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The Trump administration’s proposal to freeze US fuel economy standards could increase GHG emissions at a level potentially greater than rolling back the Clean Power Plan and federal methane regulations, according to a new study.
The Queensland state government has commissioned two carbon market service companies to acquire 115,000 Australian Carbon Credit Units (ACCUs) from aboriginal-run projects to offset greenhouse gas emissions from its vehicle fleet.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
European carbon prices were steady on Friday to notch a 3.3% gain for the week, holding near recent seven-year highs on light volume and following another bullish auction result.
CARBON FORWARD 2018
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Terawatt triumph – The world has reached the milestone of installing 1 terawatt of wind and solar generation capacity, according to data from Bloomberg New Energy Finance. Looking back, total installed capacity grew 65-fold from 2000 and more than quadrupled since 2010, while solar PV is likely to soon take over wind in representing the majority of the installed renewable base. The analysts estimate that the first 1 TW of wind and solar cost roughly $2.3 trillion to deploy, but they expect the second TW to cost 46% less than the first, arriving by mid-2023.
Burning desire – Average daily emissions of carbon dioxide from the wildfires burning in California from July 24 through July 31 exceeded those from all other state sources such as transportation, industry, electricity production, agriculture and others, according to NASA sources, which could prompt state officials to bolster implementation of programs aimed at limiting wildfires. Experts estimate emissions from the fires peaked around 1.3 Mt/day, and have yieled around 6.1 Mt of the past eight days. In contrast, emissions from California’s other sources typically average around 1 Mt/day. (InsideEPA)
Say it ain’t Sweden – The ongoing extreme heatwave across Europe continues to make headlines, with Sweden in the throes of the continent’s latest temperature-related problems. First, The Times reported that a reactor at Vattenfall’s Ringhals nuclear plant was closed after seawater reached 25 C, the maximum temperature allowed under safety rules to cool the reactor. Additionally, the country lost its highest point after extreme melting from record Arctic temperatures melted almost 4 metres from the glacier on the southern peak of the Kebnekaise Mountain. With the glacier having shrunk by almost a metre every summer since 1995, the recent loss now makes the mountain’s northern peak the tallest point in Sweden. (Carbon Brief, Climate Nexus)
Pace race – Climate negotiators writing the Paris Agreement rulebook need to “crank up the pace”, said Jo Tyndall, co-chair of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Paris Agreement. Speaking with Climate Home, the New Zealand diplomat said although there was good progress made at the group’s May meeting in Bonn, she described a “disconnect between the amount of time we have available and the scale of the remaining work that needs to be done.” There is one more technical session on the rulebook in Bangkok next month before COP24 in Poland this December.
At attention – A higher level of political attention is necessary to make the Green Climate Fund (GCF) work after the highly-publicised collapse of its past meeting, according to the UN climate chief. Patricia Espinosa told the Thomson Reuters Foundation that members of the fund – designed to channel billions of dollars to help developing countries tackle climate change – need to overcome the obstacles that led to a stall in key decision-making and the resignation of the GCF’s executive director Howard Bamsey. Though she did not have a specific plan for how the fund should move forward, Espinosa said that she had high hopes the members would “get back to work as soon as possible” at the group’s next meeting in October.
No longer coal re-Alliant – US utility Alliant Energy released its Corporate Sustainability Report on Thursday and announced a goal to eliminate coal from its energy mix by 2050 and reduce emissions by 80% by that year, though it did not mention a baseline year. The Wisconsin-based company also said that it plans to spend more than $2 billion on renewables and to double its number of wind sites to 12 from 6, which when combined with additional purchase agreements will result in more than 2,700 MW of wind power by 2021 and a 30% renewable share of its mix by 2030. It also noted that it will exceed the US’ Paris Agreement target through cutting emissions by 40% by 2030. (Markets Insider)
Lloyds too – Britain’s Lloyds Banking Group said on Thursday it will not fund new coal-fired power stations or thermal coal mines, or bank new clients that derive most of their revenue from either of these operations. The new policy brings Lloyds in line with peers Royal Bank of Scotland and HSBC, which both announced similar changes earlier this year as lenders update their approach amid growing concerns about coal’s impact on the environment. (Reuters)
Safe for now – A Maricopa County Superior Court judge ruled this week that a group challenging Arizona’s ballot initiative for a 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2030 cannot prevent citizens from voting on the measure, even if organisers may have violated some state election laws. Utility Arizona Public Service and its parent company Pinnacle West filed their case last month arguing that initiative organisers did not comply with state laws requiring all ballot measures to list a “sponsor” before gathering signatures, thereby throwing out the 480,000 signatures collected. However, Judge Daniel Kiley said that he was not deciding in this trial if the case broke local election law, and even if it did, the most the Secretary of State’s office could do would be to levy a fine on the campaign. Still, Kiley noted the companies are free to prove their other contention that three-fourths of the signatures were invalid either because signatories were not registered to vote or because their addresses and names didn’t line up. A five-day trial later this month on the latter argument has already been scheduled (Arizona Capitol Times).
No weaknesses – The US EPA said in a court filing this week that it will not attempt to weaken ground-level ozone regulations set in 2015 by the Obama administration. Ground-level ozone, formed when fossil fuel emissions meet sunlight and heat, were set at a limit of 70 parts per billion before a variety of industry groups argued the restrictions would impose undue costs on them, leading the Trump-era EPA to ask the DC Circuit court last year to hold the case while the agency considering changing them. Although the court granted that request, it reopened the case on Wednesday, with the EPA saying that it had intensively reviewed the standards and would decide not to challenge them at this time. Separately, two environmental and public health groups this week sued the agency for its decision this spring to not list a group of counties around the Midwestern municipalities of Chicago, Milwaukee, and St Louis as being in violation of the ozone rules. (Utility Dive)
Export problems – Countries highly dependent on extractive industries are particularly vulnerable to rising heat stress, according to a new study. Consultancy Verisk Maplecroft found that the extractives sector in Central Africa accounts for 88% of the region’s total export value projected to be at risk by 2045, with high heat and humidity creating dangerous conditions for outdoor activities. West Africa will also see nearly 11% of export values at risk by that year, with 60% of the total coming from extractives, while the report noted that without adaptation the Middle East and North Africa would see 6% of their exports at risk in 2045. (Axios)
And finally… Happy accident – Young researcher Sarah-Jeanne Royer set out to measure methane gas coming from biological activity in sea water. Instead, in a “happy accident” she found that the plastic bottles holding the samples were a bigger source of this powerful warming molecule than the bugs in the water. Now she’s published her report after spending a year and a half testing different types of plastic in and out of seawater to see if they emit methane and ethylene, which both contribute to the greenhouse effect. Royer found that the most widely-used plastic, the stuff used to make shopping bags, is the one that produces the greatest amount of these warming gases. At the end of the study, after 212 days in the sun, this plastic emitted 176 times more methane than at the start of the experiment. Ironically, when plastics were exposed to air the amount of methane emitted was double the level from sea water. (BBC)
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