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California offsets issued by regulators surpassed the 100-million mark this week thanks to the scheme’s second largest issuance to date.
Delegates at China’s National People’s Congress (NPC) have urged the government to speed up the launch of the national emissions trading scheme and merge it with the planned energy consumption trading system.
Sixteen facilities had to surrender a total 448,000 offsets to meet their CO2 targets in the first year of Australia’s Safeguard Mechanism, with the vast majority of the emitters covered by the programme encountering few problems staying below their caps.
Australia’s biggest industry lobby group on Wednesday added its voice to the growing choir warning against accepting international carbon credits in the nation’s proposed National Energy Guarantee.
The owners of a major REDD+ project in Cambodia have signed an agreement with 20 local villages to share the proceeds from carbon credit sales and help develop the communities.
“Crashing out” of the EU ETS post-Brexit would cost the UK far more than any competitive advantage resulting from not being regulated under the bloc’s carbon market.
European carbon prices slipped on Wednesday on bumper volume, with the day’s auction again dictating the tone for trading.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Popular mandate – New Zealand’s new government has begun preparations for this year’s UN climate talks in Katowice, and on Wednesday launched a broad public consultation, asking the people which issues it should focus on during the talks as well as being open to new ideas the delegation could bring to Poland. The rulebook for the post-2020 international carbon market is among the issues scheduled to be finalised this year, and among the subjects the government specifically is calling for input on.
Our lawyers are better – Saskatchewan Environment Minister Dustin Duncan has assured the Canadian federal government that if it imposes its backstop carbon tax on the province, the two governments will meet in court. Manitoba initially had the same plan, but it shelled out C$750,000 for a legal opinion that effectively informed the province that it had no case, and that Ottawa would be within its constitutional rights to impose a carbon tax. As a result, Manitoba released their carbon tax plan in October. But Duncan said they are going to rely on the opinions of local lawyers, not those in other provinces. He added that they have delayed releasing an inkling of what Saskatchewan’s legal opinion may be because the federal backstop legislation is still in the draft phase. (Global News)
Sweden’s say – In its response to ICAO’s draft CORSIA rulebook seen by Carbon Pulse, Sweden has aligned itself with the EU and Norway in being willing to adopt the so-called Standards and Recommended Practices (SARPs) text unchanged, proposing suggestions for tightening up eligible offset vintages and sustainable biofuels criteria only if ICAO opts to re-open the package. “Sweden is of the view that the earliest possible vintage date is when the decision to establish CORSIA was taken (it wants after Dec. 31, 2016). However, the later the vintage date is set, the stronger the environmental integrity of the eligible emission units will be,” it wrote.
Flasbarth rides again – Incoming German environment minister Svenja Schulze will keep Jochen Flasbarth on as state secretary, he confirmed to German media. The 55-year old Social Democrat is “central to German environment policy”, well-connected in the EU and UN, and has been on the country’s negotiating team in international climate talks including the 2015 Paris Agreement negotiations. Before his time as state secretary, Flasbarth held positions including head of the Federal Environment Agency (UBA), and head of the environmental group Nature and Biodiversity Conservation Union (NABU). (Clean Energy Wire)
Upwind uproar – The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced on Tuesday that it will petition the EPA to require nine upwind states to reduce their ozone emissions in accordance with federal law. The state says that while it has reduced its nitrous oxide emissions from power plants by almost 90% since 2000s, other states’ continued violation of the federal National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) is leading to increased ozone levels in the state. The EPA will have 60 days from the time it receives the petition to make a ruling. (Utility Dive)
Mor’easters – New research shows that warmer weather in the Arctic has led to more extreme winter weather in the Eastern and Midwestern parts of the US. The study, published in Nature Communications, looked at winter weather patterns from the 1950s to the present day and found “a remarkably strong correlation between a warm Arctic and cold winter weather further south”. The finding demonstrates how climate change is not only leading to warmer temperatures, but also to unexpected consequences like more extreme and colder weather in some locations. (ClimateNexus)
6 degrees of sever-ation – A new study published in Climatic Change finds that 4.5 degrees of global temperature rise could wipe out half of Earth’s plant and animal species. The authors found that East Africa would lose 50% of more of the region’s mammal, bird, and amphibian species, with two-thirds of every kind of species disappearing from the Amazon. While cutting global warming to 2 degrees above pre-industrial levels could cut the rate of extinction in half, the authors also modelled the grim scenario of 6 degrees of warming where “basically everything falls off the edge of the earth,” as one author put it. (InsideClimate News)
And finally… Even 50 cents/tonne is unaffordable, apparently – Big energy users including Sibanye-Stillwater and ArcelorMittal’s local unit on Wednesday opposed plans by South Africa to introduce its long-delayed carbon tax next year, Reuters reports, with the companies arguing the levies are unaffordable and should be scrapped or further delayed. The tax is due to be implemented from 2019 after being delayed multiple times since first being mooted back in 2010 amid complaints from mining companies, steel firms and state-owned power utility Eskom that it would erode profits and push up electricity rates. The tax is slated to start at 120 rand ($10) per tonne. However, all emitters will face an effective rate of just R6-48/t based on the suite of exemptions available and the admissibility of offsets, with some companies able to reduce their tax burdens by as much as 95%. Read Carbon Pulse’s recent coverage of the South African carbon tax.
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