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Some companies covered by Germany’s newly-launched national emissions trading system (nEHS) are likely to promptly launch legal challenges against the mechanism, which could introduce a degree uncertainty that could drag on for years, according to experts.
EUAs advanced to a new record above €35 on Friday as cold weather continued to support carbon’s massive rally while auction supply remains paused.
Norway aims to increase its national carbon tax more than threefold by the end of the decade, it said in a climate roadmap released Friday that focused on reducing emissions from non-EU ETS covered sectors.
The UK government shuffled its climate ministers on Friday, with Business Secretary Alok Sharma stepping down from that post to focus full time on his role as president of the upcoming UN climate summit.
The future Democratic chair of the US Senate agriculture committee will focus on passing bipartisan legislation in the new Congress to help rural stakeholders voluntarily participate in carbon markets, according to a media report.
California’s snowpack remains below historic averages and could limit future low-carbon hydroelectric generation, while overall power consumption dropped slightly in December across the Golden State as Governor Gavin Newsom re-imposed measures to slow the spread of COVID-19, data shows.
Compliance entities and speculators held their California Carbon Allowance (CCA) holdings mostly firm across the first several trading sessions of 2021, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.
ANALYSIS: Dems’ Senate win improves US climate prospects, but comprehensive measures still seen out of reach
The Democratic Senate victories secured this week will enable US President-elect Joe Biden (D) to more easily reverse Trump-era environmental rollbacks, confirm political appointees, and advance green spending and infrastructure provisions, but the razor-thin majority in both Congressional chambers will still create hurdles to pass more aggressive federal climate legislation, experts told Carbon Pulse.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Hot one – Last year was likely the joint warmest on record, tied with 2016, according to temperature data published by the EU’s Copernicus Climate Change Service. It shows that the global average surface temperature in 2020 was 1.25C higher than in the pre-industrial period of 1850-1900. Only 2016 matched the heat in 2020, but that year saw a natural El Nino climate event which boosts temperatures. Without that, it is likely 2020 would have been the outright hottest year. (Guardian)
Damage cover – Natural catastrophes around the world resulted in $210 bln in damages in 2020, up from $166 bln in 2019, with the US especially hard hit by hurricanes and wildfires as a warming planet heightens risks, according to German reinsurer Munich Re. Losses that were insured rose to $82 bln from $57 bln in 2019, adding to the burden of the coronavirus pandemic that has hit the insurance industry hard. (Reuters)
Lease let-down – The oil industry responded to the controversial and last-minute sale of oil leases in the US Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANSWR) with a collective ‘meh’ on Wednesday. The federal government received bids on just 11 of the 22 leasing tracts on offer, and nine of those were purchased at the legal minimum price of $25 per acre by an Alaska state-owned corporation with hopes to sublet the tracts to other oil companies in the future. No major or even mid-size oil companies entered valid bids. The ANWR lease sales are mandated as part of Republican legislators’ plan to pay for their 2017 tax cuts based on expectations that the sales and oil extraction would net the Treasury $1.8 bln over 10 years, though Wednesday’s lease sale only raised $14.4 mln. Under mounting pressure from climate advocates, the six biggest American banks and five biggest Canadian banks have all pledged not to finance drilling in the refuge. Additionally, President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to prevent oil drilling in the refuge. (Climate Nexus)
Budget billions – California Governor Gavin Newsom released the state’s proposed budget on Friday, earmarking nearly $1.4 bln in Greenhouse Gas Revenue Fund expenditures from the state’s cap-and-trade auctions for the 2021-22 fiscal year, along with a one-time payment of $465 mln to improve access to new and used zero-emissions vehicles. The budget would also advance the governor’s September executive order to ban the sale of new gasoline-powered passenger vehicles by 2035. The legislature will still need to enact the budget this summer before Newsom can sign it.
Alt in the wound – California regulator ARB on Thursday announced it has reached a $132,500-settlement with renewable diesel and renewable jet fuel producer AltAir-Paramount addressing reporting violations under the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS). In a press release, the ARB said its staff determined that Altair made unauthorised changes to quarterly and annual reports, including reclassifying certain fuel volumes and adding previously unreported gasoline sales. AltAir admitted the violations, cooperated with ARB’s investigation, and is now in full compliance with the LCFS regulation, the agency added.
And finally… Green malt – Some 17 British whisky distilleries have received the first phase of £10 mln in government funding to cover the cost of implementing net zero production practices, such as switching to low-carbon fuels. The programme aims to help the export-focused distilleries cut emissions by almost a mln tonnes of CO2 a year. (BusinessGreen)
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