Years of Lobbying Helped Transportation Fuels Industry Win Exemptions From California’s Climate Rules

For four years oil companies, airlines and ground transportation industry groups have petitioned California for exemptions from the state’s cap-and-trade greenhouse gas market, saying consumers would take the hit through higher prices at the pump and in stores. And in court they are still arguing that the state lacks the regulatory authority to compel participation.  Read more

California’s Hunger for Low-Carbon Power Could Hurt Other States

California’s effort to ensure that the state receives low carbon electricity could end up increasing greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in the country, thanks to a practice known as contract reshuffling. Under California’s cap-and-trade program, which established a carbon trading market last November, electric utilities, corporations, cities, universities and other entities need to lower their emissions or buy pollution “allowances” to account for their emissions.  Read more

UCSF Facing Cuts in Wake of Sequester; Free Bus Passes for Youth

Sequestration isn’t just some Washington abstraction. It’s hitting home. The automatic federal budget cuts that rolled out on Friday — known as the sequester — are going to hurt the University of California, San Francisco. The world-class teaching hospital and research center receives funding from the National Institutes of Health.  Read more

Food Prices at Center of Debate Over GMO Labeling in Prop 37

Proposition 37, the state ballot measure requiring labels on genetically modified food, has revived a long-simmering debate about whether genetically modified food harms human health or the environment. But it’s the claim by opponents of the measure, including large manufacturers and agribusinesses, that food prices would skyrocket if the proposition passes that is riling proponents, mostly environmentalists, public health groups and farmers.  Read more

Bay Area Carbon Dioxide Sensor Network Aims to Check Climate Change Policies

Scientists have devised an intricate network of carbon dioxide sensors in the Bay Area that could offer objective measurements to evaluate which climate change initiatives are effective in reducing greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The sensors provide real-time local data on how much carbon dioxide is being emitted, said lead researcher Ronald Cohen, professor of chemistry and of earth and planetary sciences at the University of California, Berkeley.  Read more

Without long-term support, human trafficking survivors at risk of re-exploitation

Some who flee captive labor conditions end up with low-wage jobs, insecure housing When Lili Samad was hired to work as a nanny for an Egyptian government official in the Bay Area, she thought it was an ideal job. Instead, she said, she was forced to work long hours doing domestic chores and forbidden from contacting her family in Indonesia and was often locked inside the house.  Read more

U.S. visas help trafficking victims, if applicants can vault legal hurdles

Chance for permanent residency, access to federal benefits hinge on cooperating with law enforcement A special visa created 12 years ago to save thousands of victims of human trafficking and curb international human trafficking has been vastly underutilized. Attorneys for rescued victims seeking residency protection say law enforcement agencies are often unwilling or slow to “certify” victims’ claims of having been brought to the U.S.  Read more

Payday loan industry: the stories

[<a href=”http://storify.com/sfpublicpress/new-story-1″ target=”_blank”>View the story “Investigating the payday loan industry” on Storify</a>]  Read more

Sharing skills during the holidays

Public Press staff writer Ambika Kandasamy reported this story for Shareable.net. See her original posting and links to other resources and Shareable articles on ways to barter time with others. Denise Minter, a vendor at the Bay Area Community Exchange’s recently held holiday fair in San Francisco, was selling Gomasio, a Japanese condiment made from toasted sesame seeds and sea salt.  Read more

“Visual Aid” offers outlet, insight into artists with AIDS

Preserving art matters to Michael Johnstone, a San Francisco-based painter, costume designer and photographer, who has been living with HIV since 1982. Johnstone moved to San Francisco in 1979, a few years before the AIDS epidemic seeped through the city. “I took care of a lot of people, a number of people that were passing away were artists, and their work ended up in thrift stores,” Johnstone said.  Read more