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Germany should cancel EUAs to avoid damping the EU ETS carbon price signal from a coal phase-out due to start next year, the country’s coal commission has reportedly recommended.
California officials on Thursday defended their stance on the state carbon market’s price ceiling and Allowance Price Containment Reserve (APCR) in the post-2020 period, amid strong opposition from environmental justice and compliance entities.
California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) rose this week as the market received more clarity on next year’s price floor and ahead of the final 2018 auction, while RGGI prices slid on thin activity.
Ontario will eliminate the province’s environmental watchdog next year, the government announced Thursday, after the independent body raised numerous concerns with Premier Doug Ford’s decision to roll back various green programmes including cap-and-trade.
EUAs plunged to near €18 on Thursday as a number of UK ministers resigned over the Brexit deal agreed by British and EU negotiators late Wednesday, raising fears that it will collapse and prompt emitters to sell surplus carbon units before they are locked out of the scheme next year.
China will launch its mandatory renewable energy certificate (REC) scheme next year, the National Energy Administration (NEA) said as it this week rolled out updated draft rules for what will be the first of several planned national market mechanisms to cut carbon emissions and reduce energy use.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
**#OCTT – Carbon Pulse is helping to pioneer a new Twitter hashtag for tweets and discussion surrounding the world’s carbon markets. Starting today, we are using #OCTT in such tweets. Borrowing from the oil markets’ #OOTT, our acronym stands for the Organisation of Carbon-Trading Tweeters. Please join us in mainstreaming this new hashtag to further discussion of carbon markets on social media. Once it picks up steam, we can consider regionalising it based on the various schemes.**
Capacity rethink – Britain must halt its power capacity market auctions and payments pending a further investigation by EU regulators, an EU court ruled Thursday, sending shares in UK energy firms tumbling. The judgement annuls a decision by the European Commission, which had said the four-year old market was compatible with EU state aid rules. Today’s verdict came after an appeal was filed by British energy company Tempus Energy, saying the programme amounted to subsidies for fossil fuel generators and discriminated against demand response technology. The ruling is not expected to affect power supply this winter, and the UK government has said it is working to get its capacity market re-approved, though it’s unclear how long this could take or what changes it could require. According to CAN Europe, the ruling also puts into question many capacity mechanisms in place across Europe, including the Polish capacity market, which is based on the UK model. (Reuters)
A pricey miss – Poland is on track to miss its binding EU renewable energy target of 15% by 2020, according to the country’s supreme audit office. In a report published Thursday, the NIK said if this goal is not achieved, it could cost Poland up to 8 billion zloty (€1.9 billion). According to the report, the development of renewable sources was being hindered by a lack of supporting state policy, legislative delays, and a dearth of complementary legal frameworks. Renewables accounted for 11% of Poland’s energy in 2016, leading it to ramp up efforts, especially in wind power development, to meet its target. (newsbeezer.com)
And another – Finland is expected to miss its 2020 emissions reduction target of 16% for sectors outside of the EU ETS, potentially adding it to the list of member states that will need to buy AEA carbon rights from other governments. That’s according to a report on the country’s reputation in the EU by the European Policy Centre (EPC), an independent not-for-profit think-tank based in Brussels. “This failure is especially unfortunate since the goal was already less ambitious than in other Nordic countries,” adds the report, which was partly funded by the Confederation of Finnish Industries (EK). As well, while the country expects renewable energy to account for 50% of final energy consumption and expects to reduce emissions from sectors not covered by the ETS by 39% by 2030, the targets are not as ambitious as those adopted elsewhere in the Nordics, according to EPC. Denmark, for example, has set the target of using renewable energy sources to produce all electricity and heating by 2035 and Sweden the target of using renewable energy sources to produce all electricity by 2040. “As for emissions, all Nordic countries except Finland envisage carbon neutrality by 2050,” the report reads. (Helsinki Times)
