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newsclips -- Newsclips for March 21, 2014

Posted: 21 Mar 2014 14:14:01
ARB Newsclips for March 21, 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.


Australia's Senate rejects carbon tax repeal bill. The Australian
government's efforts to scrap the country's carbon tax were
defeated in a Senate vote on Thursday, though the bill is likely
to return after July when more Liberal senators take their seats.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott wants to repeal the tax, which forces
companies to pay to emit carbon dioxide, the main gas blamed for
causing climate change. Posted.


Angry residents confront state officials over Exide plant.
Neighbors of the Vernon battery recycler urge the state to shut
it down after the discovery of high lead levels in nearby homes.
Furious residents confronted state officials at a community
meeting Wednesday night to discuss the high levels of lead found
in the backyards of homes near a Vernon battery recycling plant.

Air quality district OKs Exide's plan — with misgivings. New plan
aims to curb health risks from Vernon plant with a history of
lead and arsenic emissions, but key official expresses doubts
about company's commitment to the goal. One year after the South
Coast Air Quality Management District found that arsenic
emissions from a Vernon battery plant posed a cancer risk to more
than 100,000 people, the agency has approved Exide Technologies
Inc.'s plan to reduce health risks. Posted.

Richmond report concludes Chevron refinery project won't increase
pollution, output.  As Chevron looks to restart a long-delayed
refinery overhaul, a draft environmental report released this
week concludes that the $1 billion project would allow the
company to process dirtier oil without increasing air pollution. 

Toxic plan for Vernon battery plant approved.  Southern
California regulators have approved a final plan to reduce toxic
pollution at a battery recycling plant that neighbors have blamed
for health problems.  The South Coast Air Quality Management
District says it approved the plan for Exide Technologies on
Wednesday.  Posted. 

Air Pollution May Cause Genetic Harm in Kids, China Study Finds. 
Air pollution led to genetic changes that may have sapped
learning skills in children whose mothers were exposed to a
Chinese coal-fired power plant before it was shuttered a decade
ago, researchers found.  Posted. 


Climate change fuelled storms, rising seas cost China $2.6 bln in
2013. Climate change fuelled storm waves and rising sea levels
cost China 16.3 billion yuan ($2.6 bln) and killed 121 people in
2013, the State Oceanic Administration (SOA) said. China is the
world's biggest emitter of greenhouse gases which scientists say
is driving climate change. Southern Guangdong province was hit
hardest, recording 7.4 billion yuan worth of damage…Posted.

Thirsty California pins hopes on El Niño's return. The arrival of
spring Thursday ushered out the third-driest winter in Northern
California history, leaving behind parched hills, shallow
reservoirs and a higher-than-usual threat of fire. But even as
hope dims for a March miracle storm, climatologists say weather
conditions could change this year if an El Niño takes shape. The
U.S. Climate Prediction Center issued an El Niño watch this

UH Hilo wins $5M grant to study climate change. The University of
Hawaii at Hilo has received a second $5 million grant to study
how plants, animals and microbes respond to climate change. The
school's Tropical Conservation Biology and Environmental Science
Program received the original $5 million National Science
Foundation grant in 2009. Posted.

What chickadees can tell us about climate change.  About 15 years
ago, Villanova University biology professor Robert Curry was
looking for a project that would allow his students to
investigate something interesting without much travel. He found
it in a cheeky little bird with a black cap, familiar to anyone
with a backyard feeder: the chickadee. Posted.

