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The European Commission is proposing a deeper and binding 2030 energy efficiency goal among its EU winter package of policies on Wednesday, a target that is set to cut emissions more aggressively but that has raised doubts about how it will be taken into account under the bloc’s ETS.
The European cement sector has earned over €5 billion from the EU ETS, according to updated 2008-2015 findings from consultancy CE Delft and commissioned by campaigners Carbon Market Watch.
European carbon prices jumped by more than 10% from a fresh two-month low hit earlier on Wednesday, as oil prices surged on news that OPEC members had reached a deal to cut production.
Taiwan has launched a consultation process on its climate change action strategy that includes setting up an emissions trading scheme, with the government’s environment agency also in talks with various ministries over market regulations.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Hydro plan – China will spend 500 billion yuan ($72.6 billion) on new hydro capacity by 2020, the government said, installing 60 million kWh of new capacity. The five-year plan for the sector said hydro would save 3.5 billion tonnes of CO2 over 2016-2020, but that number includes capacity already in place. Hydro power offsets are ineligible in most of China’s pilot carbon markets, but Beijing has yet to announce whether it will be allowed in the national ETS.
11th hour plan – The US EPA is proposing to retain its GHG standards for light-duty vehicles for model years 2022-2025, a surprising development that aims to significantly accelerate the ongoing “mid-term review” of the rules and potentially make it more difficult for the incoming Trump administration to weaken them. (Inside EPA)
Out of province – Ontario Auditor General Bonnie Lysyk has estimated that the province’s cap-and-trade program, due to start in 2017, is projected to make only one-fifth of its targeted GHG reductions in Ontario, CBC reports, with the remainder expected to occur in WCI partner regions California and Quebec. Lysyk also projects the scheme will cost Ontario’s businesses and households C$8 billion over the next four years. “These funds may be leaving the Ontario economy for no other purpose than to help the government claim it has met a target,” she said in a statement.
Australian review scope due soon – In The Conversation’s Politics podcast on Wednesday, Australia’s Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg declined to comment on which new policies might be considered in next year’s long-awaited climate policy review, but he said he would have more to say on the issue “before Christmas”. Observers widely expect a move to a baseline-and-credit scheme to be among issues under consideration during the review, but officials have so far declined to comment. The minister said Wednesday that “we’ve got some good mechanisms in place but we’ll be looking at the overall settings to ensure we meet our Paris commitments.”
Much Dutch wind – The Dutch government has proposed a 33% increase in its budget for renewable energy projects in 2017, as it attempts to catch up after lagging on its 2020 emission reduction targets, Reuters reports. Last month Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that subsidy increases were paying off, particularly in wind energy, and the 2020 targets were “within reach” after all, though he stopped short of saying they would actually be achieved.
50 bucks a pop – As expected, Alberta has committed to phase in the federally-mandated $50/tonne carbon tax after Ottawa on Tuesday approved Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain oil pipeline to the Pacific coast, which will nearly triple existing capacity to around 900,000 barrels per day. However, according to green groups, the project could mean that without any major new emissions-cutting measures to compensate for the expected rise in GHGs from the two pipelines approved this week, Canada will never meet its 2030 targets under the Paris Agreement.
Let’s meet – Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality is holding a public meeting on Dec. 19 to solicit comments on a recently published draft study of considerations for designing a market-based programme to reduce GHG emissions.
And finally… Forget Alcoholics Anonymous – There is now a nine-step programme for people stressing about climate change, a condition known as ‘climate burnout’ or ‘eco-anxiety’. Aimed at confronting the feeling of anxiety and hopelessness among environmentalists, the plan comes from Salt Lake City support group Good Grief, reports Yale Climate Communications. The first step? Admitting there’s a problem. Other steps include acknowledging complicity in carbon emissions, finding beauty in nature and reinvesting in climate activism.
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