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Newsclips for December 18, 2018

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Newsclips for December 18, 2018

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.

Cap-and-Trade

Big polluters could curtail California’s climate goals. State authorities gave major polluters a boost last week as they tweaked California’s hallmark climate law, while offering a rare acknowledgment that the cap-and-trade system for cutting greenhouse gases may not deliver the required reductions. Meeting Thursday in Sacramento, the California Air Resources Board set its plan for implementing a 2017 law… https://www.chicoer.com/2018/12/17/big-polluters-get-help-from-the-state-renewing-doubts-about-californias-climate-goals/

Air Pollution

AG Becerra Leads Coalition Urging the U.S. EPA to Withdraw Proposed Rollbacks of Methane Emission Standards. California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, leading a coalition of 12 states and the City of Chicago, filed comments urging the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to withdraw its proposed rule gutting 2016 standards that limit emissions of methane and other harmful pollutants. The weakened standards would apply to emissions from new or modified wells… https://yubanet.com/usa/ag-becerra-leads-coalition-urging-the-u-s-epa-to-withdraw-proposed-rollbacks-of-methane-emission-standards/

Years-in-the-making ozone litigation hits D.C. Circuit. EPA offered a steady defense today of Obama-era ozone standards the agency previously considered scrapping.During long-awaited oral arguments at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, government lawyers defended the agency's 2015 thresholds for the air pollutant as "forward progress" aimed at protecting vulnerable people. https://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2018/12/18/stories/1060110011

EPA watchdog to audit risk reviews for toxic emissions. EPA's inspector general is examining how the agency's handled a key aspect of its hazardous air pollutant program. In a project notification memo yesterday, James Hatfield, a senior manager with the IG's office, said the audit's purpose will be to determine whether EPA's "residual risk and technology review" process… https://www.eenews.net/greenwire/2018/12/18/stories/1060109971

Climate Change

Policy director says lack of U.S. leadership has hindered climate change progress in 'big' way. Policy director Jake Schmidt said Tuesday that President Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement last year has hindered progress on climate change in a "big" way, citing a lack of political pressure on other countries like China to step up their efforts. https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/421865-policy-director-says-lack-of-us-leadership-has-hindered-climate-change-progress

Amazon Shareholders and Employees Demand Climate Change Plan. Climate change protests are on the rise worldwide, with organizations like Greenpeace comparing the recent wave of revolt to the massive anti-Vietnam War protests of the 1960s and 70s. Now Amazon shareholders and employees are flexing a different kind of climate change action muscle… https://www.newsweek.com/amazon-climate-change-plan-company-pollution-web-services-extreme-weather-1264014

The Southwest May Be Deep Into a Climate-Changed Mega-Drought. Global warming may have turned an already historic dry spell into the third-worst drought of the past 1,000 years. Every so often, the American West seems to lurch into something called a “mega-drought.” The rains falter, the rivers wither, and the forests become tinder boxes waiting for a spark. https://www.theatlantic.com/science/archive/2018/12/us-southwest-already-mega-drought/578248/

Caltrans releases Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments for portions of Northern California, Central Valley. Caltrans has released two Climate Change Vulnerability Assessments as part of an effort to understand how and where climate change may impact the State Highway System. The new reports for Northern California and the Central Valley continue the department’s efforts to assess all regions of the state. https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2018/12/17/caltrans-climate-change-effects-highway-system/

Climate report warns of worsening U.S. disasters. As California recovers from the catastrophic wildfires and people rebuild after two hurricanes, a massive new federal report warns that these types of disasters are worsening in the United States because of global warming. https://www.galesburg.com/news/20181218/climate-report-warns-of-worsening-us-disasters

Drought

Harvard has quietly bought $305 million worth of California vineyards. The water rights could be even more valuable. Harvard University has purchased thousands of acres of vineyards in the last six years, but it may not be solely interested in producing wine. The institution is scooping up land with prime access to groundwater, a resource that's become increasingly scarce along California's Central Coast. https://www.businessinsider.com/harvard-california-vineyards-water-rights-2018-12

Diesel Activities

Stockton Ahead Of New California Rules Requiring Zero-Emission Vehicles By 2040. All public transit agency buses in California must be zero-emission by 2040 under a rule adopted by the California Air Resources Board, but Stockton is already ahead of the curve. Stockton was the first city in Northern California to put two electric buses on the street five years ago, and it now has 14. http://www.capradio.org/articles/2018/12/17/stockton-ahead-of-new-california-rules-requiring-zero-emission-vehicles-by-2040/

