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Double-digit growth in global renewables procurement by companies seeking to boost their climate credentials has helped push European green certificate prices to record highs, a conference heard this week.
Preliminary installation-level data for 2017 EU ETS emissions will be published on Tuesday, Apr. 3, the European Commission announced on Thursday.
EU carbon prices were little changed for the second straight day on Thursday as another weak auction helped deter bullish bets that carbon would continue its run of new highs.
An initiative has been launched to help consumers and companies tackle the glut of allowances inundating the EU ETS and attempt to push up the cost of emitting, while offsetting their own carbon footprint in the process.
A group of Republican congressmen proposed legislation on Wednesday that would provide tax credits to US coal-fired power plants.
Activity on both North American coasts was very modest in the last week, as WCI participants continued to digest the outcome of the Feb. 21 auction and RGGI traders held back in anticipation of the result of Wednesday’s sale.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Pruitt’s plan B – A “red team-blue team” climate science debate championed by EPA chief Scott Pruitt might be replaced by an alternative plan, says E&E News. Despite reports that the idea had been killed off by the White House, Pruitt told Bloomberg yesterday that “it’s very important that I think the American people have a transparent, objective discussion about this issue”, adding that “the vehicle by which we achieve that is something yet to be determined”. When White House aides put the brakes on Pruitt’s plan, they also suggested an alternative, according to someone in the meeting. Plan B is to “take public comments on petitions asking EPA to revisit the Obama administration’s endangerment finding, the agency’s underlying authority to regulate greenhouse gases in cars, power plants and other sources,” says E&E News. That would allow EPA to determine “where the arguments are supporting and rejecting the science,” said the person at the meeting. (Climate Nexus)
And now we wait – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) has until Apr. 9 to decide whether to veto HB-1270, a bill that bars the state from starting or linking to a cap-and-trade programme without majority legislative approval. HB-1270 was passed along party lines in the Republican-controlled state House and Senate, but Northam is widely expected to nix the legislation. Coincidentally, the 90-day public consultation on the cap-and-trade programme designed by the state’s Department of Environmental Quality ends the same day.
Bid for coal – Czech energy magnate Pavel Tykac’s Seven Energy has €1 billion to spend on coal assets across Europe, matching the strategy of fellow investor EPH in betting the dirty generators will be needed for 20 more years to balance the ever-greener power grid. The private company already operates a 500MW Czech coal-fired plant and lignite mines, and has a 25-strong trading team.
An oil major by any other name – Statoil, Norway’s biggest oil company, will change its name to Equinor as it seeks to broaden its energy reach beyond oil and gas, Bloomberg reports. The name reflects the starting point for equal, equality and equilibrium, and “nor” to signal the company’s Norwegian origin, according to the 67% state-owned company.The name change comes months after Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund proposed to divest all its oil and gas stocks, arguing that given the country’s overall exposure to oil, including its ownership in Statoil, it didn’t make sense to also tie up financial assets in the petroleum sector. The rebranding also follows Danish oil and gas company Dong’s decision to rename itself Orsted.
Gazprom goodbye – Russian gas giant Gazprom will cut hundreds of jobs at its overseas trading and export offices, including Britain, and move them to St. Petersburg, according to two sources familiar with the plan, Reuters reports. One of the sources said the decision reflected a broader trend of Russian state firms retreating from the West as part of President Vladimir Putin’s drive to repatriate capital to reduce exposure to sanctions and also shore up the domestic economy. Gazprom’s overseas trading and exports divisions employ around 2,000 people, with the bulk of them – around 1,000 – in London. It also has offices in locations including Paris, Houston, Singapore and cities in Germany. Not all employees are traders, as they also include finance and logistics specialists. While the decision was taken earlier this year, it comes as relations between Russia and Britain, where Gazprom has the largest trading office by far, have hit a new low after the UK said Moscow was to blame for the attempted murder a former Russian double agent in an English city.
Don’t blame it on the rain – Scientists in China claim to have invented a solar panel that can turn from harvesting the energy in the sun’s rays to capturing the mechanical energy from falling raindrops. They say that the technology could be incorporated into electricity-generating raincoats that power the wearer’s gadgets while they splash through a downpour. (The Times)
And finally… Kudlow’s snuggles – President Donald Trump has officially named CNBC host Larry Kudlow as the new director of the National Economic Council, adding yet another climate science denier to the White House. Kudlow replaces Gary Cohn, who pushed for Trump to keep the US in the Paris Agreement but who resigned last week over the president’s steel tariffs. According to ThinkProgress, Kudlow will have a sizeable influence on US economic policy, including issues related to energy as well as domestic and international climate policies. He has previously suggested that solar warming could be responsible for an increase in global temperatures. And in 2013, Kudlow suggested that the Keystone XL pipeline – which Trump has attempted to revive through executive order – would benefit animals because they could “snuggle” under the pipeline for warmth. The Department of Interior disagreed in its environmental review of the project, saying the project would cause “permanent threats to wildlife”.
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