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European carbon prices tumbled by 8.7% on Thursday as speculators took profits following stellar gains posted earlier this week and as coal prices climbed to a four-month high, denting profit margins for many big EU emitters.
Logistics firm Deutsche Post DHL Group has become the first company to get a carbon-cutting project certified under the Fairtrade Climate Standard, a new joint venture between certifiers Gold Standard and Fairtrade.
The Philippines on Thursday became the 17th nation to team up with Japan under its Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM).
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
The best divest – The ethics watchdog for Norway’s $880-billion sovereign wealth fund will focus this year on identifying firms with the biggest GHG emissions and recommend excluding them from the fund’s investments. It has already begun to study some industries where it says there are reasons to believe unacceptably high emissions levels are found, Reuters reports. The wealth fund has a separate target to cut its exposure to coal, which has already led to its divestment of dozens of firms in mining and power generation, including some EU ETS-regulated utilities.
Gut the social cost – The Trump administration is unlikely to eliminate the US government’s social cost of carbon assessment, which underpins 79 policies by estimating society’s impact from global warming. But environmental economists say the new climate-sceptic leadership is almost certain to slash its current value of $36/tCO2 considerably, even as a new paper from the National Academy of Sciences suggests ways of improving how it is calculated. (Propublica)
Border buckling – Ontario auto industry bosses are urging ministers to extend their exemptions from the Canadian province’s one-week-old carbon market to beyond 2020. They fear their competitiveness may be harmed due to the Trump-led US administration’s plans to roll back environmental regulations, Reuters reported, citing two anonymous sources.
Lagoon show – The UK should go ahead with “cost effective” plans to build what would be the world’s first tidal lagoon renewable power project. That’s according to a government-commissioned review that backed a pilot project of under 500 MW despite finding only projects bigger than 500 MW work out cheaper than funding nuclear plants over the first 30 years. The government will now consider whether to help fund Tidal Lagoon Power’s $1.59 billion 360MW project in Swansea Bay, which could pave the way for six larger ones that collectively could generate 17.6 GW, or around 30% of the UK’s current electricity capacity. (Reuters)
Stop the sale! – The UK Green Investment Bank sell-off should be paused to ensure its environmental credentials are not damaged by the privatisation, MPs have urged. The Telegraph reports that politicians from both sides of the House urged Theresa May’s government to rethink the sale of the GIB, which has invested £2.7 billion in projects including street lights and windfarms since its creation as a public sector body in 2012. Reports have said that Australian bank Macquarie, the preferred bidder, was considering selling on some of the GIB’s assets. (H/T Carbon Brief)
Exxon in dock – A Massachusetts judge has ruled that US oil major Exxon Mobil must turn over 40 years of documents related to its internal research on climate change, a victory for those seeking answers on how much Exxon knew about climate change and how much the company hid from the public and its investors. Exxon has filed a countersuit in Texas seeking to get the US federal court to quash the document order.
Record volumes – German energy bourse EEX handled a record 949.9 million tonnes of CO2 trades in 2016, up from 677.6 million the year before. This included 640.1 million tonnes from 195 EUA and EUAA auctions. As well, the exchange recorded secondary market volume of 309.5 million tonnes, nearly triple 2015’s 105.9 million. Separately, CBL Markets, an exchange operator for environmental commodity markets, had a record trading month in December with over 2.6 million tonnes of offsets transacted on its platform.
And finally… Congo swamp sink – New scientific mapping has revealed the world’s largest carbon sink in a peat swamp in the Congo Basin in central Africa. The Cuvette Centrale peatlands, measuring larger than US’s New York State, is estimated to contain 30 billion tonnes of carbon, equivalent to three years’ worth of the world’s total fossil fuel emissions or 30% of total global peatland carbon reserves. Scientists are emphasising the need to keep this peat forest intact and protected from agricultural developments in order to keep the massive amount of carbon from emerging. (The Guardian)
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