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Dismantling Ontario’s cap-and-trade scheme and exiting the North American WCI programme would be “pretty hard” for a new provincial government to do without incurring high costs or denting business and investor confidence, according to Ontario’s former environment minister.
EU countries bumped up their allocations of free 2018 carbon allowances slightly over the past fortnight, data released late Friday showed.
EU carbon prices inched back towards €13 on Friday as a stronger auction raised hopes that this week’s declines would not lead to a material correction.
Mexico plans on keeping its domestic carbon tax and applying it to smaller emitters when it launches its national cap-and-trade scheme, a senior official said this week.
California carbon prices fell slightly this week on light volumes following the Easter holiday break and as a large portion of the market attended a major conference in San Francisco.
The Alberta Climate Change Office (CCO) has confirmed that it will scrap six offset protocols, while also flagging another for withdrawal, according to a memo released on Friday.
Adopting the Canadian government’s ‘backstop’ carbon tax could lower emissions in the country’s Yukon territory by 5.4% over the next five years, according to report released by the territorial government on Thursday.
Vietnam is finalising a plan that will impose CO2 caps on all sectors of the economy and possibly on individual major emitters, the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) said, though it remains unclear if the South East Asian nation will go for an emissions trading scheme or a carbon tax.
New Zealand carbon allowances notched a third consecutive day of gains on Friday, climbing to a 6-week high amid steady demand while sellers were few and far between.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
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Industry aid – Germany’s new environment minister Svenja Schulze wants to introduce a state support programme to help cut emissions in the ETS-covered industries such as steel and cement. The federal government would reimburse up to half of the costs “if a company develops an alternative technology with emission-free energy,” she said, adding that the companies would secure their competitiveness, and the technologies could be exported. (Rheinische Post, Clean Energy Wire)
Prairie plaintiffs? – Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said on Friday that it will sue the federal government if Ottawa imposes a higher carbon price on the province than its flat C$25/t tax. The province has remained defiant in its opposition to the price schedule for the federal backstop price, which rises to $50/t in 2022, arguing that the Manitoba plan will yield a smaller hit to taxpayers. The news comes after Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe said that his province will sue the government over the carbon tax in the next few weeks. (The Globe and Mail)
Off again – An on-again, off-again effort to restrict harmful methane emissions on US federal lands is off – again. A federal judge in Wyoming has halted the clean-air rule indefinitely, saying it “makes little sense” to force oil and gas companies to comply with the Obama-era rule when the Trump administration has moved to roll back the 2016 regulation, AP reports. The Interior Department is accepting comments on its proposed rewrite and expects to issue a final rule this summer. In the meantime, Judge Scott Skavdahl said enforcing the earlier rule would provide “minimal public benefit” while imposing potentially significant costs on industry.
Forest first – Colombia’s highest court has recognised Colombia’s Amazon as an “entity subject of rights” – which means that the rainforest has been granted the same legal rights as a human being – and ordered the government to come up with action plans within four months to combat deforestation. The ruling stems from a group of young people aged 7-26 who filed a lawsuit against the government demanding it protect their right to a healthy environment. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
Moment in the sun – The world invested more in solar power than coal, gas and nuclear combined last year, according to the report from the UN Environment Programme (UNEP). China was by far the world’s largest investor in renewable energy in 2017, accounting for nearly half of the new infrastructure commissioned. On top of this, solar power is becoming more affordable with the cost of electricity from large-scale solar projects dropping 72% in the last nine years. However, fossil fuels still dominate existing capacity. Solar, wind, biomass and other renewables generated 12.1% of world electricity in 2017, up from 5.2% a decade earlier. (Reuters)
And another – Dutch power provider Nuon, a unit of Sweden’s utility Vattenfall, has announced it will offer bonds to its customers and other energy customers in the Netherlands to raise additional funds for its PV project pipeline to be developed in the country. The initial bond offering is intended to raise money for the construction of a solar park in Velsen-Noord, in the province of Noord-Holland, while at a later stage it will also offer bonds for two more solar facilities, which will be located in Eemshaven and Amsterdam, respectively. Nuon had previously implemented a crowdfunding project for clean energy project among its employees. (PV Magazine)
And finally… Worse to bad, or bad to worse? – President Donald Trump floated replacing Attorney General Jeff Sessions with Scott Pruitt as recently as this week, even as the scandal-ridden head of the EPA has faced a growing list of negative headlines, according to people close to the President. “He was 100% still trying to protect Pruitt because Pruitt is his fill-in for Sessions,” one source familiar with Trump’s thinking told CNN. Though the President has, at times, floated several people a day for multiple positions in his administration that are already occupied, the proposition reveals just how frustrated Trump remains with Sessions because of his decision to recuse himself from overseeing the Russia investigation more than a year ago, while signalling how confident he has remained in Pruitt despite a dizzying number of ethics issues.
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