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Front-year EU carbon prices rose by as much as 5.3% on Tuesday to hit a fresh six-year high and flirt with €10 for first time since Nov. 2011, as heavy buying helped extend the recent rally that has added more than 20% since the start of the year.
Utah lawmakers have approved funding for a state-sponsored lawsuit that will challenge in federal court California’s carbon market and coal power restrictions, alleging that the policies are unconstitutional and will effectively ban Utah coal.
Ontario is moving forward with developing all of its 13 proposed offset protocols including one for conservation cropping, but will work with the province’s Environmental Commissioner (ECO) to address concerns linked to the practice, a government spokesman said.
The post-2020 EU ETS reform bill is due to be signed off by member state ministers before the end of February, according to a draft agenda, marking the final procedural step in a 2.5-year process that will finally cement regulatory certainty for the market and could trigger increased EUA buying from compliance companies.
Korean CO2 allowances on Tuesday broke out of the tight range in which they have hovered since December, but liquidity in the market remained modest as the ongoing lack of government clarification on future scheme rules means significant supply remains locked.
A Sino-European consortium of eight organisations and universities is developing a pilot power plant equipped with carbon capture, utilisation and storage (CCUS) technology, which will produce electricity and steam without emitting CO2.
Exchange operator CBL Markets said it experienced strong growth last year, in part due to an influx of new participants and the Australia-headquartered firm’s expansion into other environmental markets.
In the run-up to the 2nd Annual Ontario Cap and Trade Forum on April 18-19 at the Beanfield Centre in Toronto, Canadian Clean Energy Conferences is producing a series of articles featuring the key topics concerning regulated entities under Ontario’s program.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Finally – South Africa’s proposed carbon tax bill has finally entered the parliamentary process, Business Day reports, after two years of extensive consultation on various drafts and at least another five years of planning before that. The draft bill will be subjected to public hearings and further submissions before being revised into a final draft that is expected to be completed by mid-2018. The first draft of the bill was published for public comment in November 2015 but preparations started well before that in 2010. Read Carbon Pulse’s latest on South Africa’s long-awaited carbon tax.
Absolutely gutted – Trump’s fiscal budget for 2019 not only continues to slash funding at the EPA, but also wipes out large portions of the renewable energy budget at the Department of Energy (DOE). The Advanced Research Projects Agency would be completely cut under the proposed budget, while the Office of Efficiency and Renewable Energy would lose two-thirds of its budget. However, the Fossil Energy office at the DOE would receive almost a 20% larger budget in 2019, while a Public Lands Infrastructure Fund at the Department of Interior would be created to accommodate the development of new energy projects on public lands (Climate Nexus).
Every last one – The Trump administration on Monday moved to repeal one of the last unchallenged climate change regulations rushed into place in the waning days of the Obama presidency: a rule restricting the release of methane. The rule, which applied to companies drilling for energy on federal land, has been the subject of intense court battles and delay efforts, as well as one surprise vote last year in which Senate Republicans temporarily saved it from being torpedoed. Under the rule, oil and gas companies would have been required to capture leaked methane, update their equipment and write new plans for minimizing waste when drilling on government property. (New York Times)
A challenger emerges? – A potential rival to Oregon’s ‘cap-and-invest’ legislation has now been introduced to the House Agriculture Committee. HB-4109, sponsored by Representative David Brock Smith (R), would direct the Department of Environmental Quality and Department of Forestry to conduct studies on how “natural ecosystems” could both sequester carbon emissions and promote economic growth. The bill would present tax incentives for companies to reduce their emissions, while also exploring regional methods to GHG reduction that do not include cap-and-trade. While the bill’s supporters say that it could help the state reduce fires on densely-forested land, critics were leery of the potential for such a scheme to generate a significant return on investment. The House Agriculture Committee will hold a work session on HB-4109 on Feb. 15, the legislative deadline for the committee to approve it. (East Oregonian)
Tax dollars at work – A Wyoming subcommittee passed a bill on Monday that would permit the legislature to hire and pay for an attorney to sue Washington state over a blocked export terminal for coal shipments. Washington legislators had previously denied Lighthouse Resources, which operates a coal mine in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin, permits for a terminal in Longview, Washington. The coal industry has sought west coast terminal locations in order to access Asian markets, and coal-producing states have argued that bans on terminal construction hurt their economic interests. (Reuters)
Keeping 1.5 alive – Scaling up negative emissions in line with the global 1.5C temperature rise goal may clash with efforts to end hunger, according to a provisional report from UN-backed climate science body IPCC that is still subject to review and change before its publication later in September. The main two measures relied on to remove CO2 from the air are increasing forest cover and bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS). The latter, which involves burning wood or other plant matter to generate electricity and pumping the emissions underground, is particularly controversial. Both require large amounts of land, potentially conflicting with food production. (Climate Home)
Done deal – The European Commission on Monday formally adopted an amendment to the EU ETS Registry Regulation to implement safeguard measures to protect the EU ETS from Brexit. The revised rules provide for marking and restricting the use of allowances issued by the UK as of Jan. 1, 2018, unless EU law would not cease to apply in the UK by Apr. 30, 2019 or the surrender of allowances for 2018 takes place in a legally enforceable manner by no later than Mar. 15, 2019. To avoid its EUAs being blacklisted, the UK shifted its 2018 compliance deadline up by around six weeks.
Blowin’ ahead – Germany installed the most wind power capacity in Europe in 2017, with 42% of the total EU installations, writes industry association Wind Europe in its annual report. The country installed 6.6 GW, followed by the UK with 4.3 GW and France with 1.7 GW. Germany remains the EU country with the largest installed wind power capacity, followed by Spain, the UK and France. (Clean Energy Wire)
Offline – Due to system maintenance operations at the International Transaction Log (ITL) of the UNFCCC, the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry is not available for international transactions on Feb. 17 from 0430 to 1630 local time. And due to system maintenance operations at the Swiss Emissions Trading Registry, the Registry is not available for transactions on Feb. 20 from 1030 to 1130 local time.
And finally… Taking its ‘Toll’ – An LNG tanker has become the first commercial ship to traverse the northern sea route of the Arctic Ocean during winter, The Guardian reports. The Eduard Toll, operated by Bermuda-based firm Teekay, successfully completed a journey from South Korea to the Yamal LNG project in Northern Russia, unassisted by any icebreaking ships. The rapid decline of Arctic sea ice due to climate change has many in the shipping industry eyeing the northern route for faster connections than traditional passages going from Europe to Asia. The US National Snow and Ice Data Center reported that the extent of sea ice in the Arctic hit another record low in January.
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