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South Africa has further delayed the roll-out of its long-awaited carbon tax as it looks to introduce a higher levy to penalise companies that exceed their emissions quotas.
The EU Parliament urged the bloc Thursday to raise its 2030 emission reduction goal to 55% below 1990 levels, up from 40%, increasing pressure on the bloc’s leaders who have already ruled out doing so this year.
European energy exchange EEX has no plans to change the way it reports open interest on its emissions derivatives markets, its chief strategy officer told Carbon Pulse, after traders complained the data was misleading.
EU carbon prices sank as much as 5% Thursday to again test levels in the €18s and a key technical support, with prices oscillating amid a wider slump in energy prices.
The California Air Resources Board (ARB) is unlikely to push its proposed cap-and-trade rulemaking package further into 2019 because it would delay the future implementation of the programme to mid-2019, numerous regulatory experts said.
The California and RGGI carbon markets saw relatively little activity and few price changes this week as participants attended an industry conference, but while allowances stagnated, the Golden California Carbon Offsets (GCCO) discount widened as demand waned ahead of next week’s WCI true-up deadline.
Fifteen major energy industry, business, environmental and civil society groups in Australia on Thursday called on the government to include a climate strategy in its latest energy sector plan.
Australia’s Queensland state government will next week invite funding proposals for a pilot round of the new Land Restoration Fund, which aims to support in-state carbon farming projects.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Divest protest – German utility RWE, Europe’s biggest ETS emitter, has hit back at advice that investors should get rid of “toxic coal stocks” from the CEO of Norway’s pension fund Storebrand. In an open letter, RWE’s head of investor relations Gunhild Grieve said RWE had “invested heavily” to replace CO2-intensive power stations and had reduced its emissions 27% between 2012 and 2017. She also said the company’s asset swap with rival E.ON would substantially boost RWE’s involvement in renewable generation. (WirtschaftsWoche, Clean Energy Wire)
Bleak – Jair Bolsonaro, Brazil’s likely next president, is not a believer in climate change science and he puts no value in protecting the nation’s massive rainforest, according to a report in the Guardian. Should he win Sunday’s election, recent efforts to halt deforestation will likely be undone by massive new logging initiatives, Brazilian environmentalists say.
Ghost price – The lawsuit suit filed by New York’s Attorney General against Exxon Mobil in the state’s supreme court this week accuses ExxonMobil of assuring its investors that it was using theoretical prices for carbon in evaluating projects – from $20 to $80 a tonne depending on the country – when in fact it often used a lower price or none at all. According to the Washington Post, the suit says that ExxonMobil’s dual accounting calculations had a huge impact on the purported value of the company. Exxon has countered: “These baseless allegations are a product of closed-door lobbying by special interests, political opportunism and the attorney general’s inability to admit that a three-year investigation has uncovered no wrongdoing.” (Axios)
Cool – India has become the world’s first country to put together a plan for cooling needs as the planet warms. A new strategy outlines a number of efforts to reduce cooling demand that are likely to boost the nation’s energy efficiency and kickstart the phase-out of HFCs, the NRDC’s Prima Mardan writes in a piece in the Economic Times.
Remember ‘07 – Before the Trump administration finalises its closely-watched rollback of auto emissions and fuel economy standards, three Senate Democrats are warning that Congress has taken up this issue before and turned back calls to strip California of its power to set its own standard. In a letter sent to acting US EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler and Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao on Wednesday, Senators Tom Carper, Dianne Feinstein, and Ed Markey said the legal argument beneath the administration’s effort to block California’s ability to set stringent auto emissions rules was considered once before during the debate over the 2007 Energy Independence and Security Act. Emails from that year show that while auto lobbyists advocated for the government to prohibit California’s authority, the senators said the documents gathered make clear that Congress rejected the attempt. Separately, the EPA and California are jointly testing various technologies to assess options for a new, low-nitrogen oxide (NOx) standard for heavy-duty truck engines. However, it remains unclear whether California’s plan to propose its own strict rule in 2019 will conflict with the EPA’s hands-off approach, undercutting broad industry calls for one national standard. (Politico, InsideEPA)
It is all about chemistry – Cheaper chemistry is needed to drive down the cost of battery storage for the power sector, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology professor told attendees of the California Independent System Operator (CAISO) Symposium. MIT professor Yet-Ming Chiang said advancements are being made in battery storage technology, but they are relying on more expensive chemistry to increase their duration. “Over the last 60 years, we have been producing steadily more expensive battery chemistries. It is time to reverse this trend,” Chiang said. (Utility Dive)
East, round and down – An island in the north-western part of the Hawaiian archipelago has been “washed away” by a powerful hurricane, according to the Guardian. East Island, a remote spit of gravel and sand that sat atop a coral reef, has vanished after being hit by Hurricane Walaka earlier this month. Scientists confirmed the island’s disappearance after comparing satellite images of the surrounding French Frigate Shoals, part of a large protected marine area. (Carbon Brief)
Campaign update – The American Sustainable Business Council will host a webinar at 900 Pacific time (1600 GMT) on Friday, Oct. 26 to hear an update on the campaign for Washington’s $15/tonne carbon tax initiative, I-1631. Speakers include I-1631’s campaign director Abigail Doerr, president of Washington Environmental Council’s Beckey Kelley, and government and community affairs manager of outdoor outfit REI Taldi Harrison. Washington voters will head to the polls on Nov. 6 to decide on endorsing the initiative.
And finally… Surprise champions – Countries that may not be thought of as climate leaders are emerging at the front-lines on responding to climate change. Eyeing a potential water shortage crisis, arid Iran is developing a people-centred water management system to explore different water-management technologies that will better handle the expected intermittent rainfall in a changing climate. (The Guardian)
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