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Australia on Wednesday opened a review of the method that allows land-owners to earn carbon credits for avoided deforestation, an approach that has previously come under fire for lacking integrity but from which the government has contracted to buy some 26 million offsets.
Market participants do not see any near-term implications from PG&E’s proposed restructuring plan, but the embattled utility could create bullish pressure for CCAs once it exits bankruptcy in mid-2020.
California has awarded nearly 1 million new offset credits across two protocols in its latest issuance round, while the regulator minted fewer credits with reduced invalidation risk, according to data released Wednesday.
Switzerland and the EU remain on track to implement their ETS linking agreement in early 2020, though there may be a delay in the actual physical connection between the carbon markets, sources said.
EUAs hit a one-month high above €27 on Wednesday but dropped back amid a weaker energy complex, giving back some of Tuesday’s huge gains.
Korean CO2 permits rose again on Wednesday to equal Monday’s record high closing price, even as today’s KAU auction cleared 2.6% below secondary market prices.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
CLC re-jig – The Climate Leadership Council, a US pro-carbon tax coalition whose members include oil giants and environmental groups, made some moves on Wednesday, Axios reports. It announced a new goal to cut US CO2 emissions in half by 2035 through their proposed $40/tonne tax plan, and also calls for 5% annual increases above inflation. The group also added mining giant BHP and power company Calpine as members. The CLC’s support for pre-empting federal climate regulations now applies only to stationary facilities – not cars and trucks – and its proposed plan would no longer shield companies from lawsuits alleging responsibility for damages from historical emissions. The group was launched in early 2017 by GOP elder statesmen, including former Secretaries of State James Baker and George Shultz. Its members range from Shell and BP executives to economists to a few green groups, including The Nature Conservancy and Conservation International.
Ambition aim – UN special climate envoy Luis Alfonso de Alba said he was very confident that top emitter China will come to the UN secretary general’s Climate Action Summit in New York on Sep. 23 “with a clear commitment on a number of areas … with a much higher level of ambition”, Climate Home reports. De Alba confirmed 60 heads of state are due to give presentations about their climate plans, based on their level of ambition. China is to send a lower-ranking official compared to whoever was initially expected to attend the high-level meeting – a sign observers said dampens expectations of a significant announcement. Read Carbon Pulse’s feature on how countries set to spurn the UN chief’s calls for more climate ambition.
Muy rapido – Jose Bogas, the CEO of utility Endesa, has flagged that the phaseout of coal power in Spain could happen far sooner than the current 2030 target, which would be bearish for EU carbon prices. “Assuming coal-fired [capacity] should be reduced between 2025-2030 [under current energy policy], market conditions today say this has changed to 2020-2025, at least,” he said. In late 2018 Endesa, a subsidiary of the Italian energy company Enel, announced it planned to close the 1101MW Teruel and and the 1051MW Compostilla plant in 2020. It also operates the 1158MW Carboneras plant. (CoalWire)
Into the wall – Renewable energy investments in Australia hit an all-time high in 2018 but have collapsed since amid regulatory uncertainty, according to a new report by the Clean Energy Council, reported by RenewEconomy. Quarterly financial commitments in new renewable energy projects have collapsed to less than 800 MW in each of the first two quarters of 2019, from a high of more than 4,500 MW in late 2018, it said. The reason is that while Australia has now met its 2020 renewable energy target, that goal remains the same in 2030, and a lack of policy development in the climate and energy space has put investors off further projects.
Manitoba mandate – Manitoba’s Progressive Conservatives won a second consecutive majority government at Tuesday’s election as the party picked up 36 of the 57 ridings. Brian Pallister remains premier, but his party saw its majority trimmed by two seats. The vote will likely maintain Pallister’s plan to reduce emissions through coal phaseouts and incentivising energy efficiency. He had initially outlined a price on carbon, but he ditched that proposal as Ottawa’s rising ‘backstop’ CO2 levy would likely be required in the province. NDP leader Wab Kinew had said his party would put a carbon price of at least $25 per tonne if it won a majority. Separately, Canada’s federal election campaign kicked off on Wednesday, with voters going to the polls on Oct. 21. The Liberal government’s carbon pricing programme is one of the main issues for parties this year.
Temperature-taking – Some 93% of Europeans believe that climate change is a ‘serious problem’, and 79% see it as a ‘very serious problem’, according to a special Eurobarometer survey on climate action and energy. Compared with the last Eurobarometer in 2017, climate change has overtaken international terrorism in being perceived as the second most serious problem facing the world today, after poverty, hunger and lack of drinking water. The proportion of European citizens who have taken personal action to fight climate change has increased in all member states to an EU-wide average of 93%. Most also demand national governments step up their own targets for energy efficiency and renewable energy (92%), and assign more public funding to renewable energy (84%). A strong majority of Europeans (72%) feel that reducing energy imports will have a positive impact on the economy and energy security, while 92% believe that the EU must secure access to energy for all its citizens. Some 92% of Europeans also support making the EU climate-neutral by 2050. (European Commission)
And finally… Trilemma tribute – Switzerland, Sweden and Denmark are the top three rated countries for energy security, energy equity and the environmental sustainability of energy systems, according rankings from the World Energy Council’s World Energy Trilemma Index. It found China and Poland have significantly improved and are rapidly and tangibly decarbonising, while Cambodia, Myanmar, and the Dominican Republic have shown the biggest improvements over the past 20 years.
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