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The Canadian government will further relax the stringency of industry production benchmarks for certain sectors under its output-based pricing system (OBPS), the government announced Thursday, as it also revealed more information on the national clean fuel standard (CFS) beginning next decade.
he EU faces a tight timeline to adopt a 2050 low carbon strategy in time for UN deadlines as several environment ministers on Thursday called for more analysis and wide consultation first.
The European Commission has amended the EU ETS Registry Regulation to allow for the lifting of restrictions on British EUAs should a wider Brexit deal be reached.
European carbon closed down slightly on Thursday, though steady buying throughout the day lifted prices back from their morning lows below €24.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator on Thursday for the first time released a set of key carbon offset market data, concluding that supply in the short term will be sufficient to meet demand as Safeguard Mechanism entities approach their Feb. 28 compliance deadline.
A newly formed industry association is planning to develop carbon estimation and reporting standards for vegetation-based carbon credit projects to reduce risk for involved parties and increase confidence for banks lending to project developers.
British Columbia is not ruling out a tradable component or the use of offsets in its carbon intensity benchmark programme for heavy industry, the province’s environment minister told Carbon Pulse.
Carbon prices on both coasts rose this week as New Jersey released its proposed cap for its re-entry into the RGGI market, while California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) nudged toward next year’s floor price.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Not off to a good start – The Met Office global temperature forecast suggests that 2019 will see close to record warmth due to climate change and the added effect of El Nino in the Pacific. The agency’s central temperature estimate for next year is 1.1C above pre-industrial levels, just behind 2016’s warmest year on record at 1.15C.
Matter of speech – Democratic US House leaders have tapped Florida Representative Kathy Castor to head a select committee on climate change in next year’s Congress. Though she told E&E News that her confirmation wasn’t official yet, Castor said one of her goals would be to raise the profile of America’s response to the climate crisis. While many progressives and environmental campaigners have pushed for a “Green New Deal” strategy and limiting members of the select committee to those who reject fossil fuel industry contributions, Castor said she would also focus on other measures and wouldn’t disqualify representatives on this criteria, citing free speech. “I don’t think you can do that under the First Amendment, really,” she said.
Going, going, gone – New Mexico utility regulators on Wednesday unanimously accepted the Integrated Resource Plan (IRP) from Public Service Co. of New Mexico (PNM), which will see the company phase out coal-fired generation by 2031. The plan calls for PNM to retire the remaining units at the 847MW San Juan coal plant in 2022, along with ending its ownership stake in the Four Corners coal plant by 2031. Company officials said the utility would be nearly 70% emissions-free by 2032. (Utility Dive)
More details please – The UK House of Lords’ EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee has written to climate minister Claire Perry, to ask for more detail on her plans for a carbon tax under a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario. In a no-deal scenario, the UK will replace its participation in the EU ETS with a £16/tonne tax. The Committee has asked for further information on what basis this value was selected, its lack of flexibility to match the EUA price, and whether it is compatible with the UK’s emissions reduction targets. The letter also asks specific questions on whether the government is any closer to reaching an agreement with the devolved administrations regarding the tax and whether it has undertaken specific analysis regarding the impact on cost to consumers of the UK leaving the EU’s Internal Energy Market. Read the full letter here.
Too weak – The weak and fragile German government is unlikely to implement the drastic measures needed for a speedy coal exit, regardless of the coal commission’s proposals due early next year, according to energy policy researcher Claudia Kemfert. The economist from the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW) argues that only a well-designed Climate Action Law can ensure that the country gets back on track towards lowering emissions across the board in line with international climate targets. (Clean Energy Wire)
“High” energy use – Axios Expert Voices contributor Maggie Teliska looks at the energy implications now that Massachusetts opened the state’s first two recreational marijuana stores last month, which sold more than $2.2 million in product on their first day. The state’s Cannabis Control Commission’s Energy Working Group (CCCEWG) is concerned with skyrocketing GHGs from the cultivating facilities. The energy use of a marijuana-growing facility is 8–10 times that of a normal office of similar size. Producing one pound of cannabis can contribute 3,000–5,000 pounds of CO2, the equivalent of about 2,670 vehicle miles. 3% of electricity use in California goes to growing marijuana, while the city of Denver devotes 4% of its total used energy to cultivation facilities. To curb emissions, cultivation facilities will need to adopt more efficient (and more expensive) LED lighting and building improvements. (Daily Hampshire Gazette)
Aligning trade and climate policies in 7 easy steps – The International Chamber of Commerce has published seven steps that governments can take to align trade and climate change policy regimes. Issued on behalf of 45 million companies worldwide, the recommendations call for the integration of these regimes to help meet global goals for avoiding the worse effects of climate change while ensuring that measures taken to combat climate change are not used to justify discrimination or restrictions of international commerce. The ICC policy statement on International Trade and Climate Change further recommends putting a price on carbon, carbon tax eligibility for border tax adjustments, and exploring the adoption of climate waivers. ICC will also consider aligning trade and climate policies in countries’ Paris Agreement NDCs.
Branching out – Royal Dutch Shell announced two new renewables deals on Wednesday. The first of these is a joint venture with EDF Renewables North America, the US arm of France-based EDF Group, that will develop a wind energy lease off the New Jersey coast. The other deal was Shell acquiring a 49% stake in Cleantech Solar, a Singapore-based developer with projects in Southeast Asia and India, for an undisclosed amount. (Axios)
And finally… Didn’t read it – The US Congressional Budget Office (CBO) claimed in a recent report that climate change will only have “small” impacts on the US economy over the next 30 years, directly refuting the findings of hundreds of federal scientists last month, the Huffington Post reports. The CBO’s 400-page report on how to reduce the federal deficit, released last week, said that the effect of climate change on the nation’s economic output “will probably be small over the next 30 years and larger, but still modest, in the following few decades.” The report went on to highlight some of the “positive” changes from a warming climate, like a reduction in cold-related deaths, in addition to the negative ones. This comes after the National Climate Assessment, released by scientists at 13 federal agencies, found climate change could cost the US economy $500 billion annually by 2100. (Climate Nexus)
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