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Filibustering by Ontario’s Progressive Conservative party is threatening the province’s plan to legislate its cap-and-trade programme by June, which would make the planned Jan. 2017 launch difficult, while a crushing election defeat for Manitoba’s ruling NDP party could impact its proposed carbon market.
More than 10 million CERs have been voluntarily cancelled to date through the UNFCCC, hitting the milestone after the second biggest batch ever was voided but coming following the CDM’s first ever project deregistrations.
The threshold that triggers the EU’s MSR to stop absorbing surplus carbon allowances from the market may have been set too high, as annual EUA demand may drop further with the changing hedging patterns or possible closures of Germany’s lignite-fired power plants, analysts said on Wednesday.
The European Commission has cleared Poland to hand out 43.6 million free EU Allowances to its utilities to cover 2015 emissions, roughly two-thirds of the maximum 66.7 million earmarked to the country for last year, the bloc’s executive said in an update posted to its website late Tuesday.
The European Commission on Wednesday gave Lithuania the green light to hand out 269,475 free EU Allowances to its utilities to cover last year’s emissions, out of a maximum 486,698 earmarked to the country for 2015, the bloc’s executive said in an update posted to its website late Thursday.
EU carbon prices eased slightly on Wednesday, staying within a narrow trading range and ignoring firmer crude oil and German power prices.
Project developer Carbon Conscious New Zealand has been made to pay NZ$40,000 ($28,000) for breaching the country’s Overseas Investment Act when buying land for a carbon forestry project.
German authorities this week reissued a public call for help in tracking down three men suspected of being involved in a €136 million tax evasion and money laundering scheme linked to the EU ETS.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
A pat on their Congressional backs – The US Senate on Wednesday passed the Energy Policy Modernization Act of 2016 in a 85-12 vote, Utility Dive reported. The bill is the first broad energy legislation to emerge from the chamber since 2007, and while skirting the most controversial issues including those involving climate change, it hits a number of bipartisan energy priorities, including enhancing federal energy efficiency programmes, boosting cybersecurity initiatives, and upgrading the country’s power grid. The bill will now need to be reconciled with a GOP-backed energy bill passed in the lower House of Representatives last year, the contents of which are less likely to be signed off by President Obama. Analysts at ClearView Energy Partners give “medium-to-high (~65%) odds” for a compromise bill to be signed into law this year.
China slowdown hits clean energy – New numbers from Bloomberg New Energy Finance suggest China’s slowing economic growth has hit clean energy investments. In Q1, $11.8 billion was spent on clean energy in China, a 50% drop from Q4 2015. Global clean energy investments saw a 22% drop in Q1 to $53.1 billion. (BusinessGreen)
Deeper, longer, faster – A group of more than 40 NGOs is calling for Germany to adopt tougher climate targets, including a 2050 goal of a 95% cut below 1990 levels and a coal phase-out by 2035. Weeks before the environment ministry will publish its Climate Action Plan 2050, the organisations tabled their own plan, which says every sector should be given an emissions target. (H/T Clean Energy Wire)
Would you mind turning those off? – German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks has submitted an official request to Belgium asking for two of its nuclear reactors to be taken off grid until further security checks can be completed. Hendricks’s request is based on a report from Germany’s independent Reactor Safety Commission that concluded security reserves at the two reactors were sufficient for normal operation, but might be insufficient in the event of a fault. (H/T Clean Energy Wire)
Signed, sealed and ratified – Australia is committed to signing and ratifying the Paris Agreement by the end of this year, Environment Minister Greg Hunt said Thursday, declining to reveal if the government would consider increasing its proposed level of emission reductions of 26-28% on 2005 levels by 2030. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau also said he would lobby other governments for a quick approval of the pact.
Let’s bury this – The idea that significant amounts of GHGs can be buried underground will be tested soon at a remote island off northwest Australia, where oil companies led by Chevron are poised to inject pollutants 1.25 miles into the Earth’s crust, Bloomberg reports. The $1.5 billion CCS project at Barrow Island, about 37 miles off the coast, will be the biggest of its kind when it starts by next year. It’s part of the gigantic Gorgon LNG development, which began production last month after $54 billion of investment and will run for four decades.
‘Climate’ no longer the ‘c-word’ between US Democrats and Republicans – In an historic first, a small group of House Republicans and Democrats convened Wednesday in Washington to talk about climate change, as members of the newly formed Bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus. The moment is notable because “climate” has long been the “c-word” of Republican politics, Newsweek reports. The caucus, led by Florida Congressmen Ted Deutch and Carlos Curbelo, has 10 members. They are scheduled to hear from a representative of Norway’s Statoil, who will explain why it supports carbon pricing as a way to mitigate climate change, as well as New Zealand Climate Change Minister Paula Bennett.
That’s a lot of nasi lemak – Malaysia should introduce a carbon tax to control its rising GHG emissions, otherwise the damage caused by climate change could cost the country more than 40 trillion Malaysian ringgits ($9.1 trillion) over the next 95 years, according to researchers at the University of Malaya and Universiti Teknologi Malaysia. (Phys.org)
And finally… Here we go again? – One of Porter Ranch, California’s natural gas storage facilities is leaking again, ClimateProgress reports, just months after the previous record leak at SoCalGas’s Aliso Canyon installation, which lasted four months and pumped an estimated 100,000 tonnes of methane into the atmosphere, was plugged. Luckily, the latest leak was not significant and was patched with “a turn of a wrench”, a spokesman for Crimson Resource Management said.
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