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China on Tuesday published final regulations for its national CO2 emissions trading scheme, meaning the market will be formally in operation from Feb. 1 despite technical issues with the registry and trading platform.
Most countries have missed a year-end deadline to update and enhance their GHG reduction commitments as the Paris Agreement took effect on Jan. 1, putting more focus on the need for greater climate ambition from large emitters this year to help close the gap to achieving the pact’s temperature goals.
A federal court granted California and WCI, Inc. a filing extension on Monday in a US Department of Justice (DOJ) lawsuit challenging the Golden State’s cap-and-trade linkage with Quebec, pushing the timeline of the case well into President-elect Joe Biden’s tenure.
The Northeast US RGGI carbon market will offer 23.5 million allowances at its March auction with the inclusion of Virginia this year, while the quarterly sale will also include the supply-curbing Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR) for the first time.
Virginia opened RGGI compliance accounts for regulated parties this week as the state entered the regional power sector cap-and-trade programme on Jan. 1, according CO2 Allowance Tracking System (COATS) data.
Massachusetts sold all 1.6 million allowances for its in-state Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) cap-and-trade programme last month, with permit prices in the power sector scheme continuing to slide downward, according to an auction report.
US biofuel credit (RIN) prices under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) set a fresh three-year high this week on a lack of sellers and as a federal administration under President-elect Joe Biden (D) gets set to take office later this month.
EUAs dropped below €33 on Tuesday, giving back much of the previous session’s record-setting gains after breaching technical support and amid pressure from weaker energy prices.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Fair share – An exclusive focus on producers or consumers falls short as a method of allocating trade-related emissions to individual countries, according to a paper published in the journal Global Environmental Change. Instead, countries should use an accounting scheme that divides trade-related emissions among trade partners in proportion to the economic benefits they derive from these emissions. (Carbon Brief)
Net effect – Ten million UK jobs are at risk due to the British government’s commitment to go carbon neutral by 2050, according to the centre-right Onward think-tank. It says this poses a threat to the ruling Conservative party’s challenge to keep hold of power, as 43% of workers in marginal parliamentary seats in the Midlands and the north work in high-emitting industries. (Sun)
Bond boost – Governments and companies are expected to issue $500 bln in green bonds in 2021, nearly half the total that has been raised since the asset class’s inception, according to a projection from Swedish bank SEB. In the first 11 months of 2020, global borrowers sold $270 bln of the debt. While green bonds still represent a sliver of the overall debt market, they are an increasingly popular tool for companies to fund operations that are more environmentally friendly. (FT)
Capture cluster – More than 3,000 carbon “clusters” and 432 sinks in 85 countries could form a cost-effective strategy for matching carbon sources and sinks on a global scale in order to facilitate carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS), according to a paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change. This would achieve 92 bln tonnes of mitigation by CCUS, with 64% of the CO2 being stored and 36% used for enhanced oil recovery.
And finally… Where there’s smoke… – Nearly a quarter century ago, a team of tobacco industry consultants outlined a plan to create “explicit procedural hurdles” for the US EPA to clear before it could use science to address the health impacts of smoking, and President Trump’s administration has now embedded parts of that strategy into federal environmental policy. On Tuesday, EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler formally released a new regulation that favours certain kinds of scientific research over others in the drafting of public health rules. A copy of the final measure says that “pivotal” scientific studies that make public their underlying data and models must be given more weight than studies that keep such data confidential. Public health experts and medical organisations said the rule essentially blocks the use of population studies in which subjects offer medical histories, lifestyle information, and other personal data only on the condition of privacy, despite such studies having served as the scientific underpinnings of some of the most important clean air and water regulations of the past half century. Critics say the agency’s leaders disregarded the EPA’s scientific review system to create an additional layer of scrutiny designed to impede or block access to the best available science, weakening the government’s ability to create new protections against pollution, pesticides, and possibly even the coronavirus. (New York Times)
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