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Treasurer Scott Morrison on Friday ousted Malcolm Turnbull to become Australia’s new prime minister – a move likely to push climate change even further down the government’s agenda – though the defeat of right-wing candidate Peter Dutton makes it less probable the nation will seek to exit the Paris Agreement.
EUAs recovered from a brief dip below €20 on Friday to extend the previous session’s 10-year high, with another week of curtailed auctions looming and correction risks mounting.
New onshore wind and solar power generators can for the first time compete with existing thermal plants due to higher fossil fuel prices and EU carbon allowances climbing above €20, environmental campaigners said Friday.
Compliance in the final round of Mexico’s cap-and-trade simulation dropped as unexpected “shocks” were introduced into the market, according to the final results published this week from the months-long exercise to prepare emitters for the country’s real carbon market.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has issued over 825,000 carbon credits over the past two weeks, with energy firm EDL LFG earning over four-fifths of them for landfills and coal mine gas projects across the country.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Social cost – The US Trump administration has tried to argue that each tonne of CO2 emitted in 2020 would only cause around $1-$7 in economic damages – far lower than the predecessor Obama administration’s estimate, which was roughly $50 for the so-called social cost of carbon, after adjusting for inflation. This could have major consequences if the Trump administration can successfully claim that CO2 causes relatively little harm to the economy, then it can more easily justify moves like replacing the Clean Power Plan. (New York Times)
Embrace oil – Norway should stay invested in oil and gas shares, according to a government-commissioned report that looked into whether the $1tn world’s largest sovereign wealth fund should divest. The centre-right government is set to give its own answer in the coming months after the fund itself recommended selling out to avoid being over-exposed to oil. Energy stocks made up about 4% of the total value of the fund but estimated that while the government’s loss in net cash flow would be “substantial” in case of long-term lower oil prices, a divestment of energy stocks would only cover about 1% of this loss. (Financial Times)
At risk of blacking out – The risk of blackouts in Australia’s upcoming summer has grown from last year as aging coal-fired power plants have become less reliable, the nation’s energy market operator said Friday, calling for more power investment in the next few years. The Australian Energy Market Operator’s (AEMO) latest outlook underscores worries about the country’s grid just days after the government’s signature NEG energy policy collapsed amid political turmoil. Australia’s southeastern states suffered a string of blackouts in 2016 and 2017. AEMO sees the states of Victoria and South Australia most at risk of outages in the 2018-19 summer, with some risk in the most populous state, New South Wales, where a severe drought could deplete hydropower. (Reuters)
Shun coal – Germany’s Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change addresses the global coal phase-out in an overview policy brief. It says the main measures to help phase out coal are the abolishment of fossil-fuel subsidies, the introduction of sufficiently high international carbon prices, and the reduction of capital costs for renewables. (Clean Energy Wire)
Uruguay for unity – At the beginning of Climate Week in Latin America and the Caribbean in Montevideo, Uruguayan Environment Minister Eneida de Leon not only urged rich countries to increase their commitments to flagging UN green funds, but also called for nations throughout the region to join together and tackle climate change. “My feeling is that the region isn’t united like it should be given that it shares the same problems, such as the acquisition of funds to mitigate climate change,” she said, while also comparing wealth country commitments to invest $100 billion by 2020 in green funds to “entering a class-5 hurricane with a mere umbrella”. However, the region has been divided over the collapse of Venezuela, with five countries including Brazil explicitly condemning the government of Venezuelan leader Nicolas Maduro in the Lima Declaration. As a result, Venezuela may try to block Brazil’s candidacy to host the UN COP25 summit in 2019. (Climate Home)
Not appealing – Canada’s Supreme Court on Thursday dismissed a British Columbia municipality’s appeal of a regulatory decision that allowed expansion work on the Trans Mountain pipeline to avoid some by-laws. The City of Burnaby, the end point of the pipeline system, sought to overturn a December ruling by the National Energy Board that allowed pipeline owner Kinder Morgan Canada to skirt some parts of the municipal permitting process, with the Board finding that the Burnaby’s by-law review procedure caused unreasonable delay. The pipeline, slated to triple in capacity to 890,000 barrels per day when expanded, will be nationalised by the federal government if Kinder Morgan shareholders approve the sale next week. (Reuters)
Coastal concerns – Oregon state representatives headed to a three-day summit in coastal Lincoln City this week, where lawmakers’ plans to put forth a climate policy in the 2019 legislative session took centre stage. While both the House and Senate sought to pass two ‘cap-and-invest’ bills this year – falling short in both chambers – state economist Mark McMullen stressed that a successful carbon market would need to mitigate the impact on low-income families, including in rural areas. This includes the fact that roughly 9% of emissions reductions mandated under cap-and-invest would come from six major employers, mostly paper mills, along the coast. Despite support for the overall principles, the committee tasked with shaping cap and invest has yet to unify around its goal. While other speakers expressed the need to act on policies that would mitigate the increasing number of wildfires in the region, Representative Richard Vial (R), a member of the Joint Interim Committee on Carbon Reduction, said he did not know what strategy the group would decide on, adding that he was “suspect of yet another government run programme to address a big problem”. The committee’s next meeting will be held on Aug. 28, and comes after Senate President Peter Courtney (D) refused to bring the group’s principles to vote at the last meeting over widespread disagreement on what the state’s climate policy should look like. (Oregon Business)
Train gains – Cutting emissions in the global trucking sector remains a massive challenge, but one that could be helped by reversing freight industry trends worldwide and shifting more transport from road back to rail. According to the International Energy Agency, heavy trucking makes up roughly a third of carbon emissions from transportation and could account for 40% of global oil demand growth over the next three decades. Building on this, a new paper in Environmental Research Letters said that current battery technology and economics aren’t well-suited to long-haul routes, while very low-carbon liquid fuel replacements for diesel aren’t mature enough. Instead, the authors noted that there is a “clear need for a systematic assessment” of the worldwide potential for shifting freight movements back to rail, along with the cost and emission reductions accompanying it. (Axios)
Nice ride, comrade – Russian defence business Kalashnikov has unveiled an electric car prototype which it said will rival cars produced by Tesla, the Telegraph reports. The company, which is best known for its AK-47 rifles, said that its CV-1 car will travel up to 217 miles on a single charge of its 90kW battery. Kalashnikov’s electric car is modelled on a 1973 Soviet hatchback, the IZh 2125 “Kombi”. No release date has been given for the car, which remains at the concept stage.
And finally… You know the drill – A recent ad from the ranking Democrat on the US Senate Environment and Public Works Committee Tom Carper has tried to boost his environmental image as he faces a primary challenge in his home state of Delaware next month. The ad highlights the Trump administration’s push to expand offshore drilling, to which Carper responds, “over my dead body”. However, while Carper has opposed offshore drilling in Delaware, he voted in support of the practice elsewhere in the US four times in the 2000s, and also endorsed the Keystone XL pipeline for a period of time. Additionally, a spokesperson for Carper declined to comment on if “he would endorse Sen. Jeff Merkley’s “100 by 50” Act, transitioning the US entirely off fossil fuels by mid-century. (The Intercept)
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