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EU carbon prices will continue to experience massive volatility between now and December, experts predict, despite new information suggesting the market may be more balanced than previously thought.
California cap-and-trade programme data do not support an adjustment of future emission caps and the proposed post-2020 allowance price collars are aligned with legislative mandates, a senior Air Resources Board (ARB) official told a conference Tuesday.
California should evaluate options for managing allowance supply in its cap-and-trade programme and provide additional data to market participants about the volume of banked credits, according to a report released this week by a panel of advisers.
California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) this week issued another plenteous batch of offsets, with seven new projects accounting for the vast majority of the 4.72 million credits distributed.
Despite years of collaboration in developing their low-carbon fuel standards (LCFS), California and Oregon regulators are not planning to link their markets in the near future, officials said on Tuesday.
The Inlandsis Fund has partnered with a US project developer to collaborate on a mine methane carbon offset initiative, marking the third such alliance announced by the Quebec-headquartered investment vehicle in the past month.
Finnish utility Fortum emitted 1.8 million tonnes of CO2 from its EU ETS-regulated facilities over the first nine months of 2018, up 6% year-on-year, it said in financial results on Wednesday.
EU carbon prices gained for the second straight day on Wednesday, rebounding after prices failed to fall below €19 in early trade.
New Zealand carbon allowances closed unchanged for the third consecutive on Wednesday and have been range-bound for almost three months as the market continues to await news on what the government will do with the scheme’s price ceiling.
**This article is available to non-subscribers** – A Brazilian electric generation company has announced it will sell 492,647 Verified Carbon Units (VCUs) from a hydro project in the southern part of the country on Wednesday, Nov. 7.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Another lawsuit – New York filed a lawsuit against ExxonMobil on Wednesday, alleging that the company has deceived investors for years by deliberately downplaying the climate risks to its business and long-term financial health. The suit, filed by Attorney General Barbara Underwood in state court, is the culmination of a three-year investigation into Exxon’s actions and communications about climate change. The suit alleges that “this fraud reached the highest levels of the company” to include former CEO Rex Tillerson, who left the company in 2017 to become President Trump’s first secretary of state. “Investors put their money and their trust in Exxon – which assured them of the long-term value of their shares, as the company claimed to be factoring the risk of increasing climate change regulation into its business decisions. Yet as our investigation found, Exxon often did no such thing,” Underwood said in a statement. “Instead, Exxon built a facade to deceive investors into believing that the company was managing the risks of climate change regulation to its business when, in fact, it was intentionally and systematically underestimating or ignoring them, contrary to its public representations.” (Climate Liability News)
Wheels up – President Trump has indicated that he might nominate current acting US EPA chief Andrew Wheeler to be the agency’s official head. Wheeler was nominated and confirmed by the Senate to be deputy administrator and took over the top job on an acting basis in July when former head Scott Pruitt resigned amid spending and ethics scandals. At a White House event Tuesday, Trump said he might want Wheeler to be able to drop the “acting” title. “He’s acting, but he’s doing well, right? So maybe he won’t be so acting so long,” Trump said when calling Wheeler up to the stage at the State Leadership Day Conference. (The Hill)
Chat back – President Trump has nominated Neil Chatterjee to be chairman of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC). Chatterjee, a Republican from coal-producing Kentucky, had served as acting head of FERC for several month before Kevin McIntyre was sworn in as the chairman of the agency in Dec. 2017. The White House gave no information about current McIntyre, who has been absent from FERC meetings for months as concerns mount about his health.
Clean shift – The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is making a decisive shift to clean energy, according to its energy chief. Coal plants are becoming unviable investments, Yongping Zhai wrote in Viet Nam News, as renewable energy costs fall and the bank puts a carbon price in excess of $36 a tonne on lending decisions. The bank last approved a coal power project five years ago, he said, to convert Pakistan’s Jamshoro plant to run on coal instead of heavy fuel oil. According to Climate Home, last year the ADB backed $2 billion worth of investment into renewable energy and energy efficiency, on the way to a $3bn target for 2020. Some of its more innovative projects include a battery storage pilot to back up wind power in Pakistan, and a floating solar farm in Vietnam.
