CP Daily: Monday December 18, 2017

Published 02:55 on December 19, 2017  /  Last updated at 22:49 on January 2, 2018  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

CP Daily will not be published Dec. 23-Jan. 1. Carbon Pulse will file stories and send out CP Alerts on merit during that period. Regular coverage will resume Jan. 2.

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TOP STORY

Washington state officials considering appeal after judge quashes market-based carbon rule

Washington state officials are considering their legal options to appeal a case targeting its Clean Air Rule after a superior court judge on Friday sided with the petitioners and blocked the measure from moving forward.

EMEA

EU ministers agree common position on bloc’s 2030 renewables target, other measures

EU environment and energy ministers late on Monday decided on a common position on the bloc’s renewable energy targets for 2030.

EU Market: EUAs gain 3% despite weak final 2017 auction, as Dec-17s expire

European carbon rose by nearly 3% on Monday, as a weak final 2017 auction was overshadowed by short-covering ahead of the expiration of the benchmark futures.

VOLUNTARY

DIALOGUE: What future for the voluntary carbon market in a world full of emission targets?

The voluntary carbon market is maintaining demand from corporate buyers but seeing average carbon credit prices fall under a looming global climate regime that could potentially squeeze them out.

CAR awards first offsets to Disney-backed Mexican forest project

The Climate Action Reserve (CAR) has issued voluntary offsets to the first Mexican forestry project registered under the programme.

ASIA PACIFIC

New Zealand unlikely to make decision on agriculture and ETS until 2019

Decisions on whether to bring agriculture into the New Zealand emissions trading scheme, one of the major decisions facing the market, won’t be made until well into 2019.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The big day – China is expected to announce the long-awaited launch of its national carbon market on Tuesday, which is poised to be the world’s largest when it goes live. Stick with Carbon Pulse for coverage for this momentous event.

Destination: stagnation – Global demand for coal should remain nearly flat between 2017 and 2022, resulting in a decade of stagnation for coal consumption, according to the International Energy Agency’s annual coal market report. Global coal consumption fell 1.9% to 5,357 million tonnes of coal equivalent (Mtce) last year, the second year of decline, because of lower gas prices, a surge in renewables and improvements in energy efficiency, according to Coal 2017. Coal demand is down 4.2% over the last two years, nearly matching the two-year decline in the early 1990s, which remains the biggest recorded drop since the IEA started compiling statistics more than 40 years ago. By 2022, global coal demand is expected to reach 5,530 Mtce, the same as the average of the last five-year period, and meaning that coal use will have had a decade-long period of stagnation. The share of coal in the global energy mix is forecast to decline to 26% in 2022, from 27% in 2016 because of sluggish demand compared with other fuels.

Hatchet job – The Trump administration has instructed officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to eliminate certain words and phrases, including “climate change” and “science-based,” from documents being prepared for the 2018 budget, the Washington Post reported Friday. The Post reports that the list of seven banned words, which also includes “diversity,” “transgender,” and “fetus,” was presented to CDC employees by senior analysts at a presentation on Thursday. Separately, Trump on Monday delivered his national security strategy, reportedly striking out climate change from the list of global threats. The New York Times reports that the president’s first formal national security strategy instead states that while “climate policies will continue to shape the global energy system,” American leadership will be “indispensable to countering an anti-growth energy agenda.” The US is also reportedly fighting against the mention of climate change in a new NAFTA agreement, sources say.

Baby step – The Trump administration is taking a preliminary step toward replacing the Clean Power Plan and regulating carbon emissions from America’s power plants, according to a document obtained by Axios. This advanced notice of proposed rule making (ANPRM) is the first concrete effort by the Trump administration to try to replace, instead of wholly repeal, the Obama-era climate regulations. According to InsideEPA, the measure is expected to result in a narrower rule focusing on improving the efficiency of coal-fired power plants inside their ‘fence lines’, with states given more control over setting their own regulations. The ANPRM is also a tacit acknowledgment by the EPA that it is not, for now anyway, going to try to review the 2009 endangerment finding. The EPA is expected for formally propose a rule next year after a consultation process.

Mostly good, but – The energy intensity of China’s economy dropped 3.8% over the first nine months of the year while energy consumption grew 2.8%, the NDRC said Monday. That keeps the country on track to meet its 2016-2020 energy intensity reduction plan as well as the 2017 goal to limit consumption to 4.5 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent. But the reduction rate is down compared to last year, and the government has put some regions under pressure to step up efforts, it said.

Time for Plan B – China on Sunday rolled out a five-year plan for how it intends to shift winter heating in the northern part of the country away from coal to cleaner fuels, Reuters reported. The initial strategy was to achieve it all this winter, but that has led to freezing citizens due to a shortage of natural gas, public outcry and record high gas prices. The new strategy includes “concrete arrangements” on heating from geothermal, biomass, solar, gas, industrial waste and clean coal, and is backed by 10 ministries.

On hold – The Trump administration is putting a halt to EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt’s plans to organize a forum to challenge consensus on climate change science. The plan, dubbed “red team, blue team” after the national security community’s exercises, was halted after various administration officials met about it this week, Climatewire reported Friday.

Timing – US Court of Appeals Judge Alex Kozinski’s abrupt resignation on Monday means the pending decision on the Trump administration attempt to toss out the landmark youth climate case Juliana v. United States rests in the hands of the two other judges on the panel, both of whom were openly skeptical of the government’s motion in last week’s hearing to have the case dismissed.  Kozinski announced his immediate retirement on Monday in response to more than a dozen allegations of sexual misconduct over the course of his 32-year tenure on the court. (Climate Liability News)

And finally… Do as one says, not as one does – Britain led calls for an end to coal-fired power generation at UN climate talks in Bonn last month, but at the same time British companies are active in coal projects around the world, often with government help. In Britain, the use of coal in electricity generation has declined sharply since the introduction of a carbon tax in 2013, although the country remains a centre of coal-mining expertise. Many in the mining industry see no contradiction. They say coal remains the best option in some countries and it would be hypocritical for the developed world to deny emerging economies the power they need. (Reuters)

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