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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for February 3, 2014

Posted: 03 Feb 2014 15:00:32
ARB Newsclips for February 3, 2014. 

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.


Beijing Air Pollution Improves After Cold Front, Xinhua Reports. 
The air quality in Beijing improved after a cold front from the
north brought strong winds, dispersing heavy smog in the Chinese
capital, the official Xinhua News Agency reported yesterday. The
concentration of PM2.5 pollutants -- particles smaller than 2.5
microns in diameter that pose the biggest health risk - - was as
low as 11 in the six districts…Posted.


OC judge won't block enforcement of fire ring ban. An Orange
County judge has refused to block enforcement of a rule banning
the use of beach fire pits within 700 feet of Southern California
homes. The South Coast Air Quality Management District issued the
regulation, which takes effect in March and could eliminate 60
pits at Newport Beach. A pro-fire ring.  Posted.

Irwindale spicing up suit against Sriracha plant. A Los Angeles
suburb is spicing up its lawsuit against a hot-sauce manufacturer
it claims polluted the air with pungent smells. Stephen Onstot,
an attorney representing Irwindale, tells City News Service that
the small industrial city east of Los Angeles will add a
breach-of-contract claim to its existing nuisance suit against
the Sriracha plant. Posted.


Wood heat more popular, but there are environmental concerns.
Bill Traver has sold wood stoves to customers in Maryland,
Pennsylvania and West Virginia from his small shop in
Hedgesville, W. Va., for nearly three decades, but over the past
few years, he's seen an increase in sales. "It's because people
are finally getting away from gas and oil," Traver said. "Because
they can't afford it." Posted.


Utah legislators weigh in on governor's air plans. Utah Gov. Gary
Herbert's call for urgent measures to cut air pollution has left
regulators scrambling as legislators question how much their
efforts will accomplish. Herbert used his recent State of the
State address to promise a rapid transition to cleaner-burning
gasoline that lawmakers say it isn't widely available and works
effectively only with a new generation of low-emission vehicles.

EPA draft eyes tightening ozone standard to 60 ppb. In a draft
document released today, U.S. EPA staff say that based on
available scientific evidence, the agency should consider
tightening its current ozone standard to a level as low as 60
parts per billion. A draft policy assessment meant to distill the
available scientific and technical information says that the
agency should lower its National Ambient Air Quality Standard
(NAAQS) for ground-level ozone, currently set at 75 ppb. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059993920/print BY

Democrats urge EPA to quickly finalize gasoline sulfur standards.
Saying the standards will improve public health and reduce
emissions from cars and trucks, more than 40 House members are
reiterating their support for U.S. EPA's regulations that would
lower the sulfur content in gasoline ahead of their expected
finalization this month. In a letter to EPA Administrator Gina
McCarthy on Friday, 42 legislators urged the agency to finalize
the so-called Tier 3 standards quickly "so all Americans can
breathe easier." Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059993913/print BY


U.N. appoints former NYC Mayor Bloomberg cities, climate change
envoy. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday appointed
former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg as his special envoy
for cities and climate change, in a bid to build momentum ahead
of a planned U.N. summit meeting in September. Ban said Bloomberg
will assist him in "consultations with mayors and related key


Want to cut Arctic warming in half? Curb emissions now, study
says. Global warming is changing the Arctic so quickly that
experts say we should expect an ice-free Arctic Ocean in the
summer within just a few decades. But a group of scientists says
there is a way to spare the Arctic from more disastrous climate
change. In a new paper, they say that reducing global carbon
emissions now could cut Arctic warming nearly in half by
century’s end.  Posted.

Flooded British villages ignite climate debate. As children climb
into boats to get to school and scores of hoses pump floodwaters
from fields day and night, one corner of southwest England is
trying to reclaim its land. Other Britons watch and wonder: How
much can you fight the sea? Here on the Somerset Levels…Posted.


Why baby Magellanic penguins are dying in the rain. Magellanic
penguin chicks in Argentina have a new killer to fear - death by
climate change. The downy chicks were already vulnerable to
predation and starvation in the first few weeks of their lives,
but now they are threatened by increasing rainstorms caused by
changing weather patterns. Posted.

Nuclear Pact Between America and China; Could This Save the
Planet from Climate Change? Climate change is perhaps the most
challenging and daunting problem facing humanity. While the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change issued a report stating
that the world needs to limit warming to just 2 degrees Celsius
above pre-industrial levels to limit irreversible harm to the
planet, recent analysis argues even that won't be enough. Posted.

Firms Cut Costs, GHGs with EPA Climate Programs. US businesses
prevented 365 million metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions in
2012 by partnering with the EPA on climate protection programs,
the agency says. According to the EPA’s annual Climate Protection
Partnerships report, some 21,000 organizations across the US have
cut their greenhouse gas emissions and saved money by
participating in the agency’s programs. Posted.

