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Front-year EU carbon prices hit €10 on Wednesday for the first time since Nov. 2011, as heavy buying extended the recent rally that has added more than 20% since the start of the year.
The recent killing of three people patrolling the site of a Cambodian REDD+ project, from which the Walt Disney Corp. has bought $2.6 million in carbon credits, has raised questions as to the viability of forest carbon projects.
New Zealand’s Genesis Energy will continue burning coal at its Huntly power station – one of the nation’s biggest buyers of carbon allowances – until 2030, marking an eight-year extension of previous plans.
Carbon capture and storage (CCS) can soon yield a superior emissions performance compared to wind power or natural gas plants, a not-for-profit group set up by Canadian utility Sask Power and coal miner BHP Billion said on Wednesday.
Carbon tax coverage increased worldwide over the four years to 2015 but the rates are still too low to reflect the costs of greenhouse gases, according to an OECD report published Wednesday.
California’s Air Resources Board handed out 96,500 offsets this week, while chopping the invalidation period on a further 474,200 credits.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Droning on – Automated, unmanned drones are poised to revolutionise the package delivery industry, with a number of companies already testing drone-based delivery methods. A new study investigates the climate impact of a shift from truck-based to drone-based package deliveries. It finds that while small drones carrying packages weighing less than 0.5 kg would reduce GHG emissions compared to diesel or electric trucks anywhere in the US, the same is not true for larger drones carrying heavier packages. (Carbon Brief)
Breakin’ the rules – UK-based bank Standard Chartered has been accused of breaching its own climate pledges over the financing of a heavily polluting coal-fired power plant in Vietnam. The bank plans to co-finance the $2.5 billion (£1.81bn) Nghi Son 2 coal plant in Thanh Hoa province, Vietnam, but according to DeSmog UK, Standard Chartered’s climate policy states that a decision to fund a coal plant should be made only if this is “the best available technology” and that “the choice of fuel type, technology and resulting emissions cannot be improved”. According to NGO estimates, the plant will use “outdated” technology and significantly exceed the emission limit Standard Chartered puts on projects it finances. The proposed financing arrangements also appear to breach the OECD’s guidelines on coal, which restrict governments from using public export finance for new coal plants. (Climate Home)
2 degrees of consideration – Businesses like Unilever are increasingly considering 2 degrees C of warming in their business strategy, physical constraints, and financial planning, a C2ES-hosted webinar heard yesterday. Some firms are also using a shadow price of $40/metric ton of CO2 for long-term financial decisions, said Kaitlyn Allen, President of Global Affairs Associates. Mackenzie Huffman, VP of sustainability finance at JP Morgan Chase, explained that “financial institutions have teams that are intimately familiar with scenario development; however, these efforts have not traditionally been used to assess climate-related risks … It is this translation between climate and financial risks that has become one of the primary challenges in using scenario analysis. Many folks have thought that [existing] infrastructure could easily be tweaked for climate scenarios and assess them, but it may not be that simple.” Huffman added that “one of the benefits that we’ve seen in tackling scenario analysis in a climate context [is the] integration of capabilities and expertise across financial institutions that previously didn’t interact. So we have scenario developers and finance analysts talking to risk managers in ways that they didn’t before. This collaboration is really exciting.”
Because economy is full of dangerous thugs – US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt has defended his use of first class and business class travel, saying a “toxic” political environment has created security risks that mandate his frequent use of premium cabins. Pruitt made the comments in an interview with the New Hampshire Union Leader, addressing recent reports that found he frequently travelled first class seats, often at a cost of thousands of dollars per flight. He said his protective detail and his chief of staff made the bookings based on security assessments, and said there was a string of incidents last year that spurred his frequent use of first class seats, though he declined to elaborate on them. (HuffPost)
Sequestering good times! – Millions in US federal funds for a failed carbon capture and sequestration project were improperly spent on liquor, lobbying, and spas, according to a watchdog report Tuesday. Summit Power Group LLC, which was awarded $450 mln in stimulus grants by the Energy Department under the Obama administration, spent $1.3 mln on “unallowable costs” which also included first-class travel, limousine services, and catering on a private jet, according to the department’s inspector general. The company also paid $1.2 mln to consultants who were lobbying on behalf of its efforts to change law related to how grant funds are taxed, the report said. Summit Power, which filed for bankruptcy in October, had urged the DOE to continue its financial support for its $3.9 billion clean coal project in Penwell, Texas, even as the agency’s inspector general cast doubt on its viability. (Bloomberg)
And finally… No love lost – Environmental activists gathered outside of the US EPA headquarters this morning to give out “sweet and snarky valentines” to agency employees, Politico reports. Friends of the Earth showed their love with messages like “We love the EPA (except that Pruitt guy)” and “Let’s cuddle (like Pruitt cuddles up to Big Oil).”
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