October 21 News: California Becomes First State to Adopt Cap and Trade Program

Other key stories below: Wind Power Record Set in Texas — 15.2% of Demand; EPA Plans to Regulate Water from Fracking

California Becomes First State to Adopt Cap-and-Trade Program

The California Air Resources Board on Thursday unanimously adopted the nation’s first state-administered cap-and-trade regulations, a landmark set of air pollution controls to address climate change and help the state achieve its ambitious goals to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

The complex market system for the first time puts a price on heat-trapping pollution by allowing California’s dirtiest industries to trade carbon credits. The rules have been years in the making, overcoming legal challenges and an aggressive oil industry-sponsored ballot initiative.

The air board met in Sacramento for more than eight hours in a packed hearing room. Board members listened to sometimes scathing comments from union workers fearful of losing their jobs and a parade of industry representatives who likewise characterized the regulations as anti-business. Other speakers called the proposal historic and groundbreaking.

Late in the day, as the eight board members voted to approve the regulations, to scattered applause, Chairman Mary Nichols looked up and said, “We’ve done something important.”

… Cap-and-trade is the centerpiece of AB 32, California’s historic climate change law that mandates a reduction in carbon pollution to 1990 levels by 2020. Beginning in 2013 the state’s largest carbon emitters will be required to meet the caps or buy credits if they cannot.

A second phase of compliance begins in 2015 and is expected to include 85% of California’s emissions sources.

Former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, a strong supporter of the original legislation, applauded the vote in a statement released Thursday evening.

“Today’s adoption of a cap-and-trade program is a major milestone for California’s continued leadership on reducing the world’s greenhouse gases. As I said both when we signed the legislation in 2006, and when we fought to protect it last year when Texas oil companies attempted to overturn it with Proposition 23, the most critical phase in the fight against climate change is diligently, aggressively, and correctly implementing this law.”

Wind Power Record Set in Texas

Wind turbines in Texas, in the service territory of the Electric Reliability Council of Texas (ERCOT) — which is the main Texas electric grid — set a new electricity output record on October 7, it was reported this week.

The record? 15.2% of ERCOT’s electricity demand was supplied by wind on the afternoon of the 7th — 7,400 megawatts (MW).

“This new record set by wind on the main Texas grid is good news for consumers,” Michael Goggin, the America Wind Energy Association’s (or AWEA’s) Manager of Transmission Policy, said.”Wind generation offsets the use of expensive fossil fuels, is pollution-free, and uses virtually no water, unlike other sources of electricity.”

Wind’s tremendous water advantages (especially important with record-breaking heat and droughts hitting Texas and the Southwest, and stronger droughts projected in the coming decades, one of the long-predicted effects of global warming), is something we’ve covered a few times on CleanTechnica.

Venture Capital Deals Drop Across the Board, Cleantech Hit

Venture Capital deals in the third quarter of 2011 dropped 12 percent in dollars invested compared to last quarter. Clean technology and life sciences industries were particularly hard hit, according to a report released today by PricewaterhouseCoopers and the National Venture Capital Association.

“Public policy challenges in the life sciences and clean technology sectors are impacting investment levels this quarter as is the IPO market that basically came to a screeching halt in August,” explained National Venture Capital Association president Mark Heesen in a statement.

The venture capital industry is often reflective of how the markets are doing, according to Heesen, though it does support company, product and job creation. Along with the drop in dollars invested, the number of deals made also decreased 14 percent to 876 completed deals, down from the 1,015 in quarter two 2011.

Clean technology fell in line with the overall venture capital economy, a 13 percent drop in dollars invested, totaling at $891 million. Last quarter the investors spent $1 billion on the industry.

Environmental Protection Agency Announces Plans to Regulate Water from Fracking

The Environmental Protection Agency said it planned to regulate wastewater discharged by companies producing natural gas from shale formations, including chemically laced water used in a controversial extraction process known as hydraulic fracturing.

The EPA’s initiative comes as water-intensive natural gas production has spread around the country, raising concerns about the effects on drinking-water supplies. The practice, also known as fracking, involves shooting water infused with chemicals and sand at high pressure into shale formations to unlock reservoirs of natural gas.

