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California’s Supreme Court has unanimously declined to hear an appeal in a lawsuit challenging the state’s cap-and-trade scheme, removing a major cloud that had hung over the landmark climate programme for the past five years.
Over 100 business leaders pledged their support to moves towards clearer voluntary reporting of climate risk, though the US Trump administration’s stance has cast doubt over whether the G20 will endorse it.
If China keeps its subsidies for renewables and starts supporting natural gas, it only needs a $5 carbon price to meet its goal of peaking its greenhouse gas emissions by 2030, a report said.
Carbon pricing is the most efficient way for Japan to meet its 2050 emissions target, according to environment minister Kouichi Yamamoto, who suggested that the country’s nearer term goal is in peril.
The Shanghai Energy and Environment Exchange on Thursday announced the price floor for Friday’s auction of 2 million allowances, setting the minimum bid level 6.6% above the secondary market closing price.
Carbon prices on both North American coasts made sizeable advances over the past week as regulatory issues dominated.
The Platinum insurance policy, which has been significantly revamped since it was launched in 2014, is on track to cover 3-5 million tonnes of CO2 by November, according to brokers ISU-Environmental.
EU carbon prices climbed above €5 on Thursday for the first time in a week after breaching a technical ceiling, with EUAs rallying to notch a three-week high.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Another one bites the dust – Southern Company announced Wednesday it is abandoning its efforts to capture CO2 its Kember coal plant in Mississippi, and instead is going to keep running it on natural gas for the indefinite future. The Kemper power plant, economically struggling for years, was supposed to be the model for America’s “clean coal” technology, being touted by both President Obama and top officials in the Trump administration as recently as this week. Instead, it’s becoming a poster child for all the reasons “clean coal” just isn’t workable today, including the sheer cost of the technology, the glut of cheap natural gas, and flat US electricity demand. (Axios)
UK pressure – The UK government must “urgently” deliver plans showing how it intends to deliver 2028-2032 binding emission budgets, according to the latest annual progress report published by advisory body Committee on Climate Change. The CCC stresses that the extensive emission reductions to date have come from the power sector and new policies should include how the government intends to reduce emissions in the crucial areas of transport and buildings, where emissions are currently rising. (Carbon Brief)
Coal exit – A plan for an exit from coal-fired power generation in Germany will not necessarily be the result of the structural commission agreed by the current government in the country’s Climate Action Plan 2050. That was the claim made by Michael Vassiliadis, head of miners’ union IGBCE, as well as Green member of parliament Oliver Krischer. “Let’s see how the [September] election turns out,” Vassiliadis said, adding that he opposed a planned coal exit, especially as lignite mining and use would come to an end by the middle of the century anyway. (Clean Energy Wire)
We want more taxes – The fraction of Germany’s budget generated by taxing economic activities harmful to the environment and the climate is declining, according to calculations by NGO Green Budget Germany (FÖS). Just 4.3% of the public budget – less than the EU average of 5% – stem from this source, “providing few incentives to reduce pollution or resource consumption”, FÖS said in a press release. Germany’s former finance minister Hans Eichel, member of the FÖS board, says the country had to “come back to a constructive budget and tax policy to reach its self-imposed goals in line with the Paris Climate Agreement”. FÖS director Björn Klusmann says Germany should bring the share of sustainability taxes up to 10% and introduce a CO2 price of €30 per tonne to complement the “insufficient” EU ETS. (Clean Energy Wire)
A win-lose verdict – The US Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit in a unanimous ruling has vacated a lower court’s order forcing EPA to conduct a sweeping review of the impact its Clean Air Act rules have had on coal sector employment, saying courts lack jurisdiction to hear suits claiming the agency is violating the law by not performing the review. (InsideEPA, $)
Legal advice – Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister is seeking a legal opinion on whether the federal government can impose a carbon pricing on the provinces and force them to choose between a tax and cap-and-trade, the Canadian Press reports. Pallister says he is concerned the federal plan does not give Manitoba credit for the investments it has made over the decades in clean energy. Manitoba uses hydro for virtually all of its electricity, and Pallister says that has helped keep the province’s emissions at 21 million tonnes – about half what it would be if fossil fuels were used for electrical generation. Brad Wall, premier of neighbouring Saskatchewan, has already threatened to take Ottawa to court over the matter.
More law stuff – The kids’ climate lawsuit is getting its day in court, Politico reports. A federal judge in Oregon on Wednesday said the suit, in which a group of children and young adults seek immediate and dramatic action from the federal government to reduce GHGs, will go to trial before the US District Court for Oregon on Feb. 5, 2018. But Politico warns that the trial may not actually start on that date. “It’s not unusual for trials to get delayed amid disputes over discovery, and the Trump administration’s vehement opposition to this suit, particularly given its enormous scope, is all but guaranteed to produce some fights.” The Trump administration has already asked the 9th Circuit to toss out the case immediately, but that court has yet to act, and the lower court is moving things forward in the meantime.
China networks – In a blog post, the founder of Finnish firm GreenStream charts its 10-year journey from bulk buyer of Chinese carbon offsets to an energy service company supplying energy efficient Nordic technology to Chinese companies. With a seventh project being commissioned, GreenStream is branching out from the pulp and steel sectors to other manufacturers. (NEFCO)
And finally… T-minus three years – The world has three years to take ambitious action in order to bend the GHG emissions curve steeply enough to meet the Paris Agreement temperature goals, a group of scientists, economic experts, business and policy leaders said Wednesday. In a commentary piece published in the journal Nature, leaders of the Mission 2020 campaign, including former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres, outline a six-point plan to decarbonise the world economy and ignite aggressive action across key sectors. “The climate math is brutally clear,” signer Hans Joachim Schellnhuber, founding director of the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and long-standing member of the IPCC. “While the world can’t be healed within the next few years, it may be fatally wounded by negligence till 2020.” (Climate Nexus)
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