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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for April 16, 2014.

Posted: 16 Apr 2014 16:15:53
ARB Newsclips for April 16, 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.


Top Democratic lawmaker backs off 'carbon tax' The state Senate
leader on Monday backed off an unpopular proposal for a so-called
carbon tax on consumer fuels and instead wants to dedicate
billions of dollars generated by California's greenhouse gas
reduction law to affordable housing, mass transit and high-speed
rail. Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg said his
willingness to pivot from a higher tax on gasoline, propane and
other consumer fuels was driven by the need to fund…Posted.


Court Upholds Key EPA Mercury Standards for Power Plants.  A
federal appeals court handed the Environmental Protection Agency
a significant victory April 15 by upholding stringent mercury and
air toxics standards for power plants, which are among the
costliest regulations the agency has promulgated. The U.S. Court
of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit rejected argument
after argument that industry petitioners made, saying the EPA's
decisions were reasonable and the agency deserves deference.

Masses of Mercedes Thicken Hong Kong Air-Pollution Mess. Hong
Kong is one of the best places in the world to do business. As
long as you don’t breathe.  Toxic air caused 3,279 premature
deaths last year in the city that means “fragrant harbor” in
Chinese, contributing to more than 5.5 million doctor visits in
the metropolis of 7.2 million, according to an index developed by
the University of Hong Kong’s School of Public Health.Posted.

EPA didn’t track own air pollution program — report. The
Environmental Protection Agency hasn’t bothered to track whether
one of its key pollution reduction programs is actually having an
effect, according to a new review by the agency’s internal
The National Petroleum Refinery Initiative was launched in 1996
to try to cut down on pollution from oil refineries, which were
estimated to be pumping 66 million pounds of toxic pollutants
into the air each year. Posted.

Senators back state management of carbon emissions.  Louisiana
could have its own, less stringent plan for implementing the
Environmental Protection Agency's limits on carbon dioxide
emissions, under a proposal that got the approval Tuesday of the
Senate Environmental Quality Committee. The measure by the
committee's chairman, Sen. Mike Walsworth, would let the state
Department of Environmental Quality decide how to apply EPA's
upcoming rule on carbon dioxide emissions by setting standards
for measuring emissions and the pace for following EPA's
regulations. Posted.


Petroleum group says fracking helped reduce greenhouse gas
emissions. The American Petroleum Institute said hydraulic
fracturing, or fracking as it is sometimes called, contributed to
a 3.4% drop in greenhouse gas emissions in 2012, the trade group
said in a statement. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency on
Tuesday issued a report that found that greenhouse gas emissions
dropped 3.4% in 2012 compared with the year before. Posted.

U.S. greenhouse gas emissions dropped 3.4% in 2012. Greenhouse
gas emissions in the United States dropped by 3.4% in 2012,
federal environmental regulators reported Tuesday. The decline
over the previous year was driven mostly by power plant operators
switching from coal to natural gas, improvements in fuel
efficiency for transportation and a warmer winter that cut demand
for heating, according to an inventory released by the U.S.
Environmental Protection Agency. Posted.

Climate change gets the blockbuster treatment on Showtime. Clad
in a military-style flight suit and aviator shades, Harrison Ford
walks across a sunny tarmac and climbs into a fighter jet and
takes off. Soon, he's soaring 5,000 feet above California. Ford
is not starring as the hero of a summer blockbuster but in fact
is tagging along on a NASA mission to measure levels of methane
and carbon dioxide, two primary greenhouse gases, in the

As another report urges action, how can U.S. overcome obstacles
to effective climate policy?  This week’s latest U.N. report on
climate change warns of the urgent need for global action in the
next five to 15 years, if countries want to ward off the worst
impacts of rising emissions.  Posted. 

Scientists urge bigger research budgets for pulling CO2 out of
the air. Scientists with an eye on climate change came together
here this week to discuss the future of a potential game-changer,
devices that can capture carbon dioxide from the air. During a
conference at Columbia University, experts in the field from
industry and academia essentially had this to say about direct
carbon capture's prospects…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059997970/print BY


Field Poll: Drought responses split California. Californians
agree their state is parched, but they diverge by region on how
supplies dried up and what should be done about the drought.
“There’s clearly a consensus that the state has a serious water
shortage,” Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo said of a survey on
the subject released Tuesday. “There, however, is no consensus to
what got us into this situation.” Posted.

City Contradicts Itself With Watering Restrictions. The City of
Sacramento declared a drought in January, but city code still
requires property owners keep their lawns watered and landscaping
maintained. The Community Development Department will ask the
City Council on Thursday to clarify which rules code enforcement
officers are supposed to follow during a drought. Posted.


Pitzer College selling fossil fuel stocks in environmental move.
Pitzer College, a liberal arts school in Claremont, has joined
the vanguard of U.S. campuses deciding to sell off its
investments in fossil fuel companies as a statement of concern
about global warming. Pitzer’s board of trustees recently voted
to approve a divestment plan to sell off about $4.4 million in
fossil-fuel related investments, mainly in oil and gas companies…

Southern agrees to coal research with Chinese firm. Southern Co.
says it has signed a deal with a state-owned Chinese coal and
energy company to work together to develop coal technologies,
based in part on the coal gasification and carbon capture
technology that Southern subsidiary Mississippi Power Co. is
deploying at the $5 billion Kemper County power plant. Posted.

Sacramento’s Pacific Ethanol wipes out its corporate debt.
Pacific Ethanol Inc. said Tuesday it has eliminated all its
corporate debt, another milestone in the recovery of the
once-troubled Sacramento company. However, the Sacramento ethanol
producer said its four operating plants are still a combined $48
million in debt. At the corporate level, the company retired a
$22.2 million bond offering by repaying the outstanding balance
of less than $1 million. Posted.

The menace of methane. Researchers found higher-than-expected
emissions of a potent greenhouse gas emanating from Pennsylvania
wells, according to a study published Monday that adds to
concerns about the environmental footprint of natural gas. The
study, conducted by Purdue and Cornell universities and published
in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is the
latest to scrutinize methane emissions associated with natural
gas development…Posted.

House Dems Want EPA to Reopen Investigation on Fracking. White
House Targets Methane Emissions. A new study by scientists from
Purdue and Cornell suggests that the methane emissions from shale
gas could be much higher than previously thought. The study,
published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences,
looked at fugitive methane emissions in Pennsylvania by flying an
airplane over drilling sites and collecting samples. What they
found was a bit unnerving. Posted.

GAS PRICES: 12 straight days of increases irk customers.  On the
12th day of gas-price increases, Alberto Castro-Mendoza pulled
into the Shell station at the intersection of Iowa Avenue and
Blaine Street in Riverside. It didn’t feel like Christmas.
Castro-Mendoza, 22, usually shops around, but on Tuesday, April
15, he was in a rush. Posted.

With white papers, EPA takes first step on a set of potentially
far-reaching regulations of methane.  U.S. EPA yesterday took a
first step toward what could become a new set of regulations
governing emissions of methane from oil and gas operations.
Yesterday, the agency released a set of five white papers
analyzing methane leaks from the industry. The EPA release is the
first part in a multi-step effort the agency is taking to address
emissions of methane…Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059997979/print BY


Suzuki joins fuel efficiency race with simplified hybrid system. 
Japanese small-car maker Suzuki Motor Corp said on Wednesday it
will introduce an affordable, simplified gas-electric hybrid
technology in its cars, joining rivals in the race for fuel
Japan's fourth-biggest car maker, which has largely focused on
internal combustion engines, said it needs to boost fuel
efficiency to survive in a competitive industry. Posted.


New Wind, Solar Power Cheaper Than Nuclear Option, Study Shows.
New wind and solar plants generate cheaper low-carbon electricity
than the latest nuclear reactors, a study shows, indicating they
will lead a global push for green energy. Newly built wind and
solar with natural-gas as a backup can make power a fifth cheaper
than nuclear backed by gas, the study by consultant Prognos AG
shows. Posted.

Clean Energy Investment Rises 9%, Led by Solar Power. Clean
energy investment rose by 9 percent in the first quarter from a
year earlier on surging demand for rooftop solar panels from the
U.S. to Japan.  New investment in renewable power and energy
efficiency rose to $47.7 billion in the first three months of the
year from $43.6 billion, Bloomberg New Energy Finance said today
in an e-mailed statement. Posted.

Owens Valley mobilizes against proposed DWP solar project.
Opponents say the project would destroy scenic vistas and ruin
the sense of isolation at Manzanar National Historic Site. One by
one, a parade of Owens Valley residents rose at a public hearing
Tuesday to assail the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power's
plan to meet its renewable energy goals by covering 2 square
miles of high desert with 1 million solar panels. Posted.

Clean energy: Is a boom coming in 2014? Clean energy is off to a
strong start in 2014, with global investment rising as prices for
wind and solar power continue to drop. Renewables still hold a
small share of total energy mixes, but clean-energy growth is
picking up momentum. Posted.

DOE issues draft loan solicitation for up to $4B for renewable
energy and energy efficiency projects; drop-in biofuels a key
area.  The US Department of Energy (DOE) issued a draft loan
guarantee solicitation for renewable energy and energy efficiency
projects located in the US that avoid, reduce, or sequester
greenhouse gases.  Posted. 