California To Electrify All Buses By 2029. California just passed a rule that will phase out diesel and gas-powered public transit buses by 2040. The powerful California Air Resources Board (CARB), which regulates air quality in the state, issued a unanimous rule that will bar the 200 public transit agencies in the state from purchasing any natural gas or diesel buses beginning in 2029. By 2040, only zero-emissions buses will be allowed. https://oilprice.com/Alternative-Energy/Renewable-Energy/California-To-Electrify-All-Buses-By-2029.htmlhttps://grist.org/beacon/california-city-buses-are-going-electric/

Fuels

U.S. ethanol producers seek pricing reform as markets plunge, ADM sells.U.S. ethanol producers stung by collapsing prices are seeking changes to the way benchmark values for the biofuel are established, arguing the current system used by exchanges is vulnerable to manipulation, according to sources. The push comes as the key farm belt industry struggles with weak demand growth, a loss of export markets… https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-ethanol/us-ethanol-producers-seek-pricing-reform-as-markets-plunge-adm-sells-idUSKBN1OG1YX 

Developers consider ethanol plant, pipeline in southeastern South Dakota.Napa Junction in southeastern South Dakota is poised for more development as officials consider building an ethanol plant and a private natural gas pipeline in the area. Several companies have expressed interest in bringing an ethanol plant to Napa Junction, which has seen much activity over the past year and a half… https://www.argusleader.com/story/news/business-journal/2018/12/18/developers-consider-ethanol-plant-pipeline-southeastern-south-dakota/2348644002/

Vehicles

Volkswagen may have to step up electric car plans to meet EU CO2 targets.Volkswagen (VOWG_p.DE) may have to step up its plans for mass production of electric vehicles in order to meet tougher-than-expected European targets to cut greenhouse emissions from cars, its chief executive said on Tuesday. The remarks came after the European Union agreed on Monday to cut CO2 emissions… https://www.reuters.com/article/us-eu-autos-emissions-volkswagen/vw-may-have-to-step-up-electric-car-plans-to-meet-eu-co2-targets-idUSKBN1OH16P

Electric Vehicles & Loud Pipes. Based on sales trends and environmental necessity, electric vehicles (EVs) are the future. But one concern of increasing EV use is the potential effects on pedestrian safety. Several studies and common sense suggest that a near-silent EV poses a risk to pedestrians who are used to judging traffic by sound. This has led to requirements that EVs generate some form… https://cleantechnica.com/2018/12/17/electric-vehicles-loud-pipes/

Over 500,000 Electric Cars In California! In November of this year, the number of electric cars sold in California reached over 512,000, according to Veloz, a non-profit organization that is working to support the transition to electric vehicles. The organization’s board members are from companies like BMW, Lyft, and Uber, utilities like San Diego Gas and Electric… https://cleantechnica.com/2018/12/18/over-500000-electric-cars-in-california/

Electric vehicle leasing expected to become cheaper and more popular.Electric vehicles are expected to become much cheaper over the next two years as stronger residuals make them more attractive to the leasing sector. Vantage Leasing says it should become cheaper to lease a battery powered car. https://www.fleetnews.co.uk/fleet-leasing/news/latest-fleet-leasing/2018/12/18/electric-vehicle-leasing-expected-to-become-cheaper-and-more-popular

Electric cars "not going to work," Trump says of GM's plan. In an interview with Fox News last week, President Trump revealed his inner thoughts about electric cars—not that many had any doubts. "All-electric is not going to work," he said, referring to General Motors' stated goal to transition to "a world with zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion." The company announced last year that it will launch 20 new hybrid, plug-in… https://www.greencarreports.com/news/1120527_electric-cars-not-going-to-work-trump-says-of-gms-plan

Green Energy

Philadelphia Steps into 'Major Leagues on Climate Change' with Solar Deal That Will Power 20% of Government Buildings. The City of Philadelphia government, with a goal of 100-percent clean energy use by 2030, will need to utilize solar, wind and energy storage technology to go completely clean, officials say. A solar array large enough to power 22 percent of the entire City of Philadelphia's… https://www.nbcchicago.com/news/national-international/1-in-5-Lights-at-Philadelphia-City-Hall-Will-Soon-Be-Powered-by-a-Solar-Array-in-Central-Pennsylvania-502947881.html

