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Following numerous unsuccessful attempts to put a price on Washington state’s GHG emissions, a broad coalition of stakeholders is again rallying voters to overcome industry lobbying and make the state the first in the US to introduce a carbon tax.
The Dec-18 EUA contract on ICE shot up by nearly €2 on Friday to climb back above €17, leaving behind the previous day’s four-month low to finish the week down 6.6%.
The 3.1 million EU Allowances being auctioned by Latvia on Nov. 16 originate from its 2011 legal victory against the European Commission over its Phase 2 allocation, Carbon Pulse has learned.
Operator demand for EU Allowances auctioned by Germany, as well as wider trading volumes, surged in September amid soaring prices, according to a new report.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has terminated contracts with six projects meant to deliver a total 2 million offsets to the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund.
China Southern Power Grid Co. will auction off a batch of carbon credits issued by the Guangdong provincial government, setting a floor price of 20 yuan ($2.90).
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.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
California deadline – The ARB will publish its 2017 emissions data and will also release information about the percentage of entities in compliance on Monday, officials said. The data and compliance percentage will be released at noon Pacific time (2000 GMT). Monday’s release, however, will not outline the number of entities who may have failed to comply at the Nov. 1 deadline. A more detailed compliance report will be released in December and will show how every facility complied by the deadline.
Fuel emissions dip – California’s fuel emissions remain slightly below 2017’s pace, according to state data. A Carbon Pulse forecast estimates 92.9 million tonnes had been emitted through July, compared to 93.8 Mt over the same period last year. That emissions dip is likely due to decreased diesel consumption this year as gasoline consumption is nearly identical to 2017 totals.
All in favour, say “eh!” – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s announcement last week that revenues from the federal ‘backstop’ carbon pricing plan will be returned to households that pay it has tilted public opinion slightly in favour of the policy. According to a study from research firm Angus Reid Institute published Thursday, 54% of Canadians now back Trudeau’s plan, up from 45% this July. The new poll figure still lags behind the peak support for federal carbon pricing of 56% in Apr. 2015. Notably, Saskatchewan, which opposes the policy, saw the largest swing in provincial support from the plan between July and October. The poll found an 18% increase in resident support even as the provincial government has sued Ottawa over the constitutionality of the backstop. Still, 55% of Canadians would still prefer provincial authority on the issue, though the number saying this has dropped from 64% in July.
… And those not in favour, said “nay” – New Brunswick Premier Brian Gallant’s minority Liberal government was defeated in a vote of no confidence Friday morning, setting the stage for Progressive Conservative (PC) leader and carbon tax opponent Blaine Higgs to take over in the coming weeks. The PCs, who hold 22 seats in the legislature, teamed up with the three members of the right-wing People’s Alliance to oust the ruling party, exceeding the 20 Liberals and three Greens that backed Gallant. On the carbon pricing front, while Ottawa already announced last week that it would impose its ‘backstop’ plan on the Maritime province beginning next year, Higgs has said he would follow the Ontario and Saskatchewan premiers and sue the federal government over the legality of the policy. However, he also told reporters recently that his position on carbon taxes is actually similar to the Green party, with both believing that industrial CO2 emissions should be lowered without penalising consumers. Higgs also said that if his lawsuit against the feds came up short, he would rebate all revenues from Ottawa’s carbon price back to taxpayers. (CBC, Financial Post)
Not needed – The CEO of the US PJM Interconnection electricity market on Thursday said the Trump administration’s now-held plan to bail out coal and nuclear plants is unnecessary, but that higher payments to generators that store fuel on site may be need in the mid-2020s. CEO Andy Ott said at a Washington DC event that government intervention would be “inefficient and more costly,” and that the PJM grid is secure today. However, he said the grid operator needs to study when the retirement of coal and nuclear plants could present a risk to the grid. According to the organisation’s fuel security report released Thursday, that risk could come in five to six years. Still, those risks would only become apparent in the most extreme scenarios PJM modelled, when more generators retired than anticipated, power demand is at or near seasonal records, and fuel deliveries to plants either by truck or pipeline are disrupted. (Utility Dive)
Flipped script – Republicans are running an attack ad against a Democratic US House of Representatives candidate in the Florida Keys claiming that she is beholden to fossil fuel interests. In an ad paid for by the National Republican Congressional Committee (NRCC), the narrator alleges Democratic nominee Debbie Mucarsel-Powell’s “campaign is flooded with dirty coal money,” likely alluding to a donation from billionaire and environmentalist Tom Steyer, whose hedge fund once invested in coal plants. However, the NRCC’s funders include a Koch agribusiness arm and the CEO of Energy Transfer Partners, both of whom are heavily invested in fossil fuels. Mucarsel-Powell is running against incumbent Rep. Carlos Curbelo, who co-founded the bipartisan Climate Solutions Caucus and floated a $24/tonne carbon tax this summer. (Climate Nexus).
Life in the fast lane – Renewables produced 38% of the electricity used in Germany between January and September 2018, an increase of three percentage points over a year earlier, according to utility association BDEW. In January, April, and May, the renewables share even climbed to 43 percent thanks to strong winds and sunshine. In the first three quarters of the year, renewables produced almost 170 billion kWh, while lignite and hard coal added up to about 172 billion kWh. “Clearly, renewables are in the fast lane, while the contribution of conventional energy sources to cover gross power consumption is falling continuously. But we still have a lot of work ahead of us to reach the target of a 65 percent renewables share by 2030,” said BDEW head Stefan Kapferer. (Clean Energy Wire)
Don’t be so negative – Carbon Brief has in-depth coverage and a series of video interviews from Australia’s first major conference dedicated to the topic of “negative emissions”. The two-day meeting in Canberra earlier this week played host to a range of ideas for removing CO2 from the atmosphere and storing it on land, underground or in the oceans. The topics discussed ranged from “natural” solutions, such as boosting the carbon stores of soils and giant kelp forests, to the more experimental, including “fertilising” the world’s oceans.
Shipping for a passage – Climate change is increasingly opening up the Northwest Passage, an Arctic sea route north of the Canadian mainland. The passage would cut thousands of miles off journeys, and the Canadian government is “hopeful” these routes will become commercially viable. “At the moment the number of ships going through the passage is low, but they are rising. In 2017 a total of 32 vessels made the the journey, but only one of those was a cargo ship. That compares with 18 vessels in 2016 and 16 in 2015. (BBC)
And finally… Get a clue – With only four days to go until the US midterm elections, voters largely say energy will not be top-of-mind when they cast their votes next week. According to a new Politico/Morning Consult poll, 4% ranked energy as their No. 1 when voting for federal offices. Just over half of respondents said they trust Democrats in Congress more to handle environmental issues, while 27% said the same about Republicans. Separately, three assistant professors of public affairs and political science on Friday wrote in The New York Times about how lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have very little clue about what the public wants them to act on. The trio asked staff members in Congress what they believed the public opinion was on a range of issues and compared their responses to what constituents wanted via large-scale public polling, finding that the aides’ perceptions were “wildly inaccurate”. This included largely underestimating support for regulating carbon emissions and addressing climate change. Additionally, the researchers found that aides who reported meeting with groups representing big business like the American Petroleum Institute were more likely to get their constituents’ opinions wrong compared to those who reported meeting with mass membership organisations like the Sierra Club or labour unions. (Politico)
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