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Prospects for an early compromise deal on the post-2020 EU ETS reform bill have improved this week as the two major political parties have firmed their positions and aim to agree a unified line, two EU sources said.
US President-elect Donald Trump will appoint Oklahoma Attorney General and Clean Power Plan opponent Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), according to media sources.
Energy market operators and green groups on Wednesday urged Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to keep the option of a CO2 intensity scheme on the table after the conservative wing of the ruling Coalition had forced an about-turn on the issue.
Slovenia-based carbon tradinghouse Belektron has acquired a “significant” share of rival brokers Vertis Environmental Finance, forging a partnership in an attempt to expand coverage across Europe.
European carbon prices fell by more than 5% on Wednesday in another choppy session, fluctuating in a wide range that centred around a technical level as the market digested evolving developments in post-2020 EU ETS reform talks.
The carbon market scheduled to launch next week in Fujian will regulate CO2 emissions from 277 companies, the provincial government said Wednesday, with local branches of several of China’s biggest energy corporations to be included.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
US billionaires slam coal – Reducing the risk posed by climate change is both economically and technically achievable, and would create significant new opportunities for American business, according to a report by business group Risky Business Project, which is backed by billionaires Mike Bloomberg and Tom Steyer and former Treasury secretary Hank Paulson. It found that an average of $320 billion per year in private sector investment is needed through 2050 to build a clean energy economy and achieve the emissions reductions necessary to avoid the worst economic impacts of climate change. This would create over one million new jobs by 2030. (H/T Climate Nexus)
Going Dutch – The Netherlands will gradually phase out subsidises for renewable energy and shift its climate change strategy to areas such as energy saving and carbon capture, the government said Wednesday. A week ago, the country announced a 33% increase in subsidies for solar, wind, geothermal and other projects to €12 billion ($12.9 billion) in 2017, from €9 billion in 2016, as it struggles to reach 2020 targets. But the “Energy Agenda” published by the Economic Affairs ministry today – setting out how greenhouse gas emissions can be cut to 80-95% of 1990 levels by 2050 – said subsidies would be phased out as renewables become more viable. Offshore wind turbines will no longer require subsidies by 2026 and the government intends to designate new areas of the North Sea for wind energy, the paper says. The Agenda also says there will be a minimum 20 billion euros of investment in the electricity grid and a reduction in vehicle emissions to zero for all new cars by 2035. (Reuters)
UK’s Drax diversifies – Shares in Drax, the owner of the UK’s biggest power station, jumped 20% after it announced it is set to buy energy supplier Opus for £340 million. The move signals a move into gas-fired generation, with a fifth of Opus’s sourced power also from solar, wind and hydro generation. Drax’s strategy has been to gradually convert its coal-fired plant to burn biomass. (The Telegraph)
More cuts – The UK has cut the number of Foreign Office staff working on climate change, despite ministers arguing the issue should be a top foreign policy priority, The Guardian reports. In London, the number of staff working full time on climate change is down by more than two thirds, from 26 in July 2013 to eight now. Overseas, the figure is down to 149 today from 177 in Mar. 2013.
Polnoc blocking – Campaigners have won a Polish court case to block construction of Polenergia’s 1.6GW coal plant at Polnoc after judges ruled the district authority had not adequately consulted on the project. It is the second time the plant’s permit has been revoked in a legal battle already running five years, with the utility allowed to appeal. (Climate Home)
Google it – Google’s data centres and the offices for its 60,000 staff will be powered entirely by renewable energy from next year, in what the company has called a “landmark moment”, The Guardian reports. The internet giant is already the world’s biggest corporate buyer of renewable electricity, last year buying 44% of its power from wind and solar farms. Now it will be 100%, and an executive said it would not rule out investing in nuclear power in the future, too. “We are convinced this is good for business, this is not about greenwashing. This is about locking in prices for us in the long term. Increasingly, renewable energy is the lowest cost option,” said Marc Oman, EU energy lead at Google.
And finally… Nicholas Cage: climate change action hero – The veteran actor is to take the lead in a new sci-fi movie depicting a world ravaged by climate change, The Guardian reports. The film, called The Humanity Bureau, takes place in 2030 when much of the midwest of America has been rendered uninhabitable. The government agency of the title exiles people felt to be unproductive and banishes them to a colony, New Eden. The film starts shooting in British Columbia this week.
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