Topic: Regulation
Nov. 21, 2017

California’s cap-and-trade program received another boost Tuesday, with its most recent permit auction reaching record-high sales, according to details released by regulators Tuesday.

In November’s auction, every permit offered by the state was sold, and prices reached their highest-level in the program’s five-year history.

Nov. 21, 2017

Most years, the amount of greenhouse gases spewed by California’s cars, factories and power plants drops slightly — a hard-won result of the state’s fight against global warming.

And in any given year, one big wildfire can wipe out that progress.

Over the course of just a few weeks, a major fire can pump more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere than California’s many climate change programs can save in 12 months. Scientists debate whether California’s vast forests are emitting more carbon dioxide through fires than they absorb through plant growth.

Nov. 18, 2017

Exxon Mobil Corp., BP PLC, Royal Dutch Shell PLC and other oil companies are spending millions of dollars a year in concert with auto makers such as Ford Motor Co. and Fiat Chrysler Automobiles NV to create the next generation of super-slick engine lubricants. They are betting that the new, thinner oils will help them squeeze even more efficiency out of traditional car engines, allowing them to comply with stricter environmental rules and remain relevant as new technologies such as zero-emission electric vehicles gain traction.

. . . The new lubricants are meant to help auto makers build smaller, turbocharged engines that are still quite powerful, resulting in efficiency gains close to 15% compared with older models, said David Tsui, project manager for energy at consulting firm Kline & Co. “You’re trying to get these little engines to run at a jog pace, but with a really heavy load,” he said.

Nov. 14, 2017

One of Gov. Jerry Brown’s green-building directives drives up the cost of state construction projects while delivering an uncertain environmental benefit, according to a new study by the Legislative Analyst’s Office.

The study assessed Brown’s 2012 executive order directing that all state departments design new buildings in such a way that they entirely offset their energy use.

Those so-called “zero net energy” projects tend to include features that limit energy use as well as others that generate power, such as solar panels.

The analysis found that the zero net energy decree adds 17 to 29 percent to the projected cost of some new buildings.

Nov. 13, 2017

‘In 50 years, every street in London will be buried under 9 feet of manure.” With this 1894 prediction, the London Times warned that the era’s primary source of transportation energy—the horse—would soon create an environmental crisis.

. . . The lesson is that governments are in no position to predict technological breakthroughs, and their attempts to do so can delay innovations by entrenching inferior technologies. Diesel cars are another example. European states have been subsidizing them for decades, but diesel engines create considerably more noxious gases and particulates. Now Britain and Germany are reversing their policies and trying to phase out diesel.

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