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US Republicans advance nomination of anti-EPA crusader Pruitt to lead agency
A US Senate committee approved the nomination of Scott Pruitt as EPA head on Thursday after Republicans suspended the panel’s rules to surmount a Democrat boycott of the vote.
Seoul court backs government in CO2 allocation lawsuit
A Seoul court on Thursday ruled against 34 companies that had sued the government saying they had been allocated too few CO2 permits under South Korea’s emissions trading scheme.
Newly-empowered Republicans launch RGGI exit plan in New Hampshire
A Republican lawmaker in New Hampshire has tabled a bill to that would immediately remove the US state from RGGI, in the clearest sign yet of a shifting political balance that may find the carbon market falling out of favour.
RGGI emissions drop 4.8% in 2016, notching sixth straight annual decline
Emissions covered under the RGGI regional carbon market dropped for a sixth straight year in 2016, falling by 4.8% or nearly 4 million short tons, with New York and New Hampshire accounting for the bulk of the decline.
India cuts taxes on carbon credits
India’s annual budget released this week included a cut by two-thirds on taxes on revenue from carbon credit sales, but did not increase spending on efforts to help the South Asian nation meet its Paris Agreement commitments.
Dong Energy to stop all coal use by 2023 in biomass conversion
Danish utility Dong Energy has pledged to halt all coal use by 2023 by converting its remaining facilities to burning wood, a move that will drastically cut its demand for EUAs in the bloc’s carbon market but which is raising concerns among green groups that forest stocks cannot be used sustainably on such a large scale.
Steelmaker ArcelorMittal mulls Polish furnace shutdown on ETS concerns
Steelmaker ArcelorMittal’s Polish subsidiary is reviewing whether to reline one of its blast furnaces due to uncertainty over post-2020 EU ETS reforms.
SK Market: KAUs soar to fresh highs on continued supply shortage
Korean carbon traders back from the Lunar New Year break have pushed South Korea’s CO2 price to fresh record highs this week as potential sellers continue to shun the market.
EU Market: EUAs hold above technical support for second day
EU carbon prices were little changed on Thursday, holding on to most of the gains made earlier in the week and remaining above a number of technical support levels.
Althelia unit hires REDD experts for global sales team
The newly-formed sales arm of London-based natural capital asset management firm Althelia Ecosphere has made a slew of appointments as it scales up efforts to pay back investors.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Fossil forcing – Fossil fuel giants are vastly underestimating the disruptive power of solar panels and electric cars, which could see coal and oil demand peak by 2020 in contrast to “rosy industry forecasts”, according to a report by researchers at UK-based non-profit Carbon Tracker Initiative and the Grantham Institute. The findings suggest that rapid cost reductions could see the new technologies take a 10% chunk of market share from fossil fuels in a decade, enough to cause a collapse in share value. (Climate Home)
Liese pushing back – International flights between Europe and major aviation countries that do not participate in ICAO’s CORSIA global carbon offset scheme from its 2021 start should be covered by the EU ETS, according to German MEP Peter Liese, the European Parliament’s top lawmaker on aviation carbon policy. According to GreenAir Online, Liese indicated this could include flights between Europe and countries such as India and Russia, which have said they do not intend to join CORSIA until the mandatory phase commences in 2027. Liese also fully expects all flights within Europe to continue to be included in the EU ETS post-2020 under more stringent emission reduction targets than currently. Tomorrow (Feb. 3), the European Commission is due to present proposals on the future direction of aviation’s inclusion in the scheme, as new legislation is required from 2017 if it is not to automatically revert to its full original scope.
Norway’s nervous – Norway’s $890 billion sovereign wealth fund may disappoint green groups by making only a limited foray into clean infrastructure investments that will initially shy away from investments in the developing world, according to key lawmaker ahead of a review into the fund’s oversight framework. (Bloomberg)
Neutral by ’45 – Sweden is set to have a climate law in effect by Jan. 2018 under plans announced by the prime minister on Thursday, Climate Home reports. Stefan Lofven told media that government was introducing legislation to put into action a cross-party agreement for the country to go carbon neutral by 2045.
No appetite for coal down under – While lower emissions coal-fired power stations could be considered theoretically, in practice there is no current investment appetite to develop new coal-fired power in Australia, the Australian Energy Council said Thursday. The statement by the group, which represents 21 major electricity suppliers, came as a response to statements by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull and Deputy PM Barnaby Joyce who earlier in the week slammed states for having too ambitious renewables targets and said Australia as the world’s leading coal exporter should invest in clean coal and CCS.
Thanks but we’ll handle this – The European Commission has adopted a proposal for the EU to ratify the Montreal Protocol amendment to phase-down HFCs. For the so-called Kigali Amendment to enter into force by 2019, at least 20 parties need to ratify it – something that the 28-nation bloc could do on its own.
And finally… We’ve come this far – German utility Uniper is set to put its new coal plant Datteln 4 into operation despite a dire outlook for the industry in the country, according to energytransition.org. “With a billion euros already sunk in the plant, Uniper’s decision to proceed is understandable,” it said. But given that coal use in Germany decreased in 2016, the last coal plants in the country could go out of service by 2038 if current trends are sustained, it adds. “Political pressure remains for a coal phase-out, but market forces may be moving faster,” it said, adding that a downward trend of wholesale power prices could make Datteln 4 unprofitable within its first decade in operation. (Clean Energy Wire)
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