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The election of left-leaning liberal Moon Jae-in as South Korea’s new president is set to bring about a review of the nation’s coal expansion plans and could slow the process of loosening rules under its emissions trading scheme, according to experts.
China’s national ETS will probably only include three or four sectors when it launches later this year, analysts said, but it will still regulate 5-5.5 billion tonnes of CO2 per year, making it by far the world’s largest market by coverage from the outset.
Changes could be in store for British Columbia’s frozen carbon tax after the Canadian province’s Green Party tripled their number of seats in Tuesday’s election, handing them the balance of power in the incumbent Liberals’ new minority government.
European carbon prices dipped slightly on Wednesday following more choppy late-day trading.
Austrian utility Verbund increased its Q1 power generation by 2% quarter-on-quarter after doubling thermal output, it reported on Wednesday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Paris-crastination – President Trump has now put off making a decision on Paris until after the G7 summit at the end of this month, White House press secretary Sean Spicer told reporters yesterday. The delays continue…
Failure to whip – In a surprise move, three US Republicans joined Senate Democrats on Wednesday to reject, by a close 51-49 vote, overturning an Obama administration rule limiting methane emissions from oil and natural gas drilling, The Hill reports. The vote is a major loss for congressional Republicans who had targeted the methane rule as a prime Obama regulation to undo, and a big win for environmentalists who fought to sway vulnerable and moderate senators. Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), Susan Collins (R-Maine), and John McCain (R-Ariz.) were the three to cross the aisle, with McCain’s vote unpredicted. The vote was the Senate GOP’s last chance to overturn the rule, which could still be repealed by the Department of the Interior through an extensive rulemaking process.
‘Go time’ for the backstop – A Canadian federal government technical paper outlining the ‘backstop’ option for provinces that decline to develop their own carbon pricing plans is expected to be released next week. The Canadian Press, citing anonymous sources, reports that the measure is expected to mimic Alberta’s carbon tax scheme and feature rebate payments for low- and middle-income households. Ottawa is requiring all provinces and territories to introduce carbon pricing of a minimum C$10/tonne by next year, either via tax or trade. It’s not clear whether the backstop paper will also set out ‘stringency’ guidelines governing how provincial cap-and-trade policies can be compared to or interact with tax regimes, though sources tell Carbon Pulse those are also expected to be published by Ottawa this month.
Lawfest – More than 1,200 laws have been adopted around the world to curb climate change, up from about 60 two decades ago, according to a new study from the London School of Economics. Analysis by the Grantham Research Institute on Climate Change and the Environment at the LSE shows that 14 new laws and 33 new executive policies related to climate change have been introduced since the 2015 Paris COP, with 18 focussing on climate change and 4 specifically related to NDCs. “Most countries have a legal basis on which future action can be built,” said Patricia Espinosa, the UN’s climate change chief, at the ongoing international meeting on climate change in Bonn. (Carbon Brief)
Nuked for gas – German utility RWE may build a gas power plant to replace nuclear generation at its Gundremmingen site in Bavaria, Welt reports. One of the two remaining reactors at Gundremmingen is scheduled for shutdown this December, with both accounting for about a quarter of Bavaria’s power needs in 2015. (Clean Energy Wire)
Virtual deal – Virtual power plant specialist Next Kraftwerke, one of Germany’s best known energy start-ups, has sold a minority stake of 34% to Dutch renewable utility Eneco. Next Kraftwerke was founded in 2009 and calls itself “a power plant operator without any power plants.” It uses its network of more than 4,000 renewable installations with a total capacity exceeding 2.8 gigawatts to trade power and balance the grid. The deal seeks to boost its expansion in Europe, and to “contribute to the joint ambition of Eneco Group and Next Kraftwerke to accelerate the energy transition by means of technology, enabling more renewable and decentralized energy,” the companies said in a press release.
And finally… Return to RGGI? – The current frontrunner in the Republican race to be the party’s New Jersey gubernatorial candidate in this November’s state election supports rejoining RGGI if elected. In their first debate on Tuesday evening, Lt. Gov. Kim Guadagno said she backed New Jersey returning to the cap-and-trade scheme it left in 2012, while her opponent Assemblyman Jack Ciattarelli said doing so would put jobs at risk. (The Philadelphia Inquirer)
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