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Stationary emissions regulated under the EU ETS fell by 3.1% in 2018 as new renewables capacity displaced coal, resuming a downward trend since 2010 that was interrupted in 2017, a report found on Wednesday.
The $300 million Land Degradation Neutrality (LDN) Fund has committed $12 mln to a carbon credit-generating agroforestry project in Peru as its first investment towards restoring degraded land worldwide.
Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) will discuss a green group’s petition next month to introduce an economy-wide cap-and-trade programme in the state.
The New Hampshire legislature is considering a carbon tax proposal that could potentially work around the northeast US state’s refusal to join a emissions trading scheme for the region’s transportation sector.
The US EPA will incorporate many of the recommendations from the government’s trading regulatory body on reforming the biofuels credit market under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), according to the environmental agency’s acting chief.
Japan’s environment ministry has agreed to fund another six projects under its Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) that are expected to generate more than a million carbon credits by 2030.
European carbon prices sank back toward €23 on Wednesday in cautious trade that saw sentiment weighed down by a weak clearance in today’s large auction.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
MEP bunfight – The rival environment (ENVI) and energy (ITRE) EU parliamentary committees are tussling over who should take the lead in steering the assembly’s non-binding position on the European Commission’s revised long-term climate strategy. Historically taking a less ambitious climate stance, ITRE is preparing its own rather than submitting amendments to ENVI’s resolution and it will be up to the parliament’s governing body, the conference of presidents, to decide whether to put both resolutions to the vote or attempt to merge them into one position. (EurActiv)
Gotta do better – Australia is one of the most carbon-intensive economies in the OECD, yet it has no plan in place to cut GHG output and emissions are on track to keep increasing to 2030, the OECD pointed out in its latest environmental performance review of Australia, released Wednesday. The nation’s vulnerability to rising sea levels, bushfires, and drought makes it even more important for the country to step up and fight climate change, the organisation said. (Guardian)
Picking fights – Treasurer and deputy Liberal party leader Josh Frydenberg is the latest senior government politician to face fresh challenges in Australia’s upcoming May elections. Former Macquarie banker and longtime Liberal party member Oliver Yates announced Wednesday he will run as an independent candidate against Frydenberg in his electorate of Kooyong. Yates said it’s time environment ministers who fail to act on climate change are “taken out”. Frydenberg, who has been MP for Kooyong since 2010, held the role as federal energy and environment minister until last August. (Guardian)
Barely budge – If the German government adopts the commission recommendations for a coal exit by 2038, coal capacity would barely fall faster than a business-as-usual pathway over the next decade because ageing coal-fired power stations would be expected to retire anyway due to old age, according to an analysis by Carbon Brief. “Only after 2030 does the coal commission’s proposal start to significantly bend the curve away from business as usual. In other words, it is recommending that forced early coal plant closures mainly take place after 2030,” the authors write. The deal “could breach a Paris Agreement-compatible pathway by more than a billion tonnes of CO2.”
Court block – A UK citizens’ lawsuit over the government’s 2050 climate target hit “the end of the road” this week after an appeals court refused to hear the case, the climate legal group Plan B announced. Plan B and 11 Brits lodged the case in Dec. 2017, seeking to compel business, energy, and industrial strategy secretary Greg Clark to raise the country’s target for cutting emissions by mid-century. (Climate Home)
Hooked on sonics – The reintroduction of commercial supersonic transport (SST) aircraft into the global aviation fleet could have major climate impacts, according to a new study. Researchers at the International Council for Clean Transportation (ICCT) found that a new, unconstrained SST network of 2,000 planes in 2035 would emit an estimated 96 million tonnes of CO2 per year, roughly the combined emissions of US carriers American, Delta, and Southwest in 2017. Such a fleet would emit an additional 1.6 to 2.4 billion tonnes over their 25-year lifespans, consuming about one-fifth of the entire carbon budget afforded to international aviation under a 1.5C climate trajectory.
Up in the air – A continued rise in the price of Canada’s ‘backstop’ carbon tax through 2030 could impose heavy costs on air travel in the country, according to a new study released by the National Airlines Council of Canada (NACC) Wednesday. The research, carried out by Toronto-based aviation industry consultancy AirTrav, found that the CO2 fee would add more than C$800 million a year in the cost of air travel by 2030. However, the study assumed that the federal carbon tax rate – starting at C$20 this year and rising to C$50 in 2022 – would continue increasing to C$122 by the end of the next decade. It also projected that Ottawa would expand the tax in 2023 to start covering inter-provincial flights between the four jurisdictions covered by the carbon levy, not only intra-provincial routes as is currently the case. Neither the price increase after 2022 nor the change in the scope of flight coverage has been proposed by the federal government.
Mind the gap – Global transport emissions could peak in the 2030s if railways are “aggressively” expanded, says a new IEA report finding rail among the most efficient and lowest emitting modes of transport. Urban and high-speed rail hold major promise to unlock substantial benefits including reducing greenhouse gas emissions, congestion, and air pollution. (Carbon Brief)
Making their beds – Climate change will most affect America’s Southern states, which predominantly voted for Donald Trump, according to an analysis of climate change projections released Tuesday. The study from the Brookings Institution, which is based on assessments from the Climate Impact Lab, finds that “many of the jurisdictions that have selected political leaders opposed to climate policy are the most exposed to the harms of climate change.” Tracking the economic impacts of climate change from 2080 to 2099, the report said that nine “of the 10 states contending with the highest losses of county income voted for President Trump in 2016.” The analysis predicts that the gross domestic product will drop almost 5% in counties that voted for Trump. In counties that voted for Hillary Clinton, the GDP will decline 3.3%. (Newsweek)
I can see for miles – California regulator ARB will host a webinar on Feb. 22 on the state’s development of a Clean Miles Standard and Incentives Programme for ride-sharing operators like Uber and Lyft. SB-1014, passed by the state legislature last year, requires transportation network companies (TNCs) to begin lowering emissions in the next decade, measured on a grams of CO2 per passenger miles travelled (gCO2/PMT) basis. Additional provisions for encouraging zero-emission vehicle (ZEV) miles, active transport modes, and linking to transit will be included in the regulation.
SDG chat – Project certifier Verra is holding a webinar Feb. 12 to introduce and answer questions on its SD VISta sustainable development certification tools. It will be held at 1100 EST (1600 GMT).
And finally… Death stars – New research published in the journal Science Advances on Wednesday found that a mass die-off of starfish in the mid-2010s corresponded with a marine heat wave likely exacerbated by anthropogenic global warming. In 2013, parts of the Pacific Ocean experienced massive warming, a phenomenon nicknamed “the blob”. The authors found that everywhere the warming went, sunflower stars sickened and died, potentially by the hotter water triggering a virus that also shows up in healthy stars. The research was initially spurred by a $400 cheque from a group of schoolchildren in Arkansas who raised the money after becoming concerned about the starfish population decline. (The New York Times)
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