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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 19, 2014.

Posted: 19 Mar 2014 12:26:43
ARB Newsclips for March 19, 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.


Osborne Freezes U.K. Carbon Tax on Power to Cut Bills. U.K.
Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne froze a tax on carbon
emissions from electricity generation starting in April 2016 as
part of a 7 billion-pound ($12 billion) plan to cut consumer
energy bills. The package is aimed at boosting “British
manufacturers, with benefits for families and other businesses
too,” Osborne said in a speech in Parliament in London today as
he delivered his annual budget. “We need to cut our energy
costs.” Posted.


Steel Industry Urges Overhaul of EU Carbon-Trading System. The
European Union should consider granting more free carbon
allowances to most efficient energy-intensive companies and
exclude such permits from trading, according to the EU steel
industry lobby Eurofer. The 28-nation bloc must base the
allocation of greenhouse-gas quotas to manufacturers on less
stringent emissions benchmarks to keep its industry competitive
amid widening energy price gaps with the U.S. and Japan…Posted.

Chongqing's draft carbon market plan calls for cuts from 2014. A
draft plan for a carbon market in Chongqing proposed that around
250 of its biggest companies be required to cut their carbon
dioxide emissions by more than 4 percent per year starting in
2014. China, the world's biggest carbon emitter, aims to cut
greenhouse gas emissions 40-45 percent from 2005 levels by 2020.


Acid manufacturer will cut ozone-causing emissions.  A large
manufacturer of nitrogen-based fertilizers has reached a deal
with federal regulators to reduce ozone-causing emissions from
plants in four states. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
says in a statement Wednesday the lawsuit settlement with
Oklahoma City-based LSB Industries requires the company and four
of its subsidiaries to reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions by more
than 800 tons annually. Posted.

Tonawanda Coke, manager face penalty for polluting.  A western
New York industrial plant and its environmental controls manager
face sentencing Wednesday for illegally releasing the carcinogen
benzene into the air and improperly handling hazardous sludge.
Tonawanda Coke Corp., along the Niagara River, and manager Mark
Kamholz are due in federal court in Buffalo, where they were
convicted following a trial last year. Posted.

Reducing methane emissions from gas can be cost-effective –
report. The U.S. oil and gas industry could eliminate a
significant amount of methane emissions and save money doing so,
according to a report released today by the Clean Air Task Force.
The report, which the group commissioned from the Norwegian
consulting firm Carbon Limits, outlines how the use of infrared
cameras results in a low-cost leak detection method in gas
processing plants, compressor stations and well sites. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996354/print BY


Obama unleashing power of data on climate change. The Obama
administration hopes to fight global warming with the geeky power
of numbers, maps and even gaming-type simulations. Officials
figure the more you know about climate change the more likely you
will do something. The White House on Wednesday announced an
initiative to provide private companies and local governments
better access to already public climate data.







California Paving Way for U.S. on Reducing Carbon Emissions.
State actions on climate change are reducing emissions and
offering templates for effective federal standards, according to
Mary Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board
(ARB). “State successes are helping to lay the foundation for
strong federal standards and those then reinforce the next round
of state successes,” Nichols said at a March 14 conference on
“Navigating Climate Regulation on Dual Tracks: The Promises and
Pitfalls of AB32 and the Clean Air Act.” Posted.

Scientists warn of global warming's abrupt changes.  A report by
American Assn. for the Advancement of Science lays out in plain
language the potential for harmful consequences should
governments delay action. A group of scientists warned Tuesday
that world leaders must act more swiftly to slow greenhouse gas
emissions or risk "abrupt, unpredictable and potentially
irreversible changes" from climate change. Posted.

US Senator from Rhode Island talks climate change. A Democratic
U.S. senator from Rhode Island was in Iowa Tuesday — not to run
for president or any other political office — but to push for
federal climate change laws. While Iowa is already attracting
presidential hopefuls in advance of the 2016 election, Sen.
Sheldon Whitehouse said he turned his attention to Iowa to
capitalize on the fact it draws those candidates and national
attention because of its first-in-the-nation caucuses. Posted.

Key climate-change measurement imperiled. One of the planet's top
dipsticks is in trouble. The "Keeling curve," the most famous
measurement of the world's rising levels of carbon dioxide for
the past six decades, is in jeopardy from funding shortfalls. The
Keeling curve, run by the Scripps Institution of Oceanography in
San Diego, is the longest continuous record of carbon dioxide
measurements on the planet. Posted.