EPA budget proposal signals major changes ahead for state
regulators. President Obama has packed cash for state air
regulators in his U.S. EPA budget proposal, pointing to a leading
role for states in shaping rules for curbing greenhouse gas
emissions from existing power plants. The fiscal 2015 proposal
would provide $24.3 million to help states prepare for the
climate rule -- offering $19.8 million in Clean Air Act grants
for writing implementation plans and $4.5 million for greenhouse
gas permitting…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059996457/print BY

Exxon Mobil agrees to report its climate change risks. 
Apparently giving in to shareholder pressure, massive U.S. energy
company Exxon Mobil Corp. has agreed to publish a report for the
first time about the risks to the company's assets from climate
change. Two environmentally minded shareholders, Arjuna Capital
and As You Sow…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996495/print BY
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/2014/03/21/stories/1059996502 BY

U.N. report draft sees many impacts from warming. The United
Nations is warning in a new report that climate change may
displace hundreds of millions of people by 2100, which could
heighten the risk of armed conflict and cost the world economy
trillions of dollars. The second of three reports by the U.N.
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is seen as the most
in-depth investigation of climate impacts the world has seen.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996497/print BY

E.U. leaders begin climate and energy talks aimed at deeper
emission cuts. The two-day spring E.U. summit meeting in Brussels
moved today to consider a proposed 2030 framework for climate and
energy objectives, which the European Commission presented in
January. Much of the result, expected later today, will depend on
whether the situation in Ukraine reconciles recent arguments
among member states, encouraging greater cooperation…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996504/print BY


California drought dilemma: Drain Anderson Reservoir to make dam
safe in earthquakes? As California's historic drought worsens by
the day, Silicon Valley's main water provider faces a difficult
choice: Risk catastrophic flooding if a major earthquake strikes
its largest dam -- or drain billions of gallons of water from the
reservoir behind it to make repairs. Posted.

California drought: Ray of hope in fish-vs.-farms dispute. Tens
of thousands of squiggling salmon fattening up on bugs and other
nutrients on flooded cropland in the Sacramento Valley could soon
provide a solution to the long-running dispute over who should
get the bulk of California's diminishing supply of water: farms
or fish. Posted.

House Republicans harangue federal, Calif. officials on response
to crisis. House Republicans hammered California and federal
water managers yesterday on their response to the Golden State's
continuing drought, charging that they haven't done enough to
ensure water supplies for farmers. At a field hearing in Fresno,
Calif., House Natural Resources Chairman Doc Hastings (R-Wash.)
and Republican members of California's House delegation called
for legislative intervention in the state's water
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059996451/print BY


The Democratic Civil War Over Energy. Green demands to stop
drilling for natural gas come at an awkward time for Obama and
his party. The environmental left is seeing Democrats the
Keystone XL pipeline, and raising them natural-gas exports. The
question of who folds on this issue will play big in this midterm
election year. A split is growing in the Democratic Party, one
that ought to rival the divisions on the right that the headlines
trumpet. Posted.

In Shift, Exxon Mobil to Report on Risks to Its Fossil Fuel
Assets. Energy companies have been under increasing pressure from
shareholder activists in recent years to warn investors of the
risks that stricter limits on carbon emissions would place on
their business. On Thursday, a shareholder group said that it had
won its biggest prize yet, when Exxon Mobil became the first oil
and gas producer to agree to publish that information by the end
of the month. Posted.

Carson imposes moratorium on oil drilling over fear of fracking.
The decision makes Carson the first city in California to ban all
oil drilling, even temporarily, officials say. The oil-rich city
of Carson has imposed an emergency moratorium on all new
drilling, halting efforts by a petroleum company to bore more
than 200 wells near homes and a state university. The drilling
ban, which runs for 45 days but could be extended up to two

Ethanol Groups Seek Supreme Court Review Of California's
Low-Carbon Fuel Standard.  Ethanol industry groups have asked the
Supreme Court to determine whether California's low-carbon fuel
standard violates the dormant commerce clause of the U.S.
Constitution (Rocky Mountain Farmers Union v. Corey, U.S., docket
number unavailable, 3/20/14).  Posted. 
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996501/print  BY

BLM royalty reforms will follow fracking, methane regs –
official. The Bureau of Land Management's reform of nearly
century-old oil and gas royalty rates will likely have to wait
until the agency finalizes rules on hydraulic fracturing and
methane emissions, a top official said here yesterday. Linda
Lance, BLM's deputy director, said that the royalty overhaul is
still in BLM's regulatory queue but that agency personnel are
working at capacity to finish the fracking rule…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/greenwire/stories/1059996449/print BY

