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Experts are mixed over the impact of new European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen’s climate pledges and EU ETS reform plan, with views of her strategy ranging from “mega-bullish” to “vague long-shot”.
European carbon allowances fell on Thursday on another weak auction and a softer energy complex, before crashing through technical supports to close under €28 and give back much of their recent gains.
The UK has launched a consultation looking into mandating all transport providers to offer passengers the chance to offset their journeys over land, air, and sea to help bring down the sector’s carbon emissions.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices fell for a second week as new speculators remained on the sidelines, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) rose slightly on higher transacted volume in the northeast US carbon market.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced the selection of two offshore wind power projects on Thursday to meet the state’s enhanced zero-carbon electricity goals, a move that could reduce future compliance obligations from the state in the northeast US RGGI cap-and-trade programme.
The Ohio legislature is nearing approval of a bill that will subsidise two nuclear plants slated to close in the next decade, while also weakening and eventually eliminating the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
The northeast US RGGI scheme plans to hold training courses and release guidance documents to help onboard New Jersey compliance entities prior to the state’s entrance into the regional power sector ETS next year, an official said.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Tonight’s the night – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s climate cabinet met tonight, with various organisations voicing their positions on CO2 pricing. Having long shied away from the debate, German political leaders are finally considering a price on CO2 to help reach the country’s climate targets. Chancellor Merkel set up the cabinet to find ways to reach Germany’s 2030 climate targets. The group of ministers were scheduled to debate CO2 pricing this evening, ahead of key decisions that are to be announced by September. Major parties and research institutes, including government-appointed economic experts – have pitched their ideas for a carbon price, whether in the shape of a CO2 tax or a trading scheme. (Clean Energy Wire)
Fair air – German Environment Minister Svenja Schulze is calling for a fair CO2 price for aviation and is “committed to cross-border CO2 pricing in air travel”. She expects the new European Commission to make ambitious and rapid proposals in this area, but said Germany could not wait to get every EU state on board. Schulze said she was in favour of increasing the German aviation ticket tax in place since 2011 “as a first step”, though she will ultimately need the support of the transport ministry. Read Carbon Pulse’s latest on how several member states are advancing carbon pricing in the aviation sector. (Rheinische Post, Clean Energy Wire)
Forest fallback – Deforestation in Brazil’s Amazon rainforest accelerated some 68% year-on-year in the first half of July – the fastest growth rate in three years, according to preliminary satellite data from Brazil’s state-run National Institute for Space Research. EU green parties and farmers may seize on this to bolster their cases against the ratification of the recently signed EU-Mercosur trade pact, according to a European diplomat based in Brazil. (Reuters)
Don’t go back to Rockport – An Ohio federal court has approved utility America Electric Power’s (AEP) agreement to accelerate its emission reduction plan by retiring its coal-fired Rockport Plant in Indiana by the end of 2028. The court approved the latest modification of a 12-year old consent decree involving AEP, the EPA, green group Sierra Club, and several US states. Sierra Cub said that at a size of 1,300 MW, Rockport Unit 1 would be the largest single coal-burning unit to announce retirement since the environmental organisation began its campaign to shut down existing coal plants nearly ten years ago. (Power Engineering)
Smartest guys in the room – The US House of Representatives on Wednesday passed an intelligence authorization bill that would create the Climate Security Advisory Council – a climate change security advisory committee under the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Politico reports. The council would meet at least quarterly and will consist of intelligence experts, as well as three officials from outside the intelligence community. The provision creating the group survived a Republican-led attempt to remove it from the underlying bill.
Environment and equity – Over 70 US environmental organisations and environmental justice (EJ) groups on Thursday released a platform for an equitable and just national climate policy. The agenda calls for the putting the country on an ambitious emissions reduction path to contribute to international efforts of limiting global warming to 1.5C, including through actions related to affordable and quality housing, pollution reduction, and good jobs. It also acknowledges the concerns that many EJ communities have about carbon trading and other market-based policies, and calls for supporting climate research to assess how policies affect overburdened and vulnerable communities.
Cap incoming? – California regulator ARB will hold a public workshop in Sacramento on July 31 to discuss potential amendments to the cost containment features of the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). At the agency’s Apr. 5 workshop, the ARB proposed to establish a “firm maximum” price for LCFS credits in line with the yearly Credit Clearance Market rate (CCM), along with an advance crediting mechanism from future electric vehicle credit budgets. However, the ARB has not yet proposed a rulemaking or finalised its plans on the topic.
And finally… Artificial Antarctica – A flurry of artificial snow dumped on Antarctica could help stop the collapse of the continent’s ice sheet and potentially save coastal cities from disastrous sea level rise, new research suggests. A study published in the journal Science Advances envisions a huge geoengineering project that would use 12,000 wind turbines to pump seawater thousands of feet to the surface to help weigh down the ice sheet. The current stability of the ice sheet has caused increasing alarm in the scientific community, and the study estimates that the disintegration of the sheet could cause three meters of sea level rise. (Climate Nexus)
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