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Shell’s Chinese carbon trading arm has signed a contract with one of China’s biggest cement manufacturers to initiate several bilateral deals for the national emissions trading scheme, the companies announced Thursday.
EU carbon prices may hit at least €15 by the early 2020s or sooner if European lawmakers agree a proposal to double Market Stability Reserve’s intake rate.
EU carbon prices got within a few cents of €6 on Thursday to reach a new 5.5-month high, but failed to hold onto those gains.
South Korean carbon permits edged south for a second consecutive day Thursday but remained rangebound as a continued lack of information about next year’s allocation levels tempers supply.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Oil-to-power – Oil majors such as Shell, Total and Exxon Mobil are dribbling money into ventures probing the edge of energy technologies. The investments go beyond wind and solar power into projects that improve electricity grids and brew new fuels from renewable resources. While the money involved is small – a fraction of the $7.5 billion that venture capital and private equity injected into the clean energy industry last year – the funds support work that may evolve into major income streams in the decades ahead as governments work to limit fossil-fuel pollution and global warming. (Bloomberg)
The ICE ban cometh – Following German Chancellor Angela Merkel unexpected sign of support for an eventual ban on internal combustion engine (ICE) cars, Jochen Flasbarth, state secretary in the German environment ministry, said he expected the EU to come forth with a proposal for a European quota for emission-free cars this autumn. Specifics would still have to be discussed, but German carmakers are already planning to see 25% of their new car sales to be emission-free vehicles by 2025, according to Flasbarth. The quota would not be limited to electric vehicles, although in the end battery-powered cars would likely prevail, he added. The European Commission has recently publicly denied claims that it was preparing to propose e-car quotas despite the mounting rumours. (Clean Energy Wire)
Plug-in progress – Electric cars are twice as green in the UK as they were five years ago because of an increase in wind and solar farms and the closure of coal-fired power stations, according to research by Imperial College London commissioned by coal/biomass generator Drax. A Tesla still has higher CO2 emissions in winter than the most fuel-efficient petrol cars, but in summer it has a clear advantage. (The Times)
What could have been – A new research note from Energy Innovation estimates that last week’s US federal appeals court ruling overturning an effort from the EPA to ban HFCs could lead to an increase of 3.6-9.5 billion tonnes of CO2e in the atmosphere by 2050, compared to what would have been avoided with the rule in place. It also warns the court’s decision, which is likely to be appealed, could hamper US options for upholding its international commitments made last year to reduce HFC emissions under the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol. (Politico)
tRI again – Rhode Island lawmakers have passed a number of ambitious renewable energy bills this year, but similar efforts to put a state-wide price on carbon have floundered. However, while a bicarmeral carbon tax bill floated earlier this year died in committee, Governor Gina Raimondo this week said that she would likely sign something similar should it reach her desk. “I do support it. It’s the right way forward,” she said. “I urge the General Assembly to come up with a bill that moves us in that direction because I think it’s the right way to go.” (ecoRI News)
No coal for you! – A US District Court judge has overturned an Office of Surface Mining (OSM) decision to allow the expansion of Signal Peak Energy’s Bull Mountain coal mine in Montana. The judge found OSM failed to properly assess the public health and environmental impacts of the project and ignored the climate impacts of burning the 160 million tonnes of coal projected to be produced from the mine expansion. The ruling blocks the mine expansion pending further studies being undertaken. (CoalWire)
The harder they fall – Before 2005, US carbon emissions were marching upwards year after year, with little sign of slowing down. After this point, they fell quickly, declining 14% from their peak by the end of 2016. Carbon Brief presents an analysis of the causes of the decline in US CO2 since 2005. There is no single cause of reductions. Rather, they were driven by a number of factors, including a large-scale transition from coal to gas, a large increase in wind power, a reduction in industrial energy use and changes in transport patterns, the analysis finds.
It’s not too late – In a report released Wednesday, the US-based Rocky Mountain Institute said limiting global temperature increases to 2C is both practical and possible. “Today, many experts doubt that energy systems can decarbonize fast enough to prevent this scenario. But this belief is both dangerous and wrong,” the paper said. Among the shifts needed are rapid and economic scaling of clean energy technologies, foundational changes to emissions within agriculture, forestry and other land-use behaviors, and coordinated market and policy incentives globally. (Politico)
And finally… Beware FOG and fatbergs! – Fatbergs, or giant lumps of solid fat, sometimes hundreds of metres long, are an increasing problem for Europe’s sewerage systems as more cooking fats and grease are tipped down the sink in homes and businesses. UK firm Argent Energy has started turning fatbergs from wastewater facilities into a biodiesel capable of powering up to 7,000 buses and trucks and saving 120,000 tCO2 a year. This follows on from renewable company 2oC developing Europe’s first FOG-fired (fats, oils and greases) power plant in London, which in turn powers the local sewage treatment plant. (The Independent)
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