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EU carbon prices continued their strong start to 2018 by extending the previous session’s five-year high and trading above €9 for the first time since Nov. 2012.
US-based developer Finite Carbon has sold nearly 22 million offsets from two Alaskan forestry projects.
US-based private investment fund Climate Trust Capital (CTC) has made a second investment in California’s biogas sector.
New Zealand carbon prices came down slightly on Tuesday amid doubts that the recent rally could be sustained as government changes to the ETS will likely not be announced until late next year.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Solar slapped – In his biggest blow to the US renewables industry yet, US President Donald Trump has slapped tariffs of up to 30% on imported solar cells and modules, his first tariffs since taking office. According to Bloomberg, the move is thought to add around 10% to the cost of utility-scale plants, threatens the $28-billion import-dominant US solar industry, and signals a more aggressive stance towards China. However, experts say that while it will likely slow the sector’s deployment to some degree, the tariff is not nearly as aggressive as developers and their allies feared.
The least worst option – With Washington state environmental activists threatening to put a carbon tax initiative on this year’s November ballot if legislators don’t enact one, some manufacturing and energy companies are opting to work with lawmakers on Governor Jay Inslee’s recently proposed tax rather than flat out oppose it, the Leavenworth Echo reports. Inslee earlier this month rolled out his proposal, which would tax CO2 emissions from power plants and transportation fuels at a rate of $20/tonne starting in July 2019. One natural gas industry lobbyist said “we absolutely prefer a legislative solution to this issue rather than an initiative,”, while another utility lobbyist added that “the best results will come from a collaborative effort here among people looking for fair and reasonable results.” As the governor heads to Davos for the World Economic Forum, his carbon tax bill is expected to get a vote in committee within the next two weeks. “This week our committee is in the midst of the nuts and bolts of crafting the next steps of the carbon legislation and the governor and his staff are fully engaged,” said State Senator Reuven Carlyle, who chairs Energy, Environment and Technology Committee through which Inslee’s climate agenda must pass.
Twice as fast – The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) has released a plan outlining how the country could cut carbon emissions from the electricity sector 52% by 2030, twice the rate planned by the government, reported the Brisbane Times. The plan, which includes setting up a number of special Renewable Energy Zones, is out for public consultation, but will likely meet resistance from the government.
Success – Meanwhile, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator released data showing the country will meet its 2020 renewable energy target. The nation saw record investment in renewables last year and is on track to the goal of reaching 33,000 GWh of additional renewable capacity by the end of the decade.
No success – France has announced that it missed its 2016 GHG target, according to AFP. The nation emitted 463 million tonnes of CO2e that year, 3.6% above its target. Low oil prices caused increased carbon emissions from transport and housing, the government said.
Another miss – An internal paper from the German environment ministry shows the country will miss the 2020 GHG emission target set by the EU for sectors not covered by the EU ETS, according to Tagesspiegel Background. The target calls for emissions from non-ETS sectors such as transport and agriculture to be cut by 14% compared to 2005 levels. Germany could buy emission rights from other member states who are exceeding their goals. The country has also this month admitted that it is unlikely to hit its overall national emissions reduction goal of a 40% cut below 1990 levels by 2020. (Clean Energy Wire)
Two if by sea – Two offshore wind farms located off the German coast are the latest innovative renewable energy projects supported by the EU’s NER300 programme to enter into operation, the European Commission said Tuesday. The Nordsee One offshore wind farm, with a total capacity of 402 MW, is situated roughly 40 km north of the island of Juist, while the 332MW wind farm Veja Mate sits 95 km from Borkum island. The projects demonstrate for the first time at a large scale highly efficient 6MW turbines. They also showcase a number of innovative technologies, which contribute to increased productivity and greater reliability – much needed in the harsh conditions of the North Sea – and also result in lower production costs. The NER300 programme financed innovative low-carbon technologies through the sale of EUAs earlier this decade.
Friends again – China and Norway have normalised their relationship after the 2010 Nobel peace prize controversy, and the latter has now agreed to spend $281,000 on a project meant to enhance MRV capacity in China’s emissions trading scheme, the Chinese government reported.
Touchdown – As part of the ongoing sustainability efforts of the NFL’s Seattle Seahawks, Delta Air Lines, the official airline of the NFL team, has offset carbon emissions from the miles the Seahawks travelled during the 2017 season by purchasing 1,080 voluntary credits from Washington state-based Cedar Grove Composting. The Seahawks travelled approximately 25,688 miles for road games on Delta charter flights, the organisations said in a press release. The news comes a day after Delta announced it had partnered with Duke University to help neutralise some of the US-based carrier’s carbon footprint.
And finally… Next time you drink a martini, spare a thought for the climate – Drinkers of a vodka brand known for its distinctive polar bear logo are getting more than just the liquor they bargained for: food for thought with bearless bottles meant to illustrate the ravages of climate change. The limited batch of Polar Ice Vodka bottles from which the brand’s polar bear has been scratched is meant to prompt consumers of the Canadian brand to ask themselves “Where’s the bear?”, the company said in a statement. It’s a “nod to what the future will look like as the polar bear population declines and sea ice continually melts in the Arctic,” it added. (Reuters)
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