Another lawsuit – The neighbours of a lignite power plant in the city of Bergheim in Germany’s western region of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) are suing the energy company RWE over its plans to replace four older generating units at its Niederaussem plant with a modern coal plant, the news agency dpa reports. The petitioners say the planned new lignite plant violates a regional development plan from 1995, as well as NRW’s climate protection law, and argue that possible future sound emission levels have not been examined properly. (Clean Energy Wire)
And another – A coalition of commercial Pacific crab fishermen filed suit against 30 oil companies on Wednesday, seeking damages for losses caused by warming ocean temperatures. The lawsuit, which names multinational giants like ExxonMobil, Chevron, and BP describes algal blooms in warming waters causing delayed seasons and closed fisheries, and charges that the companies concealed the impacts of climate change from the public. (Climate Nexus)
Good nature – The US could meet its pledge to cut emissions under the Paris Agreement through “natural climate solutions” (NCS), a new study suggests. Research published in the journalist Science Advances said that NCS, which includes techniques such as reforestation, seagrass restoration, and fire management, has the potential to provide the remaining emissions reductions necessary by 2025 for the US to meet its NDC. However, the authors said that this would require a carbon price of around $100 per tonne to incentivise the use of NCS, and global commitments to still need to be “roughly tripled” in order for other countries to meet the terms of the 2015 pact. (Carbon Brief)
Two days grace – US House Democrats are planning to hold two days’ worth of hearings on the impacts of climate change and potential solutions to it when they take the House majority next year, The Hill reports. The likely chairmen of the Energy and Commerce, Natural Resources and Science committees said in a joint statement Wednesday that their panels will be an attempt to bring back climate debate after eight years of GOP control of the chamber, when leaders downplayed the issue. The Hill also reports on a split among the Democrats on how to tackle climate change, while Vox says the “struggle is on” for control of the long-term Democratic climate agenda. (Carbon Brief)
Side show – The US plans to set up another side-event promoting fossil fuels at the annual UN climate summit in Poland next month, repeating a strategy that infuriated global-warming activists during last year’s talks, according to three people with knowledge of the matter. As with the 2017 gathering in Bonn, Germany, the administration plans to highlight the benefits of technologies that more efficiently burn fuels including coal. (Reuters)
Listen and repeat – The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) has published a summary report of the group’s six ‘listening sessions’ held this year, which invited input on potential policy approaches to reduce transportation emissions in the US Northeast and Mid-Atlantic states. The TCI said the most frequently offered suggestion for policies and actions for the 12 states and Washington DC to explore was pricing carbon and using the proceeds to invest in clean transportation options. Numerous references to a cap-and-trade programme were made, along with a zero-transportation emission fund funded by either a carbon fee or cap-and-invest programme. Other recommendations included accelerating the electrification of the transportation system; incorporating smart growth, zoning, and affordable housing policies; and encouraging transportation modes outside of personal vehicles. Regulatory experts have told Carbon Pulse that a formal TCI plan to cut emissions could take shape in December.
The weather outside is frightful – The smoke from California’s deadliest fire that erupted last week is so thick that it’s blotting out the sun and lowering surface temperatures by 10F (6C), according to the US National Weather Service. Additionally, the EPA’s air-quality-tracking agency AirNow said that the area around the northern California Camp Fire is so bad that those venturing outdoors in the cities of Gridley and Chico without a surgical-grade respirator are putting themselves at risk. Unless firefighters can get a better handle on the ongoing blaze, these conditions are likely to persist into next week until the weather patterns shifts the smoke to the east. So far, the Camp Fire has scorched 140,000 acres (56,700 hectares) and killed at least 56 people. (Bloomberg)
Worth a shot – Ontario’s lone Green Party MPP Mike Schreiner released a 24-page climate strategy on Wednesday as an alternative to the ruling Progressive Conservatives’ elimination of cap-and-trade and other green energy programmes. The Greens’ plan listed several “must-haves” for a credible strategy to reduce GHG emissions, including pollution pricing, science-based commitments, and legislated emissions targets. However, Ontario Environment Minister Rod Phillips shot down Schreiner’s proposