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newsclips -- Newsclips for June 6, 2014

Posted: 06 Jun 2014 13:32:02
ARB Newsclips for June 6, 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.


Billionaire sets up fund for victims of climate change.
Billionaire Tom Steyer, the leading financial underwriter of
campaigns to combat climate change, says he is putting up $2
million to start a fund for victims of wildfires and other
"extreme weather events." Steyer and his wife, Kat Taylor, are
announcing the establishment of the Climate Disaster Relief Fund
on Friday. Posted.

Hayward power plant complies with air regulations. An emission
problem at the Russell City Energy Center has been fixed, and the
power plant now complies with air quality rules, according to the
regulating agency. The plant's cooling tower had been releasing
almost 10 times the allowed amount of water droplets that could
contain particulate matter, according to a complaint filed
earlier this year by the Bay Area Air Quality Management
District. Posted.

China admits to failures over air quality.  A senior Chinese
government official has admitted that most major Chinese cities
fail national standards for good air quality. Li Ganjie, a vice
minister of the Ministry of Environmental Protection, gave a
positive spin to the launch of the 2013 Report on the State of
China's Environment, but did not disguise all its bad news on the
severe levels of air, water and soil pollution brought by years
of fast-paced economic growth. Posted.

Carbon emissions rule relies on a broad view of 'system'. The
coming legal battle over President Barack Obama's far-reaching
climate-change rules will probably turn on the meaning of one
word in the Clean Air Act of 1970 — "system." Under the landmark
anti-pollution law, the Environmental Protection Agency is
empowered to require states to apply "the best system of emission
reduction" to existing power plants. Posted.


Texas Cash-From-Carbon Program Lures Climate Skeptics. At an
aging cement plant in San Antonio, entrepreneur Joe Jones is
trying to turn fighting climate change into a money-making
venture. Instead of letting carbon dioxide escape from the plant
and contribute to global warming, Jones’s Skyonic Corp. is
spending $128 million to convert the gas into baking soda and
hydrochloric acid that can be sold to the cattle and oil
industries. Posted.

Brazil First to Submit Forest CO2 Data for UN Assessment. Brazil
today submitted data on emissions reductions achieved by forest
protection to the United Nations, the first country to do so
under rules on deforestation agreed in November. The country’s
data will be assessed by international experts to establish a
benchmark, against which future reductions in greenhouse-gas
discharges will be measured. Posted.

Republicans Can’t Block EPA’s Greenhouse Gas Rules, Says Hoyer.
Democrats in Congress will be able to keep Republicans from
overturning the Obama administration’s rules to lower
greenhouse-gas emissions, said second-ranking House Democrat
Steny Hoyer. “The overwhelming majority of our party is going to
support it and the Senate’s not going to pass a repeal,” Hoyer of
Maryland said…Posted.

China Studying Timeline for Carbon Cap To Include in Next
Five-Year Plan. China is reportedly studying a timeline for an
absolute cap on carbon dioxide emissions, as it prepares climate
change policies to include in its forthcoming 13th Five-Year Plan
(2016-2020), although an announcement of such a policy is
premature, analysts told Bloomberg BNA June 4. The policies are
expected to include measures to meet a previous carbon intensity

World War II Skeletons Washed From Graves by Rising Seas.
Skeletons of World War II soldiers are being washed from their
graves by the rising Pacific Ocean as global warming leads to
inundation of islands that saw some of the fiercest fighting of
the conflict. On the day Europe commemorates the 70th anniversary
of the storming of Normandy beaches in the D-Day landings, a
minister from the Marshall Islands…Posted.

Best of Both Worlds? Northeast Cut Emissions and Enjoyed Growth.
Some critics of the Environmental Protection Agency’s new
requirements for power plants argue that forcing emissions
reduction will curtail economic growth. But the recent experience
of states that already cap carbon emissions reveals that
emissions and economic growth are no longer tightly tied
together. One of the ways that states will be able to meet the
new E.P.A. standards is by joining a Northeastern cap-and-trade
program known as the…Posted.

