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EU carbon prices notched their biggest single-day gain for almost a year on Wednesday, hitting a two-month high just shy of €6 on bullish sentiment resulting from governments agreeing ambitious changes to the ETS reform bill.
Final negotiations on the post-2020 EU ETS revision bill could progress more smoothly than previous carbon price-driving measures but could still hit trouble on how auction revenue is spent, according to senior EU lawmakers.
California and Quebec sold only 18% of current vintage allowances on offer during last week’s WCI auction, confirming premonitions of yet another undersubscribed market.
California’s latest carbon allowance auction may have experienced weak demand, according to a statement that appeared temporarily on the website of the state senate president before being quickly withdrawn.
A Hong Kong-listed solar firm said on Wednesday that it has signed a strategic deal with the China Emissions Exchange in Shenzhen to develop climate derivatives targeting the mainland’s emissions trading scheme.
New Zealand carbon allowances fell to their lowest levels since Feb. 13 on Wednesday as emitters remain hesitant to push prices up during government stakeholder consultations on potentially crucial changes to the scheme.
**2017 Climate Leadership Conference: Chicago, Mar. 1-3 – Business, city, and organization leaders engaged in sustainability and climate action will share what they are doing to reduce emissions, deploy clean energy, and prepare for climate impacts. Come hear UNFCCC Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa as well as executives from AECOM, Apple, Bank of America, Edison Energy, Exelon, Ford, GE, GM, IBM, Intel, Lockheed Martin, Microsoft, NRG, Pacific Gas & Electric, United Airlines. 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
Nuclear option – Britain’s nuclear power stations would be forced to shut down if new measures are not in place when the country quits the Euratom European atomic power treaty in 2019, The Guardian reports. The UK government has said it will exit Euratom after Article 50 is triggered, but that could prevent it from trading nuclear fuel if a replacement in not agreed in its place, according to experts. The widespread closure of Britain’s nukes would presumably have a devastating effect on the country’s power supply, while potentially causing emissions to spike as more fossil fuel-based power would be needed to cover the shortfall.
Not so fast – Key Republicans are cautious about a potential Trump Administration proposal to deeply cut the EPA’s budget in order to in part fund additional military spending. GOP members of the appropriations panel that sets the agency’s spending levels said they haven’t seen an official budget outline from the White House, The Hill reports. Oklahoma Congressman Tom Cole was skeptical of the plan to cut 24% from the EPA’s $8.1 billion annual budget and slash headcount by a fifth. “I’d like to look and seen what actually gets out of committee … EPA has been cut by over 20 percent in the last few years,” he said.
$600 billion price tag – Repealing the Clean Power Plan would have significant impacts on the US economy and the health of its citizens, according to new analysis from Energy Innovation, a clean energy think-tank. Rolling back the carbon rule would lead to $100 billion in extra costs by 2030, rising to $600 billion by 2050, according to the organization’s power sector modeling tool. And the resulting impacts to air quality would lead to more than 40,000 premature deaths in 2030, and 120,000 in 2050. (Utility Dive)
Zinke’s in-ke – The US Senate voted 68-31 to confirm Rep. Ryan Zinke as Interior Secretary. “Once again, the Trump administration is stacking their cards in favor of the fossil fuel industry. Zinke is another climate science-denier with ties to Big Oil who won’t lift a finger for real climate action,” commented 350.org Executive Director May Boeve issued the following statement. The Senate is also expected to confirm former Texas Governor Rick Perry has head of the Department of Energy this week.
Stress testing on the high seas – Banks holding up to $400bn in shipping debt could be exposed to climate-related risks as the world transitions to a low-carbon transport system, according to new research by Carbon War Room and UMAS.
Duterte signs – Filipino President Rodrigo Duterte on Wednesday finally signed the Paris Agreement, GMA News reported. Duterte initially said he would not join the treaty as he found it unreasonable that developing nations are obligated to take on targets, but has since changed his mind in the hope of getting access to funding from the Green Climate Fund.
Step by step – Not all of Japan’s bilateral Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) partnerships move forward at the same speed. A deal was signed with Kenya in June 2013, but only one project in the east African nation has been registered since. However, on Wednesday a second scheme – a small-scale hydro power project – was released for public comment. The Japan-Kenya joint committee will take comments on the project until Mar. 30.
Tax revenues used efficiently – The Alberta government will use carbon tax revenues to fund a provincial energy efficiency programme for consumers and businesses, CTV reports. Officials say the program will use $645 million over the next five years, with the government also spending $36 million to extol the virtues of solar panels.
Good Travelers – A carbon offset programme founded by San Diego International Airport in 2015 is spreading to airports nationwide. Austin-Bergstrom, Seattle-Tacoma, Dallas/Fort Worth and the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey – operator of Newark, JFK and LaGuardia airports – have all recently joined the Good Traveler program, under which flyers can buy carbon credit to offset their travel. A $1 credit offsets 500 miles of air travel, with money going towards projects in the US and Africa. San Diego claims to have already offset 11.5 million flight miles through the scheme between Sep. 2015 and the end of 2016. (Travel Weekly)
RGGI relevance – Journalist David Roberts profiles the northeast US carbon market, concluding that it works quite well but without reduce much carbon. He offered three possible improvements: including more states, cut the cap faster and expand beyond the power sector to cover other major sources of emissions. (Vox)
And finally… Wheels down for a carbon-neutral landing – The huge growth in flights from Heathrow’s planned new runway could be carbon neutral, The Guardian reports. The 260,000 extra flights a year anticipated from the third runway would make the airport the UK’s largest source of carbon emissions. But Heathrow’s new sustainability plan suggests other ways to offset the leap in emissions, including by restoring British peat bogs.
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