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EU carbon allowances rocketed above €15 on Wednesday for the first time since 2011 after a failed auction appeared to light a fuse under prices.
Carbon-cutting activities in Peru’s waste sector could be developed using international emissions trade in a way that resolves many concerns over how carbon markets can contribute to the Paris Agreement, according to an initial draft of a study commissioned by Nordic countries.
A Washington DC lawmaker will introduce a carbon fee and rebate bill in early June that would see the US capital implement the highest carbon price of all sub-national proposals put forth throughout the country this year.
The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) published new draft rules on Tuesday that would set CO2 standards for the few remaining coal plants in the state’s fleet, helping the state phase out the fossil fuel entirely by 2020.
Utah’s state-sponsored lawsuit challenging California’s carbon market and coal power restrictions will advance until the new fiscal year, the lawmaker spearheading the initiative told Carbon Pulse.
New Zealand’s industry association for sheep and beef farmers, a major source of GHG emissions, has pledged to go carbon neutral by mid-century but wants recognition for more carbon sinks if the sector is brought into the emissions trading scheme.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Nuclear stays – Japan has been under pressure to cut its reliance on nuclear power in the aftermath of the 2011 Fukushima disaster, but a new industry ministry report concluded that nuclear should account for 20-22% of electricity supply in 2030, roughly the same share that the government set out in its climate strategy three years ago, Reuters reported. The report made no changes to the previous energy mix targets for 2030, which have coal at 26% and LNG at 27%.
Cash collapse – A “collapse” in UK clean energy investment in the past three years is due to the trend from a succession of Conservative-led policy decisions, according to the environmental audit committee cross-party group of MPs. (Financial Times)
Delays – Even before the highly anticipated official launch of Germany’s coal exit task force, which has been pushed to May 23, the government has given up on the commission’s timetable, Handelsblatt reports. During ongoing meetings on the commission’s composition, Economics and Energy Minister Peter Altmaier said it would conclude negotiations in spring 2019, contrary to the coalition treaty’s aim of presenting its results this year. “This increases the risk that the Climate Protection Act cannot be passed next year, because it is meant to be based on the commission’s findings,” the paper added. The German Green party added that the nomination of the former mining state premiers Matthias Platzeck, a Social Democrat, and Stanislaw Tillich, a member of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, to the task force suggests the government has “already given up on climate protection before the launch of the commission.” (Clean Energy Wire)
Inslee’s in – Washington Governor Jay Inslee has thrown his backing behind a proposed ballot initiative to introduce a carbon tax in the state, the AP reports. A broad coalition of environmental, labour, and social justice groups are pushing Initiative 1631, which, if approved by voters in November, would impose a $15/tonne tax on fossil fuels and electricity sold or used within the state beginning in 2020. The proposal, which would also see the levy rise by $2/year, requires some 260,000 signatures by July 6 to be put on this year’s Nov. 6 state election ballot. Read more about I-1631 here.
Is eight great? – The Maine Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) held a public hearing on Tuesday on a citizen initiative that would require the state to cut its emissions by 8% a year starting in 2021. A grassroots group of activists and attorneys this winter successfully collected nearly 700 signatures from registered voters on a proposal that would see the state reduce GHGs by 75-80% below 2003 levels by 2035, building off the state’s 2010 and 2020 goals. With the initiative also subjecting a collection of new businesses and trucking fleets to the 8% reductions, industry groups in manufacturing and timber voiced their stern opposition to the measure, arguing that the emissions cuts would constitute an unrealistic expectation and regulatory burden. (Portland Press Herald)
Hard times ahead – Over a quarter of the US’ nuclear capacity may retire or will come offline due to economic constraints by 2021, according to analysts at Bloomberg New Energy Finance. While there are 66 nuclear plants operating throughout the country, 24 will not make enough money to cover their operating costs over the next three years, representing 32.5 GW in total capacity. Some observers have worried that the recent trend in nuclear plants closing down could spell trouble for climate change mitigation, as cheap but higher-emitting natural gas is primed to take the place of these plants. (Bloomberg)
Can we have money anyway? – The Saskatchewan government has applied for millions of dollars in federal funding to help fight climate change, even though the province admits it’s ineligible because it has refused to sign onto Ottawa’s carbon tax strategy. The province submitted 11 projects totalling more than C$200 million and expected to cut emissions by 188 million tonnes by Monday’s deadline for consideration under the federal government’s Low Carbon Economy Fund. Saskatchewan would be in line for C$62 million if it were part of the federal carbon tax plan, but it has refused to sign the agreement and is instead planning to sue Ottawa over its programme. (Canadian Press)
A growing trend – A majority of investors of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation approved a non-binding but symbolically important resolution related to climate change during the company’s annual meeting Tuesday, Axios reports. Similar votes at other energy firms are expected in the coming days. Axios says they’re the latest in a trend of investors calling on publicly held fossil-fuel companies to be more transparent about how policies to cut emissions could impact their bottom lines despite President Trump’s retreat on the issue.The proposals mostly urge companies to issue reports assessing how their businesses would fare in a world that cuts emissions roughly in line with the Paris Agreement.
Silent in Rhode Island – The Rhode Island House passed a bill 11-1 on Tuesday that adds biomass to the list of renewable energy sources that qualify for the electricity reimbursement known as net metering. However, the issue drew the ire of many environmental groups including the Audubon Society of Rhode Island, Conservation Law Foundation, and Environmental Council of Rhode Island, who staged a silent protest during the House vote. These groups have argued that wood-burning power plants increase air pollution and GHG emissions, and follows the EPA’s controversial decision of deeming biomass carbon-neutral last month. (EcoRI)
And finally… Buehler… Buehler… – A prominent Republican in the Oregon Legislature beat two main rivals in the party’s gubernatorial primary on Tuesday, setting up a November showdown against Democratic Gov. Kate Brown, who handily won her party’s primary. State Rep. Knute Buehler, who emerged the GOP winner with a strong lead, was the most centrist of the Republican front-runners. While sceptical of major new spending, Buehler says he is open a carbon tax, although not to the Democrats’ cap-and-trade proposal. (Hastings Tribune)
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