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newsclips -- ARB Newsclips for March 11, 2016.

Posted: 11 Mar 2016 15:08:14
ARB Newsclips for March 11, 2016. 

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.


Regulators sued over limits. Environmental groups file lawsuit
against South Coast Air Quality Management District board, say
new rules are too weak -- and ignore state law. The battle for
control of Southern California’s smog cleanup strategy
intensified Thursday, March 10, with several environmental and
community groups suing…

Schools prepare for poor air quality.  The Hanford Elementary
School District is taking preventative measures to help students
who are sensitive to poor air quality. The district has partnered
with the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District and
the Central California Asthma Collaborative to implement the
Healthy Air Living Schools program.

Call for pollution tax on sales of new diesel cars in Britain. 
An £800 tax would fund old diesel scrappage, encourage move to
low-emission vehicles and reduce air pollution, according to
Policy Exchange thinktank. The move, proposed ahead of George
Osborne’s budget on 16 March, would encourage motorists to move
towards lower emission vehicles and significantly reduce air

CO2 levels make largest annual leap in 56 years – NOAA. The last
time the Earth saw such a sustained increase was over 11
millennia ago, says US agency. Atmospheric concentrations of
carbon dioxide last year rose by the biggest margin since records
began, according to a US federal science agency. Fossil fuel
burning and a strong El Nino weather pattern pushed CO2 levels
3.05 parts per million…


Obama, Trudeau target methane emissions in new agreement. The
leaders of the United States and Canada committed on Thursday to
curbing methane emissions by undertaking regulations that would
target oil and gas production. Canadian Prime Minister Justin
Trudeau and President Barack Obama committed to reducing methane
emissions from the oil and gas sectors…




How Will the U.S. Curb Methane Pollution? The timeline for the
EPA’s methane crackdown remains unclear. U.S. EPA said yesterday
it will for the first time regulate existing sources of methane
from the oil and gas industry. The announcement came as part of a
new joint U.S.-Canada pact to cut domestic emissions of the
potent greenhouse gas…

Panel: Finding climate fingerprints in wild weather is valid.
Climate science has progressed so much that experts can
accurately detect global warming's fingerprints on certain
extreme weather events, such as a heat wave, according to a
high-level scientific advisory panel.  For years scientists have
given almost a rote response to the question of whether an
instance of weird weather was from global warming…

Related Story

Are Emissions-Free Fossil Fuel Power Plants Too Good to be True?
A fossil-fuel power plant that will produce low-cost electricity
with zero emissions? It sounds too good to be true. And it is for
the forseeable future. A fossil-fuel power plant that will
produce low-cost electricity with zero emissions? It sounds too
good to be true. And it is for the forseeable future.

Climate change surprise: Biosphere contributes to warming. Yes,
plants absorb carbon dioxide, but plants and animals also emit
greenhouse gases. The world's biosphere is now adding to global
warming, turning traditional assumptions about greenhouse gases
on their heads, according to a new study published Thursday in
the scientific journal Nature. Most students learn that plants
absorb carbon dioxide…


United Airlines is flying on biofuels. Here’s why that’s a really
big deal. On Friday, United Airlines will launch a new initiative
that uses biofuel to help power flights running between Los
Angeles and San Francisco, with eventual plans to expand to all
flights operating out of LAX. It’s the first time an American
airline will begin using renewable fuel for regular commercial
operations, and the occasion is part of a bigger movement when it
comes to clean transportation in the U.S. 

Oil and gas boom not to blame for methane spike – study. The U.S.
oil and gas industry has boomed in recent years, but the
expansion has not resulted in a global spike in methane levels,
finds a landmark new study. The study comes on the heels of a new
pledge by President Obama yesterday to expand regulations of the
energy industry to cut down leaks of methane, a potent greenhouse
gas that is the primary component of natural gas.


Volkswagen Sales Slide, VW Brand Under Pressure. Group sales
dropped 1.2% in February from the same month last year to 693,300
units. Volkswagen AG’s global vehicle sales declined in February,
with gains in Europe eclipsed by slumping sales in troubled
emerging markets and a further decline in demand for the German
automotive group’s namesake VW brand, notably in the U.S.

Volkswagen's top US executive out amid emissions scandal.
Volkswagen's top U.S. executive is stepping down amid the
company's ongoing emissions cheating scandal, the company
announced Wednesday. U.S. President and CEO Michael Horn is
leaving "to pursue other opportunities effective immediately,"
the automaker said in a statement. He had been with the German
auto maker for 25 years, assuming his most recent post in 2014.

VW enhanced software (made it dirtier) to save money on
exchanging particle filters – this update may have resulted in
the discovery of the illegal software. 