German exit – Germany must phase out coal-fired power generation by 2030 to meet the 1.5C Paris obligation, according to a report non-profit research institute Climate Analytics put out as the country’s coal commission met for its latest round of talks. It said coal power emissions need to be reduced by 42% below 2017 levels by 2020.
Risky business – Some 87% of assets managed by the world’s 100 largest public pension funds are yet to undergo a formal climate risk assessment, according to research published this week, with only 15% of them adopting a coal exclusion policy. While 200 nations have ratified the Paris Agreement, only 10% of the largest public pension funds around the globe have made formal pledges to align their portfolios with the 2C warming target agreed in the French capital, according to research by the Asset Owners Disclosure Project (AODP). And a staggering 65% of funds have no responsible investment policy with specific references to climate change. This leaves $9.8 trillion of assets unprotected from the economic shocks of global warming, AODP warned, saying this poses a risk for investors. (edie.net)
Oily love-in – Saudi Arabia spent the last three decades throwing sand in the global gears of containing climate change and continued this year with the help of the US as both are determined to expand fossil fuels worldwide, despite mounting warnings by scientists that the window for climate action is shrinking. The Saudi strategy is to delay by any means possible to allow for another year of unimpeded oil revenue, according to Farhana Yamin of non-profit Track 0. (E&E News)
Negatives needed – To achieve goals for climate and economic growth, “negative emissions technologies” (NETs) that remove and sequester carbon dioxide from the air will need to play a significant role in mitigating climate change, says a new report from the US National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. The report calls for the launch of a substantial research initiative to advance these technologies as soon as possible. Although climate mitigation remains the motivation for global investments in NETs, the committee that carried out the study and wrote the report determined that advances in NETs also could have economic rewards, as intellectual property rights and economic benefits will likely accrue to the nations that develop the best technology. Separately, the start-up accelerator Y Combinator is looking to fund entrepreneurs and non-profit researchers working on “frontier technologies” for removing CO2 from the atmosphere, Axios reports. Y Combinator is among the most influential organisations in the start-up world and has helped launch Dropbox, Airbnb and others. YC is looking at 4 broad areas that they say deserve more attention and potential funding:
- The use of genetically engineered ocean phytoplankton that sequesters CO2
- Electro-geochemistry, which would use renewable energy to power an electrochemical process that speeds up the earth’s natural CO2 absorption in rock formations while also creating hydrogen
- Cell-free enzyme systems that “could fix carbon in perpetuity”
- “Desert flooding” to create shallow reservoirs that could be used to grow carbon-absorbing phytoplankton while providing irrigation and freshwater nearby areas
Captured cash – The EU spent more than €424 million over the past decade trying to establish CCS, the EU’s watchdog European Court of Auditors reported in a review of funding that had been intended via carbon permit auction revenue. Four out of the six CCS projects funded by the EU “ended after the grant agreement was terminated, and one project ended without being completed”, and “the only completed project did not represent a commercial size CCS demonstration project”. The auditors say that the EU underestimated the hurdles in commercialising a nascent climate technology.
Coal captured on film – Swedish photographer Sebastian Sardi has been photographing major mining sites all over the world for the last decade, having visited mines in China, Russia, Kazakhstan and India. In India, Sardi was introduced to Dhanbad, a city known as the “capital of coal” due to the vast number of coal fields and strip-mines. The mining has turned the landscape into a post-apocalyptic moonscape. Sardi has collected his years of work photographing Dhanbad into “Black Diamond,” to be published in December. Check out some of the photos here. (Business Insider)
And finally… London charging – Rideshare service Uber has announced a plan for every car driven through its app in London to be electric by 2025. The company released its “Clean Air Plan,” which it said will help the city tackle air pollution. The plan includes a “clean air fee” for riders of 15 pence ($0.20) per mile to help drivers upgrade to an electric vehicle (EV). Drivers can then earn assistance to help them buy an EV based on the number of miles they have driven on the app. (Utility Dive)
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