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RGGI states may need to deploy the proposed supply-curbing Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR) to ensure the market copes with the ever-increasing slew of climate policies being enacted by jurisdictions within the programme.
Carbon pricing bills in Massachusetts and Rhode Island are gaining support in the neighbouring states’ legislatures.
South Korean CO2 permits on Tuesday hit record highs for the fifth consecutive day amid a lack of available supply and despite calls from market participants for government intervention, regulators are not expected to step in unless the trigger level for releasing the market stability reserve is met.
Sweden-owned utility Vattenfall has begun cutting back on its hedging of forward electricity sales for its remaining continental output, with the company now focused on forward selling more of its Nordic emission-free hydro and nuclear output.
European carbon prices ended four straight days of losses on Tuesday, bouncing somewhat unconvincingly after hitting a six-day low near €5.00.
CEMBUREAU, the EU’s cement industry association, writes on why its opposes a recent move by lawmakers to set an import inclusion mechanism for the sector.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Clean Energy Wire at Germany’s E-World – The goals in Germany’s climate action plan, agreed by the government in November, mean that half of the country’s coal-fired power capacity must retire by 2030, state secretary in the economy and energy ministry Rainer Baake told a business conference in the run-up to Germany’s largest energy trade-fair E-World in Essen. According to Clean Energy Wire, Baake urged the industry to come up with their own proposals for the necessary process to avoid unwanted regulation. And in the discussions with industry leaders, Baake reiterated that payments for fossil-fuel stand-by power plants in a capacity market were unnecessary given current overcapacities. He rejected renewed criticism from industry groups, which has flared up again in the view of a particularly dark and windless German January with little power production from solar and wind installations.
The toll on coal – Beijing plans to ramp up its fight against smog by cutting coal use a further 30% across the capital, according to Xinhua. Beijing’s mayor said that “extraordinary” measures would slash coal use in the city to less than 7 million tonnes, building on a trend that has seen coal use fall sharply from around 22 million tonnes in 2013. This will require the shuttering of some coal plants, BusinessGreen reports, and the city authorities also said that they would take 300,000 older vehicles off the road. The announcement is a fresh blow to the coal industry, which has already seen China’s slowing economy, coupled with investment in renewables and energy efficiency, causing China’s coal demand to peak far earlier than anticipated. (Carbon Brief)
Russia’s new plan – Russia has started working on a national climate change adaptation strategy, Climate Home reports, with ministries and regional officials to asked assess the risks of adverse impacts and possible adaptation measures. With a delivery date pencilled in for mid-2018, ministry of environment officials told Kommersant, a business daily, they wanted to “get the regions to think about working on adaptation plans – so far most of them are busy dealing with consequences but many of those negative changes require adaptation”. Yet at a recent meeting with the ministry only six regions out of 85, including Moscow and Saint Petersburg, were able to report any progress made on the issue as others point to a lack of funding. The Russian government also adjusted its 2020 climate change action plan in late January, outlining extra risk assessment and adaptation needs for permafrost degradation, sea level rise, increased rainfall and extreme weather events.
Dead on arrival – US Republican lawmakers have proposed a bill to curtail the EPA’s ability to regulate GHG emissions. The “Stopping EPA Overreach Act of 2017” (HR637) would amend the Clean Air Act so that the term ‘air pollutant’ does not include CO2, methane, N2Os HFCs and other GHGs. The bill was introduced by Rep. Gary Palmer (R-Ala.) and has already racked up 114 Republican co-sponsors. However, according to EcoWatch, the bill does not have much of a chance breaking through a Senate filibuster, as Democrats would have near-universal opposition to it and even some moderate Republican Senators would vote against it as well.
Fossil fuel free? – According to The Times ($), Scotland could be left without a fossil fuel power station after SSE confirmed that it was reviewing the future of its 1.2GW Peterhead gas plant, which failed to win a generation contract in last week’s UK capacity auction. Meanwhile, England’s 2GW coal-fired Eggborough plant will remain open until at least Mar. 2018 now after it won a contract in the tender. The plant had been expected to close this March, but could stay open until 2023 if it continues to land contracts, Reuters reported. Eggborough, owned by Czechia-based energy group EPH, which bought Vattenfall’s German lignite assets last year, is one of the UK’s top ten most polluting installations according to EU data.
Revised – The UK government has tweaked its national GHG emissions output figures for 2015, finding that the country emitted 496 million tonnes of CO2e that year (compared to the 497 million it reported last March as part of provisional estimates). GHG emissions fell by 4% between 2014 and 2015, and were down 38% from 1990. And at 1.569 billion tonnes used up of its total five-year quota of 2.782 billion, the UK remains on track to meet its second carbon budget (2013-2017).
And finally… Bright idea – Scotland is looking at attaching small wind turbines to the top of its lamp-posts, in a move that will feed clean energy to the national power grid. Each turbine is estimated to save a half tonne of CO2, BBC reports.
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