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The European Commission is gearing up to propose deeper EU emission reduction goals later this year as lawmakers are increasingly willing to accept more ambitious near-term measures, according to EU climate chief Miguel Arias Canete.
EU carbon prices broke new ground above €15 after Thursday’s auction attracted sturdy interest and cleared at the highest level since 2011.
New Zealand’s coalition government on Thursday announced its 2018 budget, which included plans for a NZ$100-million ($69 mln) Green Investment Fund as well as additional funding to establish the Climate Change Commission advisory, carry out ETS amendments, and prepare for internationally-linked carbon markets.
South Korean CO2 allowances have risen for three straight days as demand remains strong with the June 30 compliance deadline for 2017 emissions approaching.
A Rhode Island bill that would have implemented a state-wide carbon tax was halted by a House committee this week, meeting an identical fate to both the Senate version and similar legislation floated last year.
North American carbon markets jumped into life late this week as the WCI programme prepared for its second quarterly auction result while RGGI traders began to plan for the Northeast market’s second sale of the year.
News and analytics firm ICIS is losing its lead North American carbon markets analyst, Carbon Pulse has learned.
CARBON FORWARD 2018
Don’t miss the 3rd annual Carbon Forward conference and training day – Oct. 16-18, 2018 in London.
Spend two days with top experts, players, and decision-makers from the global carbon markets as they address today’s most attractive opportunities and pressing challenges. And join us for the EU ETS pre-conference training day organised by carbon market experts Redshaw Advisors, where you will learn how to effectively manage your carbon risk ahead of the looming overhaul of the bloc’s emissions trading scheme.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
J-bank pressure – Japanese bank Sumitomo Mitsui Financial Group Inc. has signalled it may rethink its financing of coal-fired power projects, marking a small environmental step for the nation’s banking industry, which lags global rivals shifting away from one of the most-polluting fuels. It comes after Japan’s Dai-Ichi Life Insurance Co. said last week that it won’t provide financing for overseas coal works, representing the first time a Japanese financial institution has announced such a policy. (Bloomberg)
Brexit bash – The UK government suffered its 15th defeat on Brexit legislation when the parliament’s upper chamber voted in favour of a change to the bill that would force the government to maintain the EU’s environmental principles. The government argues that Brexit will allow Britain to improve environmental protections through separate legislation. (Reuters)
Truckin’ on – New large trucks in the EU will have to emit at least 30% less CO2 by 2030 than in 2019 under the bloc’s first ever CO2 standards for, trucks proposed on Thursday, that the industry said were “far too aggressive”. (Reuters)
Priorities – The upcoming commission tasked with the management of Germany’s coal exit will prioritise jobs and economic stability over climate protection, a strategy paper seen by the Clean Energy Wire suggests. “Federal government policy aims to create full employment and comparable living standards in all of Germany,” the paper reads, underlining the commission’s strategic priority of ensuring local economies weather the phase-out of both coal mining and coal-fired power production. The document acknowledges Germany’s pledge to become “largely greenhouse gas-neutral” by 2050 and confirms the government’s 2030 target of reducing emission by 55% compared to 1990. But it says climate action must be “harmonised” with economic development and social considerations. The task force is expected to come up with a plan ahead of this year’s COP24 in Poland in December.
Efficiency edge – Over half of the new energy jobs created in the US in 2017 came in energy efficiency, according to a new report. The study, carried out by Energy Futures Initiative and the National Association of State Energy Officials, found that of the 133,000 jobs added in the energy sector last year, roughly 67,000 were in energy efficiency. Additionally, the solar industry employed 350,000 people last year – twice as many workers as the coal sector. (Climate Nexus)
Getting ready to rumble – EPA head Scott Pruitt confirmed at a hearing before the Senate Appropriations Committee on Wednesday that he has set up a legal defence fund in light of the dozen federal investigations into his activity. Although Pruitt said that he would not personally solicit donations from lobbyists or corporations with business before his agency, sources tell Politico that he has already tapped white-collar defence Aegis Law Group co-founder Paul Rauser to advise him, who has been doing so for several weeks now. At the hearing, Pruitt was not only pressured on his widely-publicised spending, travel, and security habits, but also for emails unearthed on Monday that showed the White House asked the EPA to block a draft Health and Human Services assessment related to the release of toxic chemicals.