The EPA will try to determine what to do with water used during fracking, as well as water that is already underground and flows back up the well. Companies now often release the water from the production process into municipal wastewater systems. Those treatment facilities lack the technology to completely remove the chemicals, salt and minerals in the wastewater before sending it into streams and other surface water, said Ben Grumbles, president of Clean Water America Alliance, an association of municipal water districts and private industry.

Barraged with accusations from some congressional Republicans that EPA regulations kill jobs, the agency was careful to say that the new rules were not meant to crimp natural gas production.

Senators Weigh Keystone Pipeline Strategy

Senators battling the proposed Keystone XL oil sands pipeline are mulling their options as the Obama administration’s decision on the controversial project looms.

Critics of the proposed $7 billion, 1,700-mile pipeline say the State Department’s favorable environmental analysis was flawed, and that the review lacked integrity because it was performed by a company with financial ties to pipeline developer TransCanada.

They’re pressing for a new analysis, and more broadly say the pipeline — which would bring oil sands from Alberta, Canada, to Gulf Coast refineries — is a bad idea. But with the Obama administration planning to make a final decision around the end of the year, what can they do about it? “I will have more to say about that down the road,” said Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), who said he’s concerned about the pipeline’s effect on prices and the possibility that the oil it brings could be exported.

40 Responses to October 21 News: California Becomes First State to Adopt Cap and Trade Program

  1. prokaryotes says:

    Check out this interactive map

    Interactive: Asia floods: Kills thousands, cost billions

    Such application to track worldwide floods and such, would be great to have in the process of tracking the accelerating climate disruption.

  2. prokaryotes says:

    35 Congressmen Move to Kill $122 Billion in Subsidies to Big Oil

    Who likes oil subsidies? Nobody! Nobody but the oil companies, that is. But as we know, these subsidies, which American taxpayers annually spend billions of dollars on, are extremely difficult to kill. But 35 US congressmen and women are going to try: They’ve just drafted a motion to the so-called ‘super committee’ charged with reducing the deficit, asking it to remove $122 billion worth of oil subsidies from the federal budget. The coalition drafted a letter to the committee chairs Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) and Sen. Patty Murray (D-WA). From the letter (via Think Progress Green):

    In the current budgetary environment, the United States can no longer afford to give away billions of dollars every year to corporations earning billions of dollars in profits and costing American taxpayers twice: at the pump and through the tax code. We urge the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to consider eliminating subsidies for fossil fuels as an excellent source of deficit reducing savings. According to a coalition of organizations, eliminating subsidies to the fossil fuels industry could reduce our national debt by up to $122 billion over ten years.

  3. BBHY says:

    Glad to see the good news from California on Cap’n Trade.

  4. prokaryotes says:

    ALEC Ties Bring Down British Defense Secretary, Threaten Prime Minister David Cameron

  5. prokaryotes says:

    UV Special:

    New research published online Oct. 6 in the Journal of Investigative Dermatology suggests that the main type of ultraviolet rays used in tanning beds — UVA1 — may penetrate to a deep layer of skin that is most vulnerable to the cancer-causing changes caused by UV rays.

    The new study comes as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration considers banning the use of tanning beds among children under 18. The American Academy of Pediatrics is on record that it supports such a ban.

    In the study, 12 volunteers were exposed to UVA1 and UVB rays on their buttocks. (One difference in the waves is length: UVB waves are shorter.)

    The UVA1 was more damaging to the skin’s basal layer then the UVB light. The UVA1 induced a type of lesion called thymine dimers on the deeper basal layers of the skin. UVB radiation caused more of these lesions, but they did not go as deep, and thus may be less likely to cause the changes linked to skin cancers.

    “The doses we used were comparable for erythema — sunburn — for UVA and UVB. That would be roughly equivalent to the doses needed for tanning in each spectrum,” said study co-author Antony R. Young, a professor at the St. John’s Institute of Dermatology at King’s College School of Medicine in London.

