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China is on track to announce the launch of its national emissions trading scheme during next month’s UN climate talks, but the market will be a “test run” for an unspecified amount of time and with tight restrictions on trade, according to sources.
Carbon credits from large renewables projects in countries such as China and India dominate global voluntary market supply, though they are priced cheaper than almost any other offset type, according to a report.
Queensland’s carbon offset industry could deliver carbon credits worth up to A$8 billion ($6.2 bln) to Australian and foreign buyers by 2030, said analysts Energetics.
European carbon prices continued their slide on Thursday, falling to a two-week low after a key technical support was breached, while CERs also fell to new depths.
First EU intra-governmental renewables quota trade agreed amid warnings over burgeoning corporate GO market
The EU has welcomed the bloc’s first statistical transfer of renewables targets as a good example of cost-effective co-operation amid warnings it risks crushing similar efforts between companies.
Finnish utility Fortum reported a 5% drop in its total EU generation in Q3 to 9.5 TWh from 10.0 TWh, all of that coming from CO2-free nuclear and hydro output.
Mexico has launched its long-awaited carbon trading simulation, moving ahead with plans that are expected to culminate in a national GHG market next year.
Carbon prices on both North American coasts edged gradually lower throughout the week as participants eyed upcoming auctions.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Climate veto – France is seeking “climate veto” powers over the EU’s landmark trade deal with Canada to ensure it does not undermine efforts against global warming, Environment Minister Nicolas Hulot said Wednesday, according to AFP. The CETA, which provisionally went into force last month despite lingering concerns from environmentalists, requires approval by the EU’s 38 national and regional parliaments, which could take years. One of its most controversial measures is an investment protection scheme which allows companies to pursue legal arbitration if they believe their rights have been violated by a change in government policy. Hulot said France, which is among the countries yet to ratify, would seek extra protections against this in the form of veto rights that he said “would assure that from the moment the measures are put in place, our climate commitments could in no case be attacked by investors, notably in arbitration tribunals.”
Taxing times – The Socialists and Democrats (S&D) – the second largest political grouping in the European Parliament – wants a border carbon tax considered among other new revenue-raising ideas for the next EU budget from 2020, AAP reports. Party vice-president Isabelle Thomas says the imbalance between high contributions from individual countries and limited EU-wide revenue measures must be addressed with this next budget. “We don’t want that [a new tax] is only for citizens … We want that a carbon tax is at the border to regulate importations, not only on our artisans and producers,” she told reporters in Strasbourg. She believes such an measure would be defensible to the WTO would lead to a “virtuous cycle” on climate action since countries wanting to sell goods in Europe would have to do more to reduce their own emissions.
Blacklisted – Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund may soon be advised to dump the worst GHG emitters, according to its watchdog. Bloomberg reports that the Council on Ethics is about to put forward its first recommendations based on new emissions guidelines. While a final decision is up to the fund, the proposals should come as no surprise since the investor seems “well prepared,” said council head Johan H. Andresen. “We’re still working on this criterion, so only once we’ve published recommendation will people have an idea of where we’ll set the thresholds … We’re looking at energy, cement production and maybe steel.”
Not incompatible – A new German ‘Jamaica’ coalition government of CDU, CSU, FDP and the Greens could “improve the energy transition”, Andreas Kuhlmann, head of the German Energy Agency (dena), told Die Welt in an interview (in German). Kuhlmann said the different demands brought forward by the parties in the election campaign were “not incompatible”. The introduction of a price on CO2 for example would be an easy and extensive framework for the country’s Energiewende policy that could solve the problem of Germany’s coal emissions. The next federal government should focus on making Germany’s energy taxes and levies system less complex and put more emphasis on CO2 reduction. (Clean Energy Wire)
Fulsome, well-rounded – The Saskatchewan government says its own tailored carbon pricing plan will be unveiled in the next six weeks and will include a “great deal of flexibility for industry”. The Canadian province’s environment minister Dustin Duncan gave a brief update on the plan Wednesday, following a throne speech that doubled down on the province’s staunch opposition to Ottawa’s mandate. Duncan went on to refer to the plan as “a much more fulsome, well-rounded plan” than either a carbon tax a cap-and-trade system. Neighbouring Manitoba is expected to release its own carbon pricing plan on Friday. (CBC)
Setting sail with LNG – The shipping industry may adopt liquefied natural gas (LNG) as a fuel faster than expected because of stricter environmental regulations that target GHGs, according to Angus Campbell, corporate director of energy projects at maritime agency Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM). The IMO’s Energy Efficiency Design Index requires newly built ships to emit less CO2 and that, along with the EU’s new maritime MRV regulations, will drive shippers to move toward LNG as a fuel when placing orders for new vessels, he said in an interview with Reuters.
But what about later? – The Australian government has written to the Energy Security Board to model their recently proposed National Energy Guarantee, but it did not ask the board to include any emission cuts in the post-2030 period, a parliamentary committee heard Thursday, leaving the opposition wondering what the fate of the country’s climate policy will be after that date. (Australian Financial Review)
Stranded – China’s national power market was oversupplied by 35% at the end of 2016 due to over investment in new generation capacity. China’s renewable power generators face the worst curtailment rates in the world with the national average curtailment ration in 2016 at 17% for wind and 10% for solar. Bloomberg New Energy Finance has created the China Renewable Curtailment and Coal Stranded Assets Risk Map to provide forward looking transparency on the metrics that are used by central regulators governing the market transformation. The resulting map provides insights into China’s challenge in managing its power generation system in the next few years.
Another lawsuit – Friends of the Irish Environment (FIE) announced on Monday that it had field a lawsuit against the government and Ireland’s Attorney General for failing to take necessary action to avoid dangerous climate change, DeSmog UK reports. FIE’s lawsuit argues that the Irish National Mitigation Plan “does not do enough to reduce Ireland’s greenhouse gas emissions and is a violation of Ireland’s Climate Act, the Irish Constitution and human rights obligations.” The group also claims that the National Mitigation Plan does not meet the standards of the Paris Agreement. According to the FIE, Ireland’s emissions are projected to increase by 7.5-10% by 2020 when they should be reduced by 25-40% compared to 1990 levels.
And another one – Home Performance Alliance of Connecticut and SolarConnecticut are threatening to sue the state government over its passage of a $41.3 billion budget that over the next two years will raid $20 million in RGGI proceeds plus $155 million from Connecticut’s Energy Efficiency Fund and Green Bank. The state’s Senate is expected to debate the budget on Wednesday evening, with the House is expected to take it up Thursday afternoon. (CTNewsJunkie)
And finally… Red-team blues – US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faces a predicament: If he picks certain climate skeptics for an attempt to poke holes in mainstream climate science, he risks alienating others and undermining the entire effort. Pruitt wants to put climate science through a scrutinising ‘red-team, blue-team’ approach, modelled after a military exercise designed to expose planning flaws. Yesterday, lists of red-team candidates that the conservative Heartland Institute think-tank is recommending were made public by an advocacy group, and they included dozens of scientists and economists skeptical of mainstream climate science, as well as lawyers, self-funded hobbyists and even a meteorologist who regularly appears on Fox News. But some of the candidates on the list said they were not consulted before their names were included, while others said they won’t participate if certain people are also appointed. Two lists of scientists and economists were sent to EPA earlier this year by the Heartland Institute, according to the documents obtained by the Climate Investigations Center and shared with E&E News. The lists include editorial comments regarding some of the candidates, describing one as “quite elderly” and another as “a lukewarmer, [who] supports a small carbon tax”. Read the entire ClimateWire story here.
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