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Guangdong will tighten the CO2 cap in its emissions trading scheme for 2017 and advance issuance of allowances to all included sectors despite the lack of clarity over what will happen once the national ETS begins.
China on Friday launched a new consultation on MRV rules for 14 major sectors, including some of those due to be brought into the national emissions trading scheme.
New Zealand carbon permits briefly traded above NZ$18 ($13.12) for a second straight day on Friday, the highest NZU price since last February.
Below is a table of the closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week. All prices are in RMB, and volumes in tonnes of CO2e. Data sourced from local exchanges.
EU carbon prices ended little changed on Friday, consolidating the week’s substantial 8% rise amid mounting doubts that recent gains will hold with a return to full auctions just around the corner.
Polish state-run utility Tauron reported a 12% rise in its total H1 output and was surprised that investors were keen to snap up its debt given its carbon-intensive operations.
Despite the Trump administration’s decision to withdraw the official estimate of the Social Cost of Carbon and disband the interagency working group that developed it, a group of prominent economists and lawyers have highlighted the metric’s continued validity for policymaking.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
**Due to limited price movement and volumes in North America’s carbon markets this week, Carbon Pulse opted to not publish its weekly NA market report. Normal coverage will resume next week with the release of the Aug. 15 WCI auction results on Aug. 22.**
Total eclipse of the grid – Electric utilities are preparing for the loss of solar power during Monday’s eclipse, when more than 12,000 MW of solar generation could be forced offline. Grid operators in California, for example, have lined up additional supply from gas-fired power plants and hydroelectric dams. Power disruptions are unlikely this time, but grid operators are already looking ahead to a total eclipse in 2024, when there is expected to be significantly more solar power on the grid. (Climate Nexus)
Green bank handover – Australian bank Macquarie has completed its £2.3bn takeover of the UK’s Green Investment Bank. Macquarie says this should be seen as a positive sign of renewable energy evolving from an industry dependent on government support to one able to compete for mainstream international investment. (Financial Times, $)
Sanction strife – Even if US sanctions lead to a cancellation of the Russian-German Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline and the Baltic LNG terminal projects, Europe’s import capacities are sufficient to meet demand, writes Aurora Energy Research in a brief. While “the overall impact [of the sanctions] on European markets is negligible”, the share of Russian gas could decrease significantly if it cannot be re-routed through Ukraine, the brief said, adding that the price impact on average gas prices in NW Europe in 2025 would be under 5%, which suggests that such events should not have a significant effect on the region’s energy mix or emissions. (Clean Energy Wire)
Lin’s out – West Virginia Solicitor General Elbert Lin, who played a prominent role in challenging former President Obama’s Clean Power Plan in court on behalf of some 25 states, is resigning to join the private sector, the Charleston Gazette-Mail reports.
Manitoba shuffle – Premier Brian Pallister shuffled his cabinet on Thursday, handing the environmental file to Rochelle Squires, who was previously the province’s minister for sport, culture and heritage. According to CBC, former Minister of Sustainable Development Cathy Cox swapped portfolios with Squires, who also takes on francophone affairs and the status of women. Manitoba is expected to unveil its provincial carbon pricing strategy in the coming months. Former Premier Greg Selinger in late 2015 floated a proposal to introduce a cap-and-trade scheme in the province and link it to WCI, but the plan was all but killed after Pallister was elected in early 2016.
The wheels on the electric bus go round and round – Ontario has launched a C$8-million pilot program to fund electric school buses using proceeds from the province’s cap-and-trade scheme. “School bus operators providing student transportation services in Ontario may apply for funding to purchase an electric school bus and associated charging infrastructure,” the government said, adding that the programme will run from Dec. 2017 to June 2019. The use of electric school buses is growing across North America, including in WCI jurisdictions California and Quebec, with approximately 100 such vehicles currently in use across the continent.
Pigouvian refresher – Proponents of carbon pricing (including Carbon Pulse) often need to refer to the economic concepts of negative externalities and Pigouvian taxes when advocating the benefits of putting a price on greenhouse gas emissions. In the latest installation in The Economist’s series on big economic ideas, the publication outlines the arguments for and against employing taxes or fees in scenarios where the interests of individuals or companies and society don’t coincide. Make this your weekend read so that the next time you feel the need to counter someone’s claim, whether on an online message board or at a family dinner, that carbon taxes are simply a “cash grab”, you’ll be well armed.
Biochar a bust? – Biochar, the burying of charcoal in the soil, is a potential mechanism to sequester carbon. A long-term soil warming experiment was conducted where soils were warmed by 2.5C since July 2008. According to a paper published in Global Change Biology, researchers found that heating the soil increased total CO2 emissions from the soil by 28%, but that biochar buried in the soil did not result in extra CO2 emissions accompanying warming. However, it did increase N2O emissions, another potent greenhouse gas. These findings suggest that warming may reduce the potential of soils to sequester carbon, and that increased N2O emissions under warming limit the greenhouse gas mitigation potential of biochar. (Carbon Brief)
And finally… Fallen soldiers – Tens of thousands of trees have been brought down by storms that wreaked havoc across northern and western Poland. Poland’s worst ever forestry disaster comes as the Polish government faces criticism for logging in Europe’s oldest forest in the east of the country in what it says is an effort to prevent an insect infestation. (BBC)
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