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The European Parliament voted for a more ambitious post-2020 EU ETS package on Wednesday, following most of what its environment committee (ENVI) recommended but rejecting a steeper annual emissions cap cut and border adjustment measures for certain sectors like cement.
China is slated to launch what will become the world’s biggest emissions trading scheme in the second half of 2017, but with only months left almost nothing has been decided on how the market will work.
Oregon lawmakers will meet next week to kick off talks over introducing a state-wide carbon market, a senior source told Carbon Pulse, as the state’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on Tuesday published its much-anticipated study on the subject.
EU carbon prices briefly dipped below €5 on Wednesday after the EU Parliament adopted a slightly weakened post-2020 reform position before nudging back towards the previous close.
A Greensboro, North Carolina-based company has partnered with a tree planting firm in nearby Charlotte to develop an urban voluntary offset project that will generate credits to be sold to nearby environmentally-conscious colleges and universities.
The International Carbon Action Partnership’s Status Report 2017, released on Feb. 15, provides a testament to the evolution of emissions trading from textbook assumptions to the real world. With the launch of China’s national ETS later this year, carbon markets will operate in economies generating close to half of the world’s GDP and covering more than 15% of global emissions.
**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**
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
King coal is dead, long live king coal! – Coal-fired power is expected to regain its place at the top of the US generation mix by 2019 if the Obama-era Clean Power Plan is repealed, the US Energy Information Administration said Tuesday, according to Utility Dive. While low fuel prices helped natural gas generation outpace coal power last year, the agency forecasts in its annual report that coal could retake the top spot within three years and hold that position into the 2030s in the absence of stricter carbon regulations for existing power plants. That forecast, however, is contingent on expected price trends for other technologies, particularly natural gas, and the EIA cautions that other market or policy changes could impact coal’s resurgence.
Only $2.8 trillion – Investors and insurers with more than $2.8 trillion in assets under management on Wednesday called on the G20 to phase out fossil fuel subsidies by 2020 despite US doubts about climate change, Reuters reported. G20 nations should work “to accelerate green investment and reduce climate risk”, they wrote on the eve of a two-day meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Germany to prepare a summit in Hamburg in July. The summit should set a clear timeline “for the full and equitable phase-out by all G20 members of all fossil fuel subsidies by 2020,” the 16 signatories wrote.
China carbon exchange I – China’s far-western Xinjiang autonomous region is the latest to get on the carbon trading bandwagon ahead of the national ETS. The regional government has asked domestic entities holding capital of at least $14.6 million to apply for a licence to build a Xinjiang carbon exchange.
China carbon exchange II – Competition for offset trading among China’s carbon exchanges is stiff, and the China Emissions Exchange in Guangzhou on Wednesday said it would extend the offset transaction fee removal it initially introduced in 2015. It will also maintain the 2% fee for permit transactions, which had been reduced from 5% initially.
Chinese green bonds – China Development Bank is the latest Chinese financial institution to wade into the green bond market. On Feb. 21 it will issue its first of the kind, it said Wednesday, hoping to raise 5 billion yuan ($730 million) to fund nine projects focusing on energy efficiency, clean energy and clean transport. The move is primarily aimed at reducing local air pollution, but will also cut CO2 emissions. By end of January, Chinese banks had issued 54 green bonds, valued at 205 billion yuan.
Reaching Russia – The two nations have pledged to intensify their cooperation on implementing the Paris Agreement’s climate protection targets, Germany’s Federal Ministry for the Environment said in a press release. Jochen Flasbarth, the ministry’s state secretary, said Berlin cooperated with Moscow “to identify potentials, highlight risks and develop concepts for a climate-friendly economic development”. Implementing ambitious climate protection measures was also “an important message we want to send out in the context of our G20-presidency”, Flasbarth added. (Clean Energy Wire)
ENBW sees it coming – The German utility’s CEO Frank Mastiaux said a coal exit decided by Germany’s next government would “not be an existential problem” for the company. In an interview with Greenpeace Magazin, Mastiaux said his company had already included a gradual coal exit into its strategy. He said he believed that coal plants were “on target for their politically-intended demise”, adding that EnBW today already earned more with its grid operations than through conventional energy generation. The company will further expand its renewable capacities, Mastiaux said, adding that Germany’s nuclear exit, despite its “enormous financial burden” on utilities, forced EnBW to come up with “concrete alternatives for the future”. (Clean Energy Wire)
No more Navajo – Four utilities have decided to shutter Arizona’s coal-fired Navajo Generating Station by 2019, Utility Dive reports. The 2,250 MW plant is the largest coal generator in the western US, and the decision marks the second major coal station closure in the past month. Competition from inexpensive natural gas had made the Navajo plant unprofitable, but it will remain open for a further three years to maintain jobs and preserve revenues for the Navajo and the Hopi tribes. The agreement also allows the Navajo Nation or others to continue operating the plant beyond 2019, though the current group of owners will not be involved.
And finally… Just when you thought LA couldn’t get any cooler – Its mayor wants to lower the city’s temperature, and these scientists are figuring out how to do it. (LA Times)
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