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California has met its 2020 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target four years ahead of schedule, though like many other jurisdictions it reported steadily increasing CO2 output from its largest source: transportation.
EU carbon prices rose to a fresh five-week high on Wednesday after the second fortnightly UK auction in as many months was cancelled over a lack of interest.
Norway has the capability to store all of Europe’s CO2 emissions, the Nordic country’s environment minister Ola Elvestuen said Wednesday, adding that CCS is essential for reaching the ultimate goal of net zero greenhouse gas output.
Switzerland’s energy-related CO2 emissions continued to decline in 2017, the government reported Tuesday, attributing much of the fall to the increased use of biofuels.
South Korea on Wednesday released the allocation plan for the second phase of its emissions trading scheme, adding more than 30 million permits annually for industrials to support their short-term growth prospects.
New Zealand carbon permits jumped to fresh record highs on Wednesday as a lack of available supply continued to raise prices.
Quebec’s environment ministry granted almost 41,000 offsets this week to seven landfill gas projects in its first issuance since Sep. 2017, as traders said this fall’s approaching WCI compliance deadline is creating a supply crunch throughout the market.
The Northwest Territories (NWT) will begin taxing carbon-based fuels in July 2019 at a rate in line with the federal government’s pan-Canadian framework, it announced Wednesday, with an accompanying rebate system designed to defray the costs for residents of the remote subarctic jurisdiction.
A nationwide carbon tax on the US electricity sector would yield more emissions reductions and fewer ratepayer impacts than previously thought thanks to falling prices for renewables and natural gas, according to an environmental think-tank.
CARBON FORWARD 2018
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Final stop – The US EPA has sent its replacement rule for the Clean Power Plan to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. Sources have previously reported that the new rule will be much narrower in scope than the Obama-era regulation, focusing almost exclusively on increasing the energy efficiency of power plants, which environmentalists worry will result in minimal GHG reductions while providing a perverse incentive to stimulate coal production as the plants become cheaper to operate. The OMB staff checks regulations for compliance with various laws and administration priorities, and is the last stop before the CPP replacement can be released publicly and made available for comments. (The Hill)
Bring in the ringer – A landmark kids climate lawsuit, which the Trump administration is trying its best to stop, will feature an expert court report from Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz. Stiglitz, who wrote the 50-page report at the request of the kids’ attorneys pro bono, concludes that increasing global warming will have tremendous costs on society and that the present fossil fuel-based system “is causing imminent, significant, and irreparable harm to the youth plaintiffs and affected children more generally”. While Stiglitz adds that the point at which climate change-induced harm cannot be undone is rapidly approaching, he continues that acting on global warming now through carbon taxes and ending fossil fuel subsidies is still manageable and will have net-negative costs. (Inside Climate News).
Care to comment? – The proposed Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) for the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hit the federal register on Tuesday, giving the public through Aug. 17 to comment on the proposed changes to the federal biofuels programme. The publication follows the preliminary release of the RVOs last month, in which biofuel and agriculture interests criticised the EPA and then-administrator Scott Pruitt for failing to account for or take comments on the slew of compliance waivers issued by the agency to facilities this year, arguing that the actions have depressed credit (RIN) prices and lessened biofuel demand. A public hearing on the rulemaking will take place on July 17 in Ypsilanti, Michigan.
Beat by the heat – Hot weather can cause people to perform worse in problem solving and memory tasks, according to a new study. The research analysed students living in university dorm rooms during a 2016 heatwave, finding that the students who did not have air conditioning performed 13% worse across five different measures of cognitive function. The author of the study tells The Independent that he hopes his research can inform efforts to develop advanced air conditioning that is both environmentally friendly and accessible to a wider range of people, as cooling units currently create a “positive feedback” loop where emissions from fossil fuels used to power them also result in high global warming potential refrigerants leaking during the process. (The Boston Globe, Carbon Brief)
And finally… One step forward – The number of Americans who see solid evidence of global warming and its anthropogenic causes has risen in a new poll, but still remains far below full acceptance. The latest poll from the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College shows that 73% of respondents surveyed in April and May believe that there is “solid evidence” of global warming, in line with a high achieved 10 years ago after bouncing around between the low-50s to mid-60s from 2009-15. Of that total, a record 60% feel human influence has played some part in global warming, with 34% expressing direct causation. However, the divide between Democrats and Republicans on the issue has also hit a record level, with 78% of Democrats versus 35% of GOP respondents affirming that humans are at least partially responsible for rising temperatures. (Axios)
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