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EU carbon prices will edge up towards the end of the year before climbing back above €25 for good in 2019, according to a poll of 15 analysts conducted by Carbon Pulse.
Nearly 22.1 million California Carbon Allowances were retired or shifted into the Allowance Price Containment Reserve during the third quarter, according to state data.
Oregon state representative Knute Buehler (R) said he will eliminate the state’s Clean Fuels Programme (OCFP) if elected next month in the tight gubernatorial race, a political shift that could also jeopardise legislators’ cap-and-trade push in 2019.
California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) prices rose further above the $190 mark on Thursday, nearing record highs attained this summer.
European carbon prices rallied on Friday after another bullish auction result, hitting an eight-day high above €22 after busting through technical resistance.
The London Stock Exchange Group (LSEG) has hired a well-known carbon and climate finance specialist to spearhead its drive on green finance.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator doled out 297,582 carbon credits this week as big issuances to some forest projects pushed volumes up above average levels.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
What’s Kava-next? – It appears that Brett Kavanaugh will be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice by the US Senate this weekend. What does this mean for US energy and climate policy? According to Utility Dive, Kavanaugh has a track record of curtailing federal regulations and has questioned the constitutionality of independent agencies like FERC. Industry lawyers also told Utility Dive back in July that placing Kavanaugh on the high court could put a number of environmental regulations at risk.
Petrochemical problems – A sharp increase in GHG emissions from the petrochemical industry threatens to erode climate benefits from reductions in other sectors, according to a report issued by the International Energy Agency (IEA) on Friday. The report found that direct emissions from petrochemicals – including plastics, fertiliser, and pharmaceuticals – would increase by 20% by 2030 and 30% by 2050. Plastics are slated to be the main drive of this increase, while roughly 7% of increased demand in natural gas in 2030 will come from pharmaceutical companies, the report predicted. (The New York Times)
Not an ACE in the hole – The Trump administration’s Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) Rule, the replacement for the Clean Power Plan, will not save US coal-fired utilities from shutdown, according to a Reuters survey of 44 utilities. The survey showed 24 operators believe the proposal will have no impact, four believe it is too early to say what the effects will be, seven declined to comment, and the rest did not respond. The 35 operators that responded comprised more than three-quarters of the nearly 150 coal-fired units scheduled for retirement in the coming decade. The ACE rule, which gives states more leeway in regulating power plants, has been panned by state lawmakers and environmentalists alike for backtracking on climate change mitigation and being a detriment to public health.
Home is where the reductions are – The economics of building highly efficient homes that meet, or at least could meet, all their energy needs with renewables is nearing cost parity with regular single-family homes, according to a new report from US think-tank Rocky Mountain Institute. According to a survey of four large housing markets, the study found that zero-energy ready (ZER) homes – those which do not yet have solar panels – are only 1%-2.5% more expensive than conventional types, while zero-energy (ZE) homes are 7-8% costlier. Currently, ZE and ZER homes make up just 1% of the nationwide residential market. (Axios)
Thirty needed – A carbon price starting around €30 per tonne of CO2 is among the new policies needed to effectively prevent warming above 1.5 C, argues the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research. This would very likely render investments in coal-fired plants unprofitable. Zero-carbon mobility, such as electric cars, could then become an attractive option as consumers would expect an increasing carbon price, and the internal combustion engine would gradually be phased out. There a significant gap between actual carbon prices and those required to achieve ambitious climate change mitigation that can be closed by enhancing the legitimacy and popularity of carbon pricing by using its revenues to fund research and development for zero-carbon solutions, cutting taxes, or propping up the welfare state. These revenues could, moreover, be used in developing countries for low-carbon infrastructure investments. (The Guardian)
Forest focus – A group of scientists spanning five countries has released a statement warning that the role of forests in combating climate change risks is being overlooked by the world’s governments, the Guardian reports. The scientists say halting deforestation is “just as urgent” as eliminating the use of fossil fuels, and that protecting and restoring forests would achieve 18% of the emissions mitigation needed by 2030 to avoid runaway climate change. (Carbon Brief)
Ok, but… – Brazil, home to the largest remaining rainforest in the world, may soon elect a president who believes that the Amazon should be exploited for its mineral resources, The Times reports. Jair Bolsonaro, 63, is a far-right congressman and former army captain who is leading the polls going into the first round of elections on Sunday. He has repeatedly gone on record defending Brazil’s farmers against those trying to protect the forest, and has criticised government commitments to protect set-aside forest for indigenous people. Brazil has pledged to cut GHG emissions by about 40% below its 2005 levels, with most of that said to be achievable by reducing deforestation.
