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EU lawmakers have voted to empower the European Commission to change ETS regulations to protect the bloc’s carbon market from the effects of an uncoordinated British exit from the scheme.
EU lawmakers agreed a deal late Wednesday to extend the suspension of extra-European flights from the EU ETS but will hold a review of the UN’s CORSIA scheme at the end of 2023, which could see those routes become regulated once again under the bloc’s carbon market.
EU carbon prices hit their highest levels since Jan. 2016 on Wednesday, moving in sympathy with power markets bolstered by more French nuclear problems and emerging details regarding the Dutch carbon price floor plan.
Australia’s new energy plan could provide the foundation for healthy demand for domestic and foreign carbon credits from Australian utilities if the government heeds advice from the Energy Security Board.
China has promoted a senior climate negotiator to head its Climate Change Office (CCO), a move that is expected to reignite the agency’s decision-making abilities as officials prepare to transfer CO2 permits to power-sector ETS participants in early November, according to sources.
Fiji has become the first developing nation to launch a sovereign green bond in an effort to help the Pacific island nation adapt to climate change and meet its emission reduction obligations under the Paris Agreement.
The big-emitting steel and cement sectors will require new technologies not yet discovered to ensure their future under the Paris Agreement’s 1.5C temperature goal, a study found on Wednesday.
A third project has been deregistered from the CDM, the first in more than two years, with its NGO developers citing heavy administrative burdens and better returns in the voluntary market as reasons.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
MIFID misfire – 17 of the 28 EU nations are still scrambling to put MiFID II financial market rules on their books, adding to industry confusion as firms race to comply with the new requirements before the Jan. 3 start date. That matters because until it’s on a country’s books, the directive regulating trading rules including EU carbon allowances doesn’t directly apply to companies or individuals there. The last-minute dash adds to the uncertainty for banks and money managers as they brace for an estimated $2 billion compliance bill to comply and puts pressure on regulators to be lenient. (Bloomberg)
CPP corner – California air board chair Mary Nichols is touting Gov. Jerry Brown’s controversial proposal to establish an expanded Western electricity grid, saying the venture would allow states to work together to de-carbonize the power system and fill a void created by the Trump administration’s proposed repeal of the Clean Power Plan. (Inside EPA, $) Separately, activist groups, along with several state and local governments, asked the DC Circuit court on Tuesday to rule on the merits of the CPP, saying the EPA’s proposal to repeal the plan without drafting a replacement was an attempt to undermine its obligations, according to Law360 ($). Meanwhile, steps being taken by EPA administrator Scott Pruitt to repeal the CPP are “deeply shady”, says Vox writer David Roberts. “It relies on a succession of legal arguments, procedural gambits, and factual claims that, in toto, look retrofitted to support a predetermined policy conclusion: minimising or avoiding regulations on fossil fuel power plants, at all costs.” (Carbon Brief)
1 in 7 – That’s the number of coal plant owners worldwide that have fully or partially phased out their coal fleets between 2010 and 2017, Climate Home reports. The first ever global survey of coal phase out plans, released on Wednesday by data trackers Coal Swarm, revealed two different trajectories as the industry collapses in the west but marches on in Asia. Out of 994 companies with coal plants, 139 closed at least 20% of their capacity, predominantly in north America and western Europe, with 71 retiring their coal fleets completely. A parallel report by Greenpeace identified 23 cities, regions and countries implicitly or explicitly phasing out coal burning for power.
Cash for CCS – The US Department of Energy on Tuesday announced up to $26 million in financial assistance for cost-shared research and development projects focused on carbon capture technologies for coal and gas generation. Projects will focus on two major areas: research developing and validating transformational materials and capture processes, and support for research addressing issues associated with advanced carbon capture technologies. The DOE may select up to 14 projects, which will be managed by the National Energy Technology Laboratory. (Utility Dive)
Bad to worse – New research suggests industry and government are underestimating Alberta’s methane emissions to the extent that the Canadian province may need to double its planned methane cuts to meet its promised 45% reduction on 2012 levels by 2025. Currently, industry is only required to report how much methane is released during flaring and venting, with those emissions being estimated up until now. The study is the first to use aerial flyovers of oil and gas fields to actually measure released methane, and it found that thousands of wells were likely emitting more than estimated. The province has already committed $40 million from its carbon tax to help cut 500,000 tonnes of methane. (Canadian Press)
And finally… Floaty McFloatface – The world’s first floating wind farm has started delivering electricity to the Scottish grid, BBC reports. The wind farm, opened Tuesday by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, sees five giant 175 metre tall turbines tethered to the seabed about 15 miles from Peterhead in Aberdeenshire. The project will generate enough power for about 20,000 homes.
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