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A group of 45 Chinese cities including a number of provincial capitals have pledged to peak their carbon emissions at various stages over the next decade in a push to ensure the world’s biggest-emitting nation beats its Paris Agreement target.
The European Commission will keep the share of free EU ETS carbon allowances allocated through the rest of Phase 3 (2013-2020) nearly unchanged from planned levels after interpreting very narrowly an EU court order to cut the handouts.
Opponents to California’s cap-and-trade auctions returned to court on Wednesday to argue that the state’s Air Resources Board (ARB) overstepped its authority by raising revenue through the programme.
South Korea’s Cabinet on Tuesday approved the 2017 allocation plan for its emissions trading scheme, adding a further 3 million permits to the major increase it announced last month.
A deal for post-2020 emission cuts in non-ETS sectors looked elusive on Tuesday after EU lawmakers broke party ranks on the use of forests as carbon sinks and MEPs from southern states defended national interests.
EU carbon prices dipped towards €5 on Tuesday in relatively calm trade as traders anticipated a falling away of demand by utilities due to forecasts of milder weather.
Trading volume in Beijing’s pilot carbon market grew by 130% in 2016, with a group of nine institutional investors accounting for a third of all the volume, according to newly released data.
New Zealand carbon allowances fell to their lowest levels since Jan. 4 on Tuesday as the market continues to only slowly emerge from the traditionally quiet holiday period in December and January.
Exchange operators CME Group and CBL Markets have partnered to offer trade in California Carbon Allowance (CCA), EU Allowance (EUA) and CER futures on CBL’s platform, the firms announced Tuesday.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
KXL, DAPL and “out of control” environmentalism – On Day 4 of his presidency, Donald Trump signed a pair of executive orders to advance construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines – projects that were blocked by the Obama Administration due in part to environmental concerns. Trump said both would be subject to renegotiation and would require that the materials for the pipelines were sourced from the US. He did not elaborate further on any of those points, but his orders were enough to ignite a call-to-arms for climate campaigners and other pipeline protesters. “It’s a dark day for reason, but we will continue the fight. This is not a done deal … People will mobilise again,” said 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben. Earlier in the day, Trump met with a trio of auto execs and promised them he would cut regulations, including environmental ones, in exchange for the companies – Fiat Chrysler, Ford and General Motors – bringing manufacturing and jobs back to the US. “I have friends that want to build in the US … [but] they can’t get their environmental permits over something that nobody’s ever heard of before. It’s absolutely crazy. I am to a large extent an environmentalist. I believe in it, but it’s out of control.”
Deep freeze – The US EPA has been ordered to freeze all its grants and contracts, including programmes for climate research, environmental justice, and pollution prevention, according to internal communications leaked anonymously to several outlets Monday. It’s unclear if the freeze is permanent and EPA staff are under orders to not discuss the move outside the agency, sources said, but Trump has also banned EPA employees from providing agency updates via social media or from speaking to reporters, the AP reports. News of the freeze and gag order comes a day after Axios leaked details of the transition team’s “agency action” plan for EPA, which accuses EPA of “us[ing] regulatory policy to steer the science” and recommends that the agency stop funding science and overhaul its internal science advisory process “to eliminate conflicts of interest and inherent bias.” Axios also quoted a Republican lobbyist who flags “dozens” of EPA-related executive orders coming down the pike in the next month. (Climate Nexus)
India ratifies KP2 – India’s cabinet on Tuesday approved the ratification of the Kyoto Protocol’s second commitment period, the New Indian Express reported. While the Paris Agreement was rushed through national ratification procedures to enter into force in record time, the unloved Kyoto 2 has not been subject to the same level of enthusiasm. Agreed in Doha in 2012, the treaty has only been ratified by 75 nations so far, while it needs to get to 144 to enter into force.
Renewables ruckus – Australian power generators ERM Power on Tuesday announced it had decided to pay the government A$123 million ($93 million) rather than comply with its obligations under the large-scale renewable energy target, primarily for tax reasons but also citing high green credit prices. The Clean Energy Regulator expressed disappointment and promised a full investigation into the matter. The move came just as the right wing of the ruling Coalition in recent days has stepped up pressure on Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull to ditch the renewable energy target as well as follow the US out of the Paris Agreement. However, Environment Minister Josh Frydenberg Tuesday said there are no plans to ditch the RET, according to the ABC, while Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce said earlier in the week Australia would stick to Paris.
