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Global traded carbon volumes rose 45% in 2018 to a five-year high of 9.1 billion tonnes as the dominant EU ETS market notched stellar price gains, Refinitiv analysts said in an annual market review on Tuesday.
Citizens are urging governments to more clearly communicate how they are both imposing carbon pricing and spending the resulting revenues, as rising emissions costs begin to test public resolve.
The Trump Administration’s proposed Affordable Clean Energy (ACE) rule may increase emissions for some coal-fired power plants and states by 2030 compared to implementing no emission policy at all, according to a new report.
A Massachusetts state senator will once again pursue legislation to implement an economy-wide carbon pricing scheme and a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) amid increasing support from the executive branch and regional partners to install market-based systems to reduce emissions.
The northeast US RGGI programme will offer nearly 12.9 million carbon allowances for sale on March 13 in the market’s first quarterly auction of 2019, the regulator said on Tuesday.
Quebec compliance entities received 14.1 million free V19 allowances during the first partial distribution of 2019, according to data released by the provincial government on Monday.
New Hampshire’s state legislature released a bill Tuesday morning that would install the post-2020 RGGI Model Rule in the northeast US state.
Carbon trading and project development firm ALLCOT has hired a new boss for its Colombian operations as the existing director departs for a high-level ministry role.
UK lawmakers overwhelmingly rejected negotiators’ Brexit deal late on Tuesday, triggering a vote of no confidence in Prime Minister Theresa May and prolonging the uncertainty over Britain’s future relationship with the EU and its carbon market.
European carbon prices held steady on Tuesday ahead of a crucial vote by UK lawmakers on Prime Minister Theresa May’s Brexit deal with the EU.
Allocations of free carbon allowances to new and expanding companies in the EU ETS plodded along in the second half of 2018, with some two-thirds of the reserve remaining unneeded.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
High hopes – Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) said she hopes to sign a “cap-and-invest” bill during this year’s legislative session. Brown, who is now in her final term in office, made her case for the legislation during her inaugural address by describing how the state is already seeing climate change by way of wildfires and drought. Meanwhile, Oregon State Senator Michael Dembrow (D), who has worked on previous cap-and-trade bills told Carbon Pulse this year’s legislation is still in the drafting stages and will likely not surface until the end of next week. He said lawmakers intend to formally introduce it on Jan. 28. (Statesman Journal)
Hope higher – Separately, Pacific Northwest environmental think-tank Sightline Institute warned on Tuesday that a proposal from Gov. Brown’s office on that legislation risks watering down the state’s GHG targets. The Oregon Global Warming Commission in 2015 adopted an interim 2035 emissions reduction goal of 44% below 1990 levels, in route to the mid-century target of 80% below. However, the organisation said that the governor’s proposal on the cap-and-trade bill under development includes a scenario where the state ignores the interim 2035 target, while still achieving the 2050 goal. Sightline said that scenario allows for an extra 106.7 million tonnes of CO2e worth of emissions by mid-century, and only nets a 28% reduction in GHGs by 2035.
Missed it by *that* much – Less than 1% of the more than 11,000 comments submitted on the Ontario government’s cancellation of its cap-and-trade programme last summer were clearly in favour of the move, according to an analysis of public input by provincial watchdog Environmental Commissioner of Ontario (ECO). After Greenpeace Canada sued the administration of Premier Doug Ford in September for failing to consult with the public on rescinding cap-and-trade and the environmental law underpinning it, the ruling Progressive Conservatives (PCs) opened a 30-day comment period on the decision. ECO reported that many commenters were dismayed that the carbon market was cancelled before an alternative plan was released, and expressed concern that the move would hurt investment in clean technology and job creation. Others shared stories about how they benefitted or had hoped to benefit from green programmes funded through carbon allowance revenue. The PC party in November announced they will scrap ECO by May 1, 2019, with opponents lambasting the move as a measure to silence a critic of the Ford administration.