TRANSLATION: VW enhanced software (made it dirtier) to save money
on exchanging particle filters – this update may have resulted in
the discovery of the illegal software. 
NDR, WDR and Sueddeutsche Zeitung’s research shows that VW’s
manipulation of the software was even more comprehensive than
initially believed and continued months after CARB started its
investigations concerning the higher emissions. VW software
designers are believed to have enhanced the illegal software at
the end of 2014, unbeknownst to the US Governmental Agencies. 
The engine control unit, after the upgrade to the software, was
able to better detect testing vs. street driving.  The software
upgrade involved the detection of the movement of the steering
wheel.  This detection was more reliable in differentiating
testing vs. street driving modes and it made the reduction of the
emissions more reliable. The background and reasoning for this
software update was that VW believed that the software “reduced”
the emissions too often, even while “in street driving condition”
which brought about a higher wear and tear on the diesel particle
filter.  According to internal VW documentation, this affected
roughly 6,700 US and Canadian diesel particle filters by November
2014.  VW was expecting another 50,000 filter claims through this
additional wear and tear. VW knowingly installed additional codes
into the software! By request of NDR, several experts have tested
the engine control unit software – before and after the alleged
update – on a US VW Passat.  All came to the conclusion that the
new software version included the code to detect movement of the
steering wheel.  The software code was refined so that it was
able to detect, much more clearly, whether or not the vehicle was
in testing mode.  This according to Thorsten Holz, professor for
IT Systems Security at the University of Bochum.  They not only
replaced data, but also added code – this according to Felix
Domke, Hacker from Hamburg.  The vehicles will not wrongfully
drive in the “clean” testing modes, but now will drive in the
dirty emissions street mode!

The CA EPA demanded an explanation from VW in early summer 2014
concerning the discrepancies of the emissions test results during
street driving testing vs. lab tests.  VW offered a voluntary
recall of those vehicles, in order to update the software to
reduce the emissions during street driving and thereby fixing the
problem.  VW also wanted to “fix” the issues with the particle
filter and claimed this to be unrelated to the update to correct
the high emissions output.  Between late December 2014 and early
Spring 2015, 280,000 vehicles were, according to VW, updated with
the new software.

Discovery of the angle of the steering wheel. CARB experts,
during their May 2015 reexaminations of the affected vehicles,
found that the NOX emissions results were reduced via a different
software update.  The experts intensified their investigations
since the emissions, after the update, still were 15x the legal
limit.  Now the investigators found that the combination of the
angle of the steering wheel, air pressure, speed and duration
changed the emissions output and that the vehicles clearly could
identify the testing.  This software enhancement is believed to
have been the key to CARB identifying the illegal software in the
first place. VW declined to comment.

U.S. Volkswagen dealers revolt amid turmoil. Volkswagen dealers
are revolting over the sudden departure of their popular U.S.
CEO, compounding the German automaker's troubles amid a sales
slump triggered by an emissions scandal. Nearly six months after
the crisis erupted, Volkswagen dealers are airing their
grievances over the automaker's failure to fix scandal-plagued


Super-sized turbines. Researchers looking to triple the size of
wind farms. In efforts to increase wind power, the blades on
turbines designed by engineers, scientists and researchers keep
getting bigger and bigger. But a new design in the works takes
the idea to levels most people can barely imagine: Blades up to
200 meters, or 656 feet, long — more than two football fields.


This beautiful electric bike will charge itself with built-in
solar panels. Electric bikes are all the rage these days,
especially among urban dwellers — and for good reason, too.
E-bikes are a green mode of transportation, can be ridden just
about anywhere, and are a much more affordable alternative to
owning a car in the city.
As with any electric vehicle, though, keeping it charged can
sometimes be a headache.


Stacking the AQMD board. In the month since business-friendly
Republicans became the majority on the board overseeing the South
Coast Air Quality Management District, the agency has fired its
longtime general manager and reconfirmed a controversial rule
that would let oil refiners, power plants and other major
polluters keep spewing more smog-producing emissions for a longer
period of time.


Only Renewable Energy Revolution Can Reverse Runaway Climate
Change. The recent United Nations Climate Summit's (COP21) stated
intention to keep planetary warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius was
giddy-making news. While we are not out of the woods yet, there
just might be a way. Transitioning to an electrified world
running on wind, water and solar power ONLY would get the climate
back on track…

Gov. Brown to sign landmark renewable energy bill Friday. Gov.
Kate Brown is getting her pen ready for signing the Oregon Clean
Electricity and Coal Transition Plan into law Friday. The
governor will publicly sign Senate Bill 1547, which boosts
renewable energy and eliminates coal-fired power in Oregon…

Seattle wants to cut emissions in half by 2025. An electric fleet
and biofuels are the key. In the face of global climate change,
city after city and country after country are taking steps to
reduce their emissions and cut their carbon footprint. As the
transportation sector is a huge contributor to greenhouse gases,
it's an obvious place to start, especially with the gradual shift
toward electrification and alternative fuels.

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

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