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California regulator ARB is considering changes to its forestry offset protocol and potentially adding a grassland methodology as it looks to increase the supply of credits with a direct environmental benefit to the state, a registry source said.
County of San Diego housing projects relying on out-of-jurisdiction carbon offsets to nullify the impacts of urban sprawl may not proceed because the plan violates prior guidance and lacks environmental integrity, a California Superior Court judge ruled last week.
The Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) will ask the state Supreme Court this spring to overturn a lower court’s block of Governor Jay Inslee’s (D) market-based regulation for large emitters, potentially offering the state a fresh chance to put a price on carbon after multiple failed attempts in recent years.
California regulator ARB divvied out nearly 679,500 California Carbon Offsets (CCOs) during the week of Dec. 24-28 in the final issuance of 2018, as a single forestry project developer took home most of the credits.
Evolution Markets has lost an experienced broker from its New York City office, several sources confirmed to Carbon Pulse.
The Netherlands faces a turbulent year in agreeing a plan to meet its 2030 domestic emission target after green groups withdrew their support because it failed to include a carbon tax for heavy industries while setting a lower carbon price floor for the power sector.
European carbon allowances closed higher following a choppy session on Wednesday, flirting with last September’s 10-year high during the first trading day of 2019.
Chugoku Electric Power Co. and JFE Steel have given up on plans to build a 1.07GW coal-fired power plant over concerns the facility might prove unprofitable, marking the seventh planned coal plant to be scrapped in Japan over the past 18 months.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets.
Governments will in early 2020 revisit negotiations for rules covering international emissions trade, recycling much of last week’s failed Paris Agreement Article 6 text that gave wide scope for cross-border dealing.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Off to the races – The 2020 US presidential cycle got underway during the recent holiday break, as Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren announced she would seek the Democratic nomination. Warren, who has become known for her stances on economic inequality and consumer protection during her Congressional tenure, is also backing the framework of a Green New Deal called for by a growing number of progressives, her aide told Axios. Warren’s announcement, the first instance of a major Democratic hopeful proclaiming their candidacy for the upcoming race, was followed by Washington Governor Jay Inslee signalling his own plan to run. Potential candidates Senators Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker, as well as billionaire Tom Steyer, also back a Green New Deal, while Michael Bloomberg, who recently switched to being Democrat, said Sunday that he aims to elevate the role of climate in the 2020 race, whether he runs or not.
France upsurge – Nearly two million French people in just over a week have signed a petition launched by four NGOs that urges the government to take tougher climate action. The sum is the biggest petition ever in France and significantly more than the Yellow Vest movement that focused on living standards, which involved just over a million. The NGOs are giving the government two months to respond before they follow up on their preliminary court request. (Radio France International)
Amazon outcry – Hours after taking office, Brazil’s new president Jair Bolsonaro gave an executive order transferring the regulation and creation of new indigenous reserves to the agriculture ministry, which is controlled by the powerful agribusiness lobby. The move sparked outcry from indigenous leaders, who said it threatened their reserves, which make up about 13% of Brazilian territory, and marked a symbolic concession to farming interests at a time when deforestation is rising again. (The Guardian)
Had a good run – Coal’s three-year run of blistering gains in Europe is set to end, clobbered by a combination of weakening demand and energy polices aimed at phasing out the dirtiest fossil fuel. After prices more than doubled since 2016 as Asian importers drove demand, coal is expected to fall more than 10% to $76.50 a tonne next year in Europe, a Bloomberg survey shows. That’s a far cry from October’s five-year high of $100. A return to those levels any time soon may be difficult. Slowing growth in China and other Asian countries is damping demand at a time when India’s mines are set to churn out more supply. In Europe, pressure to cut use of the fuel in power generation is intensifying, while the cost for polluting is near the highest in a decade and expected to climb further.
Getting there – Two new solar facilities that opened in northwestern China last year will – for the first time in the country – sell power at a lower price than coal-fired power plants, Xinhua reported. The two plants with a combined generation capacity of 1 GW are based in Qinghai province, and the price development sparks renewed optimism for green energy in China as the government is in the process of phasing out subsidies for wind and solar power to push those industries to become more competitive.
Quite appealing – US Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal has granted a petition by the Trump administration for a rare pre-trial appeal in a landmark, youth-led climate lawsuit. A three-judge panel voted 2-1 to grant this request, coming as somewhat of a surprise after it had denied repeated attempts by the federal government to stop the case before trial. The interlocutory appeal granted by the court allows certain aspects of the case to proceed while others are considered, though counsel for the 21 youth plaintiffs in the 2015 lawsuit expressed disappointment that the trial will face further delays. According Politico, Judge Michelle Friedland’s four-page dissent argues that the case should go to trial, and that the only reason the lower court judge approved this appeal now is because she “felt compelled” to do so under pressure from the Supreme Court. (Climate Liability News)
New year, new rule – The Washington state Department of Ecology on Wednesday adopted a new rule requiring new vehicles licensed in the state to meet the fuel economy standards followed by California and 13 other US jurisdictions. That follows the EPA last year proposing to weaken the standards beginning in 2021 originally agreed to by California and the federal government during the Obama administration. If the Trump administration’s proposal goes through, it would add 1.8 Mt of CO2 to Washington state’s emissions profile by 2035, the state government said.
Charging ahead – Electric car sales rose to 31.2% of all sales in Norway last year, from 20.8% in 2017 and just 5.5% in 2013, while sales of petrol and diesel cars plunged. The figures consolidate Norway’s global lead in electric car sales per capita amid heavy tax breaks and a 2025 goal to ban non-electric car sales. IEA figures, including hybrids, showed Norway’s share of such cars at 39% in 2017, far ahead of second-placed Iceland on 12% and Sweden on 6%. By contrast, such electric cars had a 2.2% share in China in 2017 and 1.2% in the US. (Reuters)
A new dawn – The Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol entered into force on Tuesday, with both developed and developing countries having taken on mandatory commitments to phase down the global production and consumption of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). The EU said it has made a promising start, with HFC consumption in 2017 coming in some 12% below their first ‘stepdown’ level. The pact, which was agreed in 2016 after many years of negotiations, is expected to reduce global warming by up to 0.4C by 2100. Developed countries start in 2019 with a reduction to 90% of the baseline and decreasing in further steps until a 15% level is reached from 2036 onwards. Most developing countries follow in 2024 with a deferred phase-down schedule. Twenty parties had to ratify the Amendment for its entry into force, with that threshold achieved in Nov. 2017. To date, over one third of the 63 parties to the Kigali Amendment are Member States of the EU, which itself ratified on 26 September 2018.
And finally… Grave consequences – California utility PG&E could be tried for murder or manslaughter if it’s found to have sparked deadly wildfires over the past two years. In an opinion filed with a federal judge overseeing the criminal case associated with the 2010 pipeline explosion on PG&E’s gas system in the town of San Bruno, California Attorney General Xavier Becerra said that the utility could ultimately face these charges if it is found to have operated its equipment in a “reckless” manner. The news follows the deadly Camp Fire that claimed dozens of lives in Northern California last fall, and also comes after the California Public Utilities Commission announced it will consider splitting PG&E’s natural gas and electric delivery businesses. (Utility Dive)
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