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The German government on Friday unveiled a comprehensive new €50 billion climate plan, which centres around a domestic trading scheme for the country’s transportation and heating sectors, and price controls for both EU ETS and non-ETS allowances.
EU transport ministers on Friday supported continuing to include flights in the EU ETS, but are still leaving open whether to protect the policy at UN body ICAO’s triennial meeting next week, where other nations are expected to attempt to shut Europe’s aviation carbon market down.
Germany has agreed to France’s urgings to consider an EU carbon border measure, adding to the increasing number of European proponents for a policy to shield the bloc’s industry from foreign rivals not faced with comparable environmental limits.
The phasing out of coal power across the EU could result in up to 2.2 billion unused EUAs that risk weighing on prices unless lawmakers enact further reforms, according to environmental campaigners Carbon Market Watch.
EUA prices continued to recover from this week’s losses, climbing further above €26 on Friday as the energy complex continued to lift on rising geopolitical tensions.
California regulator ARB should develop automatic supply triggers to manage the volume of ETS compliance instruments in circulation, along with examining whether banked allowances should be discounted based on vintage year, according to a draft watchdog report released Friday.
California and Quebec’s final carbon auction of 2019 on Nov. 19 will include nearly 76.5 million current and future vintage allowances, according to a notice released Friday.
Numerous carbon pricing bills introduced in the US Congress this year could require further work in order to properly implement a price-ratcheting mechanism tied to GHG goals and a border adjustment for fossil fuel exports and imports, experts said Friday.
South Korean CO2 allowances rose another 3% in Friday trade to fresh all-time highs, pushed up by small-scale buyers willing to pay high prices for the modest amount of permits they need.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
California regulator ARB endorsed the controversial Tropical Forest Standard (TFS) on Thursday, coming roughly 10 months after the agency first attempted to greenlight the framework that could serve as a model for jurisdictional REDD programmes in compliance-based and voluntary carbon markets.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Tax gap – Fuel taxes across much of the world are far too low to drive shift to cleaner options, according to governmental think-tank OECD in a preview of its annual Taxing Energy Use report, which said 70% of energy-related CO2 emissions from advanced and emerging economies go completely untaxed. Across 44 countries studied, 97% of energy-related CO2 emissions, not including road transport, are taxed far less than the amount that would reflect and offset the real damage they inflict upon the environment.
Gas answers – The British government has approved plans by Drax to build a £90 million, 299MW rapid response gas power station in south Wales, the company said on Thursday. Drax said the Abergelli plant could begin generating power in 2022, although the decision to go forward with building would depend on it securing a subsidy under Britain’s capacity market. An EU court ruling in Nov. 2018 forced Britain to halt payments under the scheme pending a review. (Reuters)
Car wars – A coalition of states led by California filed a lawsuit Friday against the Trump administration, challenging its decision this week to revoke the Golden State’s federal Clean Air Act waiver, which allows it to set more stringent vehicle GHG standards and its own zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) mandate. The lawsuit seeks to defend California and the 13 other states and Washington DC that follow its car pollution rules from Trump’s latest rollback, maintaining that the special waiver the state has relied on for the past 50 years to set its own standards is not only lawful, but essential to protecting California’s air quality and preventing the worst effects of climate change. Twenty-three state attorneys general joined the lawsuit, as did the cities of New York and Los Angeles. (LA Times)
Subsidies stay – Canadian Conservative Party leader Andrew Scheer on Friday indicated that fossil fuel subsidies would not be among the C$1.5 bln from federal handouts and tax-break programmes to corporate entities he intends to cut if elected as prime minister in October. Speaking in New Brunswick, Scheer said that with oil and gas consumption projected to rise globally, it was much better for the environment if Canadian countries were supplying that demand. Scheer’s environment plan released this summer included a pledge to export more oil and gas, and possibly alter global GHG accounting mechanisms to allow Canada to include exports of lower-carbon fossil fuels towards its Paris Agreement targets, which it is currently on track to miss by a wide margin. (Canadian Press)
Bezos brings it – Amazon will become the first signatory of the newly formed “Climate Pledge”, a pact announced by company founder and CEO Jeff Bezos on Thursday to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement 10 years early. Bezos said the agreement would require signatories to measure and report their emissions on a regular basis, to implement decarbonisation strategies in line with Paris, and to achieve net zero emissions across their businesses by 2040. Any remaining carbon emissions must be neutralised with quantifiable and permanent offsets to achieve the pledge’s goal. Bezos also said his company would power its facilities and operations with 100% renewable energy by 2030, plus 100,000 electric vans as part of its push to cut emissions. The announcement came a day before more than 1,000 Amazon employees planned to walk off the job to protest the company’s track record on environmental responsibility amid wider global demonstrations on Friday. (Washington Post)
Google goes off – Fellow tech giant Google on Thursday announced a batch of renewables purchases totalling 1.6 GW through 18 deals spread out across three continents, which it said are the largest ever corporate purchases of renewables. Among them, Google will buy 720 MW of solar energy from US projects, 125 MW from a hybrid technology solar-wind deal in Chile, and nearly 800 MW across Europe. (Utility Dive)
House in order – More than 1,000 UN employees have called for the global body to reduce its carbon footprint, including through curbs on their own diplomatic perks like business class flights and travel handouts, a letter obtained by Reuters showed. Reformers say in the letter addressed to Secretary-General Antonio Guterres that the UN needs more radical change to get its own house in order. The letter was organised by a group called Young UN, an internal network committed to ensuring the organization embodies the principles for which it stands. The UN emitted 1.86 Mt CO2e in 2017, its own data show. That equates to a carbon footprint larger than several of its member states, including Malta and Liberia.
And finally… Striking numbers – Millions of students and workers abandoned schools and offices on Friday to demand urgent action to stop global warming, joining a worldwide strike inspired by 16-year-old Swedish activist Greta Thunberg. Three million people had participated worldwide as of midday in New York, organisers with the anti-fossil fuels group 350 said. Britain’s opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn tweeted that 100,000 people joined the demonstration in London. (Reuters)
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