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Davos: World needs $50-100 CO2 price, non-elite “ambassadors” to relay that message to a distrusting public
A global carbon price of $50-100/tonne is needed to incentivise cleaner investment, but “trust-worthy ambassadors” need to be recruited by governments and companies to convey and explain this message amid rising populist movements and the public’s growing distrust of experts and ‘elites’.
European carbon jumped late on Thursday on the back of short-covering triggered as prices climbed back above €5.
European aluminium manufacturers are urging EU member states to beef up compensation to shield them from the impact of higher power bills under post-2020 EU ETS reforms.
CO2 emissions from the US power sector have fallen below those of the transportation sector for the first time since the late 1970s, the country’s Energy Information Administration (EIA) said Thursday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Warming warning – The world has now experienced three consecutive record-warm years for the first time since records began, the world’s three leading climate agencies – NASA, NOAA and the UK Met Office/University of East Anglia have confirmed. In a front page article, the New York Times called it “another milestone for a changing planet”, and that “the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute.” Climate scientists note that this year is likely to be cooler. (Carbon Brief)
But is it really? – Nominees to key posts of the incoming US administration under Donald Trump, due to take power on Friday, accept global warming – but only to a degree. This defies long-held Republican orthodoxy on climate change by accepting that humans are having an effect on the Earth’s temperatures. But just how much of an effect, the nominees say, is up for debate. In confirmation hearings this week, the appointees have undercut accusations from environmental groups that they are “climate deniers.” But critics say the new formulation may just be another way for Republicans to avoid pursuing policies to curb the use of fossil fuels blamed for climate change. (Bloomberg)
Rick rolled – This trend continued on Thursday with the appearance of Energy Secretary nominee and former Texas Governor Rick Perry, who outlined his views on climate science, echoing those of his would-be cabinet colleagues. Perry did, however, pledge to factor in the costs of inaction into Department of Energy calculations under his leadership. He also vowed to protect all departmental staff including climate scientists from ideological attacks, while claiming that he would pursue an “all-of-the-above” energy strategy that includes “clean coal” with CCS technology if appointed to the role. Perry was also once again reminded that while running for president in 2011 he advocated for the abolishment of the department he is now hoping to lead. Perry responded by saying his past statements do not reflect his current thinking and that he regrets making those statements. Climate campaigners were less than enthused with Perry’s nomination, with 350.org Executive Director May Boeve saying “he’s a pro-pipeline candidate, nominated to run a pipeline-approving agency … Trump’s entire fossil fuel billionaire cabinet can expect oil, coal, and gas infrastructure to be met with resistance at every turn.” (Climate Home)
Pruitt previewed – Scott Pruitt faced an intense barrage of questioning on his anti-EPA record during his Wednesday confirmation hearing on his nomination to head the agency. The Oklahoma attorney general’s answers previewed what type of agency he would lead, as he painted the American public as “hungry for change” at the EPA and did not confirm if he would recuse himself from several ongoing lawsuits against the EPA he brought as AG. Pruitt joined the latest string of Trump nominees to admit that climate change is a reality, but called for more “debate” on its connectivity to human activity despite overwhelming scientific consensus. Check Climate Nexus’ full recap of the hearing.
Unheeded advice – The Canadian federal government may have ignored advice from senior officials warning of legal trouble if Ottawa were to force carbon pricing on uncooperative provinces or territories, Saskatchewan Premier Brad Wall said in a tweet Thursday. Wall, who has said lawyers are examining the province’s legal options as a national carbon price comes into effect, pointed to a report of a heavily-redacted Finance Canada memo warning of the legal “difficulties” and “challenges” in forcing a carbon tax, iPolitics reports ($). The memo was obtained by Blacklock’s Reporter ($).
Hydro for nuclear – Quebec’s energy minister sensed “genuine interest” from New York state in importing hydropower from the Canadian province, he said after meeting with officials in the wake of the state’s decision to close its 2GW Indian Point nuclear power plant in 2021. Quebec’s Pierre Arcand is hopeful that Hydro-Quebec, Canada’s biggest electric utility, can reach a deal by the end of this year to supply power to New York under a long-term contract. (National Post)
Git tae cutting! – Scotland has unveiled what appears to be an ambitious climate strategy, pledging to cut total climate emissions by 66% within 15 years, The Guardian reports. But if you look beyond the headline figure, the plan does not include its substantial offshore oil and gas industry, and ministers in the partly-devolved Scottish government and Brexit rebel outpost admit there are serious policy and financial challenges raised by the UK’s decision to quit the EU.
Bought – French energy management company Schneider Electric SA has purchased Colorado-based clean energy services provider Renewable Choice Energy. The acquired business helps commercial, industrial and institutional customers secure renewable power purchase agreements (PPAs) and also specialises in selling energy attribute certificates (EACs) and carbon offsets. The value of the transaction was not disclosed. (SeeNews)
REC it up – APX, Inc. and CBL Markets have inked a strategic partnership to launch spot US Renewable Energy Certificate (REC) contracts on the CBL Markets exchange, the firms said Thursday. CBL Markets will connect into the APX’s Environmental Management Account and associated REC registries to provide spot REC contracts across all major programs. This new partnership will make CBL Markets the first trading venue to provide electronically cleared and same-day settled spot US RECs.
And finally… A housewarming gift for Trump – The new Trump Administration will inherit the lawsuit filed by 21 children and teenagers against the US federal government over its failure to protect future generations from the effects of climate change, and Obama’s team just left them the equivalent of a old fish hidden in a desk drawer in their office. In a written answer to the complaint, the Justice Department has endorsed many of the youth plaintiffs’ scientific claims, tying the incoming Trump Administration into accepting that fossil fuels have increased the atmospheric concentration of CO2, which threatens the public health and welfare of current and future generations. However, DOJ lawyers stopped short of saying that the government accepts liability or proposing a solution. Climate Home has more on the story.
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