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The DC Circuit Court of Appeals on Tuesday heard legal arguments over the US EPA’s Clean Power Plan (CPP), which is being challenged by a coalition of more than 25 states and hundreds of fossil fuel companies and industry groups. Read Carbon Pulse’s summary of the main arguments made during the seven-hour session, plus a collection of key comments made by the judiciary.
European carbon prices climbed by as much as 13% to above €5 Wednesday for the first time since July, pulled higher by soaring coal and power and bolstered by speculative buying.
Hu-Chems Fine Chemical Corp. has converted a further 362,000 CERs to Korean Offset Credits (KOCs), taking the value of their total portfolio of domestic credits from abandoned UN offsets to $47 million.
South Australia’s Adelaide City Council, in its mission to become carbon neutral, decided this week to halt further carbon offset purchases until it had done more to cut its own greenhouse gas emissions.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
ICAO count – The first full day of negotiations at the two-week ICAO Assembly in Montreal brought seven new nations pledging to join the aviation carbon market from its voluntary launch in 2021: The declarations of Guatemala, New Zealand, South Korea, Australia, Thailand, Israel, and Costa Rica take the total to 63. Only Brazil and India have so far signalled any reluctance to do so, with Qatar and Russia two of the remaining major flight hubs yet to speak up.
Canada’s yes to LNG – The Canadian government has approved Pacific Northwest LNG’s C$11.4-billion LNG project in British Columbia on 190 conditions, reported the Globe & Mail. Among them was an annual cap on GHG emissions from the project at 4.2 million tonnes of CO2e, 900,000 tonnes less than initially estimated. The approval still drew ire from green groups as it puts Canada even further off track to achieving its climate commitments. The government estimated earlier this year that Canada is likely to emit 146 million tonnes of CO2e above its target in 2020 and a whopping 291 million in 2030.
Climate bill – The Norwegian government this week released for public consultation a bill that would legislate the nation to transform into a low-carbon society by mid-century, although the bill did not set a numerical target for 2050 emissions. Climate Change Minister Vidar Helgesen told local media Norway needs flexibility to act in case new information comes out from the IPCC, while the opposition Green party interpreted the lack of a 2050 target as lack of commitment. The bill did specify a 40% cut in emissions from 1990 by 2030, equal to Norway’s Paris target. Draft bill here, but only available in Norwegian.
Brexit and ETS-xit? A broad-based domestic carbon tax could be the best way forward for UK climate policy rather than adopting Swiss or Norwegian models for linking to the EU ETS while leaving the EU, argues Steven Sorrell, of the UK’s University of Sussex. This could simplify the UK policy mix while not ruling out the benefits of international carbon trading because via Article 6 of the Paris Agreement, UK companies could be allowed to pay taxes at a higher level than their obligation and thereby receive tax credits that could be sold into an ETS. (Energy Post)
More CERs to Australia – Australian IT company Interactive has cancelled 14,000 CERs towards complying with the National Carbon Offset Standard (NCOS) from Oct. 19, 2016 to Oct. 18, 2017, according to a UNFCCC website. The CERs came from a wind farm in China’s northwestern Gansu province, the same project from which Australian telecom company Sensis last month cancelled just over 30,000 CERs. The project is owned by a Chinese wind company, with Citigroup Global Markets listed as one of the project participants.
Out of order – Due to system maintenance operations, the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry will not be available for transactions on Nov. 18 from 7am to 7pm local time.
And finally… Having nobody in the driver’s seat could be a good thing – California may focus on building more electric-vehicle charging stations and encouraging battery-powered self-driving cars to help reach its mandate for zero-emission autos, avoiding for now the need for tougher standards being pushed by environmental groups, said ARB boss Mary Nichols. Fleets of autonomous cars being tested by Uber Technologies Inc. and others are generating excitement that might help California avoid stiffer regulations for 2025, she told Bloomberg. While that may bring some relief to automakers who say they’re already scrambling to meet the current target, it could disappoint environmental groups that have pressed the board to strengthen the zero-emission vehicle mandate.
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