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The Netherlands, assuming the role of EU presidency holder, has drafted plans to hold two meetings of the bloc’s environment ministers over the next six months that could both feature pivotal negotiations affecting the EU ETS.
Europe’s top court has upheld a lower court ruling that backed the German government’s decision to fine a now-closed brick factory and its liquidator more than €332,000 for failing to return EU carbon allowances in 2011.
The British government has imposed a further £662,200 in fines on 20 airlines that failed to surrender enough carbon units to cover their EU ETS emissions in 2012.
EU carbon prices fell for a second day on Tuesday as plummeting power prices dented confidence that utilities would buy emissions units.
Companies have voluntarily cancelled more than 1.2 million CERs in the past week in order to convert them into offsets that are usable in South Korea’s carbon market.
Emissions bourse operator Carbon Trade Exchange (CTX) will open its spot market for RGGI allowances on Jan. 15 after having delayed the launch for more than three months.
Bite-sized updates from around the world
California’s ‘staggering’ leak could spew methane for months – A leaking natural gas storage field continues to belch thousands of tonnes of methane into the air every week, causing health and climate concerns. (InsideClimate News)
The US government is suing Volkswagen over the car company’s widespread emissions cheating scandal. The lawsuit, filed Monday by the US Department of Justice, alleges that VW violated the Clean Air Act by finding ways to evade emissions standards on hundreds of thousands of its vehicles. It comes some four months after news of the emissions cheating scandal first broke in September. (Think Progress)
The increased number of refugees moving to Germany is putting pressure on the government’s climate targets, says an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. Expert Andreas Löschel told the paper that a larger population will require more efforts in climate action. This is an issue for the government because all scenarios for lower energy consumption, higher efficiency and fewer CO2 emissions assume a shrinking population. Instead emissions could be 14 million tonnes of CO2 higher in 2020 compared to the current projections. (H/T Clean Energy Wire)
The British government has repeatedly cited official forecasts of rising energy costs to justify cuts to subsidies for renewables, saying consumer bills need to be kept under control. But calculations behind the forecasts – until now undisclosed – show it expected domestic energy bills to be nearly £100 lower in 2020 than previously thought, despite higher subsidies. (Carbon Brief)
Drax Group Plc fell to the lowest in almost three weeks after the EU said it will investigate the UK’s plans to support conversion of a coal-powered unit to biomass amid concerns that the aid may overcompensate the company. (Bloomberg)
Scrutiny of carbon intensive companies’ reporting could mean an unprecedented number of complaints to financial regulators from environmental lawyers ClientEarth in 2016. The group said they will be poring over annual reports of carbon intensive UK and EU companies and reporting them to the Financial Reporting Council if they are failing to disclose to investors how the post COP21 business outlook could affect their operations. (Blue and Green Tomorrow)
And finally… An engineering professor and his researchers at MIT claim to have developed a method of steelmaking that would eliminate the need for a blast furnace or coke ovens, the major source of GHGs in the current process. (Sault This Week)
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