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Democrats swept three significant US state-level elections on Tuesday, paving the way for advances in regional carbon market initiatives amid a federal dismantling of national climate measures.
Negotiations on global carbon trade under the Paris Agreement are lagging other strands of the UN climate talks in Bonn, with the slow pace prompting some countries to line up deals ahead of finalised rules.
(Free article) EU Parliament negotiators are holding out against keeping lax carbon market rules for another decade that have already seen the bloc’s flagship climate policy divert billions of euros towards big-emitting coal power plants.
European carbon prices dipped slightly on Wednesday and traders held off making big moves ahead of this evening’s ETS reform trilogue talks.
A wind farm backed by the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) will be able to supply up to 100,000 carbon credits a year to the Kazakhstan carbon market after the government registered the project in its domestic offset programme.
New Zealand carbon permits held steady at current six-year highs on Wednesday as buyers hesitated to lift prices further, even though available supply remains limited.
California’s Air Resources Board awarded just 142,000 offsets to five projects this week, marking the smallest issuance since May.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Vroom, vroom – The EU on Wednesday proposed tougher emissions targets for cars and trucks, including a credit system for carmakers to encourage the rollout of electric vehicles and fines for exceeding CO2 limits. The proposal calls for a 30% reduction in the average emissions of carmakers’ fleets by 2030 compared with 2021 levels. It also sets an interim goal of a 15% cut by 2025 to help ensure automakers start investments early. Some member states say the targets aren’t high enough, while others with big automotive industries, such as Germany, warning that the plan could hurt economic growth, jobs and innovation. (Reuters)
Don’t give a **** – EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said a newly released government report that lays most of the blame for rising global temperatures on human activity won’t deter him from continuing to roll back the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, USA Today reports. “We’re taking the very necessary step to evaluate our authority under the Clean Air Act and we’ll take steps that are required to issue a subsequent rule. That’s our focus,” Pruitt said. “Does this report have any bearing on that? No it doesn’t. It doesn’t impact the withdrawal and it doesn’t impact the replacement.”
What do we want? Carbon price uniformity! When do we want it? Now! – The German economic experts’ council (Wirtschaftsweise) has called for the introduction of a uniform price on carbon emissions that covers the transport and energy sector as well as individual households, a move that would extend the EU ETS to those sectors. In its annual report, the council of five economic advisors to the German government says a floor price on CO2 that is well above the current EUA price is “favourable even if it can only be introduced on the national level”. The council stops short of defining an appropriate price level and says the German government should “do more than up until now” to strengthen the ETS, which should “consistently include all emitters and sectors of final energy consumption”. A uniform price on emissions in all sectors would “ensure that the electricity, transport and heating sectors jointly contribute to emissions reduction”. (Clean Energy Wire)
Naughty – The owner of one of Australia’s biggest coal-fired power plants – Loy Yang B – quietly moved A$1bn offshore within days of pocketing A$117m from taxpayers in compensation for the country’s now-defunct carbon tax, the Guardian reports. The revelation, contained in the Paradise Papers, has prompted renewed criticism of the “chronic failure” of Australian climate policy and warnings against future cash handouts to multinational polluters.
Coal comeback – After declining for three straight years, CO2 emissions from the electric power sector will rise 2.1% next year as coal takes back some market share it had lost to natural gas, according to US Energy Information Administration predictions in the agency’s latest Short Term Energy Outlook. Amid rising gas prices, coal is seen increasing its share of the US energy mix to 31% this year from 30% last year, while gas’ share will drop from 34% to 31% this year, with renewables and nuclear making up the balance. Renewables’ share is expected to rise from 8% last year to 9% this year and to 10% in 2018, while nuclear is forecast to hold at around 20% over that period. (Utility Dive)
Bit pricier than we thought – SaskPower, which is owned by the Saskatchewan provincial government, is “highly unlikely” to recommend the construction of two further CCS units at its Boundary Dam plant, CBC reports. In late 2014, SaskPower commissioned the world’s first commercial CCS unit on its 140MW Boundary Dam Unit 3, which cost C$1.5 billion (US$1.2 billion). The lignite plant, which has been plagued with technical problems, now generates power at about double the cost of other generation options. (CoalWire)
And finally… Not invited – US President Donald Trump is “for the time being” not invited to a climate change summit due to be held in Paris in December, an official in President Emmanuel Macron’s office told Reuters. The decision was made over Trump’s push to withdraw the US from the 2015 Paris Agreement. Over 100 world leaders, as well as sub-national governments, banks, green groups, and other non-governmental organisations, have been invited for the Dec. 12 summit. A lower-level US delegation would still be invited to the event, the official added.
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