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EU nations favour a 2.2% annual ETS cap cut after 2020 but many want a mid-term review to examine if it’s adequate and whether to hand out so many free allowances while other major economies are also putting a price on carbon.
The Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) is being sued by a group of creditors including UK tax authorities for £145 million ($210 million) over its alleged role in VAT fraud in the EU ETS.
EU carbon prices jumped on Monday as traders bet that surging energy prices would trigger utility buying in the short term, despite bearish pressure looming from higher auction volumes.
China Huadian Group, one of China’s five big state-owned power companies, on Monday laid out a CO2 reduction target for 2020 and said it would improve its carbon intensity while also establishing a carbon asset management division.
The average price in Australia’s most recent carbon offset auction may have fallen but the highest successful bids increased, and prices are slated to rise in the next sale amid thinner participation and the secondary market providing a de facto price floor, according to analysts.
Several Europe-based emissions traders are on the move after parting ways with their employers, Carbon Pulse has learned.
Job listings this week:
Financial analyst, World Bank Group – Washington DC
Programme & Marketing Officer, Climate Strategies – London
Manager, Carbon Protocol of South Africa – Johannesburg
International Consultant on REDD+ Policies and Measures, UNDP – Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia
Researcher, Climate Council – Sydney
Or click here to see all our job adverts
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Co-operation beyond nations – France and Morocco, the current and next hosts of UN climate talks, have published a roadmap and launched a consultation seeking views on how to boost international cooperative climate action between governments, cities, business, investors and citizens. December’s Paris talks established a home for non-party actors in the talks, but much of the work ahead looks to focus on how these initiatives will connect with NDCs. (UNFCCC)
German pushback on 2050 goals – The head of German miners and chemical workers’ union IG BCE doesn’t think Germany will have to increase its climate actions to fulfil its Paris Agreement obligations. The FAZ newspaper warns that high costs for green power support could overburden business and society, and that too much heating and transport regulation would lead to a “high-end version of a GDR planned economy”. This shows environment minister Barbara Hendricks may not get her way in firming up a domestic 2050 GHG cut goal this summer at the upper end of the country’s current 80-95% range. Read Carbon Pulse’s recent take on Germany’s task here. (H/T Clean Energy Wire)
Boost for European offshore Wind – Ten EU nations and a group of Europe’s 11 largest energy companies have signed pacts to drive down the cost of offshore wind farms and increase deployment. Companies such as RWE, Eon, Statoil, Vattenfall, Siemens and General Electric said in a joint statement they can bring the cost to €80 per megawatt hour by 2025 – almost half of current average levels. Energy ministers from Germany, Netherlands, Luxembourg, Norway, Sweden, France, Denmark, Ireland, Belgium and the UK signed an MoU promising cooperation on infrastructure and regulations to help decrease costs. (H/T Clean Energy Wire)
Separately, the head of Renewable UK has warned that wind speeds in the UK are not high enough to allow new windfarms in England to be economically viable, according to the Sunday Telegraph. Hugh McNeal insisted the industry could make the case for more onshore turbines in some parts of the UK, despite the withdrawal of subsidies, but that these would “almost certainly” not be in England. (Carbon Brief)
We meant what we said – The UK government has insisted it remains committed to its pledge to phase out unabated coal power plants by 2025, the Telegraph has reported, following a meeting in which energy minister Andrea Leadsom suggested to coal industry representatives there could be some leeway in what is meant by “unabated”. DECC last week refused to provide a definition of “unabated”, the Telegraph reported last week, insisting that a forthcoming consultation would “seek to clarify” what is meant by the term. (Carbon Brief)
Wait, how much did we say? – Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne says her Liberal government might have to lower its expectations for how much money its cap-and-trade plan will bring in, CBC reports. The province originally expected to raise about $1.9 billion from the plan, but will examine those estimates following last month’s Quebec and California allowance auction, during which only around 10% of the units on offer were sold.
No hope with oilsands – Even with provincial climate plans in place, anticipated growth in Alberta’s oilsands and British Columbia’s natural gas sector will make it nearly impossible for Canada to reduce emissions to agreed-upon levels under the Paris Agreement. That’s according to a report published last week by the Parkland Institute, a research centre within the University of Alberta, and the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, a left-leaning think tank. CBC reports on the findings.
Fossils must front up – Fossil fuel companies face financial disaster if they ignore the implications of the Paris Agreement and should be required to tell investors how they will avoid such threats, a British economist Nick Stern told the ‘Bloomberg’ task force set up to assess this year what uniform voluntary standards companies should report. Stern said that businesses should consider both the physical threat of a changing climate as well as the financial risks posed by tougher government rules or an increase in the pace of technological change that could spur so much growth in low-carbon products, such as electric cars, that demand for fossil fuels falls faster than expected. (Financial Times, $)
Netanyahu probe – Israeli authorities are looking into the claims of a French French businessman and professional poker player, who is currently on trial for allegedly facilitating up to €1.4 billion in tax fraud linked to the EU ETS, that he donated €1 million to one of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s election campaigns. If true, the size of the sum would violate Israel’s campaign finance laws. According to AFP, Netanyahu’s office did not deny there was a contribution, but said any money received was done lawfully while he was a private citizen and was not part of any election campaign donation.
Qantas flyers offset emissions – 8% of passengers flying with Australian airline Qantas chose to pay to offset their emissions, a 10% increase on the previous financial year, according to the company’s CEO Alan Joyce. He said offsets for a one-way Sydney-London journey cost $23.70 per passenger and referred to data showed members of the Qantas frequent flyer program were 75% more likely to purchase offsets than non-frequent flyers, with higher-tiered members who flew on premium cabin tickets the likeliest to buy. The airline has signed up nearly 10 corporate customers, including Allens and Ernst & Young. (Sydney Morning Herald)
And finally… Another Wildrose gaff – Days after the spectacle that was the four-day debate over Alberta’s upcoming carbon tax by lawmakers in the province’s legislature, the Wildrose opposition has put their proverbial foot in their mouth once again. According to the Canadian Press, the right-wing party has apologised for comparing the ruling NDP government’s tax measure to a famine caused by Soviet government policies in Ukraine during the 1930s that killed millions of people. In a blog penned by several Wildrose members, they said socialist collective mentality has failed around the world and the carbon tax will give people an incentive not to invest in Alberta.
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