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California’s ARB passes amendments to cap-and-trade regulations
California’s Air Resources Board on Thursday adopted a series of amendments to its cap-and-trade programme, with a last-minute addition aimed at ensuring benefits for disadvantaged communities.
NZ commissioner wants government to set legally binding carbon targets
New Zealand’s parliamentary commissioner for the environment on Thursday released a report recommending the government legislate greenhouse gas emission targets and introduce UK-style carbon budgets.
PetroChina trader leaves to start own carbon firm
A London-based emissions trader with Chinese state-owned oil firm PetroChina International has left to set up his own carbon trading company in Beijing.
Italian utility Enel slows hedging while EnBW’s rates stall over Q2
Italian utility Enel slowed its hedging rates over Q2 despite higher thermal output increasing its overall EUA demand, while German’s EnBW did not increase its hedging percentages at all over April-June.
EU Market: Strong auction again lifts, but EUAs unable to clear technical hurdle
European carbon prices dipped on Thursday after failing to break through technical resistance, despite posting a strong auction result for the third straight day.
Germany launches tender to buy CERs to offset 2016 federal govt travel
Germany has launched a tender to procure offsets to neutralise the GHG emissions generated from the business trips of federal government officials in 2016.
NA Markets: Prices drift amid uncertainty, thin trade on both coasts
California carbon prices have slipped back to where they stood before the final round of negotiations over the extension of the market system past 2020.
Wake up and smell the carbon: Dominican Republic launches coffee NAMA
The Dominican Republic is launching an initiative to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the island nation’s coffee industry.
With Hollywood backing, US NGO offers up 2 million Kenyan REDD credits
Kenya’s locally-managed Chyulu Hills forest protection project is to offer 2 million REDD credits to individual and corporate voluntary buyers in a marketing drive from US NGO Conservation International.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Taxing times – Two Democratic senators on Wednesday spoke at a conservative think-tank to introduce another bill to establish a carbon tax. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse and Brian Schatz pitched their American Opportunity Carbon Fee Act as a proposal Republicans should be able to get behind due to its simplicity and the fact that the revenues would go back to taxpayers, The Hill reports. The tax would be set at $49/tonne and would increase annually at 2% plus inflation, raising $2.1 trillion over 10 years to help offset cuts in corporate taxes and to fund tax credits for workers and recipients of federal assistance and state block grants. Resources for the Future, another US think-tank, forecasts that the tax would reduce the country’s emissions by 33% below BAU levels and by 39% below 2005 levels by 2030 – reduction rates in excess of those pledged by President Obama under the Paris Agreement. But in light of the Republican-controlled Congress and many fossil fuel interests in President Trump’s White House, plus House Republicans and some Democrats last year voting for a non-binding resolution denouncing carbon taxes as harmful to the economy and promising not to support one, the bill’s chances of survival appear slim. The pair of senators introduced a similar carbon tax bill two years ago.
Escape plan – US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is ready to let coal-fired power plants off the hook for their contribution to climate change, based on a novel legal argument that the country’s Clean Air Act bars him from further regulating CO2 from existing power plants because a separate Obama-era regulation on toxic mercury emissions already applies to them, Politico Pro’s Alex Guillén reports ($), citing multiple sources with knowledge of the plan. That approach – known in Washington’s legal circles as the “112 exclusion – echoes an interpretation of the statute Pruitt leaned into as Oklahoma attorney general, but it would avoid an all-out brawl over the established science on climate change. A federal appeals court never ruled on the matter before pausing the case in the wake of President Trump’s election, but several judges on the DC Circuit appeared skeptical of it during oral arguments last year. Environmental groups, meanwhile, are ready to fight the planned repeal of the Clean Power Plan, including the 112 exclusion argument, and Pruitt’s broader claim that the Clean Air Act does not give EPA the proper tools to fight climate change.
Windy Europe – Some 6.1 GW of extra wind energy capacity was installed in Europe in the first half of 2017, according to figures released today by WindEurope. The figure puts Europe on course for a bumper year for installations, although hides some worrying trends, the organisation said. A total of 4.8 GW of onshore wind capacity was installed, although it was heavily concentrated in Germany (2.2 GW), UK (1.2 GW) and France (492 MW). There has also been a flurry of activity in offshore wind: 18 projects in four EU member states (Germany, UK, Belgium and Finland), which saw a total of 1.3 GW installed. “We are on track for a good year in wind capacity installations but growth is driven by a handful of markets. At least 10 EU countries have yet to install a single MW so far this year,” said WindEurope Chief Policy Officer Pierre Tardieu.
Windy Oklahoma – Power development company Invenergy and General Electric on Wednesday announced plans to build the largest wind farm in the US, part of a $4.5 billion project to provide electricity to 1.1 million utility customers in the region. The 2GW Wind Catcher wind farm is under construction in the Oklahoma panhandle and will come online in 2020. The facility will be linked to a 350-mile dedicated power line that will send the wind farm’s electricity to Tulsa. (Reuters)
Asian cooperation – Representatives from South Korea and China met on Wednesday to discuss cooperation on climate change, and agreed to strengthen trilateral cooperation with Japan on carbon trading. No further details were released. (Yonhap)
And finally… Convenient review of an inconvenient film – The US climate scientist Michael Mann reviews Al Gore’s new documentary for Nature: “For those fearing a preachy PowerPoint lecture on climate science, be assured: An Inconvenient Sequel isn’t that. Rather, it largely takes the scientific evidence as a given, not least because Gore has already done a whole film on that. This instalment is an attempt to show us how striking climate impacts have become in the decade since his first movie … Those expecting Gore to rip into US President Donald Trump will be disappointed. Ever even-handed, he does his best to engage with Trump constructively. But it is clear where he stands. He runs a clip of Trump explaining that we should be worrying about ISIS rather than climate change. Anyone drawn to this film will already know that that’s a fallacious dichotomy.” (Carbon Brief)
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