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Australia’s Energy Security Board (ESB) on Thursday released a draft design proposal for the National Energy Guarantee that included many of the same elements found in intensity-based emissions trading schemes.
Ontario PC candidates reiterate carbon pricing opposition but lack clear climate policy alternatives
All four Ontario Progressive Conservative leadership candidates on Thursday reiterated their pledges to dismantle the province’s cap-and-trade scheme and reject the federal backstop programme, but no one was able to able to offer any semblance of a coherent climate change policy alternative.
Washington state legislators unveiled an updated carbon tax proposal ahead of a public hearing on Thursday, featuring a reduced price level and giving more attention to funding rural economic development.
Oregon’s twin cap-and-trade bills were approved along party lines on Wednesday in their respective chambers’ environmental committees, but now face further work amid an uncertain future.
Carbon prices on both North American coasts drifted lower this week as participants in both markets grew wary of getting caught out by price jumps ahead of upcoming auctions.
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is working towards a controversial federal carbon-neutral policy for biomass, despite the fact that the agency’s own Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has yet to reach consensus on the issue.
Carbon Pulse has hired three new reporters to expand news coverage of carbon markets and taxes and climate change policy in North and South America.
EU carbon prices dipped on Thursday to fall further back from the previous session’s six-year high above €10, as analysts predicted prices could drop further amid a lack of fundamental support.
*** Wednesday’s EU market report featured an error concerning the timing of MSR allowance withdrawals. The article has been corrected here. ***
Utility Statkraft has reversed the value of an impairment on its German gas-fired power due to an improved outlook for the cleaner form of generation in the country and has deployed varied approaches to how it will comply with sweeping new financial regulations under MiFID II.
Voluntary carbon market certifier Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) has changed its name to Verra in a rebranding that it says reflects its broadening portfolio of sustainable development and environmental standards.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Too big to fail – The world’s largest banks are failing to take climate change seriously, according to new research by Boston Common Asset Management. It surveyed 59 international banks and found that only half have done a 2C scenario analysis. Just 46% of the banks have set explicit targets to promote environmentally friendly schemes and more than three in five have not limited coal financing. (Bloomberg)
Expect extremes – A new study, posted in the journal Sciences Advances on Wednesday, warns that even a moderate rise in global temperatures will have severe impacts on the climate. The authors find that a rise in global temperatures between 2-3C could consume half of Europe with fives times as many-record setting hot nights, while parts of the US may three times as many records-setting days. Furthermore, the study highlights that keeping global temperatures under the 1.5C target identified in the Paris Agreement would still yield “sizeable increases” in the amount of hot and wet days. (Climate Nexus).
Renew, revive – New data shows that renewable energy is significantly contributing to both a reduction in GHGs and a healthy economy in the US. The 2018 Sustainable Energy in America Factbook, released by Bloomberg New Energy Finance for the Business Council for Sustainable Energy, showed that power sector emissions fell by 4.2% in 2017, the lowest level since at least 1990. The amount of electric power coming from renewable sources or natural gas rose from 31% in 2008 to 50% last year, with energy productivity also increasing by 17.3% over that same period. Overall, the report says that clean energy and energy efficiency contribute to more than 3 million American jobs.
Offshore solar – A Dutch consortium led by developer Oceans of Energy is planning to build an offshore solar farm off the Netherlands in three years. An initial pilot next year plans to overcome land shortage issues and ultimately operate 2,500 square metres of floating solar panels by 2021. (Reuters)
Best practices – The Gold Standard and the Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) Switzerland have published a report, Business and the Sustainable Development Goals: Best practices to seize opportunity and maximise credibility to help the private sector define and deliver against ambitious strategies to help the world meet the United Nations’ 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. This publication comes in support of the launch of the Sustainable Development Solutions Network (SDSN) Switzerland, with a goal of connecting a global need with business opportunity. The UN’s Sustainable Development Goals Report from 2017 cites that “the rate of progress in many areas is far slower than needed to meet the targets by 2030,” flagging the urgency to accelerate action. The Business and Sustainable Development Commission flagship report highlights that “achieving the SDGs could create 380 million jobs and help unlock at least $12 trillion in opportunities for business by 2030.”
And finally… Weeded out – A high-ranking climate adviser to President Trump resigned on Wednesday after being told he would not receive permanent security clearance due to marijuana use five years ago. George David Banks, a White House adviser under President George W. Bush and former executive vice president of the think-tank American Council for Capital Formation, had been a special assistant to Trump for international energy and environmental policy on the National Economic Council since last February. While Banks was in favour of the US remaining in the Paris Agreement, he also advocated for efficient coal plants as a central part of the solution, notably encapsulated in the US delegation’s coal and nuclear side session at COP23 last November. The move comes as numerous Trump administration officials, formerly operating on temporary security clearances, are being vetted and in some cases ousted after a wave of public scrutiny. (Bloomberg).
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