Enviros say gas exports are Obama's 'blind spot' on climate
change. Environmentalists are urging the president to require
aggressive climate assessments for proposed natural gas export
hubs as lawmakers increasingly support sending American gas
overseas to punish Russia for its military actions in Ukraine. In
a letter yesterday, 16 environmental groups told President Obama
that the approval of several proposed terminals capable of
liquefying and shipping natural gas to fuel-hungry…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996352/print BY


California to ease water restrictions in move to help farmers.
Drought-plagued California will ease some protection for fish in
the fragile San Joaquin-Sacramento River Delta, officials said
Tuesday, a move expected to make more water available for farming
and ease political tensions in an election year. The move marks a
retreat from restrictions imposed earlier in the year which had
widely been expected to be tightened further, rather than

Warmest winter on record worsens California drought. California
is coming off of its warmest winter on record, aggravating an
enduring drought in the most populous U.S. state, federal weather
scientists said Monday. The state had a average temperature of 48
Fahrenheit (9 Celsius) for December, January and February, an
increase from 47.2 F in 1980-81, the last hottest winter, and
more than 4 degrees hotter than the 20th-century average in

February rains ease drought restrictions slightly. Officials are
relaxing tight restrictions on water deliveries, but Central
Valley irrigation districts will be the main beneficiaries, with
little effect in the rest of the state. Thanks to February
storms, state officials are slightly easing drought restrictions
on water deliveries, but the changes won't make a difference to
most of the state. Posted.

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.

California drought could spark 'out of bounds' wildfires,
officials warn. California is facing wildfires “outsize of any
normal bounds” as a historic drought turns drying brush and trees
into a perfect tinderbox, officials have warned. The state
recorded 665 wildfires from 1 January, about triple the average
of 225 for this time of year, according to figures compiled by
Cal Fire, the state's department of forestry and fire protection.

California Drought Curbs Water Cannon Salutes at Airports. The
water cannon salute—an airport tradition to honor military
veterans, foreign dignitaries, and new airline service—is on
hiatus at California’s two largest airports because of the
state’s severe drought. The salutes typically involve two
firefighting rigs spraying arcs of water over an arriving or
departing flight. Posted.

Aussies warn Calif. that it can't 'magically replumb' its way out
of drought. As California's drought continues, state officials
might want look across the Pacific Ocean to Australia for water
management ideas, experts said yesterday. Australia's Millennium
drought, which lasted from the mid-1990s until 2012, resulted in
effective water reforms and improved efficiency measures that
California would do well to mimic…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996356/print BY

Calif. Republicans urge fish-rule changes to get more water to
people. A group of Republican House members from California
yesterday urged President Obama and Gov. Jerry Brown (D) to ease
environmental rules that they said forced the loss of needed
water during the state's drought. Led by House Majority Whip
Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the 13 members said that 445,000
acre-feet of water from recent storms was flushed to the ocean
"as a result of the regulatory inflexibility" …Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059996383/print BY


Valley Air District taking applications for cleaner-truck loans. 
The Valley Air District is accepting applications from owners of
heavy-duty trucks that haul waste to finance up to $50,000 toward
the cost of new waste-transfer vehicles operating within the San
Joaquin Valley. People wanting help in replacing older trucks
that pollute more have until May 19 to apply for the funds that
will help them purchase new, cleaner and more efficient trucks.

More flexibility may be added to ‘truck rule’. Some relief may be
coming, after local government representatives, truckers and
truck-dependent businesses expressed concerns about meeting
state-imposed deadlines for replacing or installing
emissions-control equipment on diesel trucks. The state Air
Resources Board has unveiled proposed amendments to a regulation
that requires diesel truck and bus owners to take steps to reduce
engine emissions. Posted. http://agalert.com/story/?id=6540 


California's low-carbon fuel rule future hazy. California is
replacing oil with cleaner-burning fuels in cars and trucks,
thanks to a landmark low-carbon fuel rule, according to a recent
report. But the rule's fate is uncertain amid legal chaos and a
shortfall in the production of clean biofuels. The report,
conducted by researchers at the Institute of Transportation
Studies at UC Davis, said California drivers saved more than 2
billion gallons of gasoline in the two years since the launch of
the rule…Posted.

Biofuels Trying to Hit Big Oil Where It Hurts. Implicit in plans
by ExxonMobil to tame overall production levels for 2014 is a
need to refocus on higher-margin fuels that may be threatened by
developments from companies like Amyris , Solazyme , and Darling
International that are developing competitive, renewable
bio-based products. While biofuel companies will not be taking
over at the pump anytime soon, they may have the capacity to
slowly chip away at Big Oil's specialty chemical divisions.

