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The northeast US RGGI market could see allowance supply slashed by 98 million tonnes over the course of post-2020 programme if it expands to include New Jersey and Virginia, according to new analysis commissioned by the former.
Germany’s weekly EU carbon auctions will resume on Feb. 1, platform hosts EEX announced late Friday, marking the end of an almost three-month stoppage in the country’s allowance sales.
European carbon prices rose on Friday, continuing to recover ground lost during the recent sell-off, though traders warned that more volatility likely lies ahead.
The scheduled implementation of Mexico’s ETS from 2022 onward will have minimal impact on the country’s economy, but some potential burdens on heavy industry could be alleviated through certain measures in the early years of the programme, new analysis has found.
The amount of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits transferred increased by 50% last year, as December set new records for average prices and total volume transacted, according to state data.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
War is over, if you want it – The global energy transition and the shift to renewables from fossil fuels is likely to reduce energy-related conflicts, says a report published by the Global Commission on the Geopolitics of Energy Transformation. The transition will “help redraw the geopolitical map of the 21st century,” as the supply of energy will no longer be the domain of a small number of states, says the report. Political power will get more decentralised and diffused, and most countries can expect a significantly more independent energy supply. Oil and gas will lose some of their geostrategic importance as tools of foreign policy and will also play less of a role as an aggravating factor in regional and local armed conflicts. The influence of countries that have invested heavily in renewables – such as China – will grow, says the task force. On the other hand, fossil fuel exporting countries may face instability if they do not reinvent themselves for a new energy age. (Clean Energy Wire)
Market movement – Washington State Senator Reuven Carlyle (D) will introduce a cap-and-trade bill in the state’s legislative session that begins next week. Further details on the bill were not immediately available and Carlyle’s office had not responded to an email from Carbon Pulse as of Friday evening. The Seattle Times reported that the programme will be designed to coordinate with the WCI-linked California carbon market, and will cap emissions from utilities and industries. The bill, which would mark the latest attempt to introduce carbon pricing in the state, would come as the state’s Supreme Court will hear an appeal of the Department of Ecology’s blocked Clean Air Rule in March, and after two CO2 tax initiatives failed in the legislature and with voters in 2018.
Green gab – US Representative Kathy Castor (D), the head of the House’s newly-created Select Committee on the Climate Crisis, gave USA Today a glimpse of her plans. She said the panel is immediately “going to press for dramatic carbon pollution reduction”, naming fuel economy standards as one area to address. Elsewhere, progressive lawmakers and environmental activists seeking to implement a Green New Deal are hoping to develop elements of that plan to help turn it into a policy platform for 2020. Those groups are now working to line up a suite of bills that could fall into that framework, with liberal research group Data for Progress already identifying 31 pieces of legislation introduced in the last Congress that could be part of such a deal. Those include efforts to reduce methane leaks from natural gas infrastructure and to implement carbon pricing. Additionally, Virginia Congressman Don Beyer (D) also endorsed the Green New Deal on Friday, saying that a pricing mechanism should play a role in reducing GHGs. Beyer, who will now sit on the House Ways and Means Committee, introduced legislation last year for a cap-and-trade programme, with the revenue distributed in the form of dividends for citizens. (Axios, Politico, The Hill)
Shutdown low-down – The US partial government shutdown rolled into its record-tying 21st day on Friday as the House of Representatives approved legislation to reopen the EPA and Forest Service. However, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) said he will not bring any of those bills to a vote in the upper chamber until a deal is reached between Democrats and President Trump on the latter’s demand for Mexican border wall funding. Meanwhile, Delaware Senator Tom Carper, top ranking Democrat on the Environment and Public Works Committee, questioned if the EPA was breaking the law by having furloughed employees work on Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler’s confirmation process to head the agency. Under federal law, just over 800 employees are allowed to work at the agency until its appropriations have lapsed, though Carper said in a letter that it wasn’t clear if staff actively working on Wheeler’s nomination are those allowed to work. A hearing on Wheeler’s nomination is scheduled before that committee on Wednesday. (The Hill)
