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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 18, 2014 Posted: 18 Mar 2014 16:08:31
ARB Newsclips for March 18, 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. CAP AND TRADE Appetite grows for more varieties of offsets in cap and trade. California's carbon cap-and-trade program is preparing to expand to cover emissions reductions from coal mines, and momentum is building for other sectors, as well. The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is set to vote next month on allowing carbon offsets from the reduction of methane from coal mines. Mine owners throughout the country would be eligible to install equipment to capture methane from active and existing sites and sell the resulting credits. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996285/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Tokyo businesses reach their emission goals without using credits. Businesses in Tokyo have achieved their goals to cut their carbon dioxide emissions without having to rely on emissions credit trading to meet their targets under Asia's first required greenhouse emissions cut program. The system started in April 2010 and sets a cap on the energy-related emissions of about 1,400 offices, commercial buildings and factories that use more than 1,500 kiloliters of energy every year. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996279/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY AIR POLLUTION Smothered by smog, Paris bans some cars; measure lifted late in day. With the City of Light buried under a thick blanket of smog for a week now, authorities in the French capital took drastic steps Monday to cut the number of cars on the road and to encourage commuters to find more environmentally friendly ways of getting to work. Only cars with license plates ending in an odd number were allowed on to Paris streets during the day. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/world/worldnow/la-fg-wn-paris-smog-cars-ban-20140317,0,5700535.story#ixzz2wKO6Xqi0 In Mississippi, a power plant is designed to shape the future of coal. If it works, the $5-billion Kemper project would remove up to 65% of its potential carbon dioxide emissions. But it's already behind schedule and over budget. Looming like a spaceship over pine and sweet-gum forest, the high-tech power plant under construction in rural Kemper County is a $5-billion wager on an energy future that includes coal. Posted. http://www.latimes.com/nation/la-na-coal-future-20140317,0,3157053.story#ixzz2wKOpg0ta Parisians, you're free to drive again. Air pollution has dropped. The French government said it’s lifting a partial ban on vehicle traffic in Paris as pollution levels receded from last week’s peak, when air quality in the capital was worse than that in Beijing. The first partial driving ban in the French capital in 17 years, which halved the number of automobiles circulating in Paris, and the other anti-pollution measures will be lifted as of midnight, Energy and Environment Minister Philippe Martin said a press conference. Posted. http://www.troyrecord.com/general-news/20140318/parisians-youre-free-to-drive-again-air-pollution-has-dropped Smog insurance? One response to Beijing's pollution. Smog insurance: A state-owned Chinese insurance company will pay Beijing residents 1,500 yuan ($240) if they are hospitalized by smog. If the official smog index reaches 300 for five consecutive days, it will pay out $48. A state-owned Chinese insurer will offer residents of Beijing insurance cover against health risks caused by air pollution, promising to pay out 1,500 yuan ($240) to policy holders hospitalized by smog. Posted. http://www.csmonitor.com/Environment/Latest-News-Wires/2014/0318/Smog-insurance-One-response-to-Beijing-s-pollution CLIMATE CHANGE Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate. Early in his career, a scientist named Mario J. Molina was pulled into seemingly obscure research about strange chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere. Within a year, he had helped discover a global environmental emergency, work that would ultimately win a Nobel Prize. Posted. http://www.nytimes.com/2014/03/18/science/scientists-sound-alarm-on-climate.html?ref=earth Study: Rockies' wildflower season 35 days longer from climate change. The Rocky Mountain wildflower season has lengthened by over a month since the 1970s, according to a study published Monday that found climate change is altering the flowering patterns of more species than previously thought. Flowers used to bloom from mid-May to early September, but the season now lasts 35 days longer, from April to mid-September…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-sn-wildflowers-climate-change-rocky-mountains-20140317,0,7192239.story http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/Rocky-Mountain-Wildflower-Season-Lengthens-by-5325578.php http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/17/6244830/study-rockies-wildflower-season.html Japan plans to help Laos cut carbon emissions. In an effort to boost bilateral cooperation with Laos to lower its carbon emissions, Japan is looking into transferring low-carbon technologies to the nation. Experts recently met in the Laos capitol city Vientiane to discuss the potential collaboration with Lao private-sector companies, intending to swap experiences on the transfer of low-carbon technologies. