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Norway’s new government has set itself a more ambitious 2030 emission reduction goal for non-ETS sectors than any other EU member state, but the country is fighting criticism for failing to rein in its big-emitting oil and gas sector.
Mexico intends to open public consultation on its pilot cap-and-trade programme in the coming months as it works towards a 2020 start date, an environment ministry official told Carbon Pulse.
Two Massachusetts legislators introduced an omnibus clean energy bill this week that includes a market-based carbon pricing mechanism and more ambitious GHG targets after similar measures failed during the US state’s 2018 rulemaking session.
A New Hampshire state representative released a bill Friday that would eliminate language to selectively withdraw the state from the RGGI market, while also proposing to funnel auction revenues from the programme back to energy efficiency projects.
China has pumped the equivalent of almost $100 billion into its markets over the past few days, sparking speculation as to whether the country is planning a massive stimulus programme – a move that could potentially have a major impact on its greenhouse gas emissions.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
European carbon prices extended this week’s gains on Friday, nearing €25 on lingering bullish sentiment from Brexit developments and the cold snap that has started to chill much of Western Europe.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Davos assemble – The world’s rich and powerful gather in Davos for the World Economic Forum (WEF) from Tuesday to Friday next week. Brazil’s climate sceptic new president Jair Bolsonaro will be one star attendee. Climate-related talks include a host of events focused on accelerating the energy transition, avoiding stranded assets, elaborating market measures to ramp-up climate action, encouraging climate leadership, and tackling the plastic and waste crisis. The fossil fuel industry remains a key player, with the CEOs of Total and Centrica speaking and several more listed among the 100 “strategic partners” shaping the agenda. (DeSmogUK)
Aid out – The US State Department said in a report released by the Government Accountability Office (GAO) investigative arm of Congress on Thursday that it may recommend President Donald Trump revoke an Obama-era order directing federal agencies to factor climate resilience into international development programmes. The GAO report said State has identified migration of vulnerable populations in countries that face conflicts as a risk of climate change, but that Obama’s 2014 executive order has in effect been weakened because missions are not assessing the risks. But if Trump reverses Obama’s executive order, it would not be required to improve this guidance. (Reuters)
On second thought – US business and fossil fuel groups are calling on the Trump Administration to direct federal agencies to consider climate change in environmental reviews, after finding that a lack of formal guidance from the White House was making these processes more difficult. Upon taking office, President Trump repealed Obama-era guidance on how to incorporate GHG emissions into National Environmental Policy Act reviews without offering a replacement. However, business groups including the American Petroleum Institute, National Association of Manufacturers, and Interstate Natural Gas Association of America, have reached out to the Trump Administration urging it to issue new guidance. (Politico)
Error apparent – The Government of Saskatchewan’s own modelling on the potential impacts of a carbon tax has been well overstated, according to a new brief by Canadian consultancy Navius Research. In justifying its lawsuit against the implementation of the federal ‘backstop’ carbon pricing plan, Saskatchewan noted a carbon tax would reduce GDP growth by up to 2.43%. However, Navius said the government’s accompanying figure showed that the levy would actually reduce the GDP growth rate, not GDP growth itself, by that amount. The firm also said numbers in the underlying analysis conducted by the University of Regina for the government didn’t add up. Instead, Navius found the tax would only yield a minor reduction in GDP growth of 0.13% from 2017 to 2022.
Emergency enactment – The Vancouver City Council voted unanimously Wednesday night to declare a climate emergency for the Canadian metropolis. The motion, which was introduced by Councillor Christine Boyle, will require city staff to come up with new ways to reduce GHGs and set new climate targets. Staff has 90 days to submit their plan. (Global News)
Sundown – China added 43 GW of new solar power capacity in 2018 as the nation’s total grew to 170 GW, according to an industry group. However, the growth was 18% lower than the previous year following government moves to curb overcapacity in some regions and begin a phase-out of subsidiaries to the industry. Meanwhile, solar equipment production continued to increase, propping up rising exports. (Reuters)
One hundred reasons to celebrate – Washington DC Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) on Friday signed legislation committing the US capital to 100% renewable energy by 2032. The bill (see Carbon Pulse’s article here) also establishes a number of other clean energy provisions, along with allowing DC to join a regional programme for reducing transportation sector emissions. This comes after the jurisdiction signed on last month to the Transportation and Climate Initiative’s (TCI) development of a carbon pricing plan for the US northeast and Mid-Atlantic.
Paris promise – A US Congressman is working to introduce a non-binding resolution to the House of Representatives that would support the Paris Agreement. California Representative (D) Jared Huffman said he hasn’t gotten any assurances from the chamber’s new Democratic leadership that the resolution would be brought to a vote, but he’s hopeful the vote can happen by Earth Day. Huffman said a number of Democrats have said they will sign the resolution, along with one Republican, but he declined to name them. (The Hill)
Eneco on the block – The Dutch oil company Shell and pension fund PGGM have expressed interest in buying the Dutch energy company Eneco, owner of Germany’s largest green power provider Lichtblick, reports Tageszeitung. The 53 municipalities that own Eneco, which is heavily invested in sustainable energy projects and which also trades carbon, said in December they will sell it via an auction later this year, according to Reuters. (Clean Energy Wire)
Autopilot on or off? – Autonomous vehicles (AVs) and ridesharing are a wild card when it comes to GHG emissions, according to a new report by consulting firm McKinsey. The study looks at three trajectories, finding that a “seamless transition” scenario with electric AVs could slash transport-related emissions by 85%. However, the authors cautioned that under a ‘business as usual’ approach, in which transport demand increases with population and little policy innovation occurs, emissions “could rise proportionally” with demand to the tune of another 15% in 2030. (Axios)
Cheerio – Nigel Lawson, the founder of the climate science denial group the Global Warming Policy Foundation, has announced that he is stepping down as the group’s chairman. Lord Lawson, who served as Chancellor of the Exchequer under Margaret Thatcher’s government, led the UK’s most prominent climate science denial campaign group for a decade. He announced his resignation at a meeting of the GWPF’s board of trustees during which he said that since establishing the group in 2009, it had become “a prominent force in the climate policy debate” and that it was now “stronger than ever”. Lawson, who will turn 87 in March, will remain affiliated to the GWPF as its honorary president. (DeSmog UK)
And finally… Education evacuation – Thousands of students across Germany, Switzerland, and Belgium skipped school this week to protest their governments’ inaction on climate change. Over 12,500 students walked out of their classrooms in Brussels on Thursday, while students in Berlin and Switzerland held protests Friday. “There’s actually no point in going to school if our world is going to die,” a Belgian student told the BBC. (Climate Nexus)
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