EPA touts voluntary greenhouse gas programs in report. U.S. EPA's
voluntary climate programs helped avoid the release of 365
million metric tons of greenhouse gases and saved ratepayers $26
billion in energy-related costs in 2012, according to a report
released this afternoon by the agency.
http://www.eenews.net/eenewspm/2014/01/31/stories/1059993857  BY


Parched, California Cuts Off Tap to Agencies. Responding to one
of the worst droughts in California’s history, state officials
announced on Friday that they would cut off the water to local
agencies serving 25 million residents and about 750,000 acres of
farmland. Posted.

Severe Drought Has U.S. West Fearing Worst. The punishing drought
that has swept California is now threatening the state’s drinking
water supply. With no sign of rain, 17 rural communities
providing water to 40,000 people are in danger of running out
within 60 to 120 days. State officials said that the number was
likely to rise in the months ahead after the State Water Project,
the main municipal water distribution system…Posted.

California drought: S.F. leads state in water conservation.
California declared a drought only two weeks ago, but in San
Francisco water conservation efforts have been under way for
decades - with significant results. That means the best way San
Franciscans can heed this week's call by the city's water agency,
the Public Utilities Commission, to cut water use voluntarily by
10 percent is to take advantage of existing programs and be just
a little more mindful than usual. Posted.

Steinberg bill aims to ease California drought. California’s
Senate leader is drafting legislation that would expedite help
for communities facing what may become the worst drought in state
history. The actions proposed by Senate President Pro Tem Darrell
Steinberg, D-Sacramento, would set a July 1 deadline for state
agencies to approve water recycling and stormwater reuse
projects. Posted.

California farmers brace for drought, unemployment.  Amid
California's driest year on record, the nation's leading
agricultural region is locked in drought and bracing for
unemployment to soar, sending farm workers to food lines in a
place famous for its abundance. One-third of the Central Valley's
jobs are related to farming. Posted.

As record drought intensifies, organic dairy farmers are the
first to face financial crisis. As California's record-breaking
drought continues, organic farmers are facing shortages that
could jeopardize their production of beef, milk and cheese. The
Golden State's third straight year of dry weather is forcing
farmers to make tough choices. Dairy and cattle farmers are the
first to feel the squeeze of water shortages, as their cows need
to eat year-round, while plant growers typically have until
mid-March to make planting decisions. Posted.

House tackles Calif. drought on multiple fronts. Congress is
eyeing California's record-breaking drought this week by reviving
political hot-button issues as well as long-term infrastructure
proposals. A bill to make more water available to farmers in the
Central Valley is headed to the Rules Committee tomorrow,
bypassing the normal committee process after Republican backers
tried and failed to insert the language into the farm bill that
passed the House last week. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/eedaily/2014/02/03/stories/1059993884 BY


17 foundations pledge to divest from fossil fuels. A coalition of
17 foundations plan to divest their assets from fossil fuel
companies and invest in renewable energy instead.
The Divest-Invest Philanthropy coalition announced the plans
Thursday. Its members include the Wallace Global Fund, the Ben &
Jerry's Foundation, and the John Merck Fund, and they're urging
other foundations to join them. Posted.

Calif. college district vows to sell fuel stocks. A community
college district in Northern California has promised to sell its
stock in fossil fuel companies, joining a small but growing
divestment campaign organized by students around the country. The
Peralta Community College District announced Friday that its
board of trustees has resolved to stop investing in companies
that produce oil, gas and coal within five years. Posted.

Keystone XL oil pipeline gets boost from State Department review.
A long-awaited environmental review of the Keystone XL oil
pipeline released Friday by the State Department found the
project would probably have a negligible impact on climate
change, bolstering the case for the controversial project as it
heads to the White House for a decision on its construction. The
amount of oil extracted from the huge tar sands deposits under
the Canadian Great Plains…Posted.

What's in State's Keystone XL oil pipeline report. A report
issued by the State Department on Friday raised no major
environmental objections to the controversial Keystone XL oil
pipeline from Canada. The 1,179-mile pipeline would travel
through Montana and South Dakota to a hub in Nebraska, where it
would connect with existing pipelines to carry more than 800,000
barrels of crude oil a day to refineries in Texas. Posted.