Miscellaneous

Jerry Brown wanted to save the planet and the California budget. How did he do? Deep into his fifteenth year leading the nation’s largest state, Gov. Jerry Brown practically shuddered when a reporter asked him about his legacy. “I don’t have a legacy. I don’t know what a legacy is. This is a media construct,” he said at a June 2017 press conference. Brown, 80, can’t avoid a public accounting of his two stints https://www.sacbee.com/news/politics-government/capitol-alert/article223229060.html#storylink=cpy

Did Jerry Brown do enough on climate change? Jerry Brown, in the last term of his two-part, 16-year governorship, came close to redeeming his environmental faults. Brown deserves a salute for striving to get out the message that climate change is indeed, in his words, a global “existential crisis” and that we are living in the “new abnormal.” He has been doing what a U.S. president ought to do, finding allies among nations… https://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-leslie-brown-climate-legacy-20181218-story.html

Opinions

Climate-change deniers are a danger to our security. Imagine during the Cold War that one political party, in the face of overwhelming evidence that the Soviet Union was engaged in espionage against the United States, had a nuclear arsenal pointed at the United States, kept Eastern Europe under its thumb and imprisoned dissenters, refused to consider the Soviet Union a danger — of any sort — to the United States… https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2018/12/18/climate-change-deniers-are-danger-our-security/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.461d773b7e31

Small nations are already paying the price for climate change. Regarding the Dec. 13 news article “Leadership void threatens to put a chill on global climate talks”: The good news is that I’m back in touch with a new group of people from my Peace Corps country. Little tykes I used to practice my language skills with now have key roles in government. The bad news is that I’m in touch with them… https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/small-nations-are-already-paying-the-price-for-climate-change/2018/12/17/11f05398-ffdc-11e8-a17e-162b712e8fc2_story.html?utm_term=.424691f8fc8a

Bah humbug: Congress should take electric cars off their Christmas list.Congress is finishing up its last scheduled week before the Christmas holiday sends staffers, lobbyists, and members (both naughty and nice) scurrying home. The smart money is counting on a brief government shutdown, as well as the tax writers punting on some must-pass “tax extenders” to early in the New Year. https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/bah-humbug-congress-should-take-electric-cars-off-their-christmas-list

Climate change threatens public health and doctors’ ability to provide care.The reality of climate change — and the need to combat it — could not be clearer. As health care professionals, we know that climate change harms those we seek to heal and we recognize that it compromises our ability to provide care. The more carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases that enter our atmosphere… https://www.bostonglobe.com/opinion/2018/12/18/climate-change-threatens-public-health-and-doctors-ability-provide-care/o5Op0pix3XkUZVl9fZTSJL/story.html

The world needs great strides to fight global warming. Climate talks in Poland delivered only baby steps. On Saturday night, at the end of two weeks of meetings in Katowice, Poland, delegates from nearly 200 nations gave themselves a standing ovation for their accomplishments in combating climate change. But even though they no doubt worked very hard on a very difficult issue… https://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-climate-poland-united-nations-20181218-story.html

Climate change bubble will burst. Nancy Carr ("Fear industry loss, not climate change," Dec. 12) lays out a series of generalizations that could only come from someone who lives in a comfortable bubble. I wondered if she had ever left the comforts of this state or country to see the lives that are being uprooted today because of rising oceans, droughts and disasters. https://journalstar.com/opinion/letters/letter-climate-change-bubble-will-burst/article_8c21cd83-35e9-50f1-96dd-61360741899b.html

The Good News (And Not So Good News) About China's Smoggy Air. "See this street! Look!" says Bai Xiao Cheng as gestures toward his village's main concrete road. It's barely half a mile long, and apart from one small grocery store, a few home entrances and a handful of parked cars, it has no notable features. That for Bai, is precisely the point. "It's very clean, very good!" he smiles. https://www.npr.org/sections/goatsandsoda/2018/12/18/669757478/the-good-news-and-not-so-good-news-about-chinas-smoggy-air

Our future all about the water. We’ve been writing about this for years, but now influential policy makers in neighboring states are coming to realize the potential, and the effects of an extended drought. “Extended” is an all-purpose word. It could mean two years, or 200 years. Climate experts reckon the drought potential is closer to that larger number than to the smaller one. What would a centuries-long drought mean? https://syvnews.com/opinion/columnists/our-view-our-future-all-about-the-water/article_92c7ea14-22d8-55f5-a3a6-c105443ad26e.html