RFS run-through – A panel of DC Circuit appellate judges on Friday heard another iteration of arguments regarding the US Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS). In the first round, trade group National Biodiesel Board (NBB) argued that the EPA set the blending requirement for biodiesel in 2017 too low. The second round saw the American Petroleum Institute and American Fuel and Petrochemical Manufacturers arguing that the corn-based ethanol requirement was too high, and third round featured the usual argument over whether the number of companies that must comply with the programme should be expanded. Additionally, a bipartisan group of 20 senators sent a letter to President Trump on Thursday asking him not to order the EPA to allow year-round sales of 15% ethanol blends (E15). Trump will reportedly make some sort of E15-related announcement next week, though the exact details on that remain unclear. (Politico)
Cause London is sinkin’ man, and I don’t wanna swim – London is among several cities at risk of major flooding, according to an analysis released by Christian Aid, the Independent reports. London’s sinking problem is “largely a vestige of the last ice age when glaciers that weighed Scotland down and lifted up the south like a see-saw melted and reversed the effect”, writes the Independent. Other cities such as Jakarta, Shanghai, and Houston that are already sinking will become increasingly vulnerable to storms and flooding as a result of global warming.
Telling the difference – Carbon Brief has published an interactive tool illustrating the difference in the climate impact if global warming goes to 1.5C, 2C or beyond. Data from more than 70 climate studies have been collected to illustrate impact on sea levels, drought, rainfalls, crops and a number of other indicators, which can be viewed globally or by region. If you’re wondering what’s the big deal whether warming stops at 2C or 2.5C, this interactive provides some answers.
Going Dutch – The Dutch government confirmed on Friday its plan to introduce a CO2 price floor for the electricity sector from 2020, Montel reports. Last year, the coalition government set out a plan to help rein in power plant emissions due to relatively low carbon prices in the EU ETS. It indicated that the floor price, which is similar to the UK version and would add a premium to EUA prices, would start at €18 and rise by €2.50 annually to €43 by 2030. Benchmark EUA prices are currently trading above €22. The Netherlands aims to reduce its emissions by 49% below 1990 levels by 2030.
And another – Carbon exchange boss and serial entrepreneur has announced the seed capital funding round for the International Crypto Exchange (ICE), a centralised trading venue and ‘regulator ready’ spot exchange for cryptographic currencies and digital assets that utilises distributed ledger technology and smart contracts. Sharpe is the founder and chairman of Global Environmental Markets, which owns carbon trading platform CTX. He’s the latest of a series of carbon trading entrepreneurs to delve into blockchain and cryptocurrencies. It’s not clear from ICE Crypto’s website whether it will offer trade in carbon credits.
And finally… Stripped – Clearing operations at Germany’s embattled Hambach Forest to make way for utility RWE’s coal mine were halted by a Munster court on Friday to decide whether the forest is protected by EU environmental rules. The judges said RWE did not provide sufficient evidence why cutting down the old forest is necessary to maintain energy supply security and ordered the clearing be stopped for the time being. The judgement follows extensive protests by campaigners, including a group of porn actresses who joined the campaign to save the forest last week. (Clean Energy Wire, Bild)
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