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Poland intends to auction 55.8 million unallocated EU Allowances that it had set aside during 2013-2017 to help decarbonise its power sector, the European Commission said late Wednesday, a move that would roughly double the number of permits the country had been expected to sell next year.
Negotiators substantially cut down the draft text of the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 concerning international emissions trading on Wednesday, though sources said much work remains over the next week-and-a-half of UN talks in Katowice.
Some 40 companies, business group, and environmental organisations on Wednesday released the ‘Katowice Declaration on Sound Carbon Accounting’ to avoid double counting of emission cuts in carbon markets set up under the Paris Agreement and ICAO.
British Columbia’s government outlined a long-term climate strategy Wednesday aimed at electrifying its transportation sector, increasing its energy efficiency from buildings, and reducing emissions from its industrial sector.
California utilities are asking state regulator ARB to withdraw its proposal to regulate indirect emissions from the Energy Imbalance Market (EIM) and continue its existing policy through 2019, according to public comments.
Dip-buyers failed to support EU carbon prices on Wednesday as the benchmark contract fell more than 5% to a four-day low below €20.
Emitters increased their buying of German EUAs in October, taking advantage of sinking prices, a new report shows.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
How high – Just a day after new data suggested CO2 emissions from the world’s advanced economies are slated to rise by 0.5% in 2018, a new study found global emissions from fossil fuels and industry will rise by 2.7% this year to hit a record 37.1 bln tonnes. The report, authored by the Global Carbon Project, found the rising figures were largely due to increased coal usage, as well as oil use growing in most regions including the US. Though the range of uncertainty on this prediction varies between a 1.8% and 3.7% increase, if realised it would be the second straight year of rising GHGs after a three-year plateau. (Axios)
Sea change – Maersk, the world’s biggest container shipper, is planning to cut its net CO2 emission to zero by 2050. The Danish company, which accounts for 80% of global trade, said it aimed to have carbon-neutral vessels commercially viable by 2030 by using energy sources like biofuels. Maersk is aiming to meet its target without buying carbon offsets. “If you buy offsets, you are basically delaying the pain. What you are doing is buying yourself an excuse and hoping that the money you pay goes to good uses, but you are not tackling the issue at its core,” COO Soren Toft told the Financial Times. The company’s offset snub is in line with a weaker industry-wide emission goal struck by at the UN’s IMO this year, which requires any reductions to take place within the shipping sector. Read Carbon Pulse’s latest on the IMO goals here.
Give it up – A day after France postponed an increase in the country’s carbon tax, the government now is saying the higher levies may simply be abandoned, Bloomberg reports. The increase “has been suspended,” government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux said Wednesday on RTL Radio. “We will open a debate, and if we can find other solutions, we will give it up.”
Japan for the job – Japan is making a play for one of the most politically critical jobs in international climate finance, Climate Home reports. The executive director vacancy at the Green Climate Fund has been openly advertised, with a Dec. 12 deadline for applications. Japan’s foreign ministry took the unusual move this week of publicly nominating an experienced diplomat, Kenichi Suganuma, to the role. Japan is currently the largest donor at $1.5 billion, though delegates said it was for the board to select the director based on agreed criteria and not the amount of cash contributed.
A step closer – The EU’s flagship package of energy policies advanced on Tuesday with the adoption of the 2030 renewable energy and energy efficiency targets by the European Council. Member states and the European Parliament reached agreement on the targets in June, setting a 32% binding target for renewables in the EU and a non-binding 32.5% target for energy efficiency. MEPs backed both directives in November. Council also voted in favour of the new Energy Union and Climate Action regulation, which mandates governments to prepare a national energy and climate plan for the 2021-2030 period and present a draft by the end of this month.