Obama running out of reasons to reject Keystone XL. President
Barack Obama is running out of reasons to say no to Keystone XL,
the proposed oil pipeline that's long been looming over his
environmental legacy. Five years after the pipeline's backers
first asked the Obama administration for approval, the project
remains in limbo, stuck in a complex regulatory process that has
enabled Obama to put off what will inevitably be a politically
explosive decision. Posted.  here:


Repairing hybrid cars is all he does.  Planning a new business
around a growing consumer trend - and possessing the skill set to
make it work - are two key components of successful
entrepreneurship. Stockton native Jorge Santiago hopes he has
what it takes to make a go of his new business, Toyo of Stockton,
which opened Oct. 7 at 4113A West Lane. Posted.

UK aims to become a world leader in EVs.  The UK government has
announced plans to spend £9,3m (€11,3m) on electric vehicle (EV)
infrastructure in the hopes of encouraging more people to make
the switch to green cars. The plan foresees a rollout of a
charging network, including rapid charging stations, across the
country. In addition, the British government has launched a Go
Ultra Low campaign, which aims to promote the benefits of
electric and plug-in hybrid cars.  Posted.

Hybrid and electric vehicles not the solution to U.S. air
quality, report says.  Researchers at North Carolina State
University analysed the potential impact of widespread use of
electrically-driven vehicles, based on 108 different battery vs
oil cost scenarios in the run-up to 2050.  The report showed even
if electrically-driven models accounted for 42% of all passenger
vehicles in the United States…Posted. 


Fremont company profits in China’s solar market. When a wave of
cheap Chinese-made solar panels flooded the market a few years
ago, it nearly laid waste to America’s solar manufacturing
industry. But recently, one California firm, Solaria Corp., has
gone in the opposite direction, rolling out its technology across
China. In China’s arid northwest, in the remote provinces of
Qinghai and Inner Mongolia, acres of Solaria-made panels crank
out up to 3.5 megawatts of power…Posted.

Renewable energy gaining on fossil fuels. Energy in the 21st
century is already turning out to be very different from energy
in the 20th century. Coal plants that used to provide most of the
country's electricity are being shut down by the hundreds and
renewable energy is becoming more cost efficient and prevalent by
the day. The trends are heavily in favor of renewable energy, and
solar energy in particular is taking the U.S. and the world by
storm. Posted.


Concern grows over possibility of a massive power surge. Whether
caused by solar flares or terrorists, a major electromagnetic
pulse could fry the electric grid and cause massive disruption,
an increasing number of observers say. Roscoe Bartlett was
rattling off the prices of giant bags of rice, wheat and corn,
sold cheaply at Sam's Club. The former congressman from rural,
western Maryland expressed bewilderment that every American
doesn't stockpile such things, considering what he is sure is
coming. Posted.

Grants available for Yolo, Solano clean air projects. The
Yolo-Solano Air Quality Management District Thursday opened the
application period for its 2014 Clean Air Funds program. The
District will award more than $500,000 to projects in Yolo and
Solano counties that will reduce air pollution from mobile
sources. The deadline for applications is March 21. The
application packet is available at ysaqmd.org/caf. Posted.

BEAUMONT: Climate action planning workshop set.  Beaumont will
seek input on being environmentally healthy during a Climate
Action Planning Workshop on Friday, Feb. 7. Discussion topics
include future sustainability projects to be undertaken by the
city and community programs to promote resource conservation for
homeowners and businesses. Posted.

San Lorenzo Valley High School science project helps local air
district.  A high school science experiment has proved a weather
phenomenon traps unhealthy air in the San Lorenzo Valley.  Using
weather balloons launched from San Lorenzo Valley High School,
juniors Connor Lydon and Natalie Gallagher tracked temperature
and elevation data the past two winters.  Posted. 

Have we become emotionally obsessed with the weather? Lois
Rutherford is a hardy 74-year-old who has seen some rough weather
in her day: "Charlie, David, Hugo," she said while standing on a
frigid Pittsburgh viewing deck recently, ticking off the names of
hurricanes that have raked her hometown of Charleston, S.C.


Playing politics with California's drought. As California's
drought continues, and more than a dozen rural communities ponder
what to do when their drinking water runs out sometime in March,
it would be nice if the state's Republican politicians brought
some straightforward plans for relief to the table. But what many
of them are bringing instead is a tired political tactic barely,
and laughably, disguised as a remedy for the lack of rainfall.

A drier California than ever? Pretty much. The climate clock is
ticking, and it is time for policymakers in the West to prepare
for what lies ahead. The last 12 months have been the driest on
record in California, and this, on the heels of two below-normal
years, prompted Gov. Jerry Brown to declare that the state is in
a drought emergency. Ours is a state that relies heavily on the
winter storms that bring us the vast majority of our water

Choking from diesel emissions. I'd rather breath second-hand
cigarette smoke than diesel exhaust. Diesel emissions must be
mitigated for the benefit of our health. And start building
desalination plants in the south state; plants powered by solar
energy. Clean air and clean water - eventually we will get there.

