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The Canadian government on Thursday outlined its carbon price ‘backstop’ option for provinces and territories that do not satisfy minimum federal requirements with their own programmes or that opt to implement Ottawa’s plan from 2018.
The UN’s intersessional climate talks wrapped up on Thursday after making incremental progress on a Paris Agreement rulebook, with observers drawing hope from emerging details of efforts by major economies to counter the impact of a potential US withdrawal from the process.
Most global carbon market participants don’t expect the Trump presidency to directly impact international emissions markets, according to an annual survey by Thomson Reuters, although more respondents than before said CO2 markets are doing little to cut emissions.
California’s market was dominated this week by Tuesday’s quarterly auction, which sources anticipate to have drawn considerably more demand than the previous three under-subscribed sales.
EUAs rose for a third straight session on Thursday as another strong auction pushed carbon above a technical level that can precede further gains.
Korean carbon allowances rose 0.25% on Thursday to reach a 6-week high as pre-compliance demand firms despite hopes that the government might release some volumes from the market stability reserve.
Buyers appear to have deserted the New Zealand carbon market ahead of the May 31 deadline, causing allowances on Thursday to fall below NZ$17 for the first time since early February, while a new market survey showed observers are divided on where prices are likely to go from here.
In this month’s issue, ALLCOT looks at a reported rise in demand for CP1 CERs and what it means for VERs, plus they examine a new policy brief from The Gold Standard that suggests the development of NDCs risks marginalising carbon offsetting.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
What they’re pledging – Following the launch of the UK Liberal Democrat manifesto on Wednesday and Conservative manifesto on Thursday, Carbon Brief has updated its interactive grid of energy and climate pledges made by parties for the upcoming June 8 general election. The Tories revealed wide-ranging plans to deliver on the UK’s long-term climate change commitments through new investments in wind farms, electric vehicles, and energy efficiency, BusinessGreen reports. The platform also provides a clear commitment to the Climate Change Act and the UK’s long-term emissions reduction goals, rejecting calls from some within the Conservative Party for a review of the legislation, while also voicing support for fracking and shale gas as a cleaner alternative to coal. Meanwhile, the Lib Dems, trailing in the polls, are promising to expand investment in renewables, ban fracking, tackle air pollution, and pass five new Green Laws including a Zero Carbon Act to deliver net zero emissions in the UK by 2050, according to BusinessGreen. Carbon Brief’s grid now contains pledges in the manifestos of the Conservatives, Labour, the Liberal Democrats, the Green Party and Wales’ Plaid Cymru, and will be updated as more are published.
Bad money – Britain’s £18 billion Hinkley Point nuclear power plant is being funded by illegal French state aid, according to a lawsuit filed by Greenpeace reported by The Times ($). The group is urging the European Commission to order EDF to repay the €6.8 billion it received from the French government.
Keep on vannin’ – New light commercial vehicles sold in the EU in 2016 emitted 2.7% less CO2/km than those sold in 2015, according to provisional data from the European Environment Agency. The 4.5g reduction is the highest annual drop since 2013. The average van registered in the EU in 2016 emitted 163.8g CO2/km, bringing the EU average emissions 6.4% below the 2017 target of 175 g CO2/km, which was met back in 2013. “Further efficiency improvements are still needed to reach the target of 147 g CO2/km by 2020,” the European Commission said.
Shanghai city limits – The Shanghai carbon exchange has set May 24 as the expiry date for its May forward contract, with the last transactions for cash settlement possible between 1500-1630 local time on May 19-23.
Dave dead – Indian Environment Minister Anil Madhav Dave passed away on Thursday at the age of 60. Indian PM Narendra Modi called Dave’s death “a personal loss” after having spent the previous evening with him. Science and technology minister Harsh Vardhan will now hold additional charge of the environment ministry, the Times of India reported.
Wooden skyscrapers – Wooden construction has ancient roots, but only in the past two decades have scientists, engineers and architects begun to recognise its potential to stave off global warming. A feature in Nature News details how research by a forest ecologist at Yale University has shown the building industry could curb up to 31% of global carbon emissions by substituting concrete and steel with wood from sustainably managed forests. “In time, such a shift could help humanity to pull CO2 out of the atmosphere, potentially reversing the course of climate change,” the article argues. (Carbon Brief)
Barking up the wrong tree – Growing plants and trees and then storing the CO2 they have taken up from the atmosphere is no viable option to counteract unmitigated emissions from fossil fuel burning, a new study shows. According to the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research (PIK), which co-authored the report, the plantations would need to be so large that they would eliminate most natural ecosystems or reduce food production if implemented as a last-resort option amid a wider failure to cut global emissions. “However, growing biomass soon in well-selected places with increased irrigation or fertilization could support climate policies of rapid and strong emission cuts to achieve climate stabilization below 2 degrees Celsius,” PIK added.
Tainted Tate – Two US Democratic senators are asking EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt for information on one of his aides, Elizabeth “Tate” Bennett, a former utility lobbyist, who they say appears to be unable to perform virtually any of her duties as head of the agency’s congressional and intergovernmental relations office due to potential conflicts of interest, InsideEPA reports ($), in the latest in a series of such charges Democrats have brought against Pruitt and his top officials.
And finally… Talanoa: the new ‘indaba’? – Preparations for this year’s COP23 in Bonn (Nov. 6-17) and underway and on track, the UNFCCC said Thursday, with presidency Fiji putting its own special cultural touch on the annual summit. The Fijian term ‘talanoa’ – “a process of inclusive, participatory and transparent dialogue that builds empathy and leads to decision making for the collective good” – stands to play a prominent role during the talks, harkening back to the Zulu term ‘indaba’, meaning conference of elders, that was a central fixture in the 2011 COP17 talks in Durban. This year’s COP23 will also feature a ‘Bula’ zone, named after the Fijian word for ‘hello’ which doubles as ‘a blessing of health and happiness’. The UNFCCC said that unavoidable emissions, namely those associated with delegates’ travel, will be offset through cancelling CERs via the UN’s online Climate Neutral Now platform.
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