Renewable energy rises, but IPCC authors warn that nuclear power
must also rise to replace fossil fuels. Over the past decade and
a half, countries around the world have taken unprecedented steps
to shift their energy dependence from fossil fuels to alternative
resources. Tariffs and subsidies have spurred the growth of wind
and solar, regional emissions markets have imposed costs on
carbon, and government funds have poured in to support the
development of new, low-carbon technologies. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059997976/print BY

Cities' move toward solar power accelerates in 5 years. American
cities looking for cleaner and more reliable electricity
resources are increasingly adopting solar power under a broad
movement among mayors and councils to make their grids cleaner
and less carbon-intensive. In fact, 20 cities, occupying just 0.1
percent of the entire U.S. landmass, now produce 7 percent of all
photovoltaic solar energy in the country, according to a new
report from the nonprofit group Environment America. Posted.
http://www.eenews.net/climatewire/stories/1059997974/print BY


Eric Garcetti signs waste franchise plan to expand recycling.  A
major expansion of the city’s recycling program was launched
Tuesday as Mayor Eric Garcetti signed into law a new waste
franchise agreement to expand recycling to businesses and
apartments. “This is one of the most ambitious programs of its
kind,” Garcetti said at a City Hall news conference where he was
surrounded by the Zero Waste Coalition. Posted.


Public Attitudes About Climate Change. Ted Nordhaus and Michael
Shellenberger (“Global Warming Scare Tactics,” Op-Ed, April 9)
embrace uncritically what can be called the ultimate technocratic
illusion: that whatever we human beings do to our habitat can be
fixed by a rescue technology. Just as the American media are
beginning, belatedly, to take seriously the dire effects of
climate change, the writers scold these efforts as “fear-based.”

A backup plan for climate change.  OF ALL the reports that the
U.N.-chartered Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)
has released over the last several months, this week’s might be
the most distressing. The authoritative body of scientists,
economists and other experts previously warned that the planet is
warming, that humans are primarily responsible and that
uncontrolled climate change would have a range of unwelcome
effects. Posted.

Climate change has arrived. The following editorial appeared in
the Miami Herald on Monday, April 14: In case there was still any
doubt, and there shouldn't be at this point, the
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a United Nations group
of scientists, has made it official: Climate change is not
coming, it's already here. And it's going to get worse unless the
whole world - especially the industrial world - greatly reduces
greenhouse emissions causing global warming. Posted. Read more

Slogging forward on climate-change. THE WORLD now has a rough
deadline for action on climate change. Nations need to take
aggressive action in the next 15 years to cut carbon emissions,
in order to forestall the worst effects of global warming, says
the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Expect a certain
part of our political class to insist that man-made climate
change is not consensus science, and that until it is, nothing
should be done. Posted.

Turn the tide on climate change: Try vegan for Earth Day.  The
recently released United Nations report Climate Change 2014:
Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability might alter your plans for
Earth Day on April 22. It confirms that climate change is having
an impact on every continent, affecting agriculture, human
health, ecosystems, water supplies and even some people's
livelihoods, but it also indicates that we can still turn the
tide if we take significant steps to reduce greenhouse-gas
emissions. Posted. 


A Risk Analyst Explains Why Climate Change Risk Misperception
Doesn’t Necessarily Matter. David Ropeik, the risk communication
consultant and author of “How Risky is it, Really? Why Our Fears
Don’t Always Match the Facts,” had some concerns about the way I
characterized our “inconvenient minds” in my TEDx talk in
Portland, Ore., over the weekend. He’s right, of course. The
19-minute presentation on how, with sustained work…Posted.

A Green Group Sees Hope in ‘The End of China’s Coal Boom’. 
Through much of its history, Greenpeace has been big on what I
call “woe is me, shame on you” messaging on the environment. As I
explained at a TEDx event in Portland, Ore., over the weekend,
fingerpointing (including Greenpeace’s) is appropriate in many
instances, but doesn’t work well with human-driven global
warming. The blame game too often ends up resembling a circular
firing squad. Posted.

Environmentalists slam Dianne Feinstein’s drought bill. Sen.
Dianne Feinstein’s revised drought bill is coming under
increasing attack from the left even as the California Democrat
tries to woo Republicans to speed the bill’s passage through the
Senate without committee consideration. More than a dozen
environmental groups, including Sierra Club California, Audubon

California Trails Texas in Wind Power, Says New Report. The
commercial wind industry was born in California, and the state
has one of the strongest renewable energy incentive programs in
the country. Still, when it comes to wind, Texas has us beat by a
long shot, according to a new report from the Washington,
D.C.-based American Wind Energy Association. California generates
5,829 megawatts of wind energy, compared with 12,354 megawatts in
the Lone Star State. Posted.

