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The world’s top energy consumer is setting a goal to slow its growth in energy use to less than 3% a year through 2020, forcing much of the burden onto big-emitting industries and imposing a range of measures to tackle over-supply, according to China’s five-year plan for the energy sector released Tuesday.
China accounted for 40% of the global green bond market in 2016 with investments of $36.2 billion, a figure that is set to double this year, a report said Tuesday, making the market by far the biggest source of private funds to fight carbon pollution in the world’s biggest-emitting nation.
UK Prime Minister Theresa May on Tuesday signalled that as part of Brexit negotiations she would not be seeking a partial membership of the EU, though this stance does not rule out looser ties on climate and energy issues or an ETS exit.
EU carbon prices briefly climbed back above €5 on Tuesday after bargain-hunting buyers and a resumption of the previous week’s strong auction demand overpowered aggressive selling.
Switzerland-headquartered project developer South Pole Group has acquired the retail offset business of its majority-owned Australian subsidiary Climate Friendly.
Two more suspects have been arrested by European authorities in an ongoing probe into tax fraud committed through the EU ETS.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Right-leaning Brussels – Italian Antonio Tajani of the centre-right EPP political grouping is to succeed Martin Schulz as European Parliament President, beating centre-left S&D rival Gianni Pittella in a closely-fought election after forming an alliance with centrist ALDE. The EPP now leads all three EU institutions in a victory that sidelines the once-dominant S&D, ends the two parties’ grand coalition and re-establishes an EPP-ALDE alliance last in place in 2004. (Politico)
Don’t do it, Donald – If Donald Trump has any doubts over China’s commitment to the Paris climate deal, these should now be extinguished. In what felt like a geopolitical shift, China president Xi Jinping delivered a stern defence of the UN pact at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “We should adhere to multilateralism, honour promises and abide by rules, one should not select or bend rules as he sees fit,” said Xi. “The Paris Agreement is a hard-won agreement… all signatories should stick to it instead of walking away – it is a responsibility we must assume for future generations.” (Climate Home)
The Z-Man cometh – Montana Republican Rep. Ryan Zinke’s confirmation hearings today kick off a busy week on Capitol Hill for environment and climate hawks facing three crucial back-to-back cabinet hearings. While Zinke is expected to have a relatively smooth path to getting the Interior Secretary job, he will probably face questions today around his various positions on federal lands – particularly the issues of transferring ownership to states and encouraging fossil fuel development on federal lands. His muddled stance on climate science, numerous financial ties to the oil and gas industry, and financial irregularities in his Navy career may also get time in the spotlight. (H/T Climate Nexus)
Kazakh study – The EBRD is launching a study that will assess the potential of developing a green financial system for Kazakhstan, which is aimed at boosting both low-carbon investment in the country and its Astana International Financial Centre as a finance hub. The scoping study will look at ways of addressing major environmental challenges in the country using market-friendly tools, while also identifying regulatory gaps and barriers. The results of the study are to be presented at the 2017 Expo in Astana, which will focus on the theme of “Future Energy”.
Retroactive changes – The UK has once again made changes to the way it estimates its GHG output, including amending forecasts regarding emissions from harvested wood products, forests and grassland. According to a government update published Tuesday, the changes collectively result in the country’s figure for 1990 emissions rising by 2.6 million tonnes of CO2e or 0.3%, and for 2014 levels being 1.7 million tonnes or 0.3% higher than previously thought.
And finally… Pruitt on deck – The EPA confirmation hearings for Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt, slated for Wednesday, are expected to be this week’s main event. Green groups and the fossil fuel industry have been prepping for weeks for an epic showdown over Pruitt’s controversial nomination, and Senate Democrats have indicated that they’re prepared to dig in their heels and block the climate denier from heading an agency he was once hell-bent on destroying. Over the weekend, Pruitt’s numerous financial ties to the fossil fuel industry and other corporate interests grabbed the spotlight again, as several outlets highlighted the various ways that campaign contributions may have influenced his decisions as AG. (H/T Climate Nexus)
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