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More lenient standards for coal plants and other industries, along with a lower number of overall participants, will see the forecast compliance unit deficit for large Canadian emitters regulated by the federal Output-Based Pricing System (OBPS) nearly halved this year, according to new analysis released Tuesday.
California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) filed for bankruptcy protection on Tuesday amid mounting liabilities from wildfires over the past two years.
New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham (D) signed a climate-based executive order on Tuesday committing the southwestern US state to cut emissions and uphold the goals of the Paris Agreement via a market-based mechanism and other clean energy measures.
European carbon prices climbed back above €23 on Tuesday, clawing back some of Monday’s heavy losses as the energy complex reversed its early declines.
NZUs have barely budged over the past week amid firm demand, making the NZ$25 fixed price option an increasingly tempting way for emitters to meet their 2018 obligations.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Fries with that? – More than 80 investors managing $6.5 trillion are calling on McDonalds, KFC, and other fast food suppliers to make firm plans to cut carbon emissions and manage water risks in their dairy and meat suppliers as they say animal agriculture is one of the highest emitting sectors without a low CO2 plan. The investors are calling for meaningful action by March. (BBC)
Bring it on – Australian federal elections are coming up in May and many of the ruling Coalition’s most profiled right-wing candidates are facing concerted efforts to ensure they won’t get elected. Former Olympic athlete Zali Steggall will run as an independent to contest what has previously been a safe seat for former PM Tony Abbott. Steggall, popular among moderate Liberal voters, said she would take a strong climate change action platform to the polls and said the opposition Labor party’s 45% GHG reduction target and the Coalition’s 26% goal are too weak. Meanwhile, MP Julia Banks – who left the Coalition late last year to join the crossbench – is considering moving to Flinders to take on Greg Hunt, the current health minister who was the environment minister when then-PM Abbott repealed the carbon pricing mechanism in 2014. (The Guardian)
On the up and up – China’s renewable energy capacity rose 12% last year to 38.3% of the nation’s total generation capacity, according to government data. Some 20.6 GW of new wind power capacity was connected to the grid in 2018, along with 44.3 GW of new solar capacity, the National Energy Administration said. (Reuters)
Cut short – A new assessment of draft national energy and climate plans by the Coalition for Energy Savings shows that EU member states’ contributions are inadequate to secure the achievement of the bloc’s 2030 energy efficiency target. By the end of 2019, governments are required to finalise the integrated national energy and climate plans, having had to submit draft plans to the European Commission by the end of 2018. The coalition’s analysis of the draft plans shows that information on national energy efficiency targets is piecemeal, but the first findings suggest the initial contributions need to be increased. Some 15 national contributions representing 51.3% of EU28 final energy consumption were assessed, but together they would only reach 28.7% energy efficiency by 2030 – below the 32.5% EU target.
Quite possibly – No new coal plants are under construction in the US today, but the Department of Energy’s top fossil fuel official thinks that may change in the near future. Future construction of coal-fired power plants in the country is “quite possible,” Assistant Secretary for Fossil Energy Steve Winberg told Utility Dive, and largely depends on the price of natural gas. Winberg declined comment on whether the Trump administration will extend financial support to retiring coal and nuclear plants, saying that discussion “resides at the White House.” The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
Out of the coal game – Canada’s export development bank is following the lead of other similar institutions and stopping the funding of coal, but it will continue to finance the oil and gas sector as the world transitions towards cleaner sources of energy. Export Development Canada’s new climate change policy means the agency that helps Canadian companies with capital to expand their businesses internationally will no longer provide any funding for anything to do with thermal coal, such as supplying equipment to coal-fired power plants or coal mines. (The Canadian Press)
Forgotten forests – “Uncounted forest emissions” represent a major hole in British Columbia’s climate plan and show the need for a provincial forest GHG reduction strategy, according to new estimates from Sierra Club BC. The green group’s report says that BC’s forests started emitting more carbon than they could sequester in the early 2000s due to both climate change and logging, with the organisation projecting that roughly 209 million tonnes of forest-related carbon emissions were released in both 2017 and 2018. Additionally, the group criticised the government’s climate plan released last month for lacking specific measures to reduce forest carbon emissions, with one problem being that these GHGs are not counted towards the province’s official emissions inventory. (CBC)
California state of mind – New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation has proposed changes to its fuel economy standards to align its regulation with the standard adopted by California. California regulator ARB approved revisions to its Low-Emissions Vehicle Greenhouse Gas Emission regulation in October that would nullify the ‘deemed to comply’ option if the federal government follows through with a less stringent target. That alteration was made in response to the Trump administration’s rollback of the Obama-era fuel economy standards, which would have risen to 54.5 mpg (4.52 L/100 km) by 2025. California’s revision, which has been adopted by other states, would effectively create two different fuel economy standards in the US. The federal government has sought to remove California’s Clean Air Act waiver that enables the state to set its own fuel economy standard, which if successful, would create a uniform standard for the entire country.
Welcome to the board – California Governor Gavin Newsom appointed Nathan Fletcher to the leadership of the ARB on Monday, which would fill a vacancy on the current board. Fletcher most recently served on the San Diego County Air Pollution Control District, and he was previously a member of the California Assembly in 2008-2012. His appointment will require California Senate confirmation, and his term would end in 2022 based on the agency’s previous staggered-term schedule.
— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) January 29, 2019
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