Pacific Swell | Southern California environment news and trends

Morning greens: California, China, and green energy

L.A. Department of Water and Power has a new general manager: Ron Nichols. Reports LA Now: "Nichols arrives as the DWP presses ahead with Villaraigosa’s strategy for securing more renewable sources of energy, such as wind, geothermal and solar power.”

After trees were cut down to make room for sediment, Arcadia woodland activists and the county are still debating the environmental approvals process. According to Pasadena Star-News, so far the “county Board of Supervisors approved allocating $650,000 for mitigation efforts and to set up a new task force to oversee future projects.”

California’s still defending its state car tailpipe standards. Reports Greenwire: “Though the Obama administration has moved ahead with nationwide limits on greenhouse gas emissions from cars and light trucks, the legal fight over California’s authority to set still-tougher standards has continued in court.”

A USC researcher experiments with changing ocean chemistry. KPCC reports: “Tailpipes and refineries and smokestacks as far as the eye can see in Los Angeles symbolize the way people change the planet’s climate. They remind Dave Hutchins that the ocean’s changing too.”

California’s solar power is increasingly Chinese made. Grist reports that “to see just how successful Chinese solar companies have been on U.S. turf, it’s worth taking a look at the latest numbers from the California Solar Initiative, or CSI…. According to an analysis by Stephen Chin of UBS, four Chinese solar module makers supplied 39 percent of the CSI market in the fourth quarter of 2010.”

Relatedly, in national news: Ahead of President Hu Jintao’s White House visit, U.S. and Chinese leaders discussed energy and climate policies. Reports Climatewire: “With government officials looking on, U.S. and Chinese companies signed cooperation agreements meant to speed the development and use of clean energy technology.”

After penning an op-ed in WSJ about balancing economic concerns with safety, health, and environmental issues, Obama issued an executive order to cut red tape — including those created by environmental regulations. Greenwire reports: “All agencies would need to consider ways to reduce burdens for U.S. businesses when they develop rules, allow more public participation and better follow the scientific integrity guidelines that were released last month after a lengthy delay.”