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No Canadian province or territory has formally asked to adopt the federal government’s ‘backstop’ carbon pricing programme, a government spokesperson told Carbon Pulse on the eve of Ottawa’s notification deadline.
The Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) will appeal to the US Supreme Court a state judge’s recent decision to prevent it from implementing its Clean Air Rule, a department spokeswoman told Carbon Pulse on Thursday.
New Jersey is beginning two rulemaking processes for re-joining RGGI auctions and distributing proceeds, the state’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) said at a public hearing Thursday, while also potentially pushing back its proposed re-entry date.
The poll-leading Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) party has pledged to keep the Canadian province’s cap-and-trade scheme and remain in the continental WCI programme if they are elected in October.
California carbon prices dipped this week as some concerns began to emerge over the May auction, while RGGI prices topped $4 for the first time in nearly a month.
A ramp-up in hedging activity from two of Europe’s major utilities late last year could lead to weaker EUA demand over the next few months, company reports suggest.
The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.6% in 2017, according to provisional government data released Thursday, a decline again driven by the ongoing shift in the power sector from coal to cleaner gas and renewables.
EU carbon prices rose despite a failed auction on Friday, finishing the week with a 5.3% rise and the quarter with a massive 62% gain.
New Zealand carbon allowance prices rose 10 cents to their highest since Mar. 1 on Thursday, the deadline day for emitters to report their 2017 GHG output.
Australia’s recent reform proposal for the Safeguard Mechanism is likely to drive up emissions from covered facilities, instead of increasing the burden on others to help the nation meet its climate obligations, according to generator AGL.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Good idea – Carbon pricing is a good idea whose time has not yet come, writes the Financial Times, nominating the concept as one of 50 ideas to change the world. It suggests compensation for those who lose out, with sanctions for non-compliance needed to ensure the policy becomes effective at tackling climate change. Other climate-related ideas on the list include a slew of clean energy advances, harnessing deep sea trenches for cheaper large scale CCS, deploying satellites, bots and lasers to track forest and ocean carbon, and creating a veggie burger that taste just like meat. (Financial Times)
Unexpected – India’s CO2 emissions grew by an estimated 4.6% in 2017, despite a turbulent year for its economy. This was a larger rise than first predicted. Robbie Andrew, a senior researcher at the CICERO Center for International Climate Research in Norway, goes through the underlying data and explains what drivers caused emissions to spike. (Carbon Brief)
Somewhat expected – Australia’s GHG emissions in 2017 were again the highest on record when unreliable data from sectors including land clearing and forestry are excluded, according to consultants NDEVR Environmental. According to the Guardian, even including land clearing, overall emissions show a continued rising trend, which began in about 2011, putting Australia’s commitment under the Paris agreement further out of reach. The rising GHG levels come despite continued decline in emissions from the electricity sector, following increased renewable energy generation and the closure of Australia’s dirtiest coal power station, Hazelwood.
Doha dealing – Poland has ratified the Doha Amendment to the UN Kyoto Protocol, the country’s climate envoy Tomasz Chruszczow tweeted. The coal-dependent country and host of December’s annual UN climate talks had angered environmental campaigners by holding out on signing the 2012 pact, which officially extended Kyoto and the operation of the CDM to 2020 but which has been to a large extent overtaken by the more universal Paris Agreement. Chruszczow said 112 countries have ratified the amendment, with 32 more needed for its entry into force. Poland is thought to be the last EU member state to perform the act.
Gro-NIGH-gen – Fifty-five years after starting natural gas production from Europe’s biggest field, the Netherlands have signed its death warrant. Output from the Groningen deposit will be cut by two-thirds from the year starting Oct. 2022 and halt by 2030 to ensure the safety of people in the province of the same name after earthquakes linked to extraction, Economy Minister Eric Wiebes said Thursday. The specific type of gas from the field is used by millions of households and thousands of businesses in the Netherlands, Germany, Belgium and France. Tremors have continued to shake the northern Netherlands since 2014, when the government started reducing flows from the field. The latest cap was set at 21.6 billion cubic meters a year, which is equivalent to almost 5% of total EU gas demand. (Bloomberg)
Step up – The UK needs to match Sweden, Norway, Iceland, and France in adopting or at least considering a net zero emissions target, according to the Grantham Research Institute. While the UK Climate Change Act’s 2050 target of reducing annual emissions by at least 80% by 2050 is “technically consistent” with the Paris Agreement’s goal of limiting global warming to well below 2C, the institute calls for the UK’s legislation to reflect also the 2015 pact’s target for reducing annual emissions to ‘net zero’. (The Conversation)
Dismissed – A US District judge in Manhattan threw out Exxon Mobil’s lawsuit against the attorney generals of New York and Massachusetts, who have challenged the oil giant for misleading investors and the public about the effects of climate change. Exxon had said that these probes were done in bad-faith and comprised a violation of its constitutional rights, but Judge Valerie Caproni countered that Exxon’s argument was “implausible” and dismissed the suit with prejudice, preventing it from being brought up again. New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman originally issued a subpoena to Exxon in 2016 regarding its history of climate change and interaction with interest groups and shareholders on the topic, with the lawsuit commencing that June (The New York Times).
Dispatches from the GCF – Howard Bamsey has ducked interviews for more than a year. Now he speaks to Climate Home about the Green Climate Fund’s successes, challenges and the $2 billion Trump owes them.
No more nuclear – US-based electric utility FirstEnergy Corp. announced on Wednesday that it will close all three of its nuclear plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania in either 2020 or 2021. While the company has so far unsuccessfully petitioned legislators for subsidies to help keep the plants open, the planned closures come at a time where stagnant power demand and cheap natural gas and renewables have heightened competition within the industry. (Axios).
And finally… Game misconduct – The National Hockey League (NHL) released its second sustainability report on Wednesday, showcasing how climate change is negatively impacting the sport. The study, created with green group National Resources Defense Council, found that warming temperatures could cut the length of the ice skating season by up to one-third in Eastern Canada and by 20% in the west. The NHL plans on addressing these impacts by taking steps like installing LED lights in all arenas throughout the next five years. (Climate Nexus)
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