Top Obama aide calls climate change 'existential' problem. The
Environmental Protection Agency's crackdown on carbon emissions
is meant to avert an "almost existential problem" from climate
change, a top White House adviser asserted Friday. "If you're a
climate denier trying to run nationally, I think you're going to
have a very long row to hoe getting elected president" in 2016,
said John Podesta…Posted.


El Niño likely to be too weak to have big impact on drought. The
odds of an El Niño helping shake California out of its prolonged
drought got a bit bleaker this week with a new forecast from the
U.S. Climate Prediction Center. Though the agency's monthly
report still projects that summer or fall will give rise to an El
Niño - the warming ocean surfaces that can tip worldwide weather
- federal scientists say the phenomenon is most likely to be only
of moderate strength. Posted.


BP, Chevron Among Refiners Sued by Vermont Over MTBE. BP Plc
(BP/), Chevron Corp. (CVX) and Exxon Mobil Corp. (XOM) are among
two dozen U.S. refiners sued by Vermont Attorney General William
Sorrell and accused of polluting the state’s groundwater with a
gasoline additive. Sorrell filed the case today in state court in
Montpelier, the capital. Posted.

China Seeks to Cap Fossil Fuel Emissions for First Time. China is
working on how to cap its greenhouse gas emissions for the first
time, an effort that would spur the worldwide effort to hold back
climate change. The world’s biggest producer of fossil fuel
emissions has been studying for more than a year how and when it
might be able to make its pollution levels peak and hopes to act
as soon as possible…Posted.

Suit seeks to halt plans for Richmond oil refinery expansion.
Environmental advocates seeking to curb Chevron's plans to
modernize and expand its Richmond oil refinery sued Bay Area
air-quality regulators Thursday, claiming they approved
construction based on outdated reports that understated the
plant's greenhouse gas emissions and the pollutants it would spew
into surrounding neighborhoods. Posted. 

Oil Industry Kills California Assembly Bill to Support Biofuel
Expansion. The oil industry did some intellectual gymnastics last
week over California’s low-carbon fuel standard, a 2007 mandate
that gasoline refiners reduce the carbon intensity of their
transportation fuels 10 percent by 2020. After arguing for years
that there simply aren’t enough low-carbon fuel alternatives
around to meet the rule’s requirement, the fossil fuel companies
killed a bill in the state assembly May 29 aimed
at—yes—bolstering the supply of low-carbon fuels. Posted.

Chevron Retreats on Clean Energy After Renewables Hit 20% Margin.
In January, employees of Chevron (CVX)’s renewable power group,
whose mission was to create large, profitable clean-energy
projects, dined at San Francisco’s trendy Sens restaurant.
Managers applauded them for almost doubling their projected
profit in 2013, the group’s first full year of operations.


California enters race for Tesla 'Gigafactory' California
lawmakers and the Brown administration introduced legislation
Thursday morning that seeks to lift regulatory and financial
barriers to lure a proposed $5 billion Tesla Motors factory to
the Golden State. The legislation by Senate President Pro Tem
Darrell Steinberg, a Sacramento Democrat, and Sen. Ted Gaines, a
Roseville Republican, takes a two-pronged approach by committing
the state to offer a mix of financial incentives…Posted.

DOE to award up to $4.6M for innovations in fuel cell and
hydrogen fuel technologies. The US Department of Energy (DOE)
Fuel Cell Technologies Office (FCTO) issued a funding opportunity
announcement for up to $4.6 million for 12–24 month projects with
industry and academia (DE-FOA-0000966) in support of innovations
in fuel cell and hydrogen fuel technologies. (Earlier post.) 


Students Invent Smog-Eating House — For Only $5! A team of
students has calculated that for the low cost of $5.00, your home
could be transformed into a smog-eating house that could
eliminate pollution-causing nitrogen oxides from the air just by
sitting there. The secret sauce is a coating of titanium dioxide
(TiO2), and $5.00 reflects the cost of just enough TiO2 to coat
the roof tiles of a typical home. Posted.


