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Non-forestry firms covered by New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme handed in 6.8 million allowances more in 2017 than the previous year despite only a modest increase in emissions as the phase-out of the scheme’s 2-for-1 rule began to take effect.
Spot NZU prices lifted on Thursday to set a fresh record high, the twelfth over the past two months, as available supply remained scarce and some emitters bet on impending clarity on government plans to amend the ETS.
California regulator ARB on Wednesday provided updates to its proposal to incentivise the uptake of more zero-emissions vehicles (ZEVs) under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), including a controversial measure to credit ZEV infrastructure build-out introduced earlier this summer.
Germany has launched a tender to procure nearly 300,000 offsets as part of its commitment to neutralise the GHG emissions generated from the business trips of federal government officials.
Danish utility Orsted reported an 11% dip in its bioenergy and thermal power generation over H1, though any EUA demand decrease is likely to be limited as the company’s move away from fossil fuels continues.
European carbon prices nudged back above €17.50 on Thursday, rising after a stronger auction to buck a three-day slide and push prices back towards their recent seven-year high.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
India inventory – India’s emissions grew faster than its population from 2005-2013, but are still low per capita compared to other major emitters like the US and China, according to new data compiled by the GHG Platform India. Over this period, the country released 20.54 billion tonnes of CO2e at an annual growth rate of 5.57%, with per-capita emissions rising by 4.07% each year. Over two-thirds of these GHGs came from the energy sector, more than three times larger than within industry, though coal use still accounts for 80% of emissions in the latter sector. Additionally, the platform identified several national plans and regulatory instruments that should help the country reduce its emissions, including the National Electricity Plan’s goal of updating the fuel mix to 40% non-fossil modes by 2020.
Food price hikes – Extreme weather is putting inflationary pressure on crucial foodstuffs, according to a paper by bank HSBC’s global research unit. It highlights recent price spikes for commodities including wheat, soybeans and maize, and warns that heatwaves and droughts in the US and Europe are an increasing threat to food security and supply chains. “Whilst summer months typically see higher prices for grains, climate events are responsible for above-average spikes this year, in our view”, the paper says. (BusinessGreen)
Group project – The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) is working with several Trump administration agencies to identify coal and nuclear plants that are “critical” to the country’s grid, FERC Chief of Staff Anthony Pugliese told a nuclear conference this week. According to audio of the meeting provided to E&E News, FERC is working in tandem with the White House, the Department of Energy, and the National Security Council on the proposal to save the uneconomic plants, with Pugliese saying that “adversarial countries” see natural gas pipelines as an “area of great opportunity”, whereas nuclear plants are more resilient to cyberattacks. However, experts have questioned that framing since attacks could centre on a nuclear facility’s cooling system or transmission lines that connect it to the grid. (Utility Dive)
Leak liability – Southern California Gas Co. has agreed to a settlement that will see the major utility pay nearly $120 million for the largest single methane release in US history in 2015 that forced thousands of Los Angeles residents to flee their homes. The settlement struck between the company and the city of Los Angeles will pay for emissions mitigation, a long-term health study, and increased safety measures after the Aliso Canyon natural gas storage field leaked upwards of 100,000 tonnes of methane over nearly a four-month period. Residents of the nearby Porter Ranch neighbourhood reported headaches, nausea, and nosebleeds following the release. (Climate Nexus)
Broken record – In a response to President Trump’s claim earlier in the week that a lack of water is inhibiting attempts to put out California wildfires, US Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross on Wednesday issued a directive to the National Marine Fisheries Service to prioritise the protection of life and property over any current agreements regarding the use of water in areas affected by the wildfires. However, a Cal Fire spokesperson repeated previous officials’ statements that the directive would have no effect since firefighters have not experienced any problems with supplying water. Meanwhile, as the record fires continue to blaze, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration also on Wednesday revealed that July was California’s hottest month on record, hitting an average temperature of 79.7 F (26.5 C). (Politico)
Spot success – Spot exchange operator CBL Markets announced on Thursday that it had broke its previous record for the number of compliance products traded on the platform. 1,040 lots changed hands within the compliance market in July, a 15% increase from this April’s previous record of 903 lots. Additionally, CBL reported first trades for seven different products during the month including various categories of Renewable Energy Certificates (RECs) and SO2 allowances, as well as reaching 1,000 registered users on the exchange.
And finally… Forget the hazing – A geoengineering method of spraying a veil of sun-dimming chemicals high above the Earth to slow global warming could harm crop yields in an unintended side-effect of turning down the heat, according to US scientists led by University of California, Berkeley, in a paper published in the journal Nature. The findings were a surprise after some previous research suggested plants might grow better with hazier sunshine, especially crops in the shade. (Reuters)
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