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Governments at the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) this week got off to a slow start in agreeing measures to help meet emission reduction goals, but the group took steps to keep in play the launch of a market-based measure from 2023.
European carbon tumbled nearly 5% on Friday, breaking below key technical supports to potentially set up further losses next week amid wider bearish conditions.
Australia’s federal government and Coalition-led states on Friday voted down a push from state Labor governments to include a mechanism to cut carbon emissions as part of the country’s new energy plan.
Participants in the South Korean carbon market expect volumes to pick up and prices to rise after the government on Friday finalised installation-level allocations for 2018.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator issued 92,037 carbon credits to three projects this week, all of which are under contract with the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund.
Below is a table of the closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week. All prices are in RMB, and volumes in tonnes of CO2e. Data sourced from local exchanges.
On Oct. 23, 2018, the Canadian federal government announced which provinces and territories submitted carbon pricing plans that comply with Ottawa’s pan-Canadian Framework, and which jurisdictions will face either a full or partial imposition of the ‘backstop’ pricing plan. The following is a summary of all the carbon pricing actions currently implemented or set forth by Canadian provinces, territories, and the federal government.
Virginia’s cap-and-trade regulations are unlikely to be approved in 2018 due to various regulatory and administrative steps that must first take place, a state official told Carbon Pulse.
General Motors (GM) advocated Friday for the US federal government to establish a national zero-emissions vehicle (ZEV) programme similar to California’s system to promote the adoption of clean cars and lower emissions, as the Trump administration moves to eliminate state initiatives.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Change of heart – Brazil’s leading presidential candidate Jair Bolsonaro said he now intends to keep the country in the Paris Climate Agreement, reversing his earlier pledge to exit the deal, according to a Reuters report. Bolsonaro, who is widely expected to win this Sunday’s run-off election, said he wants guarantees ensuring Brazilian sovereignty over indigenous land and the so-called “triple A” region, a strip of land that runs from the Andes to the Atlantic that passes through the Amazon rain forest. Asked if Brazil would abandon the accord without these assurances, Bolsonaro said that was not his intention. “Brazil stays in the Paris Agreement,” he said. The candidate has previously expressed his admiration for US President Donald Trump’s decision to leave the 2015 UN climate change pact, sparking international concern that this might lead to unbridled deforestation in Brazil.
Dealing with it – The Australian government proposed to set up a A$3.9-billion ($2.8 bln) fund to deal with the massive drought threatening to halve crop production, Reuters reports. Dry conditions have hit farmers hard and also sparked around 80 wildfires in Queensland and NSW earlier this year, even though it was still winter. The fund could increase to A$5 billion over time. Australia is set to be one of the hardest-hit developed nations from climate change, though the government did not play up climate change as a driver of the ongoing drought. The fund proposal came on the same day as the government downvoted a proposal to set emission targets for its coal-heavy electricity sector.
Enjoy your retirement – This year will likely see a record set for coal-fired power capacity retirements in the US. IEEFA expects a total 15.4 GW of capacity to close through the retirement of 44 units at 22 plants in more than a dozen states. At least 11 GW have already been closed this year, and the retirement trend is on pace to exceed the record 14.7 GW closed in 2015. At the same time, the pace of announcements of future retirements remains brisk. As of Oct. 24, an additional 21.4 GW is now set close over the next six years. IEEFA expects this total to rise significantly. Two-thirds of 2018’s retirements were only announced in 2017, “a clear indication that utilities have shortened their lead time before closures, and the competitive environment for coal-fired power in the generation marketplace is becoming ever more challenging as the price of renewables continues to fall and as natural gas prices are expected to remain low for the foreseeable future.” The report comes as Henderson Municipal Power and Light announces that it will close 300MW of coal-fired generation in Kentucky after consistently finding the power was more expensive than alternatives on the market.
Less intense – The emissions intensity of US power generation — or the amount of CO2 per unit of energy produced — fell another 5% between the second quarters of 2017 and 2018, according to updated data from Carnegie Mellon University. Its Power Sector Carbon Index shows power plant emissions averaged 890 pounds of CO2/MWh in the April–June stretch this year, which is 33% below 2005 levels. Coal-fired generation dropped 8% quarter-over-quarter, while total US power generation rose by 4% over the same period. Natural gas generation was up 16%, solar up 24%, wind up 9%, and nuclear up 6%. Overall, aggregate US CO2 emissions from power generation were 1.77 billion metric tonnes in 2017, down from 2.445 billion a decade earlier. (Axios)
Reality check – BBC News’s “Reality Check” team casts its eye on a claim made by Caroline Lucas, the UK Green Party MP, and concludes that she was right to say energy generated from onshore wind is cheaper than other forms of renewable energy. Estimates by BEIS show onshore wind costs £63/MWh, which is slightly lower than solar and offshore wind. And with the cost below combine cycle gas, onshore wind ranks as the cheapest form of electricity.
No escape – A clean energy transition makes reforms “inescapable” for oil-reliant states, according to a new report from the International Energy Agency (IEA). The report focused on “producer economies” – large oil and gas producers that rely on hydrocarbon exports — and narrowed in on six countries where between 40% and 90% of government revenues come from oil and gas income. As part of three scenarios analysed, the IEA modelled a “Sustainable Development” scenario where the main energy-related components of the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are met, global temperatures remain well below 2C, and oil and gas revenues decline by $7 trillion by 2040. The IEA wrote in that scenario producer economies would have “little option but to ready themselves for a world in which hydrocarbons are no longer their main source of revenue.” (Carbon Brief)
Pursuing a suit? – New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant said this week that he may look into legal action over the federal government’s decision to impose its ‘backstop’ carbon pricing plan on the Maritime province in 2019. Although Gallant and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau are both members of the Liberal Party, the federal government ruled New Brunswick’s plan to direct a portion of its existing gasoline tax to a climate fund would not comply with Ottawa’s mandate under the Pan-Canadian Framework. Gallant said that although he wasn’t seeking an exemption, he was hoping Ottawa would consider allowing New Brunswick to “re-jig” the plan. (CTV News)
Coming around – Nearly two years after it was introduced, more Albertans agree with the province’s updated carbon levy programme, the Lethbridge Herald reports. Support has grown for the CCIR as 45% are in favour now, compared to under 33% in 2016. The number who are strongly opposed is also down to just over 38% from 52.5% two years ago. However, there are big disparities when you break the numbers down. Just 19.7% of supporters of the right-wing UCP party, which is leading in the polls ahead of next year’s election, approve of the tax. The poll found 78% of supporters of the ruling NDP supported the levy. In terms of the other parties’ supporters, 70.5% of Liberal backers like the tax, as do 55.8% of Alberta Party voters. And analysing by age shows that more than 55% of Albertans in the 18-29 age group support it, as do 48% of those 30-44. It’s the older people polled who remain more strongly opposed. Geographically, overall support was highest in Edmonton at 53.7% and lowest in other areas of northern Alberta at 36.4%.
Too late to matter – Germany’s energy minister Peter Altmaier will invite businesses to an electricity price summit in January to discuss rising power prices for small and medium-sized companies, he announced this week. Industry association BDI said rising power prices were posing problems to “all companies of all sizes”, but that the summit was coming too late. (Clean Energy Wire)
And finally… California Brown and the Clock of Doom – Outgoing California Gov. Jerry Brown will serve as executive chairman of Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, the organization that maintains the Doomsday clock, Politico reports. Brown will join the non-profit’s three board chairs “to further the organization’s mission of providing the information needed to reduce manmade existential threats such as nuclear war, climate change, and disruptive technologies,” the organization said in a statement.
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