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South Korea on Wednesday announced further amendments to its emissions trading scheme in a bid to clamp down on permit hoarding and stabilise allowance prices.
An online Chinese carbon trading game seems to be attracting more interest than the country’s regional pilot markets as thousands of amateurs join professionals in an attempt to win real cash and prizes by virtually speculating on prices while keeping an eye on their compliance obligations.
Polish and Greek power sector associations have rejected a commitment by their EU-wide parent group Eurelectric to not build new coal power plants after 2020, though analysts doubt Eurelectric’s move would have affected any utility investment decisions.
China Industrial Bank (CIB) has signed new loan deals worth 70 million yuan ($10.2 million) using pilot market CO2 allowances as collateral, even as other major Chinese banks shy away from such agreements.
New Zealand carbon allowances climbed nearly 1% on Wednesday to reach a three-week high amid continued healthy demand, though observers expect any further moves from current levels to be more gradual.
European carbon prices finished 3.7% higher on Wednesday, bolstered by a somewhat bullish auction result but continuing to bounce around in a 50-cent range.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Cherry nit-picking – Britain is looking for ways to scrap its 2020 EU renewables target while maintaining everyday trade in Europe’s energy market, an early sign of the kind of cherry-picking that threatens to sour Brexit negotiations, Bloomberg reports, citing an anonymous official. The UK is on course to miss its goal to source 15% of energy from renewables, but before Brexit the country was widely expected to dodge fines by hitting it a couple of years later and making good progress towards 2030 goals. While a minority of prominent eurosceptics in the UK’s ruling Conservative party campaigned for Brexit as a way of escaping EU climate obligations, keeping those targets is important for some 85% of party voters, according to a survey released by the right-wing think-tank Bright Blue on Tuesday, suggesting the government will not look to scale back environmental ambition.
And it’s gone again – The White House quickly issued a statement in response to Tuesday’s Washington Post story, affirming that “the President’s team is hearing input from experts on all sides of the tax reform debate” and that a carbon tax is not under consideration “as of now.”
Unconvinced – Reuters surveyed 32 utilities with operations in the 26 states that sued former President Barack Obama’s administration to block its Clean Power Plan, the main target of Trump’s executive order. The bulk of them have no plans to alter their multi-billion dollar, years-long shift away from coal, suggesting demand for the fuel will keep falling despite Trump’s efforts to gut US climate efforts. The utilities gave many reasons, mainly economic: natural gas – coal’s top competitor – is cheap and abundant; solar and wind power costs are falling; state environmental laws remain in place; and Trump’s regulatory rollback may not survive legal challenges.
Giving CCS another go – Two US senators introduced a bipartisan bill Wednesday to boost carbon capture projects for power plants. The bill, from Senators Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio), would open up new financing opportunities for CCS projects by letting companies use tax-exempt bonds issued by state and local governments to fund for them. (The Hill)
Don’t give up – The chief of the German chancellery, Peter Altmaier, said Germany can still meet its own national 2020 emission goals despite increased emissions in 2016. He said Germany would surely meet common European goals but fulfilling national aims was more difficult because of their greater ambition. Recent emissions increases were linked to Germany’s economic growth and the country has to remain an industrial location despite its commitment to climate protection, Altmaier added. (ZDF, Clean Energy Wire)
Hot dog! – An offset project that seeks to that replace traditional New York City street food carts with low-carbon alternatives has been registered under the VCS, its developers told Carbon Pulse. Read more about the project here.
And finally… It’s gettin’ hot in here – Radical shifts to earlier bloom dates among Japan’s prized cherry blossoms signal warmest climate in more than 1,000 years, the Washington Post reports, and a sure sign that the region’s climate is warming and warming fast. Separately, another study found that CO2 concentrations are heading towards values not seen in the past 200 million years years and that the sun has also been gradually getting stronger over time. Put together, these facts mean the climate may be heading towards warmth not seen in the past half a billion years. (The Conversation)
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