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February 3, 2012 | By David Karp, Special to the Los Angeles Times
The desolate, scrubby plain around Ridgecrest, where the Sierra Nevada meets the Great Basin and the Mojave desert, might seem an incongruous source for tomatoes, especially in the middle of winter. Nevertheless, Scott and Gale Shacklett, who go by the name of TomatoMan, manage to produce superior, flavorful tomatoes in more than half an acre of greenhouses here, where sonic booms from the China Lake Naval Air Weapons Station shatter the silence. Open the door to their five-bay greenhouse and you are greeted by warm, humid air with a sweet, vegetal smell.
January 28, 2012 | By Bettina Boxall, Los Angeles Times
California, long a national leader in cutting auto pollution, pushed the envelope further Friday as state regulators approved rules to cut greenhouse gas emissions from cars and put significantly more pollution-free vehicles on the road in coming years. The package of Air Resources Board regulations would require auto manufacturers to offer more zero- or very low-emission cars such as battery electric, hydrogen fuel cell and plug-in hybrid vehicles in California starting with model year 2018.
January 11, 2012 | By Marc Lifsher, Los Angeles Times
Gov. Jerry Brown has found a new pot of money to help him fill a $9-billion hole in his proposed budget: $1 billion from auctioning credits to allow California companies to emit greenhouse gases. But business groups are already denouncing Brown's plan as a back-door tax increase that they intend to challenge in court if the proposal is approved as part of the state budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. "At a time when the public is concerned about jobs and the economy, the budget proposes a new tax on California businesses for climate change activities," said Dorothy Rothrock, vice president of the California Manufacturers and Technology Assn.
January 11, 2012 | By Neela Banerjee
The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a new interactive website Wednesday that allows users to track the total annual greenhouse gas emissions of power plants, oil refineries and other big industrial facilities that account for 80% of the country's output of the gases that are the primary contributors to global climate change. The EPA's Greenhouse Gas Emission Data tool is modeled on its 20-year-old toxins release inventory map that invites people to plug in their ZIP Codes to see what kinds of federally designated toxic substances are in their communities and who the polluters are. The greenhouse gas tool is based on 2010 data collected from more than 6,700 facilities across nine major industries, although power plants account for the overwhelming amount of the pollution.
November 11, 2011 | By Dean Kuipers, Los Angeles Times
Greenhouse gases are building at a steep rate in the atmosphere, the nation's top climate agency reported, renewing concern that global warming may be accelerating. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's Annual Greenhouse Gas Index, which indexes the key gases known to trap heat in the Earth's atmosphere, rose 1.5% from 2009 to 2010, the agency reported. The reported rise comes on top of an analysis by the Energy Department last week saying that global emissions of carbon dioxide, a key, long-lived greenhouse gas, had jumped by the biggest increment on record in 2010.
October 21, 2011 | By Julie Cart, Los Angeles Times
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.
August 10, 2011 | By Neela Banerjee, Los Angeles Times
President Obama announced the first fuel-efficiency and greenhouse gas standards for long-haul rigs, work trucks and other heavy-duty vehicles Tuesday, the second mileage pact with manufacturers in less than a month. The regulations call for reductions on fuel consumption and greenhouse-gas emissions by 2018 of 9% to 23%, depending on the type of vehicle. Trucks and other heavy vehicles make up only 4% of the domestic vehicle fleet, but given the distance they travel, the time they spend idling and their low fuel efficiency, they end up consuming about 20% of all vehicle fuel, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists.
July 15, 2011 | By Jennifer Bennett, Los Angeles Times
After 10 months of negotiations and sometimes nasty public debate, Australia's government has finally announced the details of a carbon tax of $24.65 a ton, aimed at lowering greenhouse gas emissions by discouraging the use of fossil fuels and increasing investment in renewable energy. In 2015 it will be replaced by an emissions trading program. The plan, announced Sunday by Prime Minister Julia Gillard, will now go before Parliament, but its passage is assured as it is the result of a deal reached with the Australian Greens and two independents with whom the Labor Party formed a government last year.
July 11, 2011 | By Hugo Martín, Los Angeles Times
Under a European Union law, all airlines that fly in and out of Europe must either cut carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions from their planes, starting next year, or pay hefty fees and fines. U.S.-based airlines that began to see steady profits only this year after a steep drop in demand during the recession are fighting the law, saying the European Union has no right to impose such a plan on non-European airlines. United Continental Holdings Inc., the parent company of United and Continental airlines; AMR Corp., the parent of American Airlines; and the Air Transport Assn., the trade group for the nation's airlines, argued against the law at the European Court of Justice last week.
July 1, 2011 | By Amina Khan, Los Angeles Times
Scientists have isolated a bacterium from the gut of Australian Tammar wallabies that allows them to consume and digest grasses, leaves and other plant material without producing copious amounts of methane, as cattle do. The microbe was discovered through a process described in a study published online Thursday by the journal Science. Ultimately, it might be put to use to reduce the carbon footprint of cows and other ruminants, said study coauthor Mark Morrison, a microbial biologist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization in Queensland.
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