    “Indoor tanning is like smoking for your skin,” said Dr. Doris Day, a dermatologist at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City. “It’s the single worst thing you can do in terms of skin cancer and premature aging.”

  6. prokaryotes says:

    Could apples and onions be a natural sunscreen?

    Around the globe, higher incidents of skin cancer due to excessive exposure to the sun is a growing helath concern. But a University of Saskatchewan research team believes they are on the right path to finding a solution.

    Regular sunscreens provide a varied degree of protection, but few offer protection from the broad spectrum of ultra-violet radiation. A research team from the U of S believes plants may hold the key to a better sunscreen.

    Dr. Ed Kohl, one of the researchers looking into the new development, says a compound called quercetin, found in plants such as apples and onions, holds much promise. “We’ve determined that this compound can protect against ultraviolet radiation, oxidative stress. So it works as an anti-oxidant.”

    Kohl says the team is studying other compounds in the flavonoid family of chemicals to see if they too, exhibit the same protective characteristic.

    “We’ve known for a number years that some plants when they’re exposed to a lot of sunlight produce these compounds,” says Kohl. “And the only reason they would appear to produce these compounds is so that they can actually protect themselves from sunlight.”

  7. prokaryotes says:

    How The Milky Way Killed Off Its Satellites

    More than 12 billion years ago, the intense ultraviolet light from these stars dispersed the gas of our Galaxy’s nearest companions, virtually putting a halt to their ability to form stars and consigning them to a dim future. Now Pierre Ocvirk and Dominique Aubert, members of the Light in the Dark Ages of the Universe (LIDAU) collaboration, have explained why some galaxies were killed off, while stars continued to form in more distant objects. The two scientists publish their results in the October issue of the letters of the journal Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society.

    The first stars of the Universe appeared about 150 million years after the Big Bang. Back then, the hydrogen and helium gas filling the universe was cold enough for its atoms to be electrically neutral. As the ultraviolet (UV) light of the first stars propagated through this gas, it broke apart the proton-electron pairs that make up hydrogen atoms, returning them to the so-called plasma state they experienced in the first moments of the Universe. This process, known as reionisation, also resulted in significant heating, which had dramatic consequences: the gas became so hot that it escaped the weak gravity of the lowest mass galaxies, thereby depriving them of the material needed to form stars.

    It is now widely accepted that this process can explain the small number and large ages of the stars seen in the faintest dwarf galaxy satellites of the Milky Way. It also helps scientists understand why galaxies like the Milky Way have so few satellites around them – the ‘missing satellites’ problem. The stripping out of gas from these galaxies makes them sensitive probes of the UV radiation in the reionisation epoch.

    The satellite galaxies are also relatively close, from 30000 to 900000 light-years away, which allows us to study them in great detail,


    The satellite galaxies close to the galactic centre see their gas evaporate very quickly. They form so few stars that they can be undetectable with current telescopes. At the same time, the more remote satellite galaxies experience on average a weaker irradiation. Therefore they manage to keep their gas longer, and form more stars. As a consequence they are easier to detect and appear more numerous.”

    Hence intelligent life forms (such as us) are more likely to occur in the outer bands of galaxies.

  8. prokaryotes says:

    Research eyes energy-saving fluoros

    The global trend towards using fluorescent globes instead of incandescent ones as a strategy to beat climate change could be increasing eye disease, according to new research by scientists at The Australian National University.

    Published today in the American Journal of Public Health, the new study has found that fluorescent lighting may cause a 12 per cent rise in UV-related eye diseases plus an extra 3000 cataract cases and 7500 cases of pterygia in Australia each year.

    Lead author Dr Helen Walls from the National Centre for Epidemiology & Population Health at ANU said moves to sustainability and a low-carbon economy had involved a shift toward more energy-efficient lighting.

    “Many people worldwide are exposed to artificial light sources at home and at work which until recently, mainly entailed incandescent lighting,” she said.

    “The shift to fluorescent lighting means those people are now being exposed to ultraviolet radiation, which is compounded by increasing urbanisation and workers spending more of their work time in buildings instead of fields or other outside locations.

