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The South Korean government on Wednesday released long-awaited draft regulations for the eligibility of UN-issued carbon offsets in its national emissions trading system, as well as for CO2 permit auctions that will begin next year.
As the US relegates itself from a leading role in global climate change efforts to a backrow observer, a growing number of states are racing at an unprecedented pace to take the mantle and develop sub-national carbon pricing systems.
As the federal US government under President Trump seeks to back-pedal on climate action, states are moving ahead with their own measures to curb emissions. Carbon Pulse is tracking activity in states that have either proposed or formally introduced carbon pricing bills in their legislatures or agencies.
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California regulator ARB released an official version of its proposed amendments to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) late Tuesday, while also announcing a public hearing next month to allow for stakeholder feedback on the amendments.
The EU has kept its pledge to accept the draft CORSIA rulebook without changes but has tabled a slew of demands, including an offset vintage limit, should UN body ICAO reopen the package.
EU carbon prices slightly extended their six-year high on Wednesday amid signs of an over-heated market.
A UK-appointed adjudicator has rejected two more appeals from airlines over more than £400,000 in EU ETS fines, with one penalty being found to result from the negligence of a London-based trading house.
Access to the EU’s emissions trading registry will be suspended for five hours on Tuesday, Mar. 20 to allow for a software upgrade, the European Commission announced on Wednesday.
Decision-making power over New Zealand’s ETS should remain with elected officials, the nation’s new Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment said in a report Wednesday, putting him at odds with a government keen to take the scheme out of politicians’ hands.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator will hold the next auction under the Emissions Reduction Fund on June 6-7, it announced Wednesday, but said it is aiming to spend less money this time than in any of the previous six rounds.
Forest carbon credits issued under mechanisms such as REDD+ generate only a fraction of the prices Southeast Asian foresters can earn from the rubber industry, making the units inefficient in halting deforestation and cutting greenhouse gas emissions at current levels, a new study found.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Peter principle – German Chancellor Angela Merkel has chosen her close ally and current head of the Chancellery Peter Altmaier as the next economy and energy minister. This puts the political heavy-hitter in charge of shaping Germany’s Energiewende at a time of crucial decisions and potential conflicts. In the past, Altmaier irked the renewables industry and environmentalists during his short tenure as environment minister. But he also earned respect from all business sectors and across party lines for his deep knowledge of the topic and ability to broker compromises. Separately, the energy policy official of the German Chancellery, Winfried Horstmann, will likely succeed Rainer Baake as state secretary for energy in the economy ministry, the Rheinische Post reports. Horstmann is said to be “a capable civil servant who is unlikely to push a political agenda.” According to the newspaper, Baake resigned after the regional branch of the conservative CDU party from North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) put pressure on the party to prevent the outspoken critic of coal-fired power production from serving another term under Altmaier. Meanwhile, it remains unclear whether current German environment minister Barbara Hendricks will remain in the role. (Clean Energy Wire)
Another year, another drop – The UK’s CO2 emissions from fossil fuels fell by 2.6% in 2017, driven by a 19% decline in coal use, new analysis by Carbon Brief of government energy figures shows. The drop last year in CO2 emissions follows a larger 5.8% fall in 2016, which saw a record 52% drop in coal use due largely to the country’s £18/tonne carbon floor price (tax). The UK’s total CO2 emissions are currently 38% below 1990 levels, as low as they were back in 1890. The UK’s CO2 emissions have been decreasing steadily every year since 2012, with particularly large drops in 2014 and 2016.
For the kids – The landmark climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, will be proceeding to trial despite the Trump administration’s petition for writ of mandamus, judges ruled Wednesday. The suit, brought by 21 youth plaintiffs and supported by Our Children’s Trust, will be seeking action against the federal government for its failure to act against global warming, endangering the future generation. “The Ninth Circuit [Court of Appeals] just gave us the green light for trial. We will ask the District Court for a trial date in 2018 where we will put the federal government’s dangerous energy system and climate policies on trial for infringing the constitutional rights of young people,” Julia Olson, co-counsel for youth plaintiffs, said in a statement Wednesday.
More bonds – The Auckland city council in New Zealand is considering launching NZD-denominated green bonds later this year, it said in a statement. The bonds would be used to raise funds for investing in carbon emission reductions as well as climate change adaptation measures, it said. Mayor Phil Goff said the city plans to invest billions of dollars in infrastructure over the next few years. If it decides to go ahead with the green bonds, it would be the first council in New Zealand to do so.
Can of (s)corn- A new study suggests that capping the price of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the federal Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS2) would severely reduce the program’s ethanol mandate and could lower corn prices. Researchers from the Centre for Agricultural and Rural Development at Iowa State University found that limiting the prices of D6 RINs at a level between 10-20 cents would shrink the amount of conventional corn ethanol blended into the nation’s fuel supply from 15 billion to 14.3 billion gallons in 2018. Additionally, if exported ethanol were not to offset the lower domestic blending volume, short-term corn prices could drop by roughly 25 cents per bushel. The ongoing battle between oil interests on one side and agricultural and biofuels interest on the other over the future of the RFS2 and RINs market continues this week, as Reuters reports that President Trump will meet with representatives from several US oil refineries on Wednesday regarding possible changes to the federal biofuels policy.
And finally… For the birds – US Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke told a conference of oil and gas industry executives at CERAweek in Houston on Tuesday that wind turbines kill up to 750,000 birds a year. However, not only does that number exceed almost all published estimates of ornithological mortality caused by wind power, it also omits the multiple and far greater other causes of bird deaths, including building glass (599 million), auto collisions (199.6 million), and yes, cats (2.41 billion). (Axios)
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