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Ministers from six EU nations met in Brussels on Monday to discuss further initiatives aimed at bolstering European carbon prices, but stopped short of launching a coalition to form an EU price floor.
A broad collection of Washington state carbon tax proponents is seeking to bypass lawmakers by putting plans direct to the public via a ballot initiative introduced on Friday, just a day after the state Senate’s defeat in moving its own bill to a full floor vote.
Swift scrapping of carbon pricing could rack up big compensation bill for Ontario PC government -expert
A decision by an incoming Ontario Conservative government to dismantle the province’s cap-and-trade scheme and not replace it with the Canadian federal carbon tax could result in billions of dollars in compensation claims by companies who have purchased WCI allowances.
Two New York-based power plants failed to surrender enough allowances to cover their 2015-17 RGGI emissions, according to compliance data published late last week.
China will eliminate 150 million tonnes of coal capacity in 2018, while slashing its energy intensity by 3% and ramping up spending on anti-pollution efforts, the government announced Monday.
EUAs climbed to a fresh six-year high on Monday as bullish sentiment grew after one of the strongest auctions of the year and as EU ministers gathered to discuss carbon price floor options.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Raise the bar – The Dutch prime minister has urged the EU to “raise the bar” on climate action by adopting a new emissions reduction target for 2030 of 55% below 1990 levels, Climate Home reports. The high-profile intervention comes shortly after calls by Swedish and French ministers on the European Commission to commit to deeper, faster emissions cuts. The EU’s current goal of a 40% cut on 1990 levels by 2030 was “too low to keep warming below 2C, let alone 1.5C”, said Mark Rutte in a speech in Berlin on Friday.
Greener cash – Fourteen EU environment and climate ministers – members of the self-penned ‘Green Growth Group’ – have urged more climate spending and mainstreaming in the future EU budget. They called for maintaining the current 20% climate portion and for safeguards to prevent the rest of the money damaging the climate as well as greater transparency on spending.
Sound advice – EU rules on financial advice will be amended to promote “green” investments, with asset managers forced to show how they consider sustainable growth in their decisions, according to a draft of the EU’s action plan for financing sustainable growth due to be published as soon as this week. The commission will propose a draft law in Q2 to begin compiling an EU “taxonomy” or checklist of investments and financing activities that are deemed“green”, or promote sustainable economic growth. The content of a prospectus for companies wishing to issue a “green” bond will be agreed by the third quarter of 2019, it added. (Reuters)
Contamination nation – The future of much-needed efforts to monitor groundwater contamination at coal-fired power plants was cast into doubt last week due to new regulation rollbacks proposed by the Trump Administration. According to a review conducted by AP, despite the fact that preliminary company findings indicate potential groundwater contamination from seepage at landfills and man-made ponds across the country, industries could save $100 million annually if the new rollbacks on company monitoring at test wells go through. Among the most prevalent polluters were Duke Energy, who reported possible contamination of groundwater at 48 ash basins and landfills, and American Electric Power, who reported half that number at ash disposal sites.
PC: Pretty Concerning – Chris Ballard, Ontario’s environmental minister, expressed concerns surrounding the Progressive Conservative (PC) leadership race, specifically the fact that the candidates are still debating the existence of climate change. “As minister, I really try to remain neutral … but I have kids and I am worried,” Ballard announced during a speech to the Empire Club of Canada. “I’m worried [when] I hear about PC candidates, who seem to still be debating whether or not climate change is a real thing in 2018.”
So be it – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe says his province won’t be implementing a tax on carbon any time soon, and if the battle with Ottawa over the issue ends up in court, “so be it.” Last week, Moe announced that Saskatchewan would not sign onto the Pan-Canadian Framework on Clean Growth and Climate Change, which includes support for a price on carbon. Missing the deadline to sign on – which passed on Feb. 28 – could cost Saskatchewan over C$60 million in federal funding over five years through Ottawa’s $1.4-billion Low Carbon Economy Leadership Fund. (Global News)
And finally… Bye ‘Mr. Energiewende’ – Germany’s energy state secretary Rainer Baake has quit after four years in charge of the country’s flagship Energiewende policy, Clean Energy Wire reports. Baake made his stand as Germany’s democratic limbo was finally resolved on Sunday, six months after an inconclusive election. A grand coalition of the conservatives (CDU/CSU) and Social Democrats (SPD) will return, along with chancellor Angela Merkel after party members endorsed a coalition deal. The Green party’s Baake criticised the new government’s energy and climate plans as “missing out on the opportunity to thoroughly modernise Germany’s economy”. Read Carbon Pulse’s take on the coalition deal that raises the country’s domestic climate ambition for 2030.
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