State is moving to prevent spills of oil shipped by trains.
Although most people think of oil spills in California as
potential beachfront disasters, there is new anxiety in
Sacramento about the surge of crude oil now coming through the
state each day by train. Gov. Jerry Brown and lawmakers want to
avoid the sort of fiery disaster that killed 47 people in July in
southern Quebec when tank cars exploded as they carried oil from
the booming Bakken oil fields of North Dakota through Canada.


Best state in America: New York, for its shrinking carbon
footprint. The Environmental Protection Agency announced plans
Monday to require big reductions in carbon output from coal-fired
power plants. It may sound drastic, but advances in technology
mean that some states are well on their way to meeting the
administration’s goals. No state has made more progress than New
York. The proposed EPA rules would require states to cut
emissions 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.Posted.

The Climate Domino. Maybe it’s me, but the predictable right-wing
cries of outrage over the Environmental Protection Agency’s
proposed rules on carbon seem oddly muted and unfocused. I mean,
these are the people who managed to create national outrage over
nonexistent death panels. Now the Obama administration is doing
something that really will impose at least some pain on some
people. Where are the eye-catching fake horror stories? Posted.

China’s Search for Energy. Re “Beijing casts a wide net in its
search for energy” (Business, May 23): It is true that China’s
search for oil, gas and coal is taking it to all points of the
globe. But is this the best path to energy security for China?
The authors are silent on the question. The article makes not a
single mention of China’s buildup of renewable energy industries,
taking it to world leadership in production in wind turbines,
photovoltaic cells…Posted.

Our Voice: Air quality monitor a useful addition.  The Desert Sun
applauds the South Coast Air Quality Management District for
installing an air quality monitor downwind from the Sentinel
power plant.  It has been a year since the 800-megawatt natural
gas plant began feeding electricity to the grid during times of
peak demand, and seven months since AQMD officials told The
Desert Sun editorial board the district would install the
monitor. Posted. 

Adaptation key to dealing with climate change: Column. In his
weekly radio address, President Obama continued his war on
climate change and prepared for the battle in Congress for
regulations aimed at reducing greenhouse gases by as much as 25%
over 15 years. "As president, and as a parent, I refuse to
condemn our children to a planet that's beyond fixing." Posted.

Froma Harrop: Not much to lose in move from coal. Barack Obama
need not ask how well he's doing in coal country, because the
answer is always the same: Not well. 
A cerebral black man never had much of a chance in poor, rural
white Appalachia; let's be honest (though we don't have to like
it). In 2012, Obama lost to Mitt Romney in West Virginia by a
27-point margin. So Obama had little to lose politically in
proposing new rules to cut carbon emissions from coal-fired power
plants. Posted.


Technology, not regulation, is the best way to tackle climate
change.  By all accounts, President Obama is deeply interested in
his legacy. And though relatively few American voters see dealing
with climate change as a top priority for the federal government,
the president famously sees it as the most important issue he can
address in his second term. Posted. 

Air Pollution and Cardiovascular Disease: It's Complicated.
Epidemiology studies have provided powerful evidence linking air
pollution to cardiovascular disease, especially heart attacks
(MI) and stroke. By some estimates, air pollution may be
responsible for 3.2 million deaths each year, most from
cardiovascular causes. At first glance…Posted.

Taking Climate Change Seriously. Climate change is about people,
not just science and politics -- it is an inter-generational
ethics issue. The earth is the Lord's, and in Genesis, God
entrusts us with caring for Creation. The earth that we leave to
future generations is already being changed by climate change,
and so far, our nation has done little to stop climate pollution.

China Is Tearing Down Mountains to Build Cities. Land creation
projects are proceeding apace without scientific research to back
them up. China is moving mountains. Literally. As their
populations boom, several cities in mountainous regions are busy
leveling their mountaintops in order to make more room for
development. Scientists from Chang'an University wrote about the
process in Nature this week. Posted.

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

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