Methanol an 'orphan fuel' among alternatives to oil. In the quest
to replace petroleum with cleaner, low-cost transportation fuels,
methanol has advantages over other alternatives but the least
political support, according to advocates for the fuel. Methanol
is an alcohol that can be transported easily as a liquid and
derived cheaply from natural gas. The fuel has a high toxicity in
humans but produces a low level of hazardous particulate
emissions when burned and can be safely blended with gasoline and
used in today's cars with minimal adjustments. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996357/print BY


Did 'fracking' play role in L.A. earthquake? Councilmen want to
know. Three Los Angeles City Council members want city, state and
federal groups to look into whether hydraulic fracturing and
other forms of oil and gas “well stimulation” played any role in
the earthquake that rattled the city early Monday morning. The
motion, presented Tuesday by Councilmen Paul Koretz and Mike
Bonin and seconded by Councilman Bernard Parks, asks for city
departments to team up with the California Division of Oil, Gas
and Geothermal Resources…Posted.

Carson considers temporary oil drilling ban over 'fracking'
concerns. The city of Carson is considering a temporary ban on
all new oil drilling following a public outcry over a massive
proposed oil project by Occidental Petroleum. Despite repeated
assurances from Oxy that "fracking" and other well stimulation
techniques will not be used to extract the oil, residents say
they don’t trust the company, and are concerned about possible
air and groundwater contamination. Posted.

Green Fracking? 5 Technologies for Cleaner Shale Energy. It may
seem strange to hear the words "fracking" and "environmentally
friendly" in the same sentence. After all, hydraulic fracturing,
or fracking, in which high-pressure chemically treated water is
used to crack rock formations and release trapped oil and gas, is
a dirty term to many environmentalists. Critics decry the
practice for consuming vast amounts of fresh water, creating
toxic liquid waste, and adding to the atmosphere's greenhouse gas


Electric Cars Have a Dirty Little Secret. Like most of the
world's billion cars, they use a potent super greenhouse gas in
their air-conditioning systems. America's electric cars are
better for the environment, but they share a dirty little secret.
The Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and Tesla Roadster all use a super
greenhouse gas known as HFC 134a as the refrigerant for their air
conditioners. The liquid coolant is so potent that when it leaks
into the atmosphere it traps 1,400 times more heat than carbon
dioxide over a 100-year time horizon.  Posted.


Let These Companies Turn Your Home Into a Power Plant. The
utility industry is changing and one of the biggest shifts is
distributed power. That's when a customer generates electricity
and sells it back to the power company. SolarCity and SunPower
are the leaders in this emerging niche. They are, effectively,
building a different electric utility one rooftop at a time.

Greenhouse Gas Levels Surpass Troublesome Milestone. Greenhouse
gas carbon dioxide (CO2) is continuing to increase at a steep
rate in the Earth's atmosphere. The heat-trapping gas hit a
troublesome milestone last year at its peak in May when it
reached levels of 400 parts per million of carbon dioxide. But
this year, two months earlier, those levels are already being
seen. Greenhouse gas is the main global warming pollutant caused
by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal for electricity and
oil for gasoline. Posted.

Incentives for energy storage spread worldwide. Last October,
California became the first government to require its utilities
to store a significant slice of the power they produce, instead
of using it all right away. Now a growing roster of states and
countries is taking up versions of the same idea, creating rules
or incentives that will place storage in homes in Japan and
Germany, at wind farms in Puerto Rico…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059996345/print BY

With virtual power purchase agreements, companies go long on
renewable energy. Absent government subsidies or a carbon tax, it
may take more than a decade for renewable energy from wind and
solar to become cost competitive with cheap natural gas. Despite
years of steady, sometimes precipitous cost declines, the price
of renewable power still hovers well above market prices.
Nevertheless, some companies are making long-term bets on green
power. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996353/print  BY

Why don't small farmers choose cheaper, cleaner solar-powered
pumps for irrigation? Solar irrigation pumps could save money for
poor farmers throughout the developing world while conserving
water and reducing emissions. But despite the benefits, energy
experts said yesterday, the technology is struggling to succeed.
Fewer than 50,000 such devices are in use in Africa, even though
more than 7 million farmers on the continent lack grid-connected
energy access and, by extension…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996355/print BY


Allitt's new book reviews US environmental history. "A Climate of
Crisis" (The Penguin Press), Patrick Allitt. According to "A
Climate of Crisis," climate change and other pressing
environmental concerns will be, instead of disasters, problems
handily managed by America's capitalism and technological
know-how. That's bound to be a hard sell on any of the shorelines
that regularly disappear under projections of rising sea levels.


Smoking tax - state's addiction.  As a lifelong nonsmoker with
objectivity in the current e-cigarette debate, I was happy to see
Sarah Longwell's piece "Exhale, San Francisco - it's safe" (Open
Forum, March 17 ) offering a supportive view of the product to
balance the piece by San Francisco Supervisor Eric Mar "Treat
e-cigs just like smokes"(March 5). Among the listed ways Mar
wanted e-cigs treated like tobacco cigarettes was being "taxed at
87 cents a pack." Posted.

