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EU carbon prices briefly climbed above €17 to their highest level since 2011 on Thursday, as rising power prices and another stronger auction lent support.
EU carbon prices will continue their rally and will double in the next two years, with a rise above €100 in the next decade “a real possibility”, analysts said.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced on Thursday that his province will join Saskatchewan’s lawsuit to stop the implementation of the Canadian federal government’s ‘backstop’ carbon pricing scheme, setting up a showdown with Ottawa over the legality of its national climate plan.
California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits broke out of a relatively stagnant stretch this week to push into new territory after a single trade drove the market higher.
US carbon markets were mostly unchanged over the course of the week amid a summer holiday season in full swing.
New Zealand carbon allowances set an all-time high for the seventh time in a month on Thursday as bullish momentum continued to lead prices up.
Four of China’s biggest industries will join the nation’s burgeoning power market, allowing them to negotiate prices bilaterally as part of the government’s market reform in a process deemed crucial for the chances of the national ETS to successfully cut the sector’s GHGs.
Finnish utility Fortum emitted 1.4 million tonnes of CO2 from its EU ETS-regulated facilities over the first half of 2018, down 7% year-on-year, it said in financial results released Thursday.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Coal in the cross hairs – The EU will consider introducing tariffs on coal from the US if President Donald Trump imposes restrictions on European cars, Germany’s Wirtschaftswoche magazine reported Thursday. “Depending on progress made during the visit of European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, the member states will decide on their future strategy at the end of next week,” an unnamed EU diplomat told the magazine. Juncker heads to Washington next week to discuss strained trade relations between the EU and US after Trump imposed tariffs on EU steel and aluminium, and following his repeated threats to extend those measures to European cars. (Reuters)
Worldwide pricing – German business association CDU Economic Council, associated with Angela Merkel’s centre-right CDU party, called on Germany and the EU to work towards a global regime to reduce CO2 emissions ‘like the EU ETS’. In a paper on future EU economic policy, the council says that the “CO2 price signal” of the EU ETS should be extended to all sectors. (Clean Energy Wire)
Goal met – The World Bank has exceeded its climate finance target for fiscal year 2018 with a record $20.5 billion in funding for country-level climate action. Overall, 32.1% the institution’s financing contained climate co-benefits, surpassing its goal made in 2015 that 28% of the bank’s lending volume would be climate-related by 2020. Outcomes of the climate funding include generating or integrating 18 GW of additional renewable energy into electricity grids, developing 22 investment plans for climate-smart agriculture in 20 countries, and providing 38 million people in 18 countries with access to reliable climate information and early warning systems in the face of more frequent and intense natural disasters.
Cash to burn – Fossil fuel companies, airlines, and utilities outspent environmental groups and the renewable energy industry 10 to 1 on lobbying related to climate change legislation between 2000 and 2016, according to a new analysis. The research, published in the journal Climatic Change, found that spending on federal lobbying aimed at climate issues topped $2bn over the period studied. The analysis shows that electric utilities spent the largest sums, followed by the oil, gas, and coal industries, and transportation sector, respectively. (Huffington Post)
When broken is easily fixed – Green group NRDC released a roadmap on Thursday for re-imagining the “broken” transportation system in the US Northeast and Mid-Atlantic regions, citing interstate cooperation in the power sector-only RGGI ETS as an example to build off. Strategies called for by the plan to increase environmental, economic, and health benefits in the transportation sector include substantially expanding electric vehicles, developing more walkable and bike-friendly living areas, upgrading public transportation, reducing congestion, and addressing under-served rural and low-income communities. The recommendations are designed to guide a bipartisan coalition of seven states and Washington DC that committed last fall to developing a regional transportation plan.
Bailout billions – A coalition of groups spanning natural gas, petroleum, wind, and other electricity suppliers funded a study published by consultants Brattle Group on Thursday, showing that attempts by the US Department of Energy’s (DOE) to subsidise struggling coal and nuclear plants could cost up to $35 billion annually. The study finds that if the DOE takes a narrow approach in selecting the plants in need of additional funds to avoid retirement – which critics have labelled a bailout – the department would spend an extra $10 to $17 billion a year. However, if the DOE includes all coal and nuclear facilities nationally in its plan and seeks to provide a return on investment, as is it proposed the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) should do last year, then costs could double. (Politico)
Truck stop – The US District Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia issued a stay on Wednesday to the EPA’s attempt to block the enforcement of rules on “super-polluting” trucks. An Obama-era cap would have reduced the production of glider trucks, which produce 20 to 40 times more pollution than other models, to under 300 units per year per manufacturer. In response to the EPA’s move, environmental groups launched a lawsuit earlier this week, with the Obama-era EPA having even estimated in 2016 that the move would have prevented between 350 and 1,600 premature deaths in 2016 alone. The court said that the stay is intended to give the EPA time to consider the lawsuit, and the agency must respond to the suit by July 25. (Climate Nexus)
Climate-positive Scousers – Liverpool City Council (LCC) has announced a new partnership with blockchain platform operator Poseidon to offset more than 110% of the city’s carbon emissions, announcing its bid to become the world’s first climate-positive city by the end of 2020. The LCC will conduct a year-long trial with Poseidon to use blockchain to offset the carbon impact of all products and services in the city by supporting global forest conversation projects. The LCC is striving to reduce its carbon impact by 40% by 2030 and is currently installing more than 15,000 energy saving LED streetlights across 2,000 streets to reduce streetlight energy consumption by 82%. Since 2012, Liverpool has cut carbon emissions by more than 558,000 tonnes, it said. (Edie)
Best fund – The Alberta government is launching a C$70m fund to spur advances in the biotechnology, transportation, and electrical sectors, part of an ongoing series of government initiatives to support clean technology. Under the Biotechnology, Electricity and Sustainable Transportation Challenge (BEST), groups — from industry associations to municipalities to individuals — can apply for government aid to develop technology that lowers greenhouse gas emissions. Past challenges have included C$40 million to tackle methane emissions and C$35 million to improve industrial efficiency. (Toronto Star)
And finally… Who’d have thought? – A non-binding resolution condemning the idea of a carbon tax as “detrimental” to the US economy passed by a 229-180 margin in the Republican-controlled House of Representatives on Thursday. The legislation, introduced this spring by Majority Whip Steve Scalise, not only won largely symbolic votes from the vast majority of the GOP, but also seven Democrats. Straying from the party line were six Republicans, including Florida Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who is planning to introduce his own $23/t carbon tax proposal that circulated this week on Monday. Of the 43 Republican representatives belonging to the House Climate Solutions Caucus, only four voted against the resolution. (Bloomberg)
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