Corporations take the lead in tackling global warming, while
Congress lags. The following editorial appeared in the Miami
Herald on Friday, Jan. 31: If soft-drink giant Coca-Cola is
worried about climate change, shouldn't the White House and
Capitol Hill be, too? In a Jan. 24 front-page article, The New
York Times cited Coca-Cola's and some other large corporations'
recognition of global warming as being "an economically
disruptive force." Posted.


Stop the Keystone XL pipeline. Re Keystone XL pipeline: President
Barack Obama only needs one big reason to reject Keystone XL
pipeline--climate change. The environmental impact report
concedes that the tar sands oil that would go through the
pipeline produces higher carbon emissions than other oil. Posted.

Another View: Schwarzenegger active as leader on several policy
initiatives. William Endicott’s commentary on Arnold
Schwarzenegger’s appearance in the recent Budweiser commercial
failed to acknowledge that the actor and former governor has
always used his personality as a way to engage the public (“Movie
star to governor to … beer ads? Schwarzenegger goes beyond
shame”; Viewpoints, Jan. 29). Posted.

Drought: Let's build desalination plants. Re Drought: Gov. Jerry
Brown's plan to divert our precious water supply down south has
reached an estimated cost of over $20 billion, which would
naturally balloon to over $40 billion by the time it ever gets
built. Wouldn't a better application of this $20-$40 billion be
to build desalination plants down south where they need them the
most? Posted.

Editorial: Proposed statewide plastic bag ban needs some repairs.
Sometimes, what’s made necessary by politics doesn’t make for
good policy. While there’s a worthy goal behind a bill to ban
disposable plastic bags at California grocery stores, some dicey
deals have been made to boost its chances of becoming law. Before
approving what would be the nation’s first statewide ban on
plastic bags…Posted.

EDITORIAL: State deal with EPA on air quality methods is welcome.
Sometimes an imperfect deal is better than none at all, and that
appears to be the case with last week's agreement between the
state of Texas and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The
EPA basically agreed to accept the state's permitting system for
limiting industrial air pollution, ending a four-year legal
fight. Posted.


There's now a Tesla Model S registered in all 50 states.  Yes,
you too can impress friends at cocktail parties by knowing that
the last state to go without a registered Tesla Model S
battery-electric sedan was indeed Mississippi. And the
second-to-last one was West Virginia. That's what Edmunds is
saying, citing data from Polk. Mississippi was the final hold-out
until one intrepid Jackson resident made the Model S plunge.

Tesla Touts Cross-Country Trip, Aims For Guinness World Records.
Tesla Motors TSLA -0.75% is plotting its way into the Guinness
World Records. The electric car maker dispatched two Model S
sedans in a cross-country drive that ended this morning in New
York City. The trip, started in Los Angeles, took 76.5 hours and,
according to a Tesla blog post, “recorded the lowest charge time
for an electric vehicle traveling across the country…Posted.

Will The Overselling Of Global Warming Lead To A New Scientific
Dark Age? Will the overselling of climate change lead to a new
scientific dark age? That’s the question being posed in the
latest issue of an Australian literary journal, Quadrant, by
Garth Paltridge, one of the world’s most respected atmospheric
scientists. Paltridge was a Chief Research Scientist with the
Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization
(CSIRO).  Posted.

Punishing drought has California fearing the worst.  The
punishing drought that has swept California and much of the West
is confronting authorities with the worst water shortage this
region has faced in more than a century, with near-empty
reservoirs, parched fields, starving livestock, clouds of smog
and outbreaks of wildfires.  Posted. 

House looks to help Calif. drought victims by easing Obama's
water restrictions. The House will pass legislation next week
that would restore the flow of water to farms, homes and
businesses in California's Central Valley, to help victims of
what congressional Republicans say is a drought that is being
made worse by the Obama administration. Posted.

Electric Cars Cut Greenhouse Gases Even More Than Expected, NASA
Says.  A trial program with electric cars at the Kennedy Space
Center is going better than expected, cutting greenhouse gas
emissions in company vehicles.  In fact, the center's
sustainability office suggests the results are 10 times better
than those expected--electric cars are making a real impact
on-site.  Posted. 

UPDATE: Plug-In Electric Car Sales In January: Leaf, Volt Both
Low. In the first month of 2014, sales of the two most popular
plug-in electric cars were lower than they've been in many
months. Sales levels likely fell victim both to the predictable
winter slowdown in electric-car sales (which we saw in 2012 and
2013 too) and to particularly bad weather last month throughout
much of the U.S. Posted.


California is in a drought emergency.
Visit www.SaveOurH2O.org for water conservation tips.

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