    “The safe range of light to avoid exposing the eye to potentially damaging ultraviolet radiation is 2000 to 3500K and greater than 500 nanometres. Some fluorescent lights fall outside this safe range.”

  9. prokaryotes says:

    “The evidence suggests that the least hazardous approach to lighting is to use warm-white tubes or incandescent bulbs of lower colour temperature and longer wave-length light rather than fluorescent lamps.

    “Furthermore, we would recommend that UV filters become a required standard, and that further research to improve lighting from artificial sources be carried out.”

  10. prokaryotes says:

    Heavy rain, wind buffet Ontario and Atlantic Canada
    Rainfall records broken in several communities

    More than 80 millimetres of rain poured over Halifax by 3 p.m. AT Thursday, with the biggest dump happening in a six-hour window between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. AT — another daily record as well as a daily maximum for the month of October.

    In that six hours alone, Halifax saw half its monthly average.

    In Ontario, more than 60 millimetres of rain has fallen in Windsor and Hamilton since the rain began as showers more than 35 hours ago, Environment Canada said, setting an unofficial daily record.

    The wild weather brought down trees overnight and caused power outages in Toronto. More than 40 millimetres of rain fell overnight Wednesday, causing streets to flood.

    Winds knocked out power to 15,000 customers across southern and central Ontario.

    “The worst of the rain for them is going to be in central Quebec,” she said, noting that the heaviest rainfall is expected to miss Montreal and Quebec City.

  11. prokaryotes says:

    President says torrential rains in El Salvador are worst on record

    Storms and floods affected thousands, in the nation of some 6 million, killing at least 34 people.

  12. prokaryotes says:

    ‘Too dirty to fail’?
    House Republicans’ assault on our environmental laws must be stopped.

    Americans must once again stand up for their right to clean air and clean water.

    Since the beginning of this year, Republicans in the House have averaged roughly a vote every day the chamber has been in session to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency and our nation’s environmental laws. They have picked up the pace recently — just last week they voted to stop the EPA’s efforts to limit mercury and other hazardous pollutants from cement plants, boilers and incinerators — and it appears their campaign will continue for the foreseeable future.,0,4827827.story

    This story makes frontpage at atm.

  13. prokaryotes says:

    scroll to the upper left corner…

  14. Christopher S. Johnson says:

    CALIFORNIA! YEA! I don’t know why the Air Resources Board had anything to say about it because it was law already. Nevertheless I’m very pleased to see the Earth’s eighth largest economy start it’s REAL regulation of greenhouse gas emissions — with REAL targets, and REAL downward path. Welcome to the 21st century. The water is fine. Jump in.
    And THANK YOU Fran Pavley and Fabian Nunez!

  15. prokaryotes says:

    Electric vehicles help automakers bring shoppers to showrooms
    Sales of Chevrolet’s Volt and Nissan’s Leaf are low so far, yet curiosity surrounding the cars can lead to sales of the carmakers’ other models and win them customers from other brands, analysts say.

    Electric vehicles are giving automakers a boost — in marketing appeal.

    Although sales haven’t exactly been electrifying, the vehicles are helping auto companies draw more shoppers to their showrooms, something that would not have happened without the curiosity over the new autos.

    “There is such a halo effect,” said Oliver Hazimeh, an automotive industry consultant at PwC’s PRTM Management Consulting. “These cars appeal to the cool tech-savvy consumer segment.”

    Just having those vehicles in the showroom can translate into sales of other models, Hazimeh said. Shoppers come in to check out the electric vehicles but then drive off with something else if they find they can’t afford the premium for the new technology.,0,4877344.story?track=lat-pick

    Oh, Great! Awesome Progress!

  16. prokaryotes says:

    Floods threaten Thai capital, scores killed in Myanmar

    (Reuters) – Thailand battled to protect the capital Bangkok from being swamped by water on Friday, with canals full to the brim after devastating floods across the region that sources in neighboring Myanmar said had killed at least 100 people there.

    After trying to hold the line for a week, the Thai government opened some canals on Thursday to allow water to run through the inner city, carrying the risk of inundating some districts but relieving pressure on dikes.

