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The faster-than-expected expansion of renewables worldwide is helping to narrow the gap to Paris Agreement goals, despite some governments making little progress on climate action and the effects of US President Trump’s policies not yet taking hold, researchers said Thursday.
The Climate Action Reserve’s revised grasslands protocol offers developers significant savings that could usher in a host of new US-based initiatives, experts said, as the project type’s profile rises.
North American carbon prices in the RGGI market increased slightly this week on the back of expectedly bullish emissions data, while WCI prices idled for another week ahead of the market’s second tripartite auction later this month.
EU carbon prices fell for the third consecutive session on Thursday to end below €13 for the first time in almost two weeks.
CARBON FORWARD 2018
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Decarb diet – Scaling up the EU’s 2050 emission cut goal to a Paris Agreement aligned 1.5C goal of 95% under 1990 is feasible, according to a study by consultancy Poyry. It involves decarbonising the energy sector (transport, heat, power), which will cost €1 trillion for power alone, the paper found.
Speaking of trillions – Four of the world’s largest food companies have publicly called on the Trump administration to rethink its hostility to US climate policy, warning that without new measures the country’s agricultural system is at severe risk from weather extremes. Nestle, Unilever, Danone, and Mars last week published a joint letter to the EPA as it continues to review how to roll back the Obama administration’s Clean Power Plan. In the letter, the companies warn that without new measures the country’s food system risks facing “more destructive, unpredictable weather” that could present a multi-trillion dollar threat to the economy.
Out of gas? – An administrative law judge at the California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) has proposed to reject a 47-mile, $639 mln pipeline that two of the state’s utilities want to construct. While San Diego Gas and Electric and Southern California Gas Co. have pushed for the pipeline, the judge said that the companies had failed to demonstrate a need for the pipeline, suggesting that they consider more modest supply options instead. Regulators could vote on the pipeline at the CPUC’s meeting on June 21. (Utility Dive)
Finance failings – The delivery of climate change aid to poorer nations is lagging behind the promises made by richer countries as part of the Paris Agreement. Aid stood at about $48 billion in 2015/16, nearly half the amount promised by 2020. That’s according to development charity Oxfam’s Climate Finance Shadow Report 2018, which found that only $16-$21 bln of the overseas aid commitments fell under the strict definition of climate finance. (The Guardian)
Disproportionate impacts – A new study shows that increased temperature swings as a result of climate change will disproportionately impact poorer countries. The research, published in Science Advances, expects tropical countries to bear the brunt of more extreme temperature variability over the coming decades, affecting regions like the Amazon and parts of Africa and southeast Asia. Making matters worse is a recent publication from Oxfam showing that the amount donor nations have pledged to developing countries to deal with climate change under the Paris Agreement is short by almost 50% of the necessary total. (Climate Nexus)
Don’t want to feel left out – Poland’s climate envoy Tomasz Churszczow tells Climate Home that fossil fuel companies should not be barred from participating in UN climate talks. While activists at the UN intersessional talks in Bonn on Thursday pressured the EU to support a conflict of interest policy for businesses wanting to participate in the UN process, Churszczow said that excluding anybody from the process would “not be useful”. He also dismissed the comparison made by NGOs that the World Health Organisation limited the access of big tobacco companies to the organisation’s decision-making process due to their negative influence on public health. The Polish government previously backed a coal industry conference that operated alongside COP19 in Warsaw in 2013.
Milestones – GTM Research recently published a new analysis which predicts global solar PV installations will exceed 104 GW in 2018, and will continue to exceed 100 GW per year through to at least 2022. After an impressive 98.9 GW worth of solar were installed in 2017, most analysts are expecting 2018 to see the global solar sector exceed the 100 GW mark for the first time, Solar Love reports. Meanwhile in the water, the levelised cost of tidal energy is forecast to halve to £150 per MWh once 100 MW of capacity is installed in the UK, according to a new report by the Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult. Tidal stream will fall further to £90/MWh at the 1 GW mark and to £80/MWh at 2GW, from the current cost of around £300/MWh, said the Tidal Stream and Wave Energy Cost Reduction and Industrial Benefit study – which was first reported by the reNEWS All-Energy 2018 show daily preview.
Record month – Spot exchange operator CBL Markets notched a record month of 215 transactions in April, representing a 32.7% increase on March and a 668% rise year-on-year. Liquidity was driven by water & compliance carbon markets with 107 and 86 trades respectively. In total there was 2,394 lots traded, an 85.8% increase from March. This included 903 lots traded within the compliance market and 884 lots of Verra (VCS) VCUs traded.
And finally… Heat transfer – As US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faces a seemingly endless stream of scandal, his team is scrambling to divert the spotlight to Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke. And the White House isn’t happy about it. In the last week, a member of Pruitt’s press team has been shopping negative stories about Zinke to multiple outlets, according to two sources with direct knowledge of the efforts, as well as correspondence reviewed by The Atlantic. The stories were shopped with the intention of “taking the heat off of Pruitt,” the sources said, in the aftermath of the EPA chief’s punishing congressional hearing last week. They both added, however, that most reporters felt the story was not solid enough to run. The EPA denies that this occurred, though the agency’s top comms official resigned this week due to the mounting scandals. Separately, Politico reports that congressional committees remain hard at work on probes around Pruitt, with ongoing investigations into his travel spending and security arrangements were playing out behind closed doors as a trove of new documents circulated among the Republican and Democratic staffers.
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