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The onset of the coronavirus pandemic is presenting several challenges for developing offset projects under the Canadian government’s planned system, with stakeholders enduring more delays in receiving regulatory guidance on eligible protocols and travel restrictions that are complicating site visits.
Japan and the EU are consulting with the UNFCCC secretariat to hold an online ministerial meeting on tackling the effects the coronavirus pandemic through climate action, top government officials said on Thursday.
California Democratic legislators maintained a provision in a Senate budget bill to require regulator ARB to conduct a cap-and-trade rulemaking next year, but sources said the exact language may continue to give the state agency significant discretion in the process.
NA Markets: California prices flatten as traders await clarity on ETS rulemaking, RGGI rises to 3-mth high
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices stagnated on the secondary market this week despite growing optimism on the 2021 WCI floor price, while RGGI Allowance (RGA) values climbed to a three-month high following the Q2 auction.
New Zealand carbon allowances saw a third straight day of record high prices in Thursday trade, as eager buyers continued to chase offers up towards the new NZ$35 fixed price option level.
The China Emissions Exchange in Guangzhou has introduced limits on daily price movements for Guangdong’s provincial carbon credits in a bid to ensure stability and prevent market manipulation.
EUAs retreated towards €22 on Thursday, defying a stronger auction as wider markets tumbled on a US Federal Reserve assessment weighing the impact of the coronavirus, a rise in infections, and general over-heated conditions.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Global clean-up – Clean energy investment rose 1% last year to $282 bln last year, but the new capacity bought for the money rose by 12% as renewable costs continued to decline, according to new research from BloombergNEF and the UN Environment Programme. China’s spending fell to the lowest level since 2013 at $83 bln, while US investment rose 28% to $56 bln as onshore wind developers rushed to take advantage of tax credits before their expected expiry. Investment in Europe fell by 7% to $55 bln. (Reuters)
Forest force – Brazil’s government has renewed for 30 days a presidential decree allowing the deployment of the armed forces to combat rising deforestation in the Amazon and protect the world’s largest rainforest. The extension signed by President Jair Bolsonaro gives the military authority over environmental agencies in the Amazon as the government responds to a surge in deforestation ahead of the high season for forest fires. (Reuters)
Privy to PV – The US solar market saw its largest first quarter on record this year, according to a new report from the Solar Energy Industries Association and Wood Mackenzie. The US market installed 3.6 GW of new solar PV capacity in Q1, the report said, and a total of 5.4 GW of new utility PV projects were announced during the three months. Wood Mackenzie also expects 33% annual growth in 2020 with nearly 18 GW in installations expected, largely because of the strong utility-scale segment, which is expected to account for more than 14 GW in new installations this year. The first quarter of the year was largely unaffected by the coronavirus pandemic, the report said, but impacts are likely to show up in Q2. (Politico)
Sail on – Massive offshore wind farms for the US east coast are poised to move ahead after the Department of Interior’s Bureau of Ocean Energy Management on Tuesday released a lengthy environmental assessment of the Vineyard Wind Project off Massachusetts. While the agency said it will make a final decision to approve the project by mid-December, research firm ClearView Energy Partners said approving this project – and possibly future projects – fits into the Trump administration’s recent focus on infrastructure as a way to stimulate the economy amid the pandemic. The additional review for impacts on commercial fisheries increases the likelihood that this project will withstand probable legal challenges, providing a template for future ones. (Axios)
Efficiency’s end – Alberta is closing the door on an agency that championed eco-initiatives but was ridiculed by Premier Jason Kenney as a costly conduit for “shower heads and light bulbs.” Grant Hunter, associate minister in charge of red tape reduction, says the remaining duties and responsibilities of Energy Efficiency Alberta – and its C$8 mln budget – will be folded into other departments or the current Emissions Reduction Alberta. Emissions Reduction Alberta, established in 2007, is an arm’s-length agency that uses carbon levies paid by large emitters to invest in projects to reduce GHGs. Energy Efficiency Alberta was launched in 2017 by the former NDP government and was the centrepiece of a broader commitment to move Alberta toward a greener economy. The agency used money from a carbon tax on gasoline and heating fuels to fund initiatives and rebates on everything from solar panels to energy-efficient appliances, windows, insulation, LED light bulbs and low-flow shower heads. (Canadian Press)
And finally… Grilled by Greta – Teenage climate activist Greta Thunberg is urging developing island countries to use the upcoming UN Security Council election as leverage to push Canada and Norway to step up their games on climate change. Thunberg is the headline signatory on a letter to UN ambassadors of small island developing states, which says that Canada and Norway both give lip service to climate action but remain steadfast in their commitment to expand fossil fuel production and subsidise oil companies. Namely, Thunberg and the others say that Canada is nowhere close to hitting its Paris climate agreement targets, and that if it were serious about them, it would make permanent its temporary ban on extracting oil and gas in the Arctic, cancel both the Trans Mountain and Keystone XL pipeline projects, and end all subsidies to the oil and gas industry. The letter was also critical of Norway for continuing to increase oil and gas exports, saying the country now exports 10 times as many emissions as it produces domestically. Canada and Norway are candidates for the two available Security Council seats, as well as Ireland, which last year committed to end oil and gas exploration altogether. (CBC)
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