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A Washington state senator is floating an outline of potential cap-and-trade legislation that would enable the state to link with WCI and includes many of the same provisions and design mechanisms as the California and Quebec markets.
A group of former heads of the US federal reserve, Nobel Laureate economists, and past presidential advisors called for a revenue-neutral carbon tax on Thursday, coming as the appetite for climate action in Washington builds in the new Congress.
RGGI allowance (RGA) prices fell by double digits this week as activity finally returned to the secondary market, while California Carbon Allowance (CCAs) separated from the 2019 price floor amid a surge in buying.
EUAs rose to test €24 on Thursday as financial markets drew some comfort from UK lawmaker efforts to stave off a hard Brexit.
The general public in both rich and poor countries has a consistently high level of support for a carefully designed global carbon tax, a survey found.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
One for the court – California Assemblymember Chris Holden is not currently drafting legislation to ease potential wildfires liabilities for embattled utlity PG&E, but he has not ruled out a bill regarding the issue, his spokesperson told Carbon Pulse. Holden drafted legislation last year to help investor-owned utilities shoulder some of the costs for their part in the state’s 2017 wildfires, but that bill would not provide the same protection for 2018 wildfires. “The playing field of solutions and options has shifted to the courts now,” the spokesperson added. Separately, federal judge Thursday blamed uninsulated power conductors from PG&E for the bulk of the northern California wildfires over the past two years. (Sacramento Bee)
Nuclear freeze – Japan’s Hitachi has put its $28 billion 2900 MW Horizon nuclear power project in Britain on hold, confirming reports earlier this week and dealing a blow to the country’s plans for the replacement of ageing plants and its long-term low-carbon energy strategy. (Reuters)
Relief remedy – Germany wants to extend beyond 2020 its EU ETS indirect cost compensation for industry, with compensation amounting to around €300 mln of relief for companies in 2016, according to Reuters, citing anonymous sources. The move was to be expected after EU lawmakers allowed such a continuance in post-2020 ETS reforms and as 10 member states, which account for 70% of EU GDP, paid a total €694 mln in indirect cost compensation in 2017.
Offset auction – The World Bank will on Jan. 24 host an online webinar on the Nitric Acid Climate Auctions Program (NACAP), an offshoot of its Pilot Auction Facility that aims to host a reverse auction to buy carbon credits from nitric acid projects under Germany’s NACAG programme (for more information on the programme, see Carbon Pulse’s article here). The webinar, which will be held from 1400-1530 GMT, will provide an overview of the auction process and review the eligibility criteria and mechanics for the auction. An updated set of preliminary eligibility criteria and parameters has been posted on the World Bank’s Climate Auctions Program website.
Let’s talk – The World Bank-steered Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) and the Carbon Pricing Leadership Coalition (CPLC) are hosting a webinar on Jan. 29 at 1400 GMT on their recently released Guide to Communicating Carbon Pricing. The lead authors will present the key findings with an opportunity to ask questions and further discuss what makes successful communication on carbon pricing. (For a primer, read Carbon Pulse’s article on how the need to more clearly communicate carbon pricing is becoming more acute).
Hearing how it went – Acting US EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler had his confirmation hearing to permanently head the agency in front of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee on Wednesday. The session provided an opportunity for Democratic lawmakers to question Wheeler on the agency’s environmental rollbacks under the Trump Administration. Some of the probes centered on the ACE Rule to replace the Clean Power Plan, with Wheeler repeatedly saying that EPA staff estimated the policy would cut power sector CO2 emissions by 34% below 2005 levels by 2030. However, recent analysis has shown the ACE rule could actually increase emissions at some facilities and in some states compared to no policy at all by extending the use and lifespan of coal-fired generators. Separately, the hearing revealed that the Trump administration may be planning to raise vehicle fuel economy standards by 0.5% annually after 2020, a change from its previous plan to freeze the standards outright. Ranking Democrat Tom Carper said the agency would amend its original plan to keep the standards at the 37 miles per gallon (15.7 kilometres per litre) level in 2020, rather than the 52 mpg (22.1 km/L) mark agreed to under the Obama administration. The EPA’s current plan would also prevent California from using its Clean Air Act waiver to set higher efficiency standards, which is followed by roughly a dozen other states. Wheeler said he still hoped for a 50-state solution to the policy by the EPA’s deadline to finalise the proposal of Mar. 30 (Utility Dive)
Crisis management – Meanwhile, Wheeler also took heat from Democratic Senators regarding his stance on and concern for climate change during his hearing. The former coal lobbyist said that climate change ranks as an “eight or nine” on a 10-scale of concern to him, but he does not consider climate change “the greatest crisis”. Wheeler also said he was “still reviewing” findings from the government’s National Climate Assessment, which was released in November, blaming the shutdown for cancelling briefings on the report. (Climate Nexus)
ZEV focused – New Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) issued an executive order on Thursday creating a transportation electrification work group and a zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) programme for the state. The Colorado Department of Transportation is also directed to develop a plan that aligns transportation investments and programmes with strategies that support widespread deployment of ZEVs and expand mobility options. Last year, Colorado became the thirteenth state, along with Washington DC, to adopt California’s more stringent vehicle fuel economy standards.
And finally… Climate con – A letter purportedly written by the CEO of the world’s largest asset manager, saying it would require all companies it has a stake in to align their business models with the Paris Agreement, has turned out to be a hoax. Activist group The Yes Men circulated the fake letter from BlackRock on Wednesday morning to several news outlets, but the company pointed out the fraudulent statement a couple hours later. While BlackRock has large investments across the globe, including in major fossil fuel companies, it can’t unilaterally require companies to change their business models as indicated in the letter. (Axios)
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