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EU carbon prices continued to climb on Wednesday to reach a six-year high above €9.50 on gains many attribute to speculators – some brand new to the market – front-running anticipated tighter supply.
Major emitters in Singapore are lobbying the government to introduce a benchmark-based carbon tax rather than a flat one, a move that would lower costs for many of the companies covered.
The Beijing municipal government on Wednesday released the names of 943 companies that will be covered by its emissions trading scheme for the 2017 compliance year, but once again did not reveal how many tonnes of CO2 they collectively will be allowed to emit.
California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) handed out 4.55 million offsets this week, with a single new forestry project taking home the bulk of the credits.
Big companies are shifting their focus away from buying green certificates and taking more control over sourcing renewable energy as the cost benefits become more apparent, a report published this week showed.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Driving higher – An increase in transport sector emissions drove up Germany’s total GHG emissions for the second time in a row in 2016, according to the the Federal Environment Agency (UBA). At 909.4 Mt of CO2e, emissions were 2.6 Mt higher than 2015, the agency reports. Emissions from the transport sector amounted to 166.8 Mt, higher than in the base year 1990, and mostly due to a higher share of road freight transport and rising registrations of private heavy vehicles. (Clean Energy Wire)
Scanning for green – BP, the oil major that sold a third of its assets after a disastrous rig accident in 2010, said it won’t be left behind as the industry boosts investment in new energy. “We haven’t made really big bets but we’re scanning and screening everything” to assess renewables opportunities, CEO Bob Dudley said Tuesday, according to Bloomberg. BP must “get its balance sheet really strong, and then we’ll be able to do whatever we think is the right thing to do.” In December, the UK oil producer re-entered the solar market after a six-year absence with a $200 million investment in a company that develops photovoltaic farms in Europe. The move followed recent forays by peers Royal Dutch Shell and Total into offshore wind and solar-panel production as big oil prepares for a future dominated by clean energy.
Forecasting blue skies – Chinese politician Liu He vowed that, in three years, China’s skies will be blue again. The government’s latest five-year plan had pledged to fight pollution and bring back blue skies, but Liu is the first person to put a timeframe on the promise. He made this claim at the World Economic Forum in Davos, while reiterating China’s focus on resolving risks, reducing poverty and controlling pollution. (Quartz Media)<
And finally… Tell what you really think – A suggestion that a portion of EU ETS auction proceeds should used to fund the bloc’s budget has come under fire from British right-wing UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall. “If the European Commissioners dips their greasy paws into the ETS honey pot, it would be an act of theft from the taxpayer without their consent – and that is wrong,” he said, according to Cumbria Crack. “As the bureaucrats of the European Commission are not elected, it would amount to taxation without representation, which is repugnant and should not be allowed to happen.” Nuttall added: “I have never been in favour of ETS and I pointed out in 2015 that Al Qaeda terrorists made millions out of scamming the ETS, while thousands of British steelworkers lost their job because of it. It is another thing we can escape from after Brexit, but meanwhile it is outrageous that the proceeds from it should end up in the black hole that is the EU budget accounts.” (Read Carbon Pulse’s take on the EC’s proposal to shift some EUA auction proceeds from national level to the next central EU budget, which will be finalised after at least two years of debate and decision-making by *elected* member state governments and MEPs)
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