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China will cap its 2018 energy use at 4.55 billion tonnes of standard coal equivalent, a 1.3% rise on last year, and reduce the share of coal in the energy mix, the government said, foreshadowing an absolute drop in CO2 emissions from coal burning.
EU carbon prices stretched their 6.5-year high again on Thursday as prices surged past €11 after one of the strongest auction showings of the year, and as a major buyer revealed it had been largely inactive of late.
German utility Uniper has substantially held back on its hedging of power output, betting on future power price rises, it revealed in its full-year results on Thursday in what could be further bullish news for carbon.
Norway is seeking an even later CORSIA offset vintage limit than that of the EU and has suggested it won’t participate in the remaining work to design the international aviation carbon market if the proposed rules are watered down any further.
California carbon prices retreated from a seven-month low this week, while on the east coast levels continued to slip ahead of the RGGI market’s first auction of the year.
Canadian regulatory board greenlights cross-border hydro project, but challenges remain to the south
The Canadian National Energy Board (NEB) gave the final permit for Hydro-Quebec to build and operate its cross-border Northern Pass hydroelectric transmission line this week, but the project still faces intra-New England obstacles in fulfilling Massachusetts’ renewable energy goals.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Hendricks nixed – Germany’s environment minister Barbara Hendricks will leave her position once the country’s new government starts its work. The Social Democratic Party politician could be succeeded by party colleague Svenja Schulze. (Rheinische Post, Clean Energy Wire)
What is green? – The EU has proposed making it a formal requirement for asset managers to consider “sustainability” when picking investments as part of its ‘action plan’, which includes plans for a checklist of what qualifies as a climate friendly and sustainable activities, definitions that could be used for creating EU labels for “green” financial products. The EU’s $28.5 trillion funds industry swiftly dismissed the duty requirement as a “tick-the-box” exercise. (Reuters)
Superior system – Former US Vice President Al Gore visited Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne in Toronto and praised her carbon pricing efforts. Gore called the province’s cap-and-trade a “superior” carbon pricing system, saying it was better than a carbon tax because governments could deal directly with emitters. The Oscar winner also took a shot at the Ontario PC party, saying that their vow to dismantle the cap-and-trade and fight against the federal carbon pricing backstop would set the province back.
Empire rate – Over 150 New York mayors, council members, and other municipal legislators sent a letter to Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) and state-level lawmakers on Wednesday calling for a carbon tax and climate action. The letter says that the fee should be imposed on all GHGs as close to the source of emissions as possible, with revenues from the tax guiding investments in job creation and energy cost reduction for low-income and working families. The signatories cite a study from the Political Economy Research Institute at the University of Massachusetts Amherst that shows a $35/tonne carbon tax in New York could bring in over $7 billion annually for clean energy investments in the state and generate 145,000 jobs each year. Other requests in the letter include for New York to source 100% of its electricity from renewable energy by 2050 and expanding electric vehicle charging stations.
Keep it 100 – The Los Angeles Department of Power and Water (LADPW) can run on 100% clean energy by 2030, according to a new report released by Synapse Energy Economics and Food and Water Watch. The study compares a business-as-usual scenario with two clean energy alternatives in achieving the 100% goal, the first utilising more utility scale renewables, the second putting a greater emphasis on rooftop solar and other distributed forms of clean energy. It also finds that the plan featuring more locally-distributed rooftop solar energy is cheaper than the status quo option of relying on fossil-powered energy. LADWP, the largest municipal utility in the US, is currently considering a City Council request to move its grid to a 100% renewable grid.
And finally… Beware of dog – An ascendant aide in the Trump White House has warned of the threats posed by climate change, has argued for taxing carbon, has promoted wind power, and was even endorsed by the Sierra Club. The political stock of Peter Navarro, President Trump’s nationalist trade adviser, has been on the rise since he won an internal White House dispute over imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium. Trump’s top economic adviser, Gary Cohn, is leaving the White House after losing the tariff battle, and Navarro, who has been called an “environmental pit bull” is widely expected to jockey for Cohn’s job. If he gets it, he could soon be charged with overseeing national energy and climate policy. And whether or not he gets a promotion, Navarro has emerged from the tariff war as a more powerful figure in the Trump White House who could play a greater role in shaping administration policies across the board. (ClimateWire)
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