No taboos – Netherlands Prime Minister Mark Rutte has bowed to public and political pressure and said the government’s sector-by-sector climate agreement to meet 2030 goals should have “no taboos” and should not rule out an additional carbon tax for EU ETS-exposed industries. See Carbon Pulse’s article on how the 233-page draft did not include such a measure. (Der Gelderlander)
Fuel prop – The UK spends the most in the EU on subsidising fossil fuels, according to a report by the European Commission, which also found that EU-wide payments have failed to decrease since signing the Paris Agreement. In 2016, the UK pumped more than €12 bln into support, closely followed by Germany, France, Italy, and Spain. However, those countries actually then spent more on renewables than fossil fuels. (EurActiv)
Adaptation focus – The World Bank Group has launched its 2021-2025 Action Plan on Climate Change Adaptation and Resilience, ramping up direct adaptation climate finance to an average of $10 bln a year, more than double 2015-2018 levels and in line with the bank’s overall doubling of climate spending to average $40 bln/year (see Carbon Pulse’s article). It will pilot new approaches to increasing private finance for adaptation and resilience and includes the development of a new rating system to create incentives for, and improve the tracking of, global progress on adaptation and resilience.
Melt mayday – The Antarctic ice sheet is losing six times as much ice each year as it was 40 years ago. NASA-led research used aerial photos, satellite data and climate models from across 18 regions to predict that the rate of ice melt is likely to accelerate further and could lead to multi-metre sea level rise from Antarctica in the coming centuries. (Reuters)
Unimpressed – More than 40% of Canadians polled this month by Forum Research say they disapprove of the federal government’s carbon pricing plan, with 28% saying they are in favour of it and a similar proportion voicing uncertainty. However, Forum found that only 65% of those contacted were aware of Ottawa’s plan, with the other 35% unaware. The findings are in contrast to an Angus Reid poll from last November that showed 54% of people back the scheme.
Green spin – New wind turbines earmarked to be built off the Kent coast in England should be painted green to “blend in” with the landscape, councillors have said. Kent County Council members warned plans by Swedish energy firm Vattenfall to expand Thanet Wind Farm with an additional 34 turbines by 2021 threatened to harm tourism in the area. Councillors claimed the coastal district is being “degraded” by the structures as they urged Vattenfall to paint any new turbines dark brown or dark green, suggesting it could be added as a condition in future planning applications. (Telegraph)
Model behaviour – Brazil’s agriculture minister on Monday criticised supermodel Gisele Bundchen for saying Brazil is a deforester and said she will invite the supermodel to be an ambassador for the country’s efforts to supply the world with food while preserving nature. Minister Tereza Cristina Dias said on Twitter that Bundchen would receive the invitation soon, after striking out at her in a radio interview. (Reuters)
Sluggish snow – A California Department of Water Resources survey found the water content for the state’s Sierra snowpack is below the average for January, despite early winter storms. The Sierra snowpack measured 25.5 inches and had a water equivalent of 9 inches on the month, which is 80 percent of the average for that location. Less water content from the snowpack can have future impacts on California’s power supply by reducing the amount of low-emitting hydroelectric power and leading to higher emissions in the state.
And finally… Beware RCP 8.5 – Are we currently on the worst-case scenario for climate change? When climate scientists want to tell a story about the future of the planet, they use a set of four standard scenarios called “representative concentration pathways” or RCPs. Each is assigned a number that describes how the climate will fare in the year 2100. Generally, a higher RCP number describes a scarier fate: It means that humanity emitted more CO2 into the atmosphere during the 21st century, further warming the planet and acidifying the ocean. The best-case scenario is called RCP 2.6. The worst case is RCP 8.5. “God help us if 8.5 turns out to be the right scenario,” said Rob Jackson, an earth scientist at Stanford University and the chair of the Global Carbon Project, which leads the research tracking worldwide emissions levels. Under RCP 8.5, the world’s average temperature would rise by 4.9C or nearly 9F. Frighteningly, since 2005 total global GHG emissions have most closely tracked the RCP 8.5 scenario. But even if we avoid RCP 8.5, the less dramatic possibilities still could lead to catastrophic warming, experts said. (The Atlantic)
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