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A Washington state representative introduced a new low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) proposal on Thursday, as a separate study argued lawmakers can aim for a higher carbon intensity (CI) reduction target than the goal outlined in that bill.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices trended down toward the WCI 2019 floor price of $15.62 during the first full trading week of 2019, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) failed to awaken from their holiday slumber.
Several fossil fuel and business trade groups are asking the US Supreme Court to review a lower court’s ruling last year that upheld the Oregon Clean Fuels Program (OCFP), arguing that the clean fuel standard illegally regulates interstate commerce.
European carbon prices hit a fresh one-month low on Thursday, though a bullish auction result helped lift them back above €22.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Disclose hose – The European Commission-steered Technical Expert Group on Sustainable Finance has published its first report on companies’ disclosure of climate-related information. It contains recommendations that will allow the Commission to update its non-binding guidelines on non-financial reporting with specific reference to climate-related information, in line with TCFD recommendations. The report contains proposals for disclosing not just how climate change might influence the performance of a company, but how the company may impact climate change. The group expects to complete its other reports on taxonomy, carbon benchmarks, and green bonds by June. (European Commission)
No pricing – The new Franco-German treaty (Treaty of Aachen) approved by Germany’s government and to be signed on Jan. 22 does not mention a new carbon pricing initiative despite calls by five political parties in parliament to do so. The Green Party’s climate spokesperson, Lisa Badum, said this was “more than sad,” given that “we would have needed at least a clear commitment to an immediate transformation to a greenhouse gas-neutral economy.” Badum suggested the German government is to blame for the omission given that “it is well known that President Macron is more than open to the subject.” (Clean Energy Wire, Tagesspiegel Background)
Eh, I’m blockin’ here – The Italian government is planning to block the issuing of about 36 permits to look for oil and gas as part of plans to cut the country’s carbon footprint, the industry ministry said on Wednesday. In a statement, the ministry said upstream oil and gas activity in Italy was not of strategic importance for the country. Some industry experts say Italy is sitting on some of the biggest reserves in Europe, but red tape has scuppered exploration for years. Italy’s domestic gas production accounts for only 7.5% of its needs, while its oil production is around 7.3% of demand. (Reuters)
Plan appeal – The County of San Diego Board of Supervisors announced Wednesday that they had voted to appeal a lawsuit challenging the jurisdiction’s Climate Action Plan and offsetting strategy. The 3-2 vote, which was held at a closed-door session the previous day, comes after Superior Court Judge Timothy Taylor in December ruled the climate plan and offset programme lacked oversight and violated its 2011 general plan update, which called for reducing greenhouse gas locally. Four major rural housing developments relying on the plan to use out-of-jurisdiction offsets to compensate for emissions from urban sprawl were approved by the County prior to the ruling, while several others were put on hold. (San Diego Union-Tribune)
Trust bust – Oregon’s Court of Appeals on Wednesday rejected a 2011 kids’ climate change lawsuit that sought to force the state to do more to protect public resources from climate change. The case said the “public trust” doctrine under Oregon common law requires the state to protect resources like beaches and rivers by cutting GHGs, but the court held the doctrine merely restricts Oregon from selling off or impairing the use of such public trusts. Plaintiffs said they will appeal the ruling. (AP)
Selective shutdown – The Alaska Bureau of Land Management (BLM) held a public hearing on Wednesday over a plan to expand oil development in the state’s National Petroleum Reserve despite the federal US government shutdown. The Department of the Interior, whose BLM issues permits for oil and gas drilling on public land, is among the nine federal departments temporarily shuttered due to ongoing disputes between President Donald Trump and Democrats over funding for a US-Mexico border wall. The BLM officials said public hearings were exempt from the shutdown. However, the agency did postpone public meetings about an oil leasing plan in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. (Reuters)
Priority push – A suite of over 600 environmental and climate justice groups submitted an open letter to the US House of Representatives on Thursday with their legislative priorities for the 2019 congressional session. The organisations called for aggressive and “visionary” measures to keep global temperatures below 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, including ending fossil fuel leasing on public lands, moving the county to 100% renewable energy by 2035, and phasing out sales of internal combustion vehicles. The groups also rejected emissions trading and offsets, carbon capture and storage, and biomass energy as part of any climate-related legislation. (Axios)
Carbon cash flow – Newly sworn-in California Governor Gavin Newsom released his first budget on Wednesday that includes greenhouse gas reduction fund revenues of $2.4 billion, which marks a reduction from the $2.6 bln in former Governor Jerry Brown’s enacted budget in 2018. Newsom’s estimated revenue roughly translates to all California allowances selling at the $15.62 WCI floor price in 2019. His budget includes expenditures of $2.4 bln.
Powering 2019 – Wind, solar and natural gas generation will make up the bulk of the capacity additions to the US power grid in 2019, according to the US Energy Information Administration’s (EIA) latest inventory of electric generators. The EIA reported 10.9 GW of wind would come online in 2019, and most of that would be developed in Texas, Iowa, and Illinois. Solar would add 4.3 GW of utility-scale capacity, which would come in Texas, California, and North Carolina. Natural gas would add 7.5 GW in Pennsylvania, Florida, and Louisiana. A total of 8.3 GW of power would be retired in 2019, and half of that would come from coal-fired units.
Polar opinions — Carbon tax opponents voiced their opposition to any potential rise in gasoline, diesel, and home heating fuel prices during the first day of the Vermont legislative session on Wednesday, while a group of students urged the legislature to do the opposite. Students from the Youth Lobby asked legislators to put a place a price on carbon, but lawmakers said they have no proposal to currently do so. However, Vermont is among the nine northeast and mid-Atlantic states, plus Washington DC, that are working to design a market-based programme to regulate transportation emissions, which could increase the cost of fuels used in the state. (WCAX)
GHG tool up – US-based think-tank World Resources Institute (WRI) is seeking assistance to develop a user-friendly tool to track implementation and effects of NDCs. Interested vendors should be prepared to submit a full proposal by Jan. 18, with the aim to deliver the full tool by June. Full details are available in WRI’s Request for Proposal. All expressions of interest and questions about this RFP must be received via email to the contact below by the end of Jan. 11.
And finally… Here’s an idea – Nissan has called on the Irish government to ban used car imports from the UK where registration pre-dates 2014 rather than increasing domestic carbon taxes. Nissan stated that the measure would significantly address the problem of rising carbon emissions while generating €400m per annum in new tax revenue. The CEO of Nissan Ireland, James McCarthy, said: “The solution to addressing carbon emissions without hitting the pocket of every householder in the country is staring the government in the face … It should be cleaning up the national car fleet rather than standing by as 100,755 polluting cars are imported from the UK and put onto Irish roads each year with an enormous loss in tax revenue.” The Irish government is considering raising its domestic carbon taxes to help the country get back on track towards meeting its EU emissions reduction targets. (Irish Examiner)
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