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Nearly 200 nations this week tackled the first leg of the two-year negotiations on a Paris Agreement rulebook by pushing most decisions to next year, although a row about what counts as climate aid cash threatened to stretch the COP23 UN climate talks in Bonn late into Friday night.
Negotiations on global carbon trade under the Paris Agreement edged ahead of other strands of the UN climate talks over two weeks in Bonn, boosting confidence that countries and companies seeking to use international CO2 deals will have rules in place well ahead of the pact’s 2020 start.
South Korean carbon permits maintained their bull run on Friday, notching another 1.7% in gains to reach their highest levels since mid-February.
A Victoria-based waste project owned by Landfill Operation Pty. received most of the offsets issued this week by Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator, earning 232,387 carbon credits.
European carbon eased on Friday despite bullish energy fundamentals, ending the week with a 1.1% weekly gain as EUAs continued to oscillate between €7 and €8.
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.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Don’t look back in anger – Many nations’ view that the US should do more to fight climate change because it is the biggest historical emitter is a “distraction” from technological innovation, an adviser to President Trump said Thursday. George David Banks, speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the COP23 talks, said the focus should now be on innovation rather than casting blame for the past. “That kind of argument looking at historical, cumulative, versus what the facts are today is a distraction from what needs to occur when figuring out how do we deploy clean energy technologies,” he said. “When you are looking at the transformation of energy systems, technology breakthroughs, it’s kind of all hands on deck … All countries need to be involved in the process as much as possible.” (Reuters)
Good read – According to the Economist, “the most damaging thing about America’s renewed spasm of climate change rejection may not be the effect on its own emissions, which could turn out to be negligible. It is the cover America has given other countries to avoid acknowledging the problems of the agreement America is abandoning.” “The Paris Agreement assumes, in effect, that the world will find ways to suck CO2 out of the air. That is because, in any realistic scenario, emissions cannot be cut fast enough to keep the total stock of greenhouse gases sufficiently small to limit the rise in temperature successfully. But there is barely any public discussion of how to bring about the extra ‘negative emissions’ needed to reduce the stock of CO2 (and even less about the more radical idea of lowering the temperature by blocking out sunlight). Unless that changes, the promise of limiting the harm of climate change is almost certain to be broken.”
Grill time – US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt will head to Capitol Hill twice in the coming two months to testify at a hearing on the agency’s agenda, The Hill reports. The first hearing will be with the House Energy and Commerce Committee’s environment subpanel Dec. 7. It will be Pruitt’s first congressional oversight hearing since he took the helm at the agency last February, though he has testified at appropriations hearings. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee also announced a Jan. 31 hearing featuring Pruitt. The announcements come amid bipartisan pressure for Pruitt to come to Capitol Hill, nine months into his tenure.
Trade-off – Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan says he’s negotiating a deal with federal counterpart Catherine McKenna on carbon pricing, the Canadian Press reports. Duncan wants McKenna to let his province get credit for the CCS system it has on one coal-fired power plant to offset the emissions from continuing to use at least one other plant without such a system after 2030. Duncan says several plants in the province would have to be retrofitted before 2030 to keep them operating, but there is one that won’t hit its 50-year lifespan until 2042. Saskatchewan, which has been vehemently against Ottawa’s carbon pricing framework to date, currently relies on coal for more than half of its electricity.
Ca tombe – Quebec’s largest emitting installations recorded a 1.5% drop in GHG output in 2016 compared to the year prior, according to data published by the province’s environment ministry on Friday. The 233 reporting facilities emitted 31.59 million tonnes of CO2e last year, compared to 32.06 mt in 2015. The figures include installations covered under the Quebec ETS, as well as any facilities that emit 10,000 tonnes of CO2e or more, which must report annual GHG output. The cap-and-trade scheme covers plants that emit more than 25,000 tonnes annually.
And finally… Litigate to mitigate – Former NASA scientist and vocal climate campaigner James Hansen is calling for a wave of lawsuits against governments and fossil fuel companies that are delaying action on what he describes as the growing, mortal threat of global warming. Hansen says the ‘litigate-to-mitigate’ campaign is needed alongside political mobilisation because judges are less likely than politicians to be in the pocket of oil, coal and gas companies. “The judiciary is the branch of government in the US and other countries that is relatively free of bribery. And bribery is exactly what is going on,” he told the Guardian on the sidelines of the UN climate talks in Bonn. Hansen is involved in a 2015 lawsuit against the US federal government, brought by his granddaughter and 20 others under the age of 21. They argue the government’s failure to curb CO2 emissions has violated the youngest generation’s constitutional rights. A district court is due to hear the case in February in Oregon, though the federal government has tried to delay the case.
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