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CERs surged to a 20-month high on Wednesday, accelerating a recent rally that has seen prices double in the past four months and which has left many traders scratching their heads.
A Netherlands carbon price floor would have a minimal impact on cutting emissions, a study commissioned by the Dutch government found, while rapidly-increasing EU Allowance prices suggest the effect of the floor, as it is currently designed, may never be felt.
EU carbon rose steadily on Wednesday to close at their highest in seven years, as a stronger auction boosted confidence that prices would extend recent highs.
The EU will from Thursday impose measures aimed at curbing a surge of steel imports diverted from the tariff-setting US, quelling fears that ETS-covered domestic production could be affected.
New Zealand carbon allowances rose to record highs again on Wednesday.
A successful effort to introduce a carbon charge in New York’s wholesale electricity markets separate to RGGI would take nearly three years to take effect, according to the state’s grid operator NYISO.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Reporting ruling – The UK has expanded its mandatory requirements for annual reporting on CO2 emissions and energy use to large non-listed companies, in new rules taking effect from April 2019. The move will come as the government closes the CRC Energy Efficiency scheme, which was criticised for its complexity.
Another small first – The Maldives has become the latest of Japan’s partners under the Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) to register a project, when the bilateral JCM committee this week approved the installation of rooftop solar on a school building that will generate some 500 carbon credits by 2020. A total 34 projects have now been registered under the JCM, with Indonesia’s 13 making it the biggest host nation followed by Mongolia and Vietnam, which have five each. Eight of the 17 partner nations have yet to register a project: Chile, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Kenya, Mexico, Myanmar, the Philippines, and Saudi Arabia.
No secrets here – Numerous healthcare providers, environmental groups, lawmakers, and scientists criticised the US EPA’s proposal to restrict the use of scientific data in agency rulemaking at a public hearing on Tuesday. The proposal, dubbed by opponents as the “secret science” rule, would only allow the EPA to incorporate research that makes all of its data publicly available. The groups countered that the possible directive misrepresents the scientific process and could undermine key legislation like the Clean Air Act, with one physician testifying that the EPA’s rhetoric was reminiscent of that used by the tobacco industry decades ago. (Climate Nexus)
Not off to a great start – Canadian Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna says she was “disappointed” by her first meeting with her new Ontario counterpart. Rod Phillips says the feeling was mutual. The two got off to a rough start with Phillips suggesting the federal government is being “dogmatic” by insisting on “the Trudeau carbon tax solution” and McKenna faulting the new Ontario government for apparently having no plan to replace the cap-and-trade and green programmes they cancelled as soon as they took office. Phillips reasserted Ontario’s threat to take the fight over a potential federally-imposed carbon tax to the Supreme Court, taking the same tack as Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe who recently launched a constitutional reference case. (National Observer)
Rocky mountain renewable – The city of Denver, Colorado released a detailed climate plan on Tuesday with a new goal of running entirely on renewable energy by 2030. Previously, the western US city had committed to reducing emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2050, but added the new goal as more than 50% of the city’s emissions come from energy use in buildings. Measures aimed at lowering GHGs in this sector include assigning an efficiency score to residential buildings, creating energy-efficiency standards for buildings, and unveiling a “green lease” programme to encourage energy efficiency in commercial buildings. Additionally, the city government said that it will not purchase carbon offsets as part of the plan. (Denverite)
RFS wrangling – The US EPA held a public hearing on the proposed 2019 Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) in Michigan on Wednesday, once again pitting oil and biofuel interests against one another over the direction the programme should take in the future. At the gathering, senior fuels policy adviser at the American Petroleum Institute Patrick Kelly urged the EPA to use its exemption authority to prevent ethanol from exceeding 9.7% of the nation’s gasoline pool in 2019, citing lower gasoline demand and cellulosic ethanol development than originally projected. On the other hand, vice president of government affairs at the Renewable Fuels Association (RFA) Samantha Slater criticised the agency for not reallocating volumes lost from the issuance of compliance waivers to refineries, a common point of contention from the biofuels industry discussed at the meeting, despite the EPA having previously said that it would not take comments on that subject during this rulemaking. (Politico)
Funds folly – Utility Arizona Public Service (APS) spent nearly $11 million for its unsuccessful efforts to keep a 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) proposal off the state’s ballot in November, new records show. The watchdog group Energy and Policy Institute analysed financial records from APS and its parent company Pinnacle West that showed the groups channelled funds into robocalls opposing the initiative and a firm that offered petition collectors thousands of dollars to stop signing up new voters on the measure. APS has opposed the 50% RPS by arguing that the target may result in having to shut down its Palo Verde nuclear plant, a technology that generally cannot ramp up and down quickly enough to respond to changes in solar and wind output. However, a study from green group NRDC questioned that motive last month, explaining that the plant’s status as the largest nuclear plant in the country gives it the proper economies of scale to operate with a 50% RPS. (Utility Dive)
And finally… Stop those kids – The US federal government has asked the Supreme Court to intervene in the landmark youth climate lawsuit Juliana v. United States that is scheduled for trial in October. The Department of Justice filed an application Tuesday seeking to halt discovery and trial, including an administrative stay on proceedings. Both the US District Court for the District of Oregon and the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals have repeatedly denied the government’s efforts to delay or dismiss the case, prompting the government to turn to the Supreme Court for relief. This move is just the latest in the government’s continued attempts to thwart the lawsuit. (Climate Liability News)
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