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New Jersey may be closer to rejoining RGGI after two gubernatorial candidates who support the move won their respective parties’ nominations on Tuesday.
Analysts at Energy Aspects have slashed their long term EU carbon allowance price forecasts by a third after weighing the bearish impact of new EU-wide anti-pollution measures.
EU carbon prices fell for the second straight day on Wednesday amid a sharp drop in oil prices and despite firm auction demand, with the benchmark EUA contract crashing through a number of technical supports on brisk selling.
An ArcelorMittal-led consortium has won the race to buy stricken Italian steelmaker Ilva, in a move that could boost output in the short term but trigger wider consolidation among EU producers.
Former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott on Wednesday warned that the low emissions target (LET) emerging as a potential climate compromise would push up the country’s electricity prices, sparking concerns that the Coalition’s right-wing faction might shoot down the new plan.
China’s Guangdong province on Wednesday issued nearly 240,000 forest carbon offsets, some of which will be offered in an auction Thursday for a minimum price of 12.03 yuan ($1.77) each.
China Development Bank (CDB) aims to raise 5 billion yuan ($736 million) to fund a package of environment and climate projects through a new bond, the latest move in Beijing’s attempts to green its financial system.
Hawaii’s governor on Tuesday signed two bills to cut GHG emissions, becoming the first US state to enact into law portions of the Paris Agreement after President Trump last week announced that he would withdraw the country from the landmark climate pact.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
A degree of impact – Carbon Brief’s new US analyst Zeke Hausfather finds that if the US reneges on its Paris pledge and takes no action to reduce emissions, it could result in around 0.2C to 0.3C in additional warming, whereas a delay in implementation of four or eight years would have minimal impact. More widely, Hausfather explains how nine separate studies show, on average, that full implementation of all the current national climate pledges around the world would avoid 1C of warming, compared to a business-as-usual world. In his announcement last week, President Trump incorrectly claimed the deal would avoid just 0.2C of warming. Hausfather explains how these temperature estimates are made and explores the impacts of Paris, with and without US participation.
But how will we know? – President Trump’s budget request to Congress would eliminate or gut core programs across the federal government that track GHGs, so if those cuts go ahead the government may not be able to tell if emissions are rising or falling, Bloomberg reports. “The first step in any decent regulatory program is a requirement for monitoring,” David Doniger, director of the climate and clean air program at the Natural Resources Defense Council, said in an interview. “If you don’t know what’s there, it’s harder for the public or the regulators to do anything about it.”
Premature – Much has been made about California Governor Jerry Brown’s trip to China this week and talk about efforts to link the two’s emissions markets. But in a sit-down with Chinese reporters on Wednesday, Brown stressed that the two markets are currently too different to link any time soon, but that he kept the option open for the future, according to the 21st Century Business Herald (in Chinese) – much like Carbon Pulse predicted last week.
Not a barrier – Old coal-fired power plants can be made more flexible at reasonable expense, allowing countries with a high share of coal-based electricity to make a smooth transition to a climate-friendly energy system, according to a new study by think-tank Agora Energiewende. Minor modifications allowed coal-fired power stations, for example in Germany and Denmark, to increase and decrease their outputs in quarter-hourly intervals, making them more flexible to the fluctuating output of wind and solar power facilities.
Driving forward – The number of electric cars on the roads around the world rose to 2 million in 2016, following a year of strong growth in 2015, according to the latest edition of the International Energy Agency’s Global EV Outlook. China remained the largest market in 2016, accounting for more than 40% of the electric cars sold in the world. With more than 200 million electric two-wheelers and more than 300,000 electric buses, China is by far the global leader in the electrification of transport. China, the US and Europe made up the three main markets, totalling over 90% of all EVs sold around the world. Electric car deployment in some markets is swift. In Norway, electric cars had a 29% market share last year, the highest globally, followed by the Netherlands with 6.4%, and Sweden with 3.4%. Still, electric vehicles only made up 0.2% of total passenger light-duty vehicles in circulation in 2016.
Merged – The Rainforest Alliance and UTZ, two of the world’s leading sustainability certification organisations, have announced their intention to merge later this year. The new organisation, to be named the Rainforest Alliance, will tackle environmental and social issues around the world, including climate change, deforestation, poverty and unsustainable farming. It will create a single global certification standard, called the Rainforest Alliance standard, that will simplify certification for farmers and empower companies to build more responsible supply chains, more efficiently. It will also work to expand advocacy efforts and through new partnerships ensure conservation of entire landscapes in priority regions.
And finally… All in all, you’re just another solar panel in the wall – President Trump floated putting solar panels on his planned Mexican border wall in a meeting with legislative leaders Tuesday, according to White House and Capitol Hill officials. It was unclear why Trump brought up the topic, but he presented the panels as a way to fund the wall, which is expected to cost billions of dollars, three sources told Politico. He didn’t express certainty that it would happen – but that he’d heard it as a possible idea and wanted to see what others thought, said a senior official familiar with the White House meeting. Presumably the panels would need to be south-facing, which in itself could present some challenges. Trump’s solar barrier is also estimated to cost between $10 billion and $15 billion, according to Greentech Media (GTM). Assumptions are that panels would cover 1,000 miles of wall space, since that’s roughly the amount of unobstructed land between the US and Mexico, and that it would generate 6.6-7.28 GWh of power. “So if the power were to be sold to the Mexican people — power they desperately need — then the President-elect could actually make good on his promise to say that the Mexican people paid for the wall,” said Jigar Shah, co-founder of Generate Capital. That may all sound well and good, but there are some logistical issues that make building a solar wall very difficult, and unlikely to become a reality. In any case, “if you really believe that putting solar on the border wall would make it ‘pay for itself’, that means you believe in the positive economics of solar,” added Shayle Kann, vice president of GTM Research. “So why not put solar on all government buildings and new construction?”
As time goes on, Carbon Pulse’s 2016 April Fool’s Day story somehow appears closer to becoming reality…
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