Editorial: Tesla test drives the free market.  Tesla Motors, like
almost all makers of electric cars, is largely an offshoot of
government intervention. Once a favorite of President Obama’s
green energy push, the electric car industry has enjoyed
favorable Energy Department loans, sizable tax credits for buyers
and the benefits of being on the receiving end of carbon
cap-and-trade schemes.  Posted. 

Does cap-and-trade work? Dear EarthTalk: If cap and trade has
worked so well in Europe for reducing greenhouse gas emissions
there, why haven’t we tried something similar here in the U.S.? 
—Sandra M., Bern, N.C.  Cap-and-trade, whereby big polluters must
pay to emit greenhouse gases against a capped total amount that
is reduced over time — has been in effect across the European
Union (EU) since 2005. Posted.


Fighting Climate Change, and Living With It Too. The Obama
administration is launching a new effort to highlight a climate
change policy that usually doesn’t get much attention:
adaptation. The administration Wednesday is unveiling a new
website, climate.data.gov, and a series of other related
initiatives, to coincide with an event the White House is hosting
to highlight efforts to help the country become more prepared for
and resilient toward climate change. Posted.

Insurers Seek to Capitalize on China’s Smog.  Wars can present
many opportunities to make money, and China’s recently announced
“war against pollution” looks to be no exception. Manufacturers
of air purifiers, breathing masks and power plant
desulphurization technologies have already found ready markets in
China’s smog-choked cities. But the latest companies attempting
to cash in on the haze are taking things to a new level:
pollution insurance. Posted.

Study: Chevron refinery plan won’t boost pollution. Chevron
Corp.’s plan to upgrade its aging Richmond refinery won’t add to
air pollution if the oil company follows all its proposed steps,
according to a draft environmental report released Tuesday by the
city. The report indicates that Chevron should be able to fulfill
its pledge that the $1 billion project will result in no net
increase in pollution, including greenhouse gas emissions.

Grow Rice, Not Methane: California May Tap Voluntary Markets.
Part of the solution to the climate problem may lie within the
2.7 million acres of rice cultivated in the United States last
year. Rice growing is the third largest source of methane
emissions in the United States’ agricultural sector. When rice
fields are flooded, the organic matter decomposing sans-oxygen
below releases methane gas, a climate pollutant that has 21 times
the strength of carbon dioxide. Posted.

Energy Industry Overestimated Cost Of Pollution Controls: Study. 
A new report from the Center for American Progress examines some
historical industry claims about how much new pollution
regulations would cause electricity prices to spike, and finds
that industry estimates have been higher than the reality. The
report is meant to draw an analogy to the current fight over
power plant pollution, specifically greenhouse gas pollution.

China-India cooperation on carbon emission to benefit both:
Daily. Coordinated efforts by China and India will help in moving
both the countries towards global sustainability goals in carbon
emission, a leading Chinese daily said Wednesday.  An article in
The People's Daily newspaper said that the two countries faced
similar mitigation pressures and this suggested the possibility
and priority of cooperation between the two nations. Posted.

Pentagon says climate change is clearly a present danger, again. 
Like the Olympics and leap year, the Quadrennial Defense Review
(QDR) comes at us every four years. A big-picture look by the US
military at the threats they see out there, the QDR (PDF) is a
broad document, but you can read in it just how big the military
thinks its mission is (global dominance, really). Posted.

Green HOV stickers for plug-in hybrids almost gone in California.
 There's a bit of a traffic jam building for those High-Occupancy
Vehicle (HOV) stickers designed to help plug-in hybrid vehicle
drivers in California avoid, uh, traffic jams. The stickers in
question are of the green variety and they're doled out by the
California Air Resources Board (CARB) to let such drivers cruise
down the HOV lanes solo. And they're running out. Fast. Posted.

Ford UK exec says EVs are a good way to lose a fortune. 
Stateside, Ford execs are quick to point out the automaker's
expansion in the plug-in sector. And despite a minimal presence
in the pure EV space, the Blue Oval has been promoting its
plug-in vehicles as part of an overall effort to boost fleetwide
fuel economy. Too bad the company's UK chief didn't get the memo.

How companies can clear up myths about indoor air pollution.
There’s been a lot of talk in the news lately about carbon
monoxide poisoning – from a death and 19 people hospitalized at a
Long Island restaurant, to a close call with a little girl here
in Tennessee – and it has a lot of people worried about the air
quality in their own homes.
The problem is that most consumers don’t understand what really
affects the quality of the air inside their houses. Posted.

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

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