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The first ever tripartite WCI auction cleared at a slight premium to the reserve price, with buyers snapping up all the units on offer in the largest North American carbon allowance sale to date.
The EU’s highest court on Wednesday ruled that a German plastics firm should not be covered by the EU ETS, a decision that a lawyer in the case said could set a precedent for potentially hundreds of emitters with compliance obligations under the bloc’s carbon market.
The buying appetite of installation operators participating in Germany’s EUA auctions last year increased, even though their share of the total successful bidders remained steady compared to 2016, according to a government report seen by Carbon Pulse.
EU carbon prices settled above €10 for the second straight day on Wednesday after an early dip back into single digits was reversed following a strong auction, keeping prices near the fresh six-year high touched earlier in the session.
Spanish utility Endesa’s EU ETS-regulated thermal output rose by a third in 2017 as hydro levels collapsed on dryer weather.
The carbon intensity of China’s economy fell 5.1% in 2017, the National Statistics Bureau said Wednesday, but analysts concluded that total emissions still rose due to the country’s strong economic growth.
The emissions obligation under Australia’s proposed National Energy Guarantee (NEG) is “pointless” and could even drive less change in the electricity sector than business-as-usual if it allows the use of offsets, analysts said Wednesday.
Emissions from Australia’s biggest companies rose in FY2016-17 despite a drop in output from electricity generation, government data showed Wednesday, with the ongoing LNG boom the main reason.
The board of the Green Climate Fund this week approved spending of over $900 million across 19 projects, including a large energy efficiency programme in Brazil and a private renewables scheme in India.
California regulators handed out around 60,600 offsets to three projects this week, marking the smallest issuance since May 2017.
The International Carbon Action Partnership’s new report finds 2017 marks a key step forward for emissions trading. The adoption of ETSs in emerging economies, structural reforms and new cooperation initiatives have boosted confidence in carbon markets and help establish emissions trading as an important tool in reaching the goals of the Paris Agreement.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
UN shake-up – Fiji’s chief climate negotiator to the UN climate talks Nazhat Shameem Kahn abruptly resigned on Wednesday, with no reason given for her departure by the Prime Minister’s office. Instead, Luke Daunivalu, Fiji’s deputy permanent representative to the UN and part of the country’s finance team at COP 23, was announced as her replacement. Kahn headed the country’s presidency during the UNFCCC summit in Bonn last year, and has since led the “Tanaloa Dialogue” of collecting international efforts to mitigate climate change. Kahn will resume her position at Fiji’s permanent representative to the UN in Geneva. (Climate Home).
Missing out – Saskatchewan is set to lose out on over C$62 million in federal funding because Premier Scott Moe has refused to sign onto the Pan-Canadian carbon pricing framework by today’s deadline. “Saskatchewan will NOT sign any document that imposes a carbon tax on our province,” Moe tweeted this morning, highlighting the fact that Tuesday’s Canadian federal budget has allotted more than C$100 million for “carbon cops” responsible for enforcing Ottawa’s programme. Moe added that Saskatchewan will still be applying for the federal funding, despite its refusal to adopt a carbon tax. Canadian Environment Minister later tweeted: “To be clear: whether or not Saskatchewan signs onto the national climate plan, there will be a price on carbon pollution across Canada, including Saskatchewan. The choice is between a made-in-SK carbon price or a federal one.”
Decarbonisation driver – A new study published in Energy Policy shows that renewables are contributing nearly as much to decarbonisation in the US as natural gas. The authors performed a “decomposition analysis” of the 10% drop in emissions between 2007 and 2013, finding that renewables were responsible for 2.3%-3.3% of the cuts, whereas natural gas contributed to between 2.5%-3.6% of the cuts. Furthermore, the authors continue that this analysis should serve as a reminder to support the development of renewables, while also highlighting the overemphasis that past studies have placed on natural gas in its role in driving emissions downward. (Axios)
Past the politics – The Students for Carbon Dividends, a newly-formed group of over 20 college Republican organisations, announced their support of a federal carbon tax on Wednesday. The group’s proposal calls for a revenue-neutral carbon tax on industry – with taxpayers receiving dividends from the charges imposed on emitters – but also requesting the repeal of Obama-era climate regulations. This follows proposal last year from the Climate Leadership Council, consisting of several conservative politicians and economists, who floated a carbon tax of $40 per tonne, with American families receiving $2,000 in annual dividends. The move represents a growing rift between older Republicans who have given little attention to climate change and younger party members that are advocating market-led approaches to the problem. Group founder Alexander Posner said that “people are really looking past the politics. They’re interested in having a conversation about solutions.” (Time)
And finally… Coal-fired renewable energy batteries – AES Corp. is using giant coal plants to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Yes — coal plants. Under pressure from activist investor ValueAct Capital Management to cut pollution, Virginia-based AES is changing how it operates traditional generators that once ran at full speed. By burning less coal as the sun rises and wind kicks up, AES has found it can make room for more wind and solar on the grid, helping cut its pollution per megawatt by 25% over four years, CEO Andres Gluski said Tuesday. “At certain hours of the day, very cheap renewables will allow us to decrease our carbon footprint … But at the same time take advantage of our coal plants, using them basically like large batteries.” (Bloomberg)
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