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Allowances in South Korea’s carbon trading scheme rose another 4.5% on Thursday to hit new all-time highs as market participants began calling for the government to step in to make regulatory changes to solve the situation.
A group of indigenous people in Alaska have agreed to surrender their rights to exploit a coal mining deposit in return for developing a forest carbon project that can earn carbon credits eligible under the WCI programme.
Carbon trading business group IETA will work with the Mexican Business Council for Sustainable Development (CESPEDES) to help shape the imminent Mexican emissions trading scheme, which is expected to seek links to other CO2 markets in the Americas.
Sweden plans to cancel more than 22 million AEAs and expects to cancel more of the emissions units in an effort to stay the course on its climate change efforts.
EU carbon prices rose 4.4% on Thursday after a late surge once prices had breached technical resistance near €5.12.
Below is a table of the closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week. All prices are in RMB, and volumes in tonnes of CO2e. Data sourced from local exchanges.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
At least he tried – Tesla founder Elon Musk this week pressed the Trump administration to adopt a tax on carbon emissions, raising the issue directly with President Donald Trump and U.S. business leaders at a White House meeting Monday regarding manufacturing, Bloomberg reports. A senior White House official said Musk floated the idea but got little or no support among the executives at the White House, signaling that Trump’s conservative political orbit remains tepid on the issue. Musk has publicly supported Trump’s nominee for secretary of state, Rex Tillerson, who has previously voiced support for a carbon tax. Such a levy would obviously benefit Musk and his electric car business at the expense of gasoline-burning rivals.
10,000 culled – Two thirds of the EPA’s current 15,000 employees could be cut, according to the former head of President Donald Trump’s EPA transition team. “I think getting down to 5,000 in the first term is a goal,” Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute said in an interview with GreenWire ($).
Linking thinking – Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks predicts that Europe and China’s respective ETSs could be combined in 5-10 years, or perhaps earlier. She believes that the new US administration’s sceptical climate view merely provides impetus for other nations to forge closer ties on the issue. (Handelsblatt ($, in German), H/T Clean Energy Wire)
Consolidating power – The spin-offs of Germany’s two largest utilities are the subject of renewed consolidation talk. E.ON has discussed with advisers a potential combination with RWE’s clean-energy business unit Innogy. European utilities outside Germany are also eyeing potential takeovers of Innogy or EON’s fossil-fuel spinoff Uniper, Bloomberg reported, citing two anonymous sources.
More floor – Germany requires a CO2 price floor of €50-75 to meet its energy goals, write analysts at Energy Brainpool. But if neighbouring countries don’t take similar measures, more than half of the reduced CO2- emissions would be shifted abroad, lowering the effect from a European perspective. (Energy Post)
Material gain – EU parliamentarians’ draft ETS reforms risk distortions between competing sectors by only eliminating free allocation for cement and a small number of other groups, write researchers Karsten Neuhoff (DIW Berlin) and Oliver Sartor (IDDRI). They say that rather than keeping free allocations wide, lawmakers should extend the cull to more sectors and also replicate Chinese and Korean policies to apply a CO2 charge to consumption to ensure the carbon price goes further than the factory gate. (EurActiv)
Blowin’ hard in Europe – Europe will install more than 3.5 GW of offshore wind capacity this year, the WindEurope industry group said. Germany and the UK will install more than 1.6 GW each, while Belgium will add 165 MW and Denmark 23 MW, according to WindEurope’s annual offshore statistical release published on Thursday. Europe connected 1.6 GW of offshore power to the grid in 2016, giving the continent 12.6 GW cumulative capacity. “We’re set to reach 25 gigawatts total capacity by 2020 – double today’s level,” WindEurope CEO Giles Dickson said. Investment this year is unlikely to beat the record €18.2 billion in 2016, which financed 4.9 GW in new capacity. (Bloomberg)
And blowin’ hard in New York – The Long Island Power Authority approved plans for a 90MW, 15-turbine wind farm off the shore of Long Island, the nation’s largest project to date. The $740 million project will begin construction in 2020, powering 50,000 homes upon completion and moving New York closer to Governor Cuomo’s goal of developing 2,400 MW of offshore wind power by 2030. At 256 square miles, the farm is large enough for the developer, Deepwater Wind, to build as many as 200 turbines in years to come. The federal Bureau of Ocean Energy Management has awarded 11 sites for offshore wind farms, including along the coasts of Massachusetts, Delaware, and Virginia. (H/T Climate Nexus)
Ireland divestment – Ireland could become the first country in the world to fully divest its sovereign wealth fund from fossil fuels, after a parliamentary vote on Thursday, Climate Home reports. Lawmakers split 90 to 53 in favour of ditching coal, oil and gas holdings from the €8 billion Ireland Strategic Investment Fund. The bill, brought by independent representative Thomas Pringle, is expected to pass into law in the next few months after consideration by the finance committee.
Forest fading – The area of intact forest landscape shrank over the first 13 years of this century by almost 1 million square kilometres, and the rate of loss has accelerated dramatically in the most recent three years, with huge losses in forest giants Russia, Brazil and Canada. The main reasons for the global trend are logging and farming, according to a study in the journal Science. (Climate Home)
Kazakh MRV – Kazakhstan’s energy ministry and the World Bank today launched a new project to design an MRV system for the country. The electronic platform (dubbed “Cadaster”) will enable the online submission and verification of GHG data by Kazakhstan’s major emitters, who are preparing for the anticipated relaunch of the country’s carbon market in Jan. 2018. The new MRV system is expected to become fully operational by the end of Dec. 2017.
And finally… Tweeting Park Rangers – US park rangers have turned revolutionaries as several fake national park Twitter accounts sprung up to spout climate change information in response to reports that official accounts would be gagged. The White House denied the gag orders came from them, with some officials quoted as saying such quiet periods were standard during a new presidential administration’s transition period. (New York Times, H/T Climate Nexus)
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