World ethylene market casts U.S. as leader, but interests depend
on producer's role. A worldwide shift from oil to natural gas as
a feedstock for plastics production will reshape the global
market, pushing low-cost producers in the United States and the
Middle East to the front of the industry while forcing longtime
leaders in Europe and East Asia to shut down or retool production
for niche markets, according to a new report. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/energywire/stories/1059996503/print BY


Five ways Tesla Motors pushes technology change in auto industry.
 Although Tesla Motors sold fewer than 23,000 cars last year, an
almost immeasurable amount of the 15.6 million vehicles Americans
purchased last year, the electric car company is pushing
technological change throughout the auto industry, according to
Barclays Capital. In a report to investors, Barclays analyst
Brian Johnson identified five ways Tesla’s Model S luxury sports
sedan is transforming…Posted.

AAA finds electric vehicles lose range at colder temperatures.
AAA, one of the largest membership organizations in the United
States, released findings from an electric vehicle drive test
yesterday that found the cars lose, on average, 57 percent of
their range depending on the temperature. At 75 degrees
Fahrenheit, the average electric vehicle (EV) battery range in
AAA's test was 105 miles. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996498/print BY


Wind Industry’s New Technologies Are Helping It Compete on Price.
Tens of thousands of squiggling salmon fattening up on bugs and
other nutrients on flooded cropland in the Sacramento Valley
could soon provide a solution to the long-running dispute over
who should get the bulk of California's diminishing supply of
water: farms or fish. There appears to be a way to satisfy both.

Wind and solar power can sustain themselves and support the
addition of storage – study. To be cost-effective, any source of
power has to produce more energy than it consumes. Oil companies
would hardly turn a profit, for example, if extracting a barrel
of oil required the energy output of a second barrel of oil. The
same holds true of renewable energy sources like wind and solar.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059996493/print BY


What makes this a drought? Q: Why are we considered to be in a
drought, at least in the Sierra foothills, when our rainfall
totals are at nearly 50 percent of “normal” for the precipitation
year? – Phil Zink, Colfax, CA  A: The state Department of Water
Resources doesn’t list a series of thresholds that, once crossed,
mean we are in a drought. Instead, state officials consider
drought a gradual phenomenon that affects different people in
different locations in different ways. Posted.

Rising energy demand a threat to strained water supplies – UN.
Rising demand for energy, from biofuels to shale gas, is a threat
to freshwater supplies that are already under strain from climate
change, the United Nations said in a report on Friday. 
It urged energy companies to do more to limit use of water in
everything from cooling coal-fired power plants to irrigation for
crops grown to produce biofuels. Posted.


How Concerned Are You About Climate Change? This week the world’s
largest general scientific society released a stark report on
global warming that shows how dire, and how urgent, the problem
is. How worried are you about climate change? What have you
learned about it in school? What do you think should be done to
address it? Posted.

Study finds lubricating oil the dominant source of primary
organic aerosol from both diesel and gasoline vehicles. Findings
from a study by researchers at the University of California,
Berkeley and Berkeley National Laboratory suggest that
lubricating oil is the dominant source of primary organic aerosol
(POA) from both gasoline- and diesel-powered vehicles. Unburned
diesel fuel makes an additional smaller contribution, with an
additional smaller contribution from unburned gasoline. Posted.

Why cabs and car-sharing are good for the environment. The
urbanist fixation with new car services such as Uber and Lyft can
seem paradoxical. Why is it good for the environment and for
cities to increase the number of cars for hire on our roads? The
same could be asked about regular old taxis, and car-sharing
services like Zipcar. Aren’t cars bad for the environment? For
the rare person who already lives car-free in a city such as San
Francisco, a cab ride or car rental might actually increase their
carbon footprint. Posted.

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

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