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A bill to extend California’s cap-and-trade programme beyond 2020 has survived its first vote, passing out of the Senate Environmental Quality (EQ) Committee in a vote down party lines.
The EU’s top court has sided with one of Europe’s largest glass manufacturers in its appeal over a case challenging how EU member states and the European Commission determine the level of free allowance allocations in the EU ETS, potentially setting a precedent for increased transparency in the process.
Germany should implement a national tax on power sector emissions to meet its domestic emission reduction targets efficiently, according to the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), after publishing a study it had commissioned by Energy Brainpool.
European carbon prices hit a new four-month high on Thursday but then plummeted by more than 5% after failing to hold above €5.60.
California carbon prices advanced strongly on a political agreement to reauthorize the state’s market beyond 2020, while RGGI prices jumped amid strong buying activity early in the week.
Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Standards Council of Canada have teamed up to provide a new accreditation programme for validation/verification bodies (VVBs).
Several Australian state governments could move ahead with clean energy targets to cut carbon emissions from electricity generation if the federal government fails to act.
New Zealand carbon permits on Thursday saw a seventh consecutive day of gains as demand remains firm despite ongoing political uncertainty.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Franco-German carbon – France and Germany should work together towards a clean energy future to most efficiency fulfil their respective plans to exit coal and nuclear, according to a report by think-tanks Agora Energiewende and IDDRI published ahead of today’s joint French-German cabinet meeting. The paper calls for a joint initiative on carbon pricing and the coordinated development of renewable energies, among other elements. While the carbon price measures would benefit French nuclear but disadvantage German coal plants, the paper proposes France make a clear commitment to cut the share of nuclear in its power mix.
Something happening? – US President Donald Trump held the door open to a reversal of his decision to pull the US out of the Paris Agreement, but he did not say what he would need in return to persuade him to do so after meeting with French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. “Something could happen with respect to the Paris accords, let’s see what happens, if it happens, that will be wonderful, and if it doesn’t, that’ll be OK too,” he told journalists. Macron said: “There is no sudden and unexpected change today, otherwise we would have announced it, but there is the shared intention to continue discussing these issues.” (Reuters)
Another attempt at CCS – A bipartisan bill to boost the troubled CCS industry has the support of more than two dozen US senators, Utility Dive reports. Introduced Wednesday, the Carbon Capture and Utilization Act of 2016 would extend and increase tax credits for power generators and industrial facilities that capture and sequester their CO2, as well as for carbon utilization. The bill would provide a $50 tax credit for every metric tonne of CO2 stored underground and $35/tonne for carbon utilized for purposes such as enhanced oil recovery. Currently, credits of $20 and $10 per tonne are offered for capture and utilization, respectively.
Green finance – The High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance, established by the European Commission, has published an interim report ahead of a year-end full one giving some recommendations for how the EU can steer a financial system aligned to the Paris Agreement. These included to establish a label for green bonds, strengthen ESG reporting requirements and to clarify that a fund’s fiduciary duty encompasses sustainability.
I thought they needed those trees? – The European Commission is taking Poland to court over the country’s increased logging in the old-growth Bialowieza Forest, which Brussels says is in breach of EU law. The EU Commission also decided on interim measures which will stop the wood extraction until the court’s judgement, preventing further destruction of Bialowieza’s natural resources, according to WWF. Poland has promoted the CO2-absorbing ability of its vast swathes of forests as one of its key solutions in its climate action plans.
Christie’s parting gift – New Jersey Republican Governor Chris Christie on Thursday again blocked Democratic lawmakers’ attempt to have the state rejoin RGGI. Christie vetoed a measure approved in the legislature, saying the pact is not effectively reducing GHGs and that it constitutes a tax on electricity. Christie pulled NJ out of the regional carbon market in 2011, but the state is expected to rejoin after a new governor is elected in November. (AP)
Tool time – France-based think-tank I4CE has built a simulation tool to estimate post-2020 EU ETS free allocation according to different parameters discussed in the current trilogue negotiations between the EU Parliament, the EU Council and the EU Commission. It reveals the various scenarios in which the hot potato issue of when the Cross Sectoral Correction Factor could be triggered.
And finally… Now he’s just being silly – US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt didn’t mince words, accusing German Chancellor Angela Merkel and other European critics of President Donald Trump’s climate views of “hypocrisy” on the issue, Politico reports. Naming Merkel by name, Pruitt urged the public to press her on why, if reducing GHG emissions “is so important to you, Madam Chancellor, are you getting rid of nuclear? Because last time I checked, it’s pretty clean on CO2.” Pruitt also bristled at being called a ‘climate denier’. “What does it even mean? That’s what I think about it. I deny the climate? Really? Wow, OK. That’s crazy, in my view,” he said.
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