Automated mess? – The projected rise of connected and automated vehicles (CAVs) could either reduce the amount of energy consumed by light-duty vehicles in the US or increase it sharply, University of Michigan urban planning expert Jonathan Levine tells Axios. The energy risk comes from the fact that over 80% of the variable costs of driving are attributed to the value of the driver’s time, which CAV travellers can reclaim by browsing the internet or sleeping in a self-driving car. However, this could cause drivers to tolerate increasingly longer commutes while also sending the car home during the workday to avoid parking costs, leading to increase energy usage. To counter this problem, policies should support shared deployment in the form of on-demand transit, along with planning a transit system that integrates public transport options with CAVs.
Four’s core, after the last update seven years ago – Seven years after voluntary offset standard VCS Version 3 was released, Verra is preparing a new version. The organisation on Thursday launched a public consultation on the major proposed updates which will form the basis for VCS Version 4. “Many of the proposals you’ll see are a direct result of conversations and feedback from our project developers, validation/verification bodies, registries, methodology developers, VCU buyers and sellers, and our various other partners,” Verra said. The consultation will run for 60 days and end on July 16. After that, Verra said it will use the input to finalise the content of VCS Version 4, or potentially run a second consultation.
Dirty half-dozen – The European Commission on Thursday sent six countries to Europe’s highest court for failing to meet EU air quality standards, escalating a long-running process by Brussels. Germany, France, and the UK were sent to the European Court of Justice for breaching EU standards for nitrogen dioxide limits. Italy, Hungary and Romania will face the court over breaching particulate matter standards. (Politico)
Reading matter – The special issue of magazine Carbon Mechanisms Review is out ahead of next week’s Innovate4Climate conference in Frankfurt. The German government-funded publication features articles on the linking of carbon markets and climate finance, the Nitric Acid Climate Change Action Group, voluntary markets and African initiatives to promote carbon markets.
Better business travel – Air BP will collaborate with Brazilian Avantto Aircraft Administration to offset carbon emissions coming from business air travel. Over the next 12 months, BP Target Neutral will work to offset all of the carbon emissions stemming from aviation fuel the oil giant supplies to Avantto. The programme will start on June 1, with a possibility for extension after the initial 12 months.
Four hundred months, or thirty four years ago – The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) confirmed on Thursday that April 2018 marked the 400th-consecutive month of warmer-than-average global temperatures, with the last time the Earth experienced cooler-than-average temperatures in December 1984. Assuming 50% odds of a particular month being warmer than average in a stable climate, the chance of 400 straight months coming in hotter than normal would be 1 in 10^20, otherwise known as a “nonvemtrigintillion”, a figure larger than the amount of atoms that exist in a trillion universes. (Grist)
New toys – Exchange operator ICE will on May 21 launch RGGI futures and options for 2020 and 2021 vintages. As with the other RGA contracts, each traded future and option is for physical delivery and represents a lot of 1,000 short tons. The v2021 contracts mark the first tradable instruments for allowances from RGGI’s next phase (2021-23).
Crypto concerns – Blockchain technology Bitcoin could consume nearly as much energy as the entire country of Austria by the end of the year, according to a new study. The research, published in the journal Joule, says that bitcoin could use up 7.67 GW of energy in the future, just shy of Austria’s 8.2 GW energy usage and an increase from an estimated minimum of 2.55 GW the technology network currently consumes. (Mashable)
And finally… Beware of falling rocks – The Earth is not warming. The White Cliffs of Dover are tumbling into the sea and causing sea levels to rise. Global warming is helping grow the Antarctic ice sheet. Those are some of the sceptical assertions echoed by Republicans on the US House of Representatives Science, Space and Technology Committee on Wednesday. The lawmakers at times embraced research that questions mainstream climate science during a hearing on how technology can be used to address global warming. A leading climate scientist testifying before the panel spent much of the two hours correcting misstatements. (GreenWire)
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