The toll on coal – The US has consumed less coal in 2018 than at any time in the past 40 years as cheap natural gas and other rival sources of energy frustrate the Trump administration’s pledges to revive the industry, a federal report said Tuesday. A report by the US EIA projected 2018 would see the lowest consumption since 1979, as well as the second-largest number of coal-fired power plants shutting down. US coal demand has been falling since 2007 in the face of competition from increasingly abundant and affordable natural gas and renewable energy. (AP)
The roll(back) on coal – And yet the Trump Administration is set to roll back a significant climate regulation on Thursday that would make it easier to build new coal plants in the US, the New York Times reports. Under the EPA’s expected rule, carbon emissions from coal plants would not be allowed to exceed 1,900 pounds of CO2/MWh, up from 1,400 under the Obama-era regulation. But the plan is expected to have little, if any, effect on the power market, as there are no plans to build new coal plants in the foreseeable future due to increasingly cheap natural gas, renewables, and storage technology.
… Definitely no more coal then – US utility Xcel Energy will eliminate emissions from its power plants by 2050 as it looks to become the first major multi-state utility to phase out GHGs, it announced Wednesday. Xcel will reduce emissions by 80% from 2005 levels by 2030, add renewables and retire fossil fuel generators while retaining two nuclear plants. In August, Xcel received approval to retire 660 MW of coal capacity a decade earlier than planned. (Utility Dive)
Be like Mike – Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg said he would make climate change the central issue of the 2020 presidential campaign. Bloomberg, who is mulling a presidential campaign, said the government needs to take action on the issue, and he did not see a future for coal. “One thing that shouldn’t be part of the mix at all now is coal,” Bloomberg said. (New York Times)
Green matchmaker – New Zealand on Wednesday launched the NZ$100 million ($70 mln) Green Investment Finance (NZGIF), a government vehicle to help the nation transition to a low-carbon economy. It is intended to help match interested investors with tech developers, and to create new and innovative ways to reduce carbon emissions. Similar initiatives in other countries have raised $2-10 in external capital for each government dollar put in, according to Climate Change Minister James Shaw. (Stuff)
Fresh start – The Labor government of Western Australia will begin work on a new state climate policy, it said Wednesday. Its previous policy was softened when the federal carbon price came into place in 2012, but not adjusted back when the price was dismantled two years later. For example, an obligation for natural resource projects to offset their carbon emissions was removed, and now those projects play a central role in Australia’s booming GHG emissions. WA Climate Change Minister Stephen Dawson said carbon sequestration would be incorporated into the new policy but gave no further details. Analysts Reputex said last week a reinstatement of the offset obligation might drive carbon credit demand of 15-60 Mt per year.
A Wale(s) of a target – New legally-binding emissions targets for Wales have been announced, setting the path towards an reduction of 80% from 1990 levels by 2050. Because of Wales’ heavy industry like steelworks, power generation, and its agriculture, this presents a particular challenge. Ministers want cuts through the likes of more sustainable transport and energy efficient buildings to be “at the front and centre” of policies. Emissions in Wales fell by 19% from 1990 to 2015, compared with a 38% reduction for the UK as a whole. The Welsh government has also banned new coal mines from getting planning permission, with applications for opencast and deep-mine coal mining to be allowed under “exceptional circumstances.” (BBC)
And finally… So who exactly is in Katowice? – According to the provisional list published by the UNFCCC, there is a grand total of 22,771 registered participants, including 13,898 representing specific parties, 7,331 from observer organisations, and 1,541 journalists. The total number of party delegates is smaller than in Paris in 2015, but larger than in Bonn last year. As in recent years, the largest delegations tend to be sent by African countries, with the top 3 largest delegations from COP23 also featuring in the top 5 this year. Leading the table at COP24 is Guinea with 406, followed by the Democratic Republic of Congo’s 237, and host Poland’s 211. Making up the rest of the top 5 is Cote d’Ivoire at 208 and Indonesia at 191. In contrast, France sent 188, Canada 161, Germany 153, Brazil 107, the UK 52, and the US 44. Read Carbon Brief’s full take on the numbers here.
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