Dead wrong – Green groups took to the Ontario Superior Court this week to argue that Premier Doug Ford had no right to dismantle the province’s cap-and-trade programme so quickly after taking office last summer. Ecojustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of Greenpeace Canada in September that alleged Ford’s administration cancelled the carbon market without prior public input or a replacement proposal. Though Ford’s PC government said the premier’s campaign served as a public consultation period, the green organisations argued Monday that environment minister Rod Phillips did not do everything in his power to notify the public and allow for this input when the programme was revoked in July. While the government has said the case is now moot even if it was found to have acted illegally, an Ecojustice lawyer compared that logic to suggesting that a murderer escape trial because the victim was already dead. (National Observer)
Not so small price to pay – North Rhine-Westphalia, one of Germany’s coal-mining states, is demanding at least €10 billion euros ($11.5 billion) in structural support if coal-fired power stations are phased out, its economy minister said. Germany is hammering out plans for how to abandon polluting coal stations in favour of renewables, which accounted for more than 40% of the energy mix last year, beating coal for the first time. The German cabinet has appointed a coal commission to find a compromise on how operators of these assets and the regions they are located in could be compensated. The commission aims to wrap up its work on Feb. 1. (Reuters)
Green Friday – Five US cities were named to Bloomberg Philanthropies’ American Cities Climate Challenge on Friday, and they will receive up to $2.5 mln to fight climate changes in their local economies. Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced Albuquerque, Austin, Denver, Orlando, and San Antonio had been named as the winners of the challenge, joining 20 other US cities who had previously been selected. Those 25 cities will received a combined $70 mln to tackle climate change, promote a sustainable future, and deliver on the US NDC to the Paris Agreement (NRDC)
Sea sick – New research suggests that the warming of the world’s oceans is happening more quickly than previously thought. A study published in the journal Science showed that ocean temperatures are 40% warmer than previously documented in the UN scientific body IPCC’s 2013 assessment report. In a guest post at Carbon Brief, the authors of that study discuss their findings in more detail.
Under da sea – Equinor has won a license to develop CO2 storage under the North Sea, Norway’s oil ministry said on Friday, part of a push to combat climate change. Equinor is expected to submit a development plan this year, with parliament making a final decision in 2020 or 2021. The planned storage will be located near Norway’s largest oil and gas field, Troll, and aims to be able to receive CO2 from onshore facilities, such as power or cement plants, to reduce emissions to the atmosphere. Equinor said about 1.5 Mt of CO2 per year could be pumped for storage under the seabed during the first phase of the project, which could be later expanded. (Reuters)
Green pioneer – Germany’s BASF plans to become a green pioneer of the chemicals industry, CEO Martin Brudermueller said in a press release, adding the world’s largest chemicals maker will switch the energy supply for core parts of production from gas to renewable electricity. BASF says it wants to become the sector’s first company to decouple production growth from emissions. But Brudermueller said this strategy was not lucrative at today’s prices and called for tax rebates for low-carbon investments. (Clean Energy Wire)
And finally… WTAF – President Trump’s daughter and White House advisor Ivanka Trump is one of the names being considered as a replacement to outgoing World Bank President Jim Yong Kim, the Financial Times reported Friday. Other possible nominees to lead the bank include Treasury Under-Secretary for International Affairs David Malpass, USAID Director Mark Green, and former UN ambassador Nikki Haley. The DC-based World Bank, founded after WWII to finance economic development projects in emerging economies, has traditionally been led by an American. Kim’s sudden resignation this week came as a surprise to employees and leaves the bank’s future uncertain. Before joining the White House, Ivanka Trump worked as a VP for Acquisitions at the Trump Organization. She also directed her own fashion line, the Ivanka Trump brand, which shut down last summer. President Trump also floated Ivanka as a possible replacement for Haley, but ended up nominating State Department spokeswoman and former Fox News presenter Heather Nauert instead after concerns of nepotism were raised.
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