Thursday, May 1, 2014

Thursday Must Reads: Greenhouse Gases Reach Highest Levels in More than 800,000 Years; Berkeley to Consider Taxing Airbnb

By Robert Gammon
Thu, May 1, 2014 at 10:21 AM

Stories you shouldn’t miss:

1. Carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, has reached record levels in the earth’s atmosphere, averaging more than 400 parts per million for the first time last month, the Chron reports. CO2 is produced from burning fossil fuels, including oil, coal, and natural gas, and triggers climate change. Climate scientists have long been concerned about CO2 crossing the 400 parts per million threshold. Scientific data going back 800,000 years has never recorded atmospheric levels that high.

2. The City of Berkeley is examining a proposal to tax people who rent homes, apartments, or rooms via Airbnb — the short-term rental company — at the same rate as hotel rooms are taxed in the city, the Trib$ reports. Airbnb lists more than 1,000 rooms in Berkeley as being available for travelers. The company plans to charge hotel taxes to users in San Francisco and Portland, Oregon.

3. Because of strong opposition from large agribusiness, a Bay Area legislator has tabled a bill that sought to limit the use of antibiotics in livestock, the SacBee$ reports. Assembly Bill 1437 by Assemblyman Kevin Mullin, D-South San Francisco, would have prohibited factory farms from using antibiotics as a preventative measure. The overuse of antibiotics in US agriculture has led to the rise of deadly drug-resistant super bugs that kill 38,000 Americans each year.

4. Oakland’s ex-City Administrator, Deanna Santana, who was ousted from her job by Mayor Jean Quan earlier this, was hired by the City of Sunnyvale to be its city manager, the Chron reports.

5. A candidate for Alameda County auditor, Kathleen Knox, does not appear to live in the county as required by law, the Bay Area News Group$ reports.

6. Search crews found the body of the pilot that crashed into the bay last weekend after a midair collision with another plane, the CoCo Times$ reports. Authorities identified the pilot as David Everett Plumb of Rocklin.

7. And a train carrying crude oil derailed and exploded in Virginia, dumping its toxic load into a local river, and raising more concerns about the shipping of oil throughout the nation, CBS News reports.

$ = news stories that may require payment to read.

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