CP Daily: Tuesday June 20, 2017

Published 21:59 on June 20, 2017  /  Last updated at 21:59 on June 20, 2017  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

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TOP STORIES

California cap-and-trade amendments in jeopardy as ARB vote delayed

California’s Air Resources Board has removed proposed cap-and-trade amendments from the agenda of next week’s board meeting, potentially jeopardising more than 18 months of work.

Three EU utilities propose upfront EUA auction cancellations to counter overlapping policies

Nordic utilities Fortum, Statkraft and Vattenfall are pushing a joint proposal to cancel up to 1 billion EUAs from auctions next decade to counter the anticipated mitigation impact of other EU and national policies.

INTERNATIONAL

Only half of OECD nations are decoupling emissions from GDP -report

Around half of OECD nations have decoupled emissions from economic growth, a number that falls to less than a quarter once trade flows are factored in, according to an OECD study released Tuesday.

ASIA PACIFIC

CN Markets: Guangdong sees 100% compliance record for third straight year

All 244 companies covered by the Guangdong emissions trading scheme surrendered enough permits to cover their 2016 emissions, meeting Tuesday’s compliance deadline, the provincial government said.

NZ Market: NZUs drop to fresh one-year lows as buyer absence continues

Prices in New Zealand’s emissions trading scheme on Tuesday fell to their lowest levels in a year as market participants remain largely uninterested in buying until more is known about the scheme’s future.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs fade back below €5 after hitting 4-day high

EU carbon prices inched to their highest level in four sessions on Tuesday after a strong auction, but they were once again unable to hold above €5.

ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

They’re back! Global alliance rallies around Republican plan for gradually-rising US carbon tax

In February, a group of prominent Republicans aligned with Ted Halstead’s fledgling Climate Leadership Council called for a nationwide carbon tax. Now the Council is back, with a formal charter, a diverse array of founding members, and a full page ad in today’s Wall Street Journal calling for a climate-change solution that “bridges partisan divides, strengthens our economy and protects our shared environment”.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Major support – Oil majors Exxon, BP, Total, and Shell, along with Stephen Hawking and Michael Bloomberg, have signed on to be the founding members of a carbon tax plan put forth by a group of elder Republican statesmen in February (Carbon Pulse’s story on that here). The Climate Leadership Council calls for scrapping Obama-era regulations intended to fight climate change, arguing that a market-driven approach will have the same effect in reducing emissions and that big-emitting firms should be protected from climate-related lawsuits. But experts say the carbon tax plan remains politically unworkable and therefore is DOA in Washington. It should be noted that the fossil fuel companies that back the idea are heavily invested in natural gas, which would benefit under a carbon tax at the expense of coal. Additionally, some observers have claimed that some large US emitters disingenuously favour a carbon tax over cap-and-trade because they know that the former is a toxic proposition among American lawmakers and voters, and therefore if they back the loser then it lowers the chances of either becoming reality. (Bloomberg)

More studies – China’s National Development and Reform Commission (NDRC) has awarded nine new contracts to various organisations to help plan out further details of the country’s climate policies. NDRC-led think-tank NCSC won a contract to carry out studies on how to launch and develop the national ETS, just months before it is meant to begin. Another think-tank, ERI, received funds to map out options on ETS market supervision, while the Guizhou Environmental Energy Exchange will look into how China can use the carbon offset market for poverty alleviation purposes.

Renewa-buttal – In a pre-buttal to a US Energy Department grid study due out later this month, a new report commissioned by wind and advanced energy groups finds that threats to baseload coal and nuclear power plants stem largely from cheap natural gas prices and low demand, and that the power sector’s shift to lower-carbon generation is not harming reliability. According to InsideEPA ($), the report by the Analysis Group consultancy finds that “the evidence does not support” claims that market forces harming baseload plants are risking reliability problems or that federal and state policies supporting renewables “are the primary cause” of baseload plants’ struggles. Separately, new research also shows the US electric grid can reliably handle up to 80% renewable energy by 2030. The study from over 20 researchers published in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences also functions as a rebuttal to a 2015 paper claiming the US can reach a 100% renewable grid by 2055. (Climate Nexus)

Amazon relief – Brazil’s President Michel Temer has vetoed a bill that would have lowered environmental protections on 1.4 million acres of land. The measures would have downgraded the protections on the forests to the lowest level under Brazilian law, and allow farming and mining activities. They had been championed by the beef industry and passed through Congress. (Climate Home)

Algae-powered – Oil giant Exxon Mobil its research partner Synthetic Genomics Inc said they had found a way to more than double the amount of oil produced by algae in a lab, moving a potential renewable alternative to fossil fuels closer to commercial viability after a decade of work. (Reuters)

And finally… The sound of a dying planet? – Climate Symphony, a London-based collective of artists and scientists, are inspiring environmental action by transforming climate change data into music. They use data sonification – the process of transforming numbers into sound by assigning various instruments to different sets of data – to convert figures relating to rising CO2 levels and atmospheric temperatures, flooding, and fluctuations in sea ice into a beautiful yet haunting work of art. (Wired)

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