EU aviation ETS cleared for landing – The EU Commission will probably present a draft law to extend an exemption on foreign flights from the EU ETS on Feb. 3, an EU official told Bloomberg, a further indication that the stop-the-clock measure will continue since Carbon Pulse reported the Commission’s top climate official Jos Delbeke signalling it in November.
Changes ahead – German Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel has assured industry bosses the energy transition’s (Energiewende) impacts on industry and the country’s competitiveness would be minimised and market forces would play a greater role in the sector. Germany’s Renewable Energy Act is likely to see further changes in the next legislative period, Gabriel said at Handelsblatt’s annual energy industry conference in Berlin. Gabriel said reform would be aimed at ensuring affordable financing of the next phase of the Energiewende, which aims to decarbonise the transport and heating sectors. He said more must be done to meet Germany’s climate targets, but rejected fixed deadlines to phase out coal or combustion engines. (Clean Energy Wire)
Tillerson’s a go – The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee approved ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson for Secretary of State on Monday following last-minute capitulation from formerly skeptical GOP Senators Marco Rubio, John McCain, and Lindsey Graham. All Democrats on the committee present voted down the nomination for an unusual 11-10 vote, making Tillerson the first nominee in decades to not receive any bipartisan support. Tillerson’s nomination now moves to the full Senate for a vote, expected next week. Votes on Ryan Zinke’s nomination for Interior and Rick Perry’s nomination for Energy, intended to occur this morning, have been postponed “until further notice.” (Climate Nexus)
Brexit rules – The UK’s supreme court ruled that parliament will need to give approval before the government can trigger Article 50 to begin official talks on leaving the EU. With widespread parliamentary support, the government is likely to fast-track legislation to keep it on track to start the two-year negotiations by April, though lawmakers from the ruling Conservative party may now join others to force concessions on getting more parliamentary scrutiny throughout the Brexit process, meaning clarity on the country’s climate and EU ETS plans could come sooner rather than later. (BBC)
EIB Limbo – European Investment Bank (EIB) clean energy project loans to the UK, which totalled over £6 billion last year, could be in jeopardy as the ‘EU bank’s’ links to the country remain in limbo amid Brexit talks, Climate Home reports. The UK may yet remain a member of the EIB but this will likely be a topic for a mooted two years of Brexit negotiations.
Hawaii Five-O(ffsetting) – Hawaii has a goal to reduce its GHG emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020, but state senator Karl Rhoads does not think that goes far enough and wants to reduce the state’s emissions to zero by the year 2030, West Hawaii Today reports. He also wants to require those travelling for state business to buy carbon offsets for air travel.
GreenInvest – As part of Germany’s G20 Presidency, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is advancing the ‘GreenInvest’ dialogue platform in order to engage developing countries in the mainstreaming and mobilisation of green finance. A first consultation of developing countries under the GreenInvest platform was held in Singapore on Jan. 9-10 with participants from some 25 developing countries. GreenInvest seeks to ensure that developing countries have a voice in the evolution of green finance initiatives and practices across the global financial system. It is based on an initiative launched during Mexico’s G20 Presidency in 2012 and will feed into the newly established Sustainability Working Group under Germany’s G20 Presidency. The three themes that GreenInvest will focus on are greening foreign direct investment, the role of financial technology in advancing green finance, and enabling developing countries to effectively participate in international cooperation to accelerate green finance. Read more about it here. (NAMA News)
And finally… Climate change no longer a health problem? – The US Centers for Disease Control has “quietly” cancelled an upcoming summit on public health and climate change, ClimateWire reported Monday. The summit, originally scheduled to occur next month in Atlanta, had a focus on the current science between climate and health and the “translation of science to practice” in dealing with the issue. While CDC officials told summit participants they were “exploring options” for rescheduling, former CDC staff and experts stipulate that it’s likely the agency nixed the summit to avoid political reprisal from the Trump Administration. (Climate Nexus)
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