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Billionaire steel magnate Lakshmi Mittal has joined the chorus calling for the EU to impose carbon border tariffs to protect its industry from foreign competitors that are not subject to similar environmental regulations.
Senior EU Parliamentarians are urging their colleagues to back the ETS reform package approved last year by the assembly’s environment committee (ENVI), as the biggest party and several other MEPs hold out for changes two days ahead of voting.
EU carbon prices dropped below €5 for the first time since late January on Monday after a late sell-off, though traders said the day’s poor auction result, which led to some weakness, was due to technical problems at host EEX rather than lacklustre demand.
Spot CO2 permits in the Shanghai emissions market rose nearly 9% on Monday, steepening the front end of the pilot market’s forward curve as it approaches its first ever delivery date for its new forward contracts.
The massive increase in New Zealand carbon prices over the past 16 months has raised costs for the domestic shipping industry, sparking objections to ETS rules that allow international ships to carry goods in NZ waters free of emission costs.
Earlier this week, a group of prominent Republicans called for a nationwide price on carbon to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions and slow climate change.
**Argus Emissions Markets 2017: Prague, Feb. 28-Mar.2 – Join Ian Duncan, Rapporteur of the EU ETS and MEP, the European Commission, CEZ, Commerzbank, BP, SinoCarbon and other industry leaders, compliance buyers, global experts, regulators and market facilitators in a discussion on the development of emissions trading systems and climate finance. Visit the website**
** Navigating the American Carbon World (NACW) 2017: San Francisco, Apr. 19-21 – NACW brings together the most active and influential players in North American climate policy and carbon markets to address the most pressing topics in domestic and international policy, subnational leadership, carbon markets, climate finance, and carbon management initiatives. Visit the website**
Job listings this week:
Assistant Director for Program Implementation, RGGI, Inc. – New York City
Carbon Trader, Shell – San Diego, California
Senior Analyst, Climate Policy, PG&E – San Francisco
Operations and Policy Analyst 4 (Senior Climate Policy Analyst), Oregon Department of Energy – Salem, OR
Energy Finance Consultant, Climate Policy Initiative – London
Manager, Climate Change Policy, Victoria State Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning – Melbourne
Manager, Climate Change and Clean Energy Program, Australian Conservation Foundation – Melbourne
Advisor, Energy & Climate Change, Policy Division, WindEurope – Brussels
Policy Specialist, Energy and Climate Change, UNDP – Istanbul
Internship, Capacity Building for Establishment of ETSs in China, GIZ – Beijing
Or click here to see all our job adverts
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Whack-a-mole – The Chinese government has for several years been working to shut down overcapacity in steel production, one of its major CO2-emitting sectors. But a new report from Greenpeace East Asia and consultancy Custeel on Monday found that even though 85 million tonnes of steel capacity was closed down in 2016, the sector still saw net growth of 36.5 million tonnes in operating capacity. The reason was that most of the plants that were shut down had already been mothballed, while other previously closed facilities reopened as the government sought to boost manufacturing to help the ailing economy. Growth was biggest in the regions surrounding Beijing, which will be brought into the national ETS later this year.
Snowball’s chance in hell – The carbon tax proposal laid out by US Republican elders to the Trump Administration has less than 10% odds of becoming a reality, analysts at New York-based ClearView Energy Partners said on Monday. The plan “makes an intellectual argument that replacing disparate regulations with a uniform price on carbon, rebated quarterly, would accelerate current US emissions reduction trends at a lower cost. But in our view, current political reality does not support the idea. Even within the context of tax reform, where a ‘tax-for-regs’ trade could generate revenue to offset lower rates, we regard a carbon tax as merely possible, but not likely.”
Just get on with it already – Australia’s climate and energy policy developments have been hampered by intense partisanship for more decade, and the cracks are beginning to show amid increasingly frequent blackouts, spiking electricity prices and insufficient investments due to the lingering uncertainty, while emissions continue to rise. On Monday, a group of 18 different industry, consumer and energy groups had had enough, and released a call to lawmakers to work together and sort things out. “More than a decade of this has made most energy investments impossibly risky. This has pushed prices higher while hindering transformational change of our energy system. The result is enduring dysfunction in the electricity sector,” the groups said.
Shut ‘er down? – The California Public Utilities Commission has opened a two-phase investigation to consider the future of the Aliso Canyon gas storage facility, the site of last year’s massive methane leak, and will weigh dramatically cutting its use or shutting it down altogether, Utility Dive reports. The investigation is at the direction of state lawmakers, and comes as the state is considering allowing Southern California Gas to resume operation of the facility.
Vast majority – By an overwhelming margin, Portland Business Journal readers want to see the state institute a cap-and-trade program to reduce carbon emissions. With less than two days to run in its nonscientific poll, more than 400 readers had weighed in on the simple question: “Time for cap and trade?” A whopping 95% of respondents voted in support, which will be motivating for lawmakers who are currently trying to get a market-based mechanism through the state legislature.
Tax rules – Filipino lawmaker LRay Villafuerte is continuing his push for the nation to introduce a carbon tax on electricity consumption and has asked government agencies, including the departments of energy and finance, to draw up rules for how the tax could be implemented. Villafuerte’s plan is to impose a $0.02/kg CO2 tax on electricity consumption, although households with very low consumption rates would be exempted. (Manila Standard)
Steel meet – The Chinese steel industrial association is hosting a training course for major steelmakers in Shanghai on Feb 28-Mar 1 to help them prepare for the national ETS.
Swapped – Another 192,800 South Korean CERs were cancelled and exchanged for Korean Offset Credits for use in the country’s ETS, where prices continue to rise and remain exponentially higher than CERs. The credits were generated by a N2O nitric acid project and cancelled by Hu-Chems Fine Corp., according to UN data.
Drax in Brussels – UK utility Drax has hired Ross McKenzie, EU parliamentary assistant to ETS reform lead MEP Ian Duncan, as its new EU affairs manager. With Drax’s big plans in biomass conversions, McKenzie is likely to be knee-deep in the Commission’s proposed EU-wide sustainability standard for bioenergy, which is being scrutinised by lawmakers in a process expected to last at least a year.
And finally… Peak coal in India? – the country has enough coal plants running or under construction to meet demand until 2026, according to a leading Delhi-based research centre, Climate Home reports. By that point, renewables and energy storage could be cheap enough to provide all new capacity, The Energy and Resources Institute (TERI) reckons.
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