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EU carbon prices are not rising to more elevated levels fast enough, France said on Wednesday after meeting with a small group of member states, reiterating its call for a bloc-wide carbon price floor starting with Europe’s power sector.
China and the EU on Wednesday launched the three-year second phase of their emissions trading co-operation programme, a €10 million EU-funded effort to help the world’s top emitting nation to develop and launch its national cap-and-trade system.
Monthly revenues from EU carbon allowance auctions have for the first time topped the €1 billion mark, providing a major funding injection for governments as EUA prices hold near seven-year highs.
Higher EU ETS prices have helped slow the expected pace of global warming, according to London-based fund managers Schroders on Wednesday.
German-based energy exchange EEX increased turnover from its European environmental markets business by more than 50% in financial year 2017 after posting a sharp rise in secondary market CO2 trading volumes.
EU carbon prices lifted to their highest levels so far this week as recent auction weakness appeared to dissipate following a spate of bearish sales.
Turkish bank Garanti outlined its shadow carbon pricing strategy on Wednesday, though the partial approach may fall short of addressing the company’s ongoing investments in coal plants.
California regulator ARB doled out just over 275,500 California Carbon Offsets (CCOs) this week following the zero issuance recorded earlier this month, with normally high-yielding forestry projects not receiving any credits for the first time since December.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Hot or not – As Scott Pruitt, the embattled head of the US EPA, prepares to testify before Congress on Thursday amid a series of spending and ethics investigations, an internal agency document obtained by the New York Times indicates that he may blame his staff for many of the decisions that have put a cloud over his tenure at the agency. The document, known as the “hot topics” list, appears to lay out talking points for Pruitt’s two sessions before the House of Representatives on Thursday. It suggests that Pruitt will claim that others were responsible for giving two close aides who used to work for him in Oklahoma substantial pay raises, and that EPA officials who were reassigned or demoted after challenging his spending all had performance issues. Separately, Politico reports that the Environmental Defense Fund has mapped out what it says are Pruitt’s unanswered questions surrounding various scandals – 86 of them to be exact. The group will also hand out a deck of “Non Trivial Pruitt Questions” during Thursday’s hearings. Meanwhile, according to multiple reports President Trump is growing increasingly concerned with the negative coverage of the EPA chief, with ClimateWire on Tuesday quoting an official who claims that White House staff “believe pretty uniformly that this guy is going to be fired soon.”
Told you we would – Saskatchewan’s government on Wednesday announced the launch of a legal challenge over whether the Canadian federal government has the constitutional authority to impose a carbon tax on the country’s provinces and territories. “Our constitutional challenge asserts that the provincial government, not the federal government, has the constitutional authority to set our policy in this area,” said Premier Scott Moe. “Provinces are not subsidiaries of the federal government and in Saskatchewan we have a plan. Our plan reduces emissions without a carbon tax.” The case was filed in Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeal, though it could eventually be sent up to the country’s supreme court. Saskatchewan is currently the lone holdout against introducing a carbon price, though that could change based on developments in other provinces and upcoming elections in Ontario and Alberta.
Rien plan – France’s president Emmanuel Macron and his US counterpart Donald Trump came no closer to agreement on climate change at their meeting this week. Trump, who has declared his intention to quit the Paris Agreement, said nothing on the topic at a joint press conference. Macron, who has threatened less favourable trade terms for countries outside the pact, mentioned it only briefly. He said “we also talked about the climate. And here, also, we know where we stand. France will continue to work on major pieces, including the global compact for the environment But I think I can say that our economic — our businesses, our researchers can continue to work on — can create solutions in the field. And we are both attached to that.” (Climate Home)
Fashionable fossils – Fossil fuels are unfashionable but necessary, and the journey towards economies fueled by green energy begins with a switch from oil and coal to the cleaner option of natural gas, researchers at UN trade body UNCTAD and energy sector professionals said during the Global Commodities Forum in Geneva this week, touting the potential for gas as a ‘bridging fuel’ to a cleaner economy.
And finally… More with less – Climate change is the greatest diplomatic challenge ever, according to senior British foreign ministry official Nick Bridge, adding that the UK government plans to use its diplomatic expertise to ramp up global climate action. Despite this apparent importance, the Guardian reported that the number of full-time officials dedicated to climate change in the British foreign ministry has dropped by almost 25% in the two years since Boris Johnson became foreign secretary, according to data released under freedom of information rules. Johnson has also failed to mention climate change in any official speech since he took the office, in marked contrast to his two predecessors. (Thomson Reuters Foundation)
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