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Negotiations on the future carbon market mechanisms under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement are making good progress, with expectations that next week’s climate conference in Bangkok will see final text start to take shape, according to stakeholders.
New Zealand carbon permits on Thursday traded above the NZ$25 fixed price option for the first time ever, as emitters sought to pick up as many as possible for future use amid expectations that the ceiling will increase and prices continue to rise.
New Zealand must cut methane emissions from livestock – one of its biggest sources of GHG emissions – by as much as 22% below 2016 levels to avoid having further impact on global climate change, the parliamentary commissioner on the environment said Thursday.
EU carbon prices leapt back above €21.50 on Thursday in volatile trade as higher energy prices helped to bolster bullish sentiment, but later dropped for a small daily gain.
Big emitters in July picked up their largest share of German-auctioned EU carbon allowances in the past year, as prices continued to rally and ahead of an annual tightening of supply.
One of Bloomberg New Energy Finance’s European power and carbon analysts is leaving the firm, Carbon Pulse has learned.
North American carbon prices rose on both coasts this week as RGGI prices stayed well-supported ahead of next week’s auction, while California allowances kept on their upward trend seen throughout August.
The US EPA’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) on Wednesday posted draft recommendations for gauging carbon emissions from biomass used in power stations, a potential wrinkle in the agency’s guidance issued earlier this year that matched that of the EU ETS in declaring these GHGs as carbon neutral.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Video nasty – The UNFCCC confirmed today the withdrawal of a video and social media campaign to promote the re-launch of its voluntary CER cancellation platform, saying “we understand and respect the concerns that have been raised”. Read Carbon Pulse’s updated article, which reported on Wednesday that the video have been pulled just hours after the ad was panned for mocking people’s efforts to lead a low-carbon lifestyle.
Double whammy – The Canadian Federal Court of Appeal on Thursday rejected Ottawa’s request to build the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, marking a major victory for environmental and indigenous groups that had fought the development. Justice Eleanor Dawson found that the National Energy Board’s assessment of the project – which extends from Alberta’s tar sands to the Pacific coast in British Columbia – was so flawed that it shouldn’t have been utilised by the federal cabinet when it greenlighted the expansion in Nov. 2016. The court also said that the feds had not adequately or meaningfully consulted with indigenous groups along the pipeline route, while the NEB assessment failed to consider the impacts of marine shipping on the environment and whale populations in the area. To make matters worse, Ottawa had agreed in May to purchase the pipeline from Kinder Morgan, whose shareholders on Thursday morning overwhelmingly approved the sale just hours after the decision was handed down. (CBC)
Not working – There’s a fresh call for Ireland’s domestic carbon tax to be raised, according to newstalk.com. It came as the country’s environment minister conceded that the government’s plan to reduce carbon emissions isn’t working. In an interview in the Irish Times, Denis Naughten again acknowledged that recent EPA figures showing rising CO2 emissions are “very disappointing”, adding that the government’s national mitigation plan is expected to be radically revised in the coming months. A consultation process will be held before the plan is submitted to the European Commission by the end of the year. Ireland in 2010 introduced a carbon tax on fossil fuels, applying it to kerosene, gas oil, liquid petroleum gas, fuel oil, natural gas, and solid fuels. It was raised from €10/tonne to €20 in 2014.
Dry fallout – Parts of southern and east Africa could face devastating blackouts as rising temperatures dry up hydropower dams, scientists including those at the Grantham Research Institute have found. A single widespread drought could disrupt many countries at the same time, including those countries, such as South Africa, that are connected to the regional power pool but do not have many hydropower dams of their own. (The Independent)
Hot pocket – Satellite imagery has revealed a pocket of warmer water trapped deep below the surface of the Arctic seas north of Canada, that has been blown northwards by high winds. Researchers say that the ‘archived’ heat is melting centuries-old ice from beneath the surface of the ocean and has the potential to leave the entire area devoid of ice. It means the Arctic is now being attacked from both sides as rising air temperatures caused by global warming continue to heat its ice sheets from above. (Carbon Brief)
Tentative closures – Ohio-based FirstEnergy will close its four remaining coal plants in Ohio and Pennsylvania, including the largest coal-fired power plant in Pennsylvania, the utility announced Wednesday. It said the decision to retire the plants in 2021 and 2022 could be delayed or postponed though, “depending on the timing of any federal policy action.” In March, FirstEnergy asked the Department of Energy for a last-minute bailout of coal and nuclear power, hours after it announced that it would be forced to close three nuclear power plants. (Climate Nexus)
Merging assets – UK energy providers SSE and Innogy’s Npower received provisional approval to merge their retail units from Britain’s Competition and Markets Authority, a move that would create Britain’s second-largest retail power provider, with a 23% market share behind Centrica/British Gas’ 27%. (Reuters)
Guidelines, updated – California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) has finalised 2018 funding guidelines for agencies administering the state’s climate investments. California Climate Investments is a statewide initiative that puts billions of cap-and-trade dollars to work reducing GHGs, strengthening the economy, and improving public health and the environment – particularly in disadvantaged and low-income communities. Over 20 state agencies use these guidelines as they develop programmes and select projects that support sustainable communities, clean transportation, clean energy, waste diversion, healthy forests, and sustainable natural and working lands. ARB staff worked with stakeholders and agencies to develop the guidelines, and in July the board approved the document. The updated document includes more guidance to agencies on providing technical assistance, jobs and job training components, better access to funding, and working with communities as part of a GHG-reducing programme.
And finally… Act locally, but doesn’t matter globally – An analysis of climate change pledges made by nearly 6,000 cities, regions, and states has found that “their emissions reductions are relatively small” and that they “don’t fully compensate” for an uncooperative US under President Trump, the Guardian reports. Researchers at Yale found that these entities, which represent 7% of the global population, were projected to reduce their emissions by a total of 1.5-2.2bn tonnes of GHGs by 2030, which, while significant, would still fall short of enabling countries to avoid breaching agreed thresholds for dangerous warming. (Carbon Brief)
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