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Emissions covered under the US RGGI programme dipped in the fourth quarter of last year, helping cement a near-20% year-on-year drop in the region’s power sector CO2 output in 2017.
Multiple offset certifiers expect to meet required standards for the global CORSIA aviation offset scheme, potentially resulting in a fragmented market that will give airlines more supply options but less idea of cost.
Rhode Island lawmakers float new carbon tax bill, announce US state coalition to advance pricing measures
Rhode Island lawmakers are having another go at introducing a state-wide carbon tax, they said Wednesday, while announcing the creation of a new multi-state coalition to advance efforts to implement wider-reaching carbon pricing initiatives across the US.
California may go it alone on regulating potent heat-trapping refrigerant HFC gases after its initial plan to draw heavily on federal rulemaking was thwarted by a 2017 court case that stripped the national measures of their effectiveness.
EU carbon prices jumped back above €9 on Wednesday after news emerged on how German negotiators aim to give a potential coalition government’s climate measures more teeth.
China has cut tariff levels on imported natural gas in a bid to ease the supply shortage during the seasonal spike in demand, as the government’s push to reduce coal consumption continues to drive up gas prices.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Rough day – US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told a radio host during the 2016 presidential campaign he “believe[d] that Donald Trump in the White House would be more abusive to the Constitution than Barack Obama – and that’s saying a lot.” In an interview with a local Tulsa radio show in February of 2016, posted Tuesday on the website Documented, Pruitt predicted that Trump would take “unapologetic steps … to use executive power to confront Congress in a way that is truly unconstitutional.” Pruitt said he did not recall his statements on Trump when asked about the interview by Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-RI) during a grueling Senate Environment and Public Works Committee hearing Tuesday. Following the hearing, where he was also grilled by Democratic Senators on the endangerment finding, lessening protections for agricultural workers against pesticides and lead pollution, Pruitt was reportedly called to the Oval Office for a meeting. (Climate Nexus)
Green bond guidance – The EU should also introduce an official EU Green Bond standard and an EU-wide label for green investment funds, the European Commission-convened High-Level Expert Group on Sustainable Finance said in its final report released Wednesday. Those were two of the panel’s six proposals, which will form the basis of the Commission’s comprehensive Action Plan on sustainable finance that it will put forward in the coming weeks.
German phaseout – Campaigners Greenpeace Germany have proposed to the next German federal government an emergency programme for coal to “largely reach” the country’s 2020 climate target. The proposal focuses on throttling or shutting down the “oldest and dirtiest lignite power plants,” as measures in other areas could “hardly lead to significant CO₂ emission reductions,” the group writes. The campaign faces a hard time in getting traction as the two main political parties have already agreed on headline climate efforts – read Carbon Pulse’s take. (Clean Energy Wire)
Coal shunned – For years, the coal market defied a global pushback against the commodity by lawmakers and some of the world’s biggest money managers. But after buying and selling almost tripled in five years, coal trading activity slumped by more than a third in 2017, the steepest decline in two decades, according to London-based consultant Prospex Research. The ARA European market declined for the first time since 2009, sliding 42%percent. (Bloomberg)
Breach ahead – The UK’s meteorological agency has forecast the global temperature might flicker above 1.5C within the next five years, Climate Home reports. That would be within a decade of that limit being set down by the Paris climate deal. The Met Office’s decadal forecast said the global average temperature was “likely” to exceed 1C between 2018-2022 and could reach 1.5C. But the office’s scientists were quick to point out that this would not actually breach the Paris Agreement, as that limit refers to a long term average, rather than a yearly reading.
No study needed – Vermont Governor Phil Scott has long opposed a carbon tax, but now he’s made it clear he doesn’t even want to study the idea. The Climate Action Commission, formed by the governor last year, recommended five strategies last month, including a study of carbon pricing. But Scott has rejected the commission’s recommendation that the state obtain an impartial review of carbon tax strategies to curb emissions from fossil fuels. The governor asked the commission to forgo the analysis in a letter issued Friday, saying only the federal government is in a position to study a carbon tax. (vtdigger.com)
We’re out – New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy moved on Tuesday to pull his state out of a multi-state lawsuit designed to block the federal Clean Power Plan, an Obama administration effort to cut carbon emissions by power plants. The move reverses action taken by former Gov. Chris Christie, who in 2015 joined the suit that had been filed against the EPA by states such as West Virginia, Kentucky and Texas that rely heavily on coal-burning power plants. Murphy’s move comes days after he signed an executive order that will begin the process for New Jersey to rejoin RGGI. (northjersey.com)
Mugs – An Irish tycoon and three cronies conned elderly investors out of £3.5 million by promising huge returns on worthless carbon credits and inferior diamonds, the Daily Mail reports. Dylan Creaven was the ‘prime mover’ who set up two fraudulent companies – Agon Energy Limited and Lanyard Capital Ltd – and financed the setting up of plush ‘boiler room’ office suites in central London, it is claimed. Matthew Mansell, his right-hand man, along with Andrew Rowe and Matthew Navin, were relentless in persuading pensioners to part with their savings, jurors heard. They sent Christmas cards, pens, caps and mugs to their clients.
It’s a marathon, not a sprint – Two projects in Palau have been issued 585 carbon credits under the island state’s JCM partnership with Japan, with the latter’s government retaining most of the offsets. The facilities in questions were a small-scale solar power generation at a school and a commercial small-scale PV generation project. Three projects in Palau have now been awarded offsets under the partnership.
And finally… Open season – May’s mid-session UN climate negotiations in Bonn are set for a change as the Fijian presidency has opened up the official UNFCCC talks to researchers, campaigners, business leaders and the general public rather than limiting them to the parallel forums and side events they had historically been relegated to. The UNFCCC will from Friday open an online portal for views to be submitted and seats to be allocated first come, first served for the May session. (Climate Home)
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