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996274/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Ice on 'Africa's Alps' is melting, fast. Experts have warned that the ice on the Rwenzori mountain range is melting at a "disturbing" rate, and that Africa's equatorial summits will be diminished to nothing but rock within two decades, affecting both tourism and agriculture. "Every year, the ice grows smaller," said 54-year-old John Medenge, who has been climbing the range since he was a teenager. But the vanishing ice is affecting more than leisure sports. "The melting of this unique African glacier is a major threat to local communities…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996275/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY Scientists debate whether man or climate killed off world's extinct giant mammals. The Earth's extinct megafauna certainly were among the weirdest creatures to roam around tens of thousands of years ago. Species included huge wombats, big sloths, four-tusked elephants and a giant armadillo. But scientists have long wondered whether climate change or man killed these creatures off. They disappeared in North and South America around 10,000 years ago, at the same time as there were big changes to the climate…Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996283/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY DROUGHT Food Prices Surge as Drought Exacts a High Toll on Crops. Surging prices for food staples from coffee to meat to vegetables are driving up the cost of groceries in the U.S., pinching consumers and companies that are still grappling with a sluggish economic recovery. Federal forecasters estimate retail food prices will rise as much as 3.5% this year, the biggest annual increase in three years, as drought in parts of the U.S. and other producing regions drives up prices for many agricultural goods. Posted. http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702303287804579445311778530606?mod=WSJ_WSJ_US_News_5&mg=reno64-wsj Water issues threaten opening of S.F.’s Camp. San Francisco's 90-year-old Camp Mather high in the Sierra may be forced to scale back the number of campers who visit this year because of water problems. City parks officials mailed out letters last week to those requesting stays at the camp, letting them know that the reservation process has been put on hold until adequate water supplies can be assured. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/article/Water-issues-threaten-opening-of-S-F-s-Camp-5326340.php California drought: Solar desalination plant shows promise. Quietly whirring away in a dusty field in the Central Valley is a shiny solar energy machine that may someday solve many of California's water problems. It's called the WaterFX solar thermal desalination plant, and it has been turning salty, contaminated irrigation runoff into ultra-pure liquid for nearly a year for the Panoche Water and Drainage District. It's the only solar-driven desalination plant of its kind in the country.Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/science/article/California-drought-Solar-desalination-plant-5326024.php State aims to ease water storage efforts; community input, drought conditions spur policy change. In an effort to promote water conservation during the state's ongoing drought, the California Department of Fish and Wildlife joined the State Water Resources Control Board in a decision Monday to speed the approval of domestic water storage tank installations. Posted. http://www.times-standard.com/localnews/ci_25364826/state-aims-ease-water-storage-efforts-community-input?source=rss DIESEL EMISSIONS Electric school buses roll out in effort to reduce emissions. An all-electric school bus quietly began transporting students in the Escondido Union High School District on Thursday, part of a state-funded pilot program meant to introduce districts to the merits of bus fleets that are electric-powered, emissions-free and silentPosted. http://edsource.org/2014/electric-school-buses-roll-out-in-effort-to-reduce-emissions/59330#.Uyhsp6Pn-M8 HIGH-SPEED RAIL High-speed rail agency's fight against court setbacks 'arrogant,' Kings County says. An attorney for Kings County not only says a state appeals court should reject what he calls the California High-Speed Rail Authority's "arrogant request" to overturn lower court rulings against the rail agency -- he wants justices to go a step further by invalidating the Legislature's 2012 vote to spend nearly $6 billion on bullet-train construction in the San Joaquin Valley. Posted. http://www.fresnobee.com/2014/03/17/3828143/kings-county-calls-high-speed.html High-speed rail seeks interest from contractors for next phase. The California High-Speed Rail Authority says it will host an industry forum and pre-bid conference on April 8 in Visalia for businesses interested in working on the next phase of the high-speed rail project – more than 60 miles of track through the Central Valley from East American Avenue in Fresno County to one mile north of the Kern-Tulare County line. Posted. http://www.centralvalleybusinesstimes.com/stories/001/?ID=25441 GREEN ENERGY First Solar Seeking Growth to Replace Giant Desert Plants. The biggest U.S. solar panel maker is preparing to set out its strategy for growth as sales lag for its large-scale power projects in the deserts of the southwest. First Solar Inc. gets about 65 percent of its revenue from selling giant solar farms to utilities, a market that’s slowing after its best customers bought all the clean energy they need. The manufacturer is missing out on the current boom in rooftop solar, which is surging since SolarCity Corp. Posted. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2014-03-18/first-solar-seeking-growth-to-replace-giant-desert-plants.html SolarCity accuses utilities of slowing home-battery project. For more than two years, SolarCity Corp. has been trying to launch an experiment that could change the way we power our homes. The San Mateo company has installed battery packs in more than 100 houses throughout California, each pack linked to rooftop solar panels. The lithium-ion batteries, made by Tesla Motors, store electricity from the panels during the day for use at night. Posted.http://www.sfgate.com/business/article/SolarCity-accuses-utilities-of-slowing-5325791.php National Park service Slams Solar Project Near Mojave Preserve. The National Park Service isn't happy about a proposal to build a large solar facility on almost 4,200 acres next door to the Mojave National Preserve. The agency is citing the project's threats to wildlife, rare plants, groundwater, air quality, and wilderness characteristics of the 1.6 million acre unit. The Soda Mountain Solar Project, which would be built by Bechtel on either side of Interstate 15 along the northwest edge of the