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A government white paper released Thursday that outlines the UK’s proposed post-Brexit relationship with the EU offered few further details on whether the country would seek to remain in the bloc’s carbon market, stacking up uncertainty as the format exit date approaches.
Average credit prices in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) continued to set new highs in June, as market participants await more information on credit figures from Q1 2018 and regulator ARB’s rulemaking package.
US carbon prices moved in opposite directions this week, but the change in both values and volumes was minimal in both markets as new WCI data was published and the holiday season neared its peak.
European carbon prices fell on Thursday, briefly dipping below €16 amid tumbling energy prices to end a 10% rally that had built up over eight straight days of gains.
Sixty New Zealand companies on Thursday vowed to measure and report their CO2 output and set GHG reduction targets in line with the Paris Agreement, a move that will impact half the nation’s emissions.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Matters once more – The recent EU ETS reform has taken an important first step to once again making carbon pricing a relevant part of the climate policy toolkit, according to an analysis by German think-tanks Agora Energiewende and Oeko-Institut. (Clean Energy Wire)
Exhausted – The lignite reserves already permitted for mining in Germany are enough to almost completely exhaust the remaining CO2 budget of the country’s energy sector, WWF Germany said in a short report for the German coal exit commission’s second meeting on July 13. Burning all of the approved German lignite would release 3.84 billion tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere, while the country’s total budget for coal, gas, and oil under the terms of the Paris Agreement lies somewhere between 2 and 4 billion tonnes, WWF said. Germany leads the world in annual lignite production of over 170 million tonnes, more than 30 Mt above second place China. (Clean Energy Wire)
Gas it up – Increased demand and lower prices could lead US gas generation to break a 2016 record for its largest share of the nation’s electricity supply. In its most recent Short Term Energy Outlook, the US Energy Information Administration (EIA) reports that gas-fired power plants are on track to supply 37% of all electricity produced this summer, with the lone regional exception to the trend being the West, where non-hydro renewables will increase their market share to 16% from 14% a year ago. Concurrently, coal power is slated to drop slightly to 30%, continuing its multi-year downtrend. (Utility Dive)
At odds – Oil giant Exxon Mobil has left the conservative advocacy group American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a company spokesperson said on Thursday, reportedly due to opposition over ALEC’s stance on climate change. Although Exxon did not explicitly mention climate change as a reason why the company allowed its membership in the group to expire at the end of June, the fossil fuel giant was a leading figure against a previous ALEC proposal that would have seen the EPA rescind the policy allowing it to regulate GHGs. Though the proposal was shelved, ALEC is still funded by the industrialist Koch brothers, who have financially backed climate sceptic lawmakers and organisations over the years. (The Hill)
Coastline credit concern – Communities along the US coastline susceptible to global warming-fuelled sea level rise face a downgrading of their credit unless they act quickly. A white paper published by the University of Pennsylvania Scholarly Commons says that the absence of clear market or government warnings about the risks of climate change is leading many municipalities to forego resilient infrastructure projects while they still have access to affordable credit. Over the coming years, the report’s author says that investors, underwriters, and credit rating agencies will ask more pressing questions about risks relating to sea level rise. Additionally, the report urges municipal leaders to stop taking cues from the federal government on these matters, with a recent example being President Trump rescinding an Obama regulation to set new goals for mitigating flood risk. (Climate Liability News)
A kindler, gentler rollback – New acting EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler gave his first address before 200 agency employees on Wednesday, seeking to assure them of his willingness to listen to their concerns after Scott Pruitt resigned as head of the department last week. “When it comes to leadership, you can’t lead unless you listen,” Wheeler said, adding that he will aim to defend the work EPA staffers and seek out facts before drawing conclusions. While Wheeler has also sought to keep his schedule updated and public – one of the many controversies that led many to call for Pruitt’s exit – he confirmed that he would keep the Trump administration’s commitment to “provide regulatory relief” intact from Pruitt’s days, and reportedly did not mention climate change during his address. (Climate Nexus)
Learning by example – A forthcoming special thematic section in the journal Climate Policy will review the performance of many carbon pricing instruments over 2005-2015 . For example, “carbon taxes in Europe prior to 2008 and in British Columbia reduced emissions from business-as-usual but actual emissions continued to rise”. (Climate Policy)
And finally… Rats! – One solution designed to protect coral reefs threatened with climate change is to eliminate rats from nearby tropical islands, according to a new study. Usually, birds inhabiting the islands provide natural fertiliser to the reefs in the form of their droppings, but rats prey on the birds, leading to lost nutrients for the coral. “There is no example that is as clear cut and effective in enhancing the functioning of coral reefs in the face of climate change,” said contributing researcher Dr. Aaron MacNeil, a fisheries ecologist at Dalhousie University in Nova Scotia. (The Independent, Carbon Brief).
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