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The province of Saskatchewan and its allies argued Wednesday that the Canadian federal government’s carbon tax mandate is unconstitutional and violates the principles of federalism, kicking off the first of two lawsuits this year against Ottawa’s ‘backstop’ CO2 pricing plan.
The UK faces “an incredibly tight timetable” for setting up its own ETS by 2021 and will likely need to rely on the EU’s goodwill should the government want to ensure minimal disruption for its emitters by linking to the bloc’s carbon market post-Brexit, experts said on Wednesday.
EU carbon prices fell below €20 for the first time in over two months on Wednesday, before bargain-hunters stepped in to attempt to reverse this week’s bearish slide.
France may resume raising its domestic carbon tax if it modifies how the revenues are spent, despite the ongoing violent protests that led to last month’s scheduled increase being suspended, the country’s environment minister said this week.
Greece’s state-owned utility PPC is targeting another attempt to sell its lignite assets in May after cancelling this month’s initial tender because of lacklustre interest.
Companies will be able to show emission mitigation efforts for future economic developments under a new programme launched Wednesday by California-based offset registry Climate Action Reserve (CAR), a departure from traditional offset activities that award credits after achieving reductions.
California regulator ARB issued nearly 425,000 new California Carbon Offsets (CCOs) this week, with a majority of the credits going to two existing forestry offset projects.
China has reached 700 GW worth of so-called ‘clean’ coal capacity, state media reported, easily beating the country’s five-year plan target of 580 GW by 2020.
The departing CEO of Australia’s Carbon Market Institute (CMI) business association will join an offset specialist firm in his new role.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Gas matters – EU negotiators agreed on new natural-gas rules that preserve a concession to Germany over its controversial plan to import more of the fuel from Russia. Representatives of EU governments and the European Parliament approved a revision to gas-market legislation while scaling back hurdles for the planned Nord Stream 2 pipeline. (Bloomberg)
Greener new deal – The UK’s opposition Labour party set out decarbonisation plans that keep a promise to create hundreds of thousands of high-skilled, unionised green jobs. A key plank of the plan will be to ensure a “just transition” for those currently working in carbon-emitting industries. Labour intends to publish a green paper to be released in autumn 2019 at party conference. (The Guardian)
Swede hull pull – The Swedish Shipowners’ Association is developing a roadmap to net zero GHG emissions in partnership with the government. It follows similar plans for nine industries to implement a law passed in 2017 and end the use of fossil fuels domestically by 2045. (Climate Home)
Better together – The US EPA’s rumoured plan to separate its proposed rulemaking of allowing year-round sales of 15% ethanol blends while restricting trade in biofuel credits under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) will not happen, the agency confirmed. Following a Reuters report earlier this week that said the EPA was looking to split the two issues in order to speed the E15 process along, Assistant Administrator for Air and Radiation Bill Wehrum told the news outlet that President Trump had directed the agency to keep both components together. Wehrum did not say when the combined rulemaking might be released.
Get by with a little help – Meanwhile, five Republican senators sent a letter to EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler this week suggesting that votes to confirm his nomination to head the agency will hinge on his actions to help refiners under the RFS. The letter, obtained by Bloomberg, was led by Texas Senator Ted Cruz, who has pushed the EPA in recent years to rein in the costs of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the programme. “Without an adequate proposal to meaningfully lower the regulatory burden, we will have serious concerns with your nomination,” the senators said. Although the five lawmakers stopped short of an explicit threat to vote against Wheeler, the loss of their votes could tip the balance given the Republicans’ narrow Senate majority and widespread Democratic opposition to his nomination.
Getting down to specifics – New York City could become the first US city to establish an agency specifically tasked with climate change efforts if a new bill passes. The legislation, authored by City Councilman Costa Constantinides, would create a new commissioner-led department to carry out the city’s sustainability policies, including a bill to slash greenhouse gas emissions by 80% by 2050. The new bill proposes merging two existing offices into a new agency called the Department of Sustainability, while Constantinides also said he plans on introducing a second bill that would create a new Office of Renewable Energy. (Huffington Post)
The grass is always greener – China and India are leading the world in “greening” the landscape, a new study has found, with the two countries accounting for one-third of the new forests, croplands, and other types of vegetation observed globally since 2000. The results, published in Nature Sustainability, also show that China alone accounts for a quarter of the human-caused greening observed since 2000 – despite containing only 6.3% of the world’s landmass. (Carbon Brief)
And finally… Guten App-etit – A new app developed by the German government enables restaurant owners to estimate the CO2 emissions of their food that to create climate-friendly menus. KlimaTeller was launched this week by the Parliamentary State Secretary of the Federal Environment Ministry Rita Schwarzeluhr-Sutter. “About 15-20% of all greenhouse gas emissions in Germany can be attributed to our diet. The use of regional and seasonal products is therefore an important building block for climate protection,” she said. The government claims KlimaTeller could help eaters save at least 800g of CO2 per meal – equivalent to the emissions from a 5 km drive. The project was funded by the ministry to the tune of around €160,000.
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