Preserve, would pose serious threats to bighorn sheep, desert tortoises, migratory birds…Posted. http://www.kcet.org/news/rewire/solar/photovoltaic-pv/park-service-slams-blm-over-solar-project-near-mojave-preserve.html Solar-powered toilet that turns human waste into biochar will be showcased in India. In the not-too-distant future, going "number two" may also relieve the atmosphere of carbon dioxide. But that's not even the main purpose behind a new solar-powered toilet set to be unveiled in India later this week. The waterless, sun-fueled toilet developed by the University of Colorado, Boulder, could potentially provide 2.5 billion people in developing countries with safe and sustainable sanitation. Posted. http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996276/print BY SUBSCRIPTION ONLY MISCELLANEOUS California motorists won't pay as much in gas taxes starting July 1. California motorists will get a slight break at the pump July 1 when the state excise tax on gasoline will be adjusted downward by 3.5 cents per gallon. The state Board of Equalization voted unanimously Tuesday to lower the tax for one year. The tax officials did so to comply with a state budget law passed in 2010, known as the "fuel tax swap." Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-gas-taxes-to-drop-next-summer-20140225,0,6635193.story#ixzz2wKNUxy00 Honda recalling 900,000 Odyssey minivans due to fire risk. A potential fire risk has led Honda to recall nearly 900,000 of its popular Odyssey minivans, the automaker has announced. The voluntary recall affects 886,815 minivans from the 2005-2010 model years, Honda said. In these vehicles, the cover of the fuel strainer at the top of the gas tank could crack over time and lead to a fuel leak, increasing the risk of a fire…Posted. http://www.latimes.com/business/autos/la-fi-hy-autos-honda-recall-odyssey-minivans-20140317,0,7338708.story#ixzz2wKU3TFR0 OPINIONS Reduce air pollution for region’s health, economy: Guest commentary. Clean air is a right, not a privilege. A child’s health should not be determined by where they live or how much their parents make. But one-third of Californians still breathe levels of soot and smog that violate U.S. health standards, and cause asthma, cancer, heart attacks and strokes. These pollutants are also powerful short-term climate change forcers. This is a problem we cannot tolerate. Posted. http://www.presstelegram.com/opinion/20140317/reduce-air-pollution-for-regions-health-economy-guest-commentary Editorial: Less-bad option for higher gas prices in California. Gas prices again have reached $4 a gallon – and are expected to go higher, as fuel producers are required to switch production to the more costly “summer-blend” gasoline – which is bad enough. Californians already pay 71 cents per gallon in state gas taxes – the highest in the nation. Add in 18.4 cents per gallon in federal gas taxes, and nearly one-quarter of the pump price is taxes. Posted. http://www.ocregister.com/articles/trade-605916-gallon-cap.html EarthTalk: Global warming and your health. Dear EarthTalk: How is it that global warming could cause an increase in health problems and disease epidemics? Do we have any evidence that it is already happening? -- Jim Merrill, Provo, Utah Global warming isn't just bad for the environment. There are several ways that it is expected to take a toll on human health. For starters, the extreme summer heat that is becoming more normal in a warming world can directly impact the health of billions of people. Posted. http://www.sfgate.com/default/article/EarthTalk-Global-warming-and-your-health-5323870.php Drought Q&A: Will the drought keep a North Carolina man from moving to Sacramento? I am considering moving from Cary, N.C., to Sacramento this summer. I don’t have to move now, but my question is this: Should I stay put and wait this drought out, or should I forget about it and come on out? – Robert Phillips, Cary, N.C. This drought is bad, no question. Residents across the Sacramento region are cutting back water use and will have to conserve further unless we get significantly more rain in the next month or two. Posted. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/03/16/6242286/drought-qa-will-the-drought-keep.html#storylink=cpy BLOGS Congress Just Undid The 1 Good Thing It's Done On Climate Change. Congress approved changes to the federal flood insurance program in June 2012 that lawmakers said then would fix the program's problems and make it more financially stable. The bipartisan reforms phased out subsidies for high-risk coastal properties, which onlookers concerned about climate change said was key to discouraging unsustainable coastal development. It was perhaps the only good thing on climate that Congress had done in a really long time. Posted. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/03/17/congress-flood-insurance_n_4981226.html Jay Leno's Garage goes eco with Ricardo HyBoost. The Ricardo HyBoost is a 2009 Ford Focus that has had a 1.1-liter engine swapped in for the stock 2.0-liter four. That might not get you performance enthusiasts out there fired up, until, that is, you hear that the 1.1L is also fed by both a turbocharger and an electrically driven supercharger for an instant-on "torque-fill" effect. Sounds about right, considering that Ricardo engineering is part of the genius behind the McLaren P1. Posted. http://www.autoblog.com/2014/03/17/jay-lenos-garage-ricardo-hyboost-video/ Paris ends even-odd license plate driving ban after just 24 hours. There can come a time when strong measures are needed to ease the effects of too many cars on city street. Today, that time came to Paris. And then it passed. Government officials in Paris announced over the weekend that a new plan would go into effect early Monday morning: only about half of the city's cars would be allowed to drive on any given day. The reason, as you can probably guess, was to reduce the amount of smog in the air. Posted. http://green.autoblog.com/2014/03/17/paris-ends-even-odd-license-plate-driving-ban-after-just-24-hour/ California is in a drought emergency. Visit www.SaveOurH2O.org for water conservation tips.