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Thirty-five installations were fined for failing to comply with EU ETS rules in 2014, up by a third year-on-year, while as many as 10% of airlines also snubbed the measures, according to the European Environment Agency (EEA).
EU carbon prices posted a 4.4% gain to close at €5 on Wednesday following a late spurt, with some traders attributing the day’s gains to short-covering ahead of Friday’s ETS emissions data release while predicting more to come.
The Tianjin municipal government has extended the rules of the city’s cap-and-trade programme by two years to 2018 to allow it to continue after this year’s compliance deadline, which originally was meant to be the last for China’s regional pilot markets.
Prices in Shanghai’s emissions trading scheme fell 10% on Wednesday, extending record lows as the scheme’s surplus allowances continued to weigh on the market even as some big sellers vacate the market.
Bite-sized updates from around the world
US attorneys general join to fight climate change, expand Exxon investigation – A coalition of 20 attorneys general from across the US is taking action on climate change and investigating climate-related fraud, the group announced on Tuesday. The AGs of Massachusetts and the US Virgin Islands said they will launch investigations into ExxonMobil’s alleged misleading of shareholders and the public on the climate risk, and other AGs hinted at investigations of their own. Former Vice President Al Gore also joined the group for the announcement, drawing comparisons between the investigation of fossil fuel companies and that of Big Tobacco in the 1990s. The states also filed a brief in support of the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan, the legality of which will be assessed by the DC Circuit Court of Appeals in June. (H/T Climate Nexus)
Rich nations gave at least $26 million in aid to help poorer ones craft INDCs – Climate Home breaks down the funding, led by multilateral green funds and EU and US governments. Critics point to unrealistic pledges and, despite the commitments being ‘nationally-determined’, they questioned governments’ independence from donors. In addition, the funding didn’t always work: Pakistan’s PM ripped up proposals on which the UK’s CDKN spent up to £400,000, and instead submitted a target-free plan.
EU’s LNG strategy is at odds with its climate ambitions, argues Stefan Boessner of the Stockholm Environment Institute. He points out that the EU’s recent moves on LNG and gas storage could likely lead to stranded assets, while illustrating how Europe’s climate and energy policies are not sufficiently harmonised. (Energy Post)
$1 trillion could be wasted on ‘unneeded’ new coal plants – Plans to invest $1 trillion in 1,500 new coal plants around the world (mostly in Asia) could be wasted if climate and pollution curbs prevent them from being used, according to a report from Sierra Club, Greenpeace and Coal Swarm. A separate Oxford University study finds energy companies can only build new coal and gas plants for one more year if the world is to avoid dangerous climate change. (The Guardian, Financial Times)
Canada’s Boundary Dam CCS plant stumbles in practice – SaskPower/Shell’s project has been plagued by multiple shutdowns, has fallen way short of its emissions targets, and spiralling costs for new equipment and repairs. The New York Times weighs whether setbacks at the world’s first full-scale deployment of CCS for coal power are more than typical teething problems associated with any new and complex technology.
A group of more than 130 businesses from across British Columbia are urging Premier Christy Clark to commit to unfreezing and raising the province’s carbon tax by $10/tonne annually from July 2018. According to the Pembina Institute, the group says that “taking the next steps on the carbon tax will benefit BC’s economy, help clean energy and clean tech businesses thrive, and encourage businesses to be better partners in reducing carbon pollution.”
India has a grandiose vision for its 1.2 billion people to drive only electric vehicles by 2030. And that’s not even the most ambitious part — the government thinks it can do it without spending a single rupee. (Grist)
India’s Tata plans to sell loss-making UK steel business – The UK’s only major steel producer is now on the brink as its owner has decided to sell the business, with the UK vowing to consider all options including government support. Observers expect its big-emitting ‘hot ends’ to be the least attractive portions for potential investors. (BBC)
More than 160,000 Indian CERs have been voluntarily cancelled in the past 10 days by a mysterious company named CFS, according to the UNFCCC website. The logs show that every cancellation was made “on behalf of CFS client CFS-0106”. No details were available as to the companies’ identities or the location of their offices, and a UNFCCC spokesperson was unable to provide further information.
And finally… Donald Trump and Ted Cruz both oppose a carbon tax, putting them in league with the Republican National Committee on the issue but at odds with some oil companies and economists who view a CO2 price as an effective way to combat climate change. And to the surprise of few, they are also pledging to undo several Obama administration climate efforts while blocking future work if elected. The top two Republican presidential candidates’ positions on environmental issues were detailed in their responses to a survey by the American Energy Alliance, a free-market, fossil-fuel advocacy group that shared the results with Bloomberg.
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