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EU lawmakers struck a provisional deal on a 2030 renewables target of 32% early Thursday, but failed to reach agreement on an energy efficiency bill.
A £150 million ($199 mln) lawsuit against UK bank RBS brought by creditors over its alleged 2009 role in EU carbon trading tax fraud opened in London on Thursday.
The prospect of a quick Ontario exit from the tripartite WCI cap-and-trade market could prove a headache for participants and stakeholders on both the primary and secondary markets, according to analysts speaking at a webinar on Thursday.
California carbon allowances (CCAs) began to recover this week after last week’s Progressive Conservative victory in Ontario sent prices downward, while on the east coast some atypical trading activity took place in the short interim between Wednesday’s RGGI auction and Friday’s result publication.
Late selling on Thursday prompted European carbon prices to close below €15 for the first time in two weeks, despite a bullish auction result.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Major melting – The melting of the Antarctic ice sheet has caused the rate of sea level rise to triple in the past five years, according to new research from a global team of scientists. The international group behind the Ice Sheet Mass Balance Inter-comparison Exercise (IMBIE) found that sea level rise attributable to the warming of the southernmost continent was 7.6 millimetres from 1992-2017, but with two-fifths of this total occurring since 2012. The researchers said that the rate of sea level rise attributable to Antarctica grew to 0.6mm – up from 0.2mm per year only five years prior – meaning that the rate of melting has increased three-fold in just five years. Though the study does not make predictions as to how future Antarctic melting could influence sea level rise, a lead author of the study told Carbon Brief that the continent’s warming could overtake Greenland as the largest driver of rising sea levels.
Social studies – The US Government Accountability Office (GAO) accepted a request to study the social cost of carbon, Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse announced on Wednesday. While there is no timeline yet for the study, Whitehouse said the study would analyse the Trump administration’s decision to reduce the value of the social cost of carbon used in governmental decision-making. President Trump had previously disbanded the Interagency Working Group on Social Cost of Greenhouse Gases and the guidance it had issued via executive order in March 2017. (Politico)
Toss it, judgey – Lawyers for major oil companies on Wednesday urged a federal judge to throw out a lawsuit filed by New York City seeking to hold them financially liable for damages caused by global warming, Reuters reports. Theodore Boutrous, a lawyer for Chevron, said at a hearing before US District Judge John Keenan in Manhattan that the lawsuit, filed in January, was an attempt to hold the oil companies liable for carbon emissions all over the world since the industrial revolution. The city has sued Chevron, BP, ConocoPhillips, Exxon Mobil and Royal Dutch Shell, announcing at the same time that it intended to divest fossil fuel investments from its $189 billion public pension funds over the next five years.
Good smog protections make good neighbours – Two separate US courts ruled this week that the EPA must enforce regulations that restrict states from emitting pollution that could cross borders into neighbouring states. US district courts in Maryland and New York both ruled separately that EPA was derelict in its duty by not enforcing states to comply with the “Good Neighbour provision” under the Clean Air Act meant to address smog pollution. The New York court found that EPA failed to meet an Aug. 2017 deadline that would begin the process of enforcing the law throughout states. The court’s judge ruled that EPA must take necessary steps to limit the smog that blows into New York and Connecticut from five surrounding states: Illinois, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Michigan and Virginia. The court set a Dec. 8 deadline for compliance. (The Hill)
Having a rethink – The World Bank is reassessing its support for the only coal power plant project left on its books. The bank was considering guaranteeing loans to the Kosovo C lignite-fired power station, proposed to be built just outside the Kosovan capital Pristina. It was the last exception to a policy against backing coal projects. But on Wednesday, a World Bank spokesperson told Climate Home News it was finalising work on a study of the country’s options for rebuilding its crumbling power sector. The bank conducted a similar study in 2011 and concluded that a new coal power station was the preferred option to supply Kosovo’s electricity. The spokesperson hinted the bank may be reassessing that finding.
And finally… Pulling an all-nighter – Canadian Conservative MP Pierre Poilievre said that he and the Conservative party will force the House of Commons to sit all night on Thursday if the government does not agree to produce an analysis showing how much a federal carbon price will cost consumers, the Canadian Press reports. Poilievre, who has fought Ottawa for months on the matter, introduced a motion demanding that the ruling Liberal government produce documents showing the carbon cost by June 22, having received a reference to a previous government analysis earlier this year that blacked out the details. While the Conservatives have pointed to Doug Ford’s Tory majority victory in the Ontario election last week as a sign of popular opposition to carbon pricing, critics have pointed out that the majority of provincial voters chose either the Liberals or NDP, both of which support the policy. Separately, senators passed the government’s budget bill without amendment on Thursday, meaning the federal government’s carbon pricing plans, including its backstop scheme, will soon become law.
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