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    In the ramshackle apartment blocks and sooty concrete homes that line the dusty roads of urban India, there is a new status symbol on proud display. An air-conditioner has become a sign of middle-class status in developing nations, a must-have dowry item....Air-conditioning gases are regulated primarily though a 1987 treaty called the Montreal Protocol, created to protect the ozone layer....But these gases have an impact the ozone treaty largely ignores. Pound for pound, they contribute to global warming thousands of times more than does carbon dioxide, the standard greenhouse gas.

    New York Times
  • The world’s largest development banks say they are investing $175 billion over the next decade to support cleaner transportation systems. The announcement was made Wednesday in a statement by the World Bank, the Asian Development Bank and six other multilateral institutions represented at a U.N. environmental conference in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

    Washington Post
  • A state appeals court on Tuesday upheld California's plan to combat global warming with a market-based cap-and-trade system to limit emissions of greenhouse gases, rejecting some environmental groups' arguments that the rules are too weak and could worsen certain types of air pollution. The state Air Resources Board, which adopted the plan in 2009, gave adequate reasons for rejecting alternatives such as binding limits on emissions and a tax on carbon-based fuels, said the First District Court of Appeal in San Francisco.

    SF Chronicle
  • Interstate 580, as it runs through East Oakland and San Leandro, is perhaps one of the most unpleasant stretches of freeway in the East Bay, according to a number of Chronicle Watch readers....Caltrans officials said they plan on addressing the road conditions of the freeway as part of the regular maintenance cycle.

    SF Chronicle
  • After encountering criticism from environmental groups, Gov. Jerry Brown signaled Wednesday that he plans to withdraw his controversial proposal to protect the California bullet train project from injunctions sought by environmental lawsuits. Brown’s staff told key environmental groups that he would no longer include modifications to the California Environmental Quality Act in a package of legislation this month asking for $6 billion to start construction of the high-speed rail project.

    LA Times
  • The Oakland City Council late Tuesday approved a series of agreements with developers on the conversion of the former Oakland Army Base. It will be the city's largest development in decades. The proposed project intends to remake the 366-acre base into a shipping, packaging and distribution facility, augmenting the adjacent Port of Oakland.

    SF Chronicle
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    ...the RATP (Régie Autonome des Transports Parisiens), the city’s dominant transit agency, is piloting “l'arrêt de bus du future” - or bus stop of the future - for five months at a stop outside the Gare de Lyon....This experimental station at boulevard Diderot is not just a place to wait for a bus. Covering an area of ​​80 m2, it was designed as a multi-purpose public space ... . Here you can buy a bus ticket, get information about the neighborhood, have a coffee, borrow a book, play music, recharge a phone, buy a meal to take away, rent an electric bike, stay warm while eating a sandwich, or set up a bag on a shelf to do your makeup.

    Atlantic Cities
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    For optimists, the housing bust of the last five years has come with a silver lining. We got burned, we learned our lesson, and we won’t go back to the old ways of planning and building communities that sap municipal budgets, that tax the environment and that keep us locked into our cars....Now here comes another set of data, this time in the annual State of the Nation’s Housingreport from the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University....But one finding in particular sticks out...

    Atlantic Cities
  • Taxi passengers received a little relief this past weekend, when city officials approved the issuance of 100 temporary cab permits to accommodate the crowds for the U.S. Open. Similar practices may be in store for future events....On Thursday, during the BART shutdown that paralyzed much of the region, the San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency let cab companies deploy extra cars to help unclog the congestion. The agency then let the extra cabs stay on for the weekend to accommodate the tens of thousands of visitors in town for the U.S. Open. It was the first time the agency approved such a request, which increased the number of cabs on city streets from roughly 1,500 to 1,600.

    SF Examiner
  • With the clock about to run out on federal highway funding, House Speaker John A. Boehner and Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid sent a message Tuesday to their members: Find a way to compromise....Without a conference-committee deal by June 30, Congress will face extending funding levels set in 2005 yet again. An extension may force Congress to deal with an issue it has avoided for almost three years: how to pay for the nation’s long-term transportation needs.

    Washington Post