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EU lawmakers agreed a provisional deal on post-2020 EU ETS reforms in the early hours of Thursday morning, setting the market’s legislative framework to 2030 with supply-curbing measures that analysts expect to cause carbon prices to rise as high as €35 by 2023.
New Zealand looks set to scale down its plans to buy foreign carbon credits to meet its Paris target after Climate Change Minister James Shaw on Thursday said the government would look to do more to cut domestic emissions.
Taiwan’s Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) this week proposed draft five-yearly carbon targets starting with the 2016-2020 period, adding that it would finalise a policy portfolio – that will include its proposed carbon market – to meet the goals but stopping short of announcing an ETS start date.
Costa Rica is considering buying international credits to help meet its Paris emissions goal as some of its remaining abatement options may be too costly, according to a government official.
A slew of European utilities reported higher fossil fuel-fired output this week in their quarterly earnings, pointing to heightened demand for EU carbon allowances.
European carbon fell for a third straight day on Thursday, sliding to a five-day low below €7.50 after EU lawmakers clinched a preliminary deal on post-2020 reforms for the market.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Impeccable timing – Negotiators from 195 countries are gathered in Bonn to discuss the path to a low-carbon future, so what better time for South Korean state-owned Korea Electric Power Co. (KEPCO) to announce that it has won a $2.3-bln contract to build a 1,200MW coal-fired power plant in Vietnam. KEPCO led a consortium that also included Japan’s Marubeni Corp., and the plant is expected to be finished in 2021, according to Yonhap News Agency.
Cash injection – Billionaire climate campaigner and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Thursday announced a $50m plan to expand his $164m campaign to end coal-burning beyond US borders, the Guardian reports. The money will target efforts in Europe and the rest of the world, supporting grassroots campaigns, research on the health impacts of coal, and legal action against coal plants that are breaking pollution rules.
Bedevilled decision – California regulators have slashed utility PG&E’s request to recover $1.76 billion in costs to retire its 2,240MW Diablo Canyon nuclear facility down to just $190.4 million, potentially hurting plans to replace it with a combination of renewable energy, efficiency and energy storage. Green group NRDC called the decision “deeply flawed” and said it would work with the other proponents to convince the California Public Utilities Commission at a hearing on Nov. 28 to rewrite the proposed decision so that it is consistent with state policy and the public interest.
Playing chicken – Outgoing Saskatchewan Premier and vocal carbon pricing critic Brad Wall thinks the Canadian federal government won’t have enough time to get legislation passed to introduce a $10/tonne CO2 tax before the start of next year on unwilling provinces under Ottawa’s backstop measure. “I don’t know what they can do by regulations. We’re watching it carefully,” Wall said, according to the Regina Leader-Post, adding that he believes the federal government has “been playing a bit of chicken here.”
Ulterior motive – Nicaragua’s announcement last month that it was joining the Paris Agreement had an ulterior motive, sources have told Climate Home. The central American country’s chief climate negotiator, Paulo Oquist, is set to be the next co-chair at the multi-billion dollar Green Climate Fund (GCF). According to diplomatic sources, Nicaragua lobbied for the position, but the fact that it had not signed up to the UN pact that underpinned the fund made the appointment awkward. At the same time, left-leaning Nicaraguan president Daniel Ortega did not want to be seen as taking Donald Trump’s side on rejecting the 2015 treaty. Oquist’s appointment at the GCF is due to be confirmed in February. The 24-member board appoints two co-chairs, representing developed and developing countries, for 12-month terms. Oquist is currently an alternate board member.
F-off – The European Commission has allocated the EU’s 2018 quotas for the import and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), known as F-gases. The 2018 quota is just 63% of that allocated for 2015, with those for 2016 and 2017 at 93%. EU regulations require a gradual phase-down of F-gases, which are used in refrigeration and air conditioning, to end up at no more than 21% of 2015 sales by 2030. Companies can apply for HFC quotas annually. The Commission published the names of 400 companies, a considerable rise compared to previous years. Importers of equipment containing HFCs to contact these companies and obtain the quota authorisations required to sell such equipment on the EU market.
Sri Lanka carbon tax – Sri Lanka is introducing a carbon tax on petrol and diesel cars, motorcycles and buses under its 2018 budget, while pledging to phase out all such vehicles by 2040. The levy is proposed at around 62 rupees ($0.40) per year for motorcycles, 650 rupees ($4.23) for cars, and 1000 rupees ($6.51) for buses. The government added that it would slash taxes on electric vehicles, and will replace all state-owned vehicles with electric or hybrid models by 2025. (Lanka Business Online)
Unofficial US hub – “The US will meet its goals, with or without the federal government,” said Mayor James Brainard of Carmel, Indiana, as he officially opened the unofficial ‘We Are Still In’ coalition’s US pavilion outside the COP23 venue in Bonn. Such pavilions traditionally serve as meeting hubs for environmental NGOs, green businesses, and governmental institutions at these talks, but the US Climate Action Center is a privately-funded structure erected outside the tightly-controlled meeting areas. You can find a full list of events here, and many of them are being live streamed here. Dozens of private-sector speakers are slated to speak, along with governors, mayors, and state legislators, city council members, campuses, and investors. (Ecosystem Marketplace)
And finally… Facepalm – An environmental nominee of President Donald Trump who had labelled CO2 “plant food”, called renewable energy a parasitic “false hope”, and compared belief in manmade climate change to paganism, abandoned some of her positions Wednesday under questioning from Senate Democrats. But Kathleen Hartnett White also dismissed a scientific analysis released by the White House last week, which found that climate change is very likely caused by humans, as a product of the Obama administration, even though it was Congress that ordered it. And as a candidate for the role of chair of the White House’s Council on Environmental Quality, she showed surprisingly little knowledge about climate science in general. Watch her cringe-worthy exchange with Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse. The Senate also advanced the nomination of fossil fuel attorney William Wehrum for assistant administrator of the EPA.
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