How to protect Californians from wildfires. The release of the U.S. Climate Science Special Report — with its warning of worsening U.S. natural disasters — has sparked a renewed cry for global efforts to fight climate change. In California, outgoing Gov. Jerry Brown was quick to identify climate change (i.e., global warming) as the culprit behind the deadliest wildfire season the Golden State has seen. https://www.ocregister.com/2018/12/18/how-to-protect-californians-from-wildfires/

Agriculture is a big climate problem. Now farmers are sharing solutions. Hans Herren began his farm as a hobby almost 20 years ago. He’s been planting grapes and growing apple orchards on an 11-acre plot of land near Napa Valley in California. Thus far, the venture has been a success, but he knows he needs to make some adjustments soon. “This year, I lost a lot of apples — the ones that were not inside the tree… https://grist.org/article/agriculture-climate-change-cop24-katowice-soil-carbon/

Blogs

CARB Adopts System for Reporting Air Pollution from Stationary Sources.The California Air Resources Board on Monday adopted a regulation establishing a statewide system for mandatory annual emissions reporting for stationary sources.The new system harmonizes statewide data submission requirements, bringing consistency in reporting deadlines and frequency of reporting… https://scvnews.com/2018/12/17/carb-adopts-system-for-reporting-air-pollution-from-stationary-sources/

Greener Days Ahead for Carbon Fuels. Researchers discover copper has potential as a catalyst for turning carbon dioxide into sustainable chemicals and fuels without any wasteful byproducts, creating a green alternative to present-day chemical manufacturing. For decades, scientists have searched for effective ways to remove excess carbon dioxide emissions from the air… https://newscenter.lbl.gov/2018/12/17/carbon-fuels-get-greener-for-renewable-energy/

The World Faces Rising Costs Of Climate Change As Oil Prices Drop. In the last few weeks, two important climate reports were released – the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA4) and the UN Emissions Gap Report 2018. Both studies highlight the risks of rising greenhouse gas emission (GHG) concentrations in the Earth’s atmosphere, and the potential consequences should these trends continue. https://www.forbes.com/sites/arielcohen/2018/12/18/the-world-faces-rising-costs-of-climate-change-as-oil-prices-drop/#3d0f36c25937

Uncomfortable Truths About Climate Change, Carbon Taxes And Inequality.While the Yellow Vest protests in France are motivated by more than just opposition to an increase in the tax on gasoline, that proposed gas tax increase was an important rallying point and has now been cancelled by President Macron’s government. These events coinciding with both a new UN report on the worldwide failure… https://www.forbes.com/sites/jeffreydorfman/2018/12/18/uncomfortable-truths-about-climate-change-carbon-taxes-and-inequality/#6692b1bd7a1d

Changing variable in equation used to project climate change to give more accurate estimate of precipitation changes. A team of researchers from Australia and China has changed a variable used in an equation to project precipitation as the climate changes, and in so doing, has found that the planet may not become drier as many have suggested. In their paper published in Nature Climate Change… https://phys.org/news/2018-12-variable-equation-climate-accurate-precipitation.html#jCp

A Big Win on Climate Change and Clean Transportation. If you would like to be inspired by an example of states working together on an ambitious plan to address climate change, read on—the following is a big deal! Today, the governors of nine states (MA, VA, MD, CT, RI, VT, NJ, PA, DE) and the District of Columbia announced that their states will establish a regional “cap and invest” program to cut greenhouse gas … https://blog.ucsusa.org/ken-kimmell/regional-cap-invest-northeast-mid-atlantic

Scientists Are Using Penguin Poop to Understand How Climate Change Is Affecting the Arctic. We didn’t believe it either. Satellites watch many things as they orbit the Earth: hurricanes brewing in the Caribbean, tropical forests burning in the Amazon, even North Korean soldiers building missile launchers. But some researchers have found a new way to use satellites to figure out what penguins eat…https://www.motherjones.com/environment/2018/12/scientists-are-using-penguin-poop-to-understand-how-climate-change-is-affecting-the-arctic/

Volvo to sell electric Class 8 truck in U.S. in 2020. 23 demo units will enter two fleets in California in 2019. Volvo Trucks, the world's second-largest truckmaker, will join the growing list of Class 8 truck companies to put an electric heavy-hauler on U.S. roads. The Swedish company announced in a tweet that its VNR Electric will head to California for demonstration testing in 2019… https://www.autoblog.com/2018/12/17/volvo-electric-class-8-truck/