The brink of disaster, the edge of salvation. Three United
Nations sponsored climate reports were just released that clearly
point to the dangers of a changing climate. The three reports
show that dramatic cuts in greenhouse emissions must proceed with
all due haste to belay the most harmful effects of climate
change. In other words we have a major problem but there is a way
out. There is hope. Posted.

How CPUC's Robert Weisenmiller sees California's energy future.
Before its retirement in 2012, the San Onofre Nuclear Generating
Station (SONGS) represented about 16 percent of the local
electricity generation supply covering an average of 1.4 million
homes serviced by Southern California Edison, San Diego Gas &
Electric and the city of Riverside in southern California.

Four Ways The U.S. Military Can Adopt Clean Energy For National
Security.  At the U.S. Defense Department, the multiple national
security threats created by sea level rise and severe weather
command daily attention; climate change has been on its radar for
years.  The recently published Quadrennial Defense Report (QDR),
an assessment of U.S. defense readiness, addresses the growing
threat that climate change poses to military capabilities and
global operations. Posted.

California Plans For A Hydrogen Future. The Governor’s Office of
Business and Economic Development for the State of California
(nicknamed “GO-Biz”) held an event at the Toyota USA Automobile
Museum yesterday. The topic was “Hydrogen Fuel Cell Electric
Vehicles and Infrastructure in Your Neighborhood: A state and
local workshop.” After opening remarks, approximately 150
attendees from automotive manufacturers, state and local

Scaling Wind — Informative, Short Documentary On Moving US Wind
Energy Ahead. Scaling Wind, directed by Michelle Nunez, and
produced by GreenTech Films, is an informative 30-minute
documentary showcasing the benefits and challenges of reaching
20% wind energy by 2030 in the US. The film shows how the goal
started, with a 2006 State of the Union address by George W.
Bush. His suggestion of getting 20% wind energy by 2030 was one
solution to getting off fossil fuels. Posted.

There’s Still Time to Profit From This Renewable Energy
Technology. Among the many secrets to successful investing, one
of the most powerful is to identify promising sectors that
haven’t seen much interest… then wait for the masses to catch up.
In the technology sector, this usually happens with unfamiliar
areas, where investors will only go halfway. For example, they’ll
buy a solar panel company, but won’t peel back the layers to
reveal even better opportunities, such as microinverter
companies. Posted.

Here comes an app to tie your carbon footprint with what you buy.
Summary: Startup Oroeco is tying financial data from Mint with
carbon emissions data, in the hopes that their app will be
compelling enough to change user behavior.  There are plenty of
apps out there that help people calculate and lower their carbon
footprints, but the reality is that most of these apps receive
little use — they’re just not that compelling and useful. Posted.

Renters: Minimize Your Carbon Footprint. Apartment living offers
the advantage that as a tenant, you aren’t required to take
responsibility for matters like upkeep, waste disposal and even
energy use in communal areas. But what if you do want to take
responsibility for your own carbon footprint and you want your
efforts to extend beyond driving a hybrid vehicle and buying
sustainable goods? Fortunately, you don’t need to own a home to
make your lifestyle more eco-friendly. Posted.

A Timely Reminder From the CSLB and a Funny Acronym to Boot.
Growing up in Sacramento, California I remember it being so hot
that you could feel your tennis shoes stick to the asphalt on the
playground. As California enters its worst drought in 119 years
concern over water has spawned a well drilling boon. Our ever
vigilant (and prescient) California Contractors State License
Board has sent out this timely reminder: Posted.

If You Were Watching "Game of Thrones" Last Night, You Missed
Neil Tyson's Solution to Global Warming. Last night's episode of
Fox's Cosmos series didn't seem political or controversial, at
least on the surface. Rather, it introduced us to the world on
the molecular and atomic scale, at one point venturing inside of
a dewdrop (packed with extremely cool tiny organisms like
tardigrades) and, later, inside of a plant cell. Posted.

Novel technique produces ethanol from carbon monoxide. Ethanol
may be touted as a more eco-friendly alternative to fossil fuels,
but it's not without its own drawbacks. Most importantly, the
corn or other plants required as feedstock often take up field
space that could otherwise be put to use growing food crops.
Also, as with other plants, the feedstock crops require large
amounts of water and fertilizer. Posted.

Volvo S60L Petrol Plug-in Hybrid is the full package.  At next
week's Beijing Motor Show, Volvo is set to introduce a new member
of its plug-in hybrid family. The company has had success with
the world's first diesel PHEV, the V60 plug-in hybrid, but the
new S60L is dubbed a PPHEV. The extra P stands for petrol.
Unsurprisingly given the debut location, the S60L PPHEV is a
vehicle that is destined for the Chinese market. Posted.


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

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