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New Zealand carbon allowances on Wednesday traded at NZ$21.45 ($15.68), the highest level recorded since the emissions trading scheme was launched 10 years ago.
The Virginia House of Delegates moved on Wednesday to ban the state from participating in any state-wide or regional cap-and-trade programme, further complicating the state’s chances of joining RGGI or setting up a carbon market.
A hunt for a new leader for Ontario’s Progressive Conservative (PC) party has shed more uncertainty on a possible shift from the province’s cap-and-trade programme to the federal government’s carbon tax scheme.
EU carbon prices shot back above €9 on Wednesday despite relatively weak demand signals from the first UK auction of 2018 and as German negotiators concluded a coalition deal that could bring to an end to five months of political uncertainty in Europe’s biggest emitter and economy.
A former carbon sales manager at Gazprom has joined London-based trading and advisory firm Redshaw Advisors.
Australia on Wednesday released a new method for soil carbon projects, a move developers said could spark a ten-fold increase in project development.
The World Bank-led Partnership for Market Readiness (PMR) has agreed to spend $3 million helping Sri Lanka develop infrastructure that in time would allow it to participate in the international carbon market under the Paris Agreement and possibly set up a domestic emissions pricing mechanism.
Consumer goods company Unilever has hiked one portion of its internal carbon pricing by a third this year, the company revealed on Wednesday, as part of a two-pronged effort to green its global operations.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
State aid – The European Commission has approved under EU state aid rules for electricity capacity mechanisms in Belgium, France, Germany, Greece, Italy and Poland, finding that they contribute to ensuring security of supply whilst preserving competition. Green MEP Claude Turmes called the decision “totally unacceptable” and accused the Commission of “undermining democracy” by allowing EU capitals to continue to subsidise coal power plants, just as MEPs near the end of negotiating rules for the next decade. (EurActiv)
Bonds and taxes, please – Companies that are serious about reaching aggressive emissions reduction targets are increasingly turning to green bonds, and in some cases an internal carbon tax, to pay for energy and water efficiency upgrades and renewable energy projects, according to experts who appeared at GreenBiz 18 on Tuesday. More companies are tapping green bonds to pay for projects that will save them money on power bills and show customers and investors they’re serious about climate change, said Ariana Meinz, debt capital markets associate at Bank of America said Tuesday, during a panel discussion on green financing. Microsoft showcased its efforts to use an internal carbon tax to fund efficiency and renewable energy projects.
AEP: Advanced Emissions Planning – American Electric Power – the massive US multi-state utility that currently relies on coal for almost half its power generation – has outlined plans to slash its CO2 emissions, Axios reports. The goals are cuts of 60% from 2000 levels by 2030 and 80% by 2050. They will come from investments in renewables, more efficient transmission and distribution, increased use of natural gas, and expanded demand response and efficiency programmes. The company’s plans include adding 3.1 MW of solar generation and 5.3 MW of wind generation to the portfolio serving its regulated utility customers by 2030. AEP added that it is assuming US carbon emissions regulations will be introduced in the future.
Rejected – The New Zealand government has refused to sell a 19 hectare block of public land to Bathurst Resources. The company sought to purchase the land as part of its plans for a mine on the environmentally important Denniston Plateau. Forest and Bird welcomed the decision as confirmation of the government’s policy of refusing to allow new coal mines on conservation land and a signal that the company’s mining plan for the plateau would be rejected. (CoalWire)
And rejected again – A majority of Uniper’s shareholders has rejected a takeover offer from Finnish utility Fortum, the German fossil fuel utility said in a press release today. Aside from the 46.65% share that major shareholder E.ON sold to Fortum, offers from the remaining Uniper shareholders amount to just 0.47%. But Fortum head Pekka Lundmark said he was satisfied with the 47.12% share his company had acquired. (Clean Energy Wire)
Cold day in the sun – US solar industry jobs fell by 3.8% in 2017, dropping from 260,077 in 2016 to 250,751 this past year. According to the non-profit research firm The Solar Foundation, developers had rushed to complete installations in 2016 out of fear that Congress would rescind a tax credit for the industry, which ultimately did not come to pass. Additionally, large markets for residential solar power like California and Massachusetts experienced diminished demand as installation incentives became less attractive. While 2017 was the first year where the industry contracted since The Solar Foundation began keeping records in 2010, it projects employment to surpass the 2016 total in 2018, growing by 5% to over 263,000 jobs. (Reuters)
Cold years in the sun – The recent tariffs imposed on imported solar panels are unlikely to stimulate domestic manufacturing, according to a study posted on Tuesday. Fellows from the Colombia Center on Energy Policy found that the declining rate of the tariff, regressing from 30% in the first year to 15% in the final and fourth year, is a small window for domestic industries to start constructing and scaling up new operations. Moreover, the authors expect foreign panels shipped in from Southeast Asia to still retain an economic advantage over American panels over the last two years of the program, given the 9-18 month construction and commercialization period needed for new manufacturing facilities, potentially erasing any domestic incentives offered by the tariffs. (Axios Generate).
And finally… We do need some education – Teaching people how to spot logical fallacies can help prevent the uptake of climate change denial myths, according to a new study published in Environmental Research Letters. The authors of the study found that each of the 42 climate denial myths they analysed contained logical fallacies, building on a point that is relatively true (like the climate having warmed in the past) and fleshing it out to an illogical conclusion without confronting evidence to the contrary. Instead, by showing people how to properly examine an argument, which the authors exemplify through a flow chart and skit, these fallacies can be exposed for what they really are. Meanwhile, “harassment is no stranger to the reporters, researchers and policymakers who work on climate change, but it is particularly severe for the women in those fields,” according to NexusMedia. “Research into public understanding of climate change reveals an important link between sexism and climate denial – support for the existing social hierarchy … Research shows that men who value hierarchy are more likely to downplay the risks of climate change and more likely to hold sexist views.” The outlet is clear to note that this is not to say that every sexist denies climate change or that every climate denier is sexist. “It is merely to say that men with hierarchical leanings are inclined toward both sexism and climate denial, and this fits with a shameful pattern of men hurling sexist insults at women who work on climate change.” (Climate Nexus, Carbon Brief)
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