    At least 100 bodies had been found in the low-lying parts of central Myanmar along the Irrawaddy River, with at least 100 more missing after floods and torrential rains since Wednesday, according to a reliable source in Pakokku, about 450 km (280 miles) north of the biggest city, Yangon.

    The Truth is, that millions – billions are at risk. Thanks to the denial machine. People like the infamous Koch Brothers or Rex Tillerson made this possible.

  17. prokaryotes says:

    This is a nice song i thought i share, “Future Sound Of London – My Kingdom” (Blade Runner Remix) listen with the 720p version

  18. prokaryotes says:

    We love to look for echoes of our present in the sci-fi films of the past. A new UN report suggests 1982’s rather bleak Blade Runner may be in danger of proving all too accurate.

    Director Ridley Scott took issues already noticeable in the 1980s, such as urban development, genetic engineering, and, of course, climate change, and took them to what he thought was their next logical stage.

    The world’s climate could soon resemble the urban smog shown in the popular science fiction movie Blade Runner, suggests a report by UN scientists working for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

    The sort of chemical pollution which keeps the futuristic Los Angeles of the film in permanent, drizzling twilight, could actually spread across much of the northern hemisphere in the coming decades, warns the UN.

  19. prokaryotes says:

    Philip K. Dick’s 1968 novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? describes a darkened, post apocalyptic future where the majority of mankind has left Earth to settle colonies on other planets. Animals are either endangered or extinct, giving way to a burgeoning industry in artificial life. Both android animals and humans have become so life-like that it is next to impossible to differentiate them from the natural life forms they mimic.

    For a novel written as early as 1968, Dick seems to have envisioned, with much social commentary and metaphor, many developments that resemble what has already come to pass and what still may arise. The subjects of environmental degradation, psychoactive drugs and the unchallenged power of large corporations are more relevant than ever.

    Director Ridley Scott’s 1982 film Blade Runner, starring Harrison Ford, is the film version of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? It made Dick’s proto cyberpunk world come to life in a polluted, dark, sleazy Los Angeles of 2019.

    All those moments will be lost in time like tears in rain.

    –Roy Batty in Blade Runner

    As is commonly the case with a film adaptation, the story is simplified. Not an action flick, Blade Runner focuses on identity and what it means to be human, while largely ignoring interesting topics concerning the environment, collective virtual reality and the casual use of mood altering drugs in Philip K. Dick novel.

    Since Warner Bros is planning to produce a new Blade Runner film – much to the chagrin of many fans of the original – I wonder if these topics will be tackled in the new version or if it will tread the now-familiar ground it broke in 1982 and stick with themes of artificial intelligence.

  20. prokaryotes says:

    Ridley Scott To Direct New ‘Blade Runner’ Installment For Alcon Entertainment

    Blade Runner 2 adds a writer?

    Contagion’s Scott Z. Burns is first choice

  21. prokaryotes says:

    Scott regards Blade Runner as his “most complete and personal film”

    In 1984 Scott directed the television commercial 1984, written by Steve Hayden and Lee Clow, produced by Chiat/Day, and starring Anya Major as the unnamed heroine and David Graham as “Big Brother”.[15][16] It was released for a single airing in the United States on 22 January 1984 during the third quarter of Super Bowl XVIII.[17] It introduced the Macintosh for the first time and is now considered a “watershed event”[18] and a “masterpiece”.[19]

    1984 used the unnamed heroine to represent the coming of the Macintosh (indicated by her white tank top with a Picasso-style picture of Apple’s Macintosh computer on it) as a means of saving humanity from “conformity” (Big Brother).[20]

    These images were an allusion to George Orwell’s noted novel, Nineteen Eighty-Four, which described a dystopian future ruled by a fictional “Big Brother”.

  22. Joan Savage says:

    Sarah’s tale of Arctic warming
    Observations from one remote village as its climate changes, at the Society of Environmental Journalists Annual Meeting
    Science News Oct 20, 2011

    Sarah James remembers playing outdoors as a child even in the dead of winter. It often hit -70 degrees Fahrenheit, although not for prolonged periods. But she and the other kids, tired of being house-bound, just bundled up in snow suits and boots made from caribou skins. Even such frigid temps never put life — or play — on hold, recalls this 67-year-old resident of Arctic Village, Alaska.

