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California’s Assembly late Tuesday passed a bill to increase the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and eliminate fossil fuels from its power generation mix by 2045.
Saskatchewan on Wednesday updated its climate plan but said it will not be submitted for approval by the Canadian government ahead of this week’s deadline, marking the latest salvo in the ongoing battle over carbon pricing between the province and Ottawa.
Enacting a federal carbon pricing scheme in the US will need to the overcome the contradictory public relations and lobbying arms of oil companies in Washington DC in order to move forward, while Republicans need to run on climate issues to court a growing and concerned youth vote, experts and lawmakers said in a webinar on Wednesday.
Oregon industry groups on Tuesday told lawmakers they wanted protection or exemptions under a potential cap-and-trade programme to avoid rising economic costs.
Nearly a quarter of China’s H1 2018 electricity traded in the recently-established regional power markets, according to data from the China Electricity Council, as the nation took another small step away from the government pre-planned dispatch pattern that observers say would make a carbon price less effective.
The UN’s climate division appears to have hastily pulled a social media campaign and accompanying video relaunching its voluntary offsetting platform, just hours after the ad was panned by campaigners and other viewers for mocking people’s efforts to lead a low-carbon lifestyle.
EU carbon climbed back above €21 on Wednesday as a strong auction helped prices claw back more than half of the previous day’s heavy losses to re-approach Monday’s 10-year peak.
Sanjeev Kumar of PR consultancy Burson-Marsteller sets out four EU carbon market reforms that should be on Brussels’ agenda to ensure effective operation based on clear market fundamentals.
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
Coal burn – Poland’s planned Ostroleka C coal power plant could be unprofitable if the EU agrees plans to phase out capacity payments to coal plants by 2025, or it could lose up to €1.7 billion if lawmakers rule out any capacity payments for the facility, according to environmental think-tank Carbon Tracker. State-owned project developers Energa and Enea dispute the findings that capacity payments are needed to prevent losses, though Energa has called a Sep. 3 management board meeting where the sole item on the agenda is whether a shareholder vote should be held on commencing construction. (EurActiv)
Soft deadline – Brexit negotiators have dropped their October deal deadline, with both sides seeing mid-November as the new end date as the talks struggle to make progress, Bloomberg reports, citing anonymous officials. A deal is thought to be needed well ahead of the Mar. 29, 2019 divorce time limit to allow lawmakers to ratify it. Read Carbon Pulse’s story on how the UK is due to publish a technical notice on its future role in the EU ETS in the event of no deal.
Another one – The CDM Executive Board has approved a cookstove project in Myanmar initiated by South Korean trading firm Ecoeye that will generate some 25,000 CERs annually, the company said. The credits can be converted into domestic Korean offsets and used in the Korean ETS. This is the second Korean-backed CDM project approved after the government in May finalised rules to allow emitters to use foreign offsets to meet up to 5% of their compliance obligations. The first one, which also involved Ecoeye, is expected to generate some 3 million credits over the next five years.
Carbon capture challenges – Biomass energy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) features as a key technology for contributing to the goals of the Paris Agreement. Although technical challenges remain, arguably the toughest hurdles for BECCS are non-technical, according to several researchers in a guest post for Carbon Brief. The authors discuss six key policy and governance challenges to delivering net-negative emissions with BECCS, including questions of time and scale, delivering biomass sustainably, and aligning the technology with other climate and environmental policies.
Elon 1, Ford 0 – An Ontario judge ruled this week that Premier Doug Ford’s government had treated Tesla Motors Canada unfairly when it ended rebates for buyers of the electric vehicles (EVs) that were funded in part by cap-and-trade proceeds. Just two weeks after the US-based automaker announced its lawsuit, Ontario Superior Court Justice Frederick Myers said that the Progressive Conservative (PC) government had not transitioned out of the EV programme in a lawful manner, and ordered the province to pay Tesla C$125,000 in legal costs. While the Tories had set up a system to honour EV purchases from dealers through Sep. 10, Tesla sells its cars directly to consumers in Ontario and was excluded from the provision, which affected 600 customers in the province. Though it was immediately unclear if those drivers would now receive their rebates, Monday’s ruling marks the first of many anticipated lawsuits related to Ford’s rollback of environmental programmes and the cancellation of the province’s carbon market. (Toronto Star)
Gassed out – Separately, Ford on Wednesday said his government will remove the cap-and-trade component from the province’s natural gas bills, though opposition critics argue the Tories are not telling people the true impacts of cancelling the system designed to fight climate change. Ford said the move will save families C$80 a year and small businesses will save C$285 annually. The government has issued a directive to the Ontario Energy Board that will see the price of natural gas reduced by 3.3 cents per cubic metre starting on Oct. 1. (Canadian Press)
Gaining ground – Data published last week by the US Energy Information Administration reveals that renewable electricity generation accounted for nearly a fifth of all domestic electrical generation in the US through the first half of the year, and narrowly beat out nuclear power, Renew Economy reports. US renewable energy sources accounted for 19.867% of the country’s electrical generation during the first half of 2018, compared to nuclear power which accounted for 19.863%.
Go right ahead – An Arizona judge this week denied a bid from opponents of a renewable energy initiative in the state to prevent the measure from appearing on the November ballot. Initially, utility Arizona Public Service Commission’s parent company had funded a campaign against the 50% Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) by 2030 initiative, arguing that backers’ 47% validity rate in collected signatures should nullify the proposal. However, while Superior Court Judge Daniel Kiley ruled that some signatures in support of Clean Energy for a Healthy Arizona’s proposal had to be thrown out, the 47% rate was still more than enough to put the measure on the ballot. A spokesperson for the opponents said they intended to appeal the decision. (AP)
And finally… Research purposes – Call it “the climate change defense” or, maybe, “the climate science denier defense.” Texas Rep. John Culberson (R), a long-time disbeliever of man-made climate change, has come up with a novel argument against complaints that he has used more than $50,000 in campaign funds to buy collectibles such as Civil War memorabilia and even fossils. The Houston Chronicle reports that “Culberson’s aides explained the purchase as research material on paleo-climatology, a subject that would help him understand climate science,” which he supposedly needs to do since he’s on a committee that oversees funding for NOAA — the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “They said the materials helped give him a better understanding of the changing levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.” This defense is particularly laughable considering the purchases come from the Black Hills Institute of South Dakota, which sells fake fossils and dinosaur replicas. (ThinkProgress)
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