate change deniers live in ignorant bliss as seas keep rising. A new climate-change report from the United Nations that was leaked to the media this week says sea levels could rise by more than 3 feet by the end of the 21st century and that there is a 95% likelihood that the global warming that is causing this rise is largely a result of human activity. You may now cue the deniers who say somebody is just making this stuff up. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/opinion/topoftheticket/la-na-tt-climate-change-deniers-20130821,0,6254618.story Dan Walters: Big reform of CEQA bogs down. Substantially overhauling the 40-year-old California Environmental Quality Act may still happen, but with just two weeks remaining in the legislative session, it probably won't happen this year. Gov. Jerry Brown wants it to happen. He once criticized CEQA, signed by Ronald Reagan a couple of years before Brown succeeded him as governor, as "a blob," and in calling for reform, said, "I've never seen a CEQA exemption I don't like." Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2013/08/23/5674260/dan-walters-big-reform-of-ceqa.html#mi_rss=Dan%20Walters#storylink=cpy GIRISH PATEL: Why HSR? Why not maglev or hyperloop? The state of California has embarked upon one of the most expensive public works program in its history, so-called high-speed rail. I say so-called because it will not be anywhere near high-speed if and when completed. Under the law, the California High-Speeda Rail Authority must secure funding and complete environmental studies prior to authorizing any expense. Posted. http://www.bakersfieldcalifornian.com/opinion/hot-topics/x740580262/Why-HSR-Why-not-maglev-or-hyperloop CEQA illuminates values of officials. All but one of the Monterey Peninsula Airport District board members voted to approve the settlement agreement with the Highway 68 Coalition, agreeing that it provided the needed safety improvements to satisfy FAA standards. The other board member, Carl Miller, complained about the court's decision enforcing the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Posted. http://www.montereyherald.com/opinion/ci_23924031/ceqa-illuminates-values-officials Protesters Visit SoCal Edison Headquarters Over Solar Battle. If a recent cease and desist letter that Southern California Edison (SCE) sent to rooftop solar activists was intended to make them go away, it seems to be having the opposite effect. A group of protesters demonstrated outside the utility's headquarters in Rosemead on Wednesday, calling for California's utilities to stop pushing for new fees and restrictions on rooftop solar. Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/commentary/protesters-visit-sce-headquarters-over-solar-battle.html BLOGS Wildfires keep getting worse. Why is Congress so unprepared? Plenty of experts think Western wildfires will keep getting worse in the years ahead, thanks to both global warming and a steady uptick in the number of Americans who live in fire-prone areas. Yet the federal government seems wholly unprepared for this fact. Case in point: “For the second straight year,” my colleague Darryl Fears reports, “the federal government has run through its budget for fighting wildfires amid a grueling…Posted. http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/wonkblog/wp/2013/08/23/wildfires-keep-getting-worse-why-is-congress-so-unprepared-for-this/ The larger the city, the more it pollutes, right? As we’ve previously written, researchers now know that cities obey some fascinating scaling relationships. The larger they grow in population, the more patents, infrastructure, crime, and economic output cities produce, each according to its own exponential equation. When a city doubles in size, for instance, it more than doubles its GDP. Until now, though, the relationship between population and pollution has been less clear. Posted. http://grist.org/climate-energy/the-larger-the-city-the-more-it-pollutes-right/ Why Republicans (And Others) Place A Low Priority On Global Warming. Global warming typically ranks dead last when the Pew Research Center asks voters to list the “top priorities for the president and Congress” each year. Yet the New York Times and other major media strain to keep the global warming movement alive by carefully ignoring global warming “skeptics,” and giving undeserved coverage to a small minority of liberal Republicans who call for carbon dioxide restrictions. Posted. http://www.forbes.com/sites/jamestaylor/2013/08/22/why-republicans-and-others-place-a-low-priority-on-global-warming/