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California regulator ARB approved a suite of amendments on Thursday that will alter several price and offset-related elements of the programme, and also included language to ease concerns about oversupply, cost containment, and indirect emissions.
The basis for an international emissions trading system under the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 became clearer on late Thursday, though some worried that the requirements could prove onerous for investors.
Negotiations over a Paris rulebook in Katowice are nearing the end as ministers have reported on the status of the talks to the Polish presidency, though delegates are readying themselves for an extended stay as chances of reaching a deal appear slim.
Switzerland and Peru have agreed to formalise a process expected to lead to the European nation buying some of the first carbon credits generated under the Paris Agreement framework.
Chile could add the use of offsets as a compliance option for its $5/tonne carbon charge and expand its coverage to more sectors, though a timeline for those revisions remains uncertain, an official told Carbon Pulse on Thursday.
It’s more than a decade away but EU member states are starting to consider strategies for meeting their tougher 2030 emission reduction targets for trickier sectors like transportation and agriculture, as a carbon market outside the ETS begins to take shape.
The EU and its non-EU neighbours Norway and Iceland on Thursday reached an agreement on joint fulfilment of their Paris Agreement climate targets that will allow the countries to trade more of their emissions.
The UK and Italy are both vying to host the annual UN climate summit in 2020, their environment ministers announced Thursday.
Nine member states have pledged to co-operate to strengthen EU carbon prices to help meet the goals of the Paris Agreement, either at EU level, regionally, or nationally.
European carbon prices climbed to a fresh two-month high on Thursday, as bulls felt empowered after yesterday’s options expiry saw a huge rally rather than the sell-off that some had foretold.
German energy exchange EEX on Thursday published the Polish EUA auction calendar for 2019.
New Zealand carbon allowances fell nearly 4% from record highs on Thursday as the highly anticipated government ETS reform package failed to clarify the near-term fate of the NZ$25 fixed price option.
RGGI allowances (RGAs) saw mixed price reactions and increased activity following the Dec. 5 auction result, while California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) rose slightly over the past week on thin volume.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Behind the scenes – Marathon Petroleum teamed up with powerful oil industry groups and a conservative policy network funded by the billionaire industrialist Charles G. Koch to push the rollback of US fuel economy standards, a New York Times investigation found. The campaign’s main argument for significantly easing fuel efficiency standards was that the country is so awash in oil it no longer needs to worry about energy conservation, clashing with decades of federal energy and environmental policy. Marathon also utilised the American Legislative Exchange Council, associated with the Koch network, to draft legislation for states supporting the industry’s position, describing current fuel efficiency rules as “a relic of a disproven narrative of resource scarcity”. Separately, an oil lobby representing ExxonMobil, Chevron, Phillips 66, and other refiners urged Americans to write regulators in supporting the rollback.
Committee craic – US Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi, likely the next speaker of the House when the Democrats take control in January, offered a draft proposal on Wednesday to create a select committee on climate change. The committee, which would not have the power to advance legislation on its own, would consist of nine Democrats and six Republicans. Pelosi also met with the staff of incoming Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) about the congresswoman-elect’s proposed Select Committee for a Green New Deal, though AOC’s staff said Pelosi had not endorsed the idea. (Politico)
Is anyone surprised? – The head of the US government agency that monitors climate change says that in nearly two years he has never discussed the issue with President Donald Trump. Acting National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration chief Adm. Timothy Gallaudet said in a press conference at a scientific meeting this week, “I personally have not briefed the president on climate change.” Gallaudet said he doesn’t know if others had briefed the president. He did note that he was in the room when Trump signed a bill aimed at keeping plastic trash out of the ocean. (AP)
Not going so well – Three projects operated by the Inter-American Development Bank, to which the Green Climate Fund had pledged to support with more than $150 mln, have lapsed in the past year, according to global development news website Devex, meaning they will no longer receive funding from the GCF in their current form. The projects included a project in Argentina expected to cut 15.3 MtCO2e through catalysing private investment in sustainable energy. The IDB operated three of the four GCF-approved projects that have lapsed so far.
Just don’t do it – Environmental groups in Australia are now urging banks to stay clear of co-financing new coal-fired power projects, after Energy Minister Angus Taylor invited interested parties to announce interest for building new power capacity that would be underwritten by the government. Taylor said the projects would have to be gas, coal, batteries or pumped hydro, though expectations are he would go for one of the first two. The Coalition urgently wants to add new capacity to ensure reliability and bring down power prices, and has given interested parties until Jan. 23 to announce their interest – in good time ahead of the expected May elections. (Guardian)
Methane miss – Alberta’s methane regulations released on Thursday will fail to meet the province’s target, according to new modelling carried out by several green groups. In a press release, the organisations said that the provincial regulations will reduce emissions by 22 million tonnes of CO2e by 2025, or 36% below 2014 levels. However, hitting that target would require a 45% cut, which the groups said could be achieved by adopting the Canadian federal government’s methane regulations enacted earlier this year.
Chamber of approval – Canada’s largest business group has endorsed a carbon tax as the most efficient way for the country to cut greenhouse gas emissions. In a report released Thursday, the Canadian Chamber of Commerce says there is general consensus in Canada that something needs to be done about climate change, and the debate should not be about if, but how that happens. Aaron Henry, the chamber’s director of natural resources and environmental policy, said the businesses that make up its membership agree a carbon price is the most efficient way to do it. “Our members are very much in favour of it,” he said. “They’re happy to do this. We applaud the Canadian government’s direction on this.” (Canadian Press)
Bust and boom – US solar power growth slowed during the third quarter of 2018, though a rebound awaits, according to an assessment from Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables and the Solar Energy Industries Association. Overall, growth in the market fell 15% year-on-year as utility-scale growth regressed, though residential installations were either flat or up slightly. However, projects delayed from an early 2018 tariff decision are now slated to go forward, meaning Q4 could be the biggest quarter for utility-scale projects in two years. (Axios)
Import performance – A new RGGI report found that while the nine US member states saw an average annual increase of electricity imports from sources outside the scheme from 2014-2016 period, emissions from those imports declined. The report found an average annual increase of 19.8 MWh of additional power flowed into the RGGI system during this timeframe, compared to the 2006-2008 base period. However, the 35.4% increase from the base period was muted by declining emissions from those sources. The report found those net imports decreased by 1.7 million short tons.
Down on the farm – Duke University purchased the rights to a 4,000 hectare “carbon farm” in eastern North Carolina to help achieve its goal of carbon neutrality by 2024. The Hyde County Farm sits on peatlands that were once used for agriculture, and locks carbon in the soil by using “enhanced management and conservation practices”. Duke, which needs to cut its emissions by 84% in the next six years to hit its goal, may sell any leftover carbon credits. (Duke Chronicle)
And finally… What about Rudolph? – Santa’s reindeer are not immune to the effects of climate change, according to a new report. A US National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration study found wild reindeer populations have dropped 56% over the past two decades. Some herds have shrunk by as much as 90%. The changing temperatures have resulted in changes to vegetation and caused drought in some areas. (Vox)
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