    Today, winter cold snaps seldom dip below -40 degrees, she says. And snows, that used to begin falling in August or September, now typically arrive in late October or November.

    Full article:

  23. prokaryotes says:

    Biochar TShirt

    Text = Biochar is a key technology for reaching low carbon dioxide atmospheric concentration targets.

    Available in Europe + U.S.

  24. Paul Magnus says:

    ProK your on a roll!

  25. Paul Magnus says:

    France use 40% of it’s available fresh water to cool Nukes!

  26. Paul Magnus says:

    This is why the public barely notices how imminent and grave the GW issue is…. terrible way to cover this from NS. I recently detect a tenancy for the journal to hedge things to do with GW…

  27. prokaryotes says:

    He was on a roll with the answers that day and didn’t want to stop.

    1. experiencing a period of success or good luck. They were on a roll, winning nine games in a row. With a growing economy and a dropping crime rate, the city has been on a roll.
    2. talking for a period of time. My mother loved to gossip, and she had a hard time stopping once she was on a roll.
    Etymology: based on the idea that something which is rolling tends to continue rolling

    On a streak of success or intense activity, as in The team’s scored three runs in the last inning and they’re really on a roll, or Once the experiment succeeded, Tim was on a roll. This slangy term, alluding to the momentum in the act of rolling, dates from the second half of the 1900s, but roll alone has been used in this sense since the early 1800s.

    Actually i had to google this, what a nice impression :)

  28. Paul Magnus says:

    Heres a good map for flooding in Thailand… it has history maps for comparison – worth checking that out…. and a forecast for the current situation….

  29. Paul Magnus says:

    The first mistake was the retention of too much water in Bhumiphol and Sirikit dams.

    A gas delivery man attempting to make a delivery on Ngam Wong Wan Road in Bangkok.

    The water level in both dams this year was higher than usual, yet the Irrigation Department decided in June not to release much water, allegedly to keep water for second-crop rice cultivation and to prevent drought in the summer. When too much rain started flowing in, they had to release large amounts of water.

    The second factor was the rainy season came one and a half month earlier than normal.

    The third factor was this year’s rainy season has lasted a long time. It has rained practically every day, filling up reservoirs, dams, and fields more or less at the same time.

    The amount of rainfall this year is about 30-45% greater than the annual average.

  30. Paul Magnus says:

    Declining Energy Quality and Economic Recession
    By Melissa C. Lott | October 18, 2011 | 1

  31. David B. Benson says:

    prokaryotes — You may care to read “Rare Earth” by Ward & Brownlee.

    Paul Magnus — I suspect that statistic from France referrs to once thru use of river water; all that happens is that it is warmed somewhat, not consumed.

  32. Paul Magnus says:

    Yes. It’s still sobering though.

  33. prokaryotes says:

    Thanks, i will check it out, if i can find it on the Internet.

  34. prokaryotes says:

    Well, the book is not readily available, though the wikipedia entry is kind of good summary

    The Drake Equation is valid i think.

    Carl Sagan – Cosmos – Drake Equation

  35. prokaryotes says:

    And ofc you can update this with new findings.

  36. prokaryotes says:

    The thing is that this theory seems much more likely than the Rare Earth Theory from Ward and Brownlee.

  37. prokaryotes says:

    Exoplanets are common
    Over 570 exoplanets are known as of mid 2011 and more are continually discovered.[36] Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science estimates there may be 100 billion terrestrial planets in our Milky Way Galaxy alone.[37] Boss believes many could have simple lifeforms and there could be thousands of civilizations in our galaxy. He uses an estimate that each sun-like star has on average one Earth-like planet.
    The discovery of Gliese 581 g, a Goldilocks planet only 20 light-years from Earth, has further called the Rare Earth hypothesis into question. With such proximity to Earth, exoplanetologists now estimate that the likelihood of finding an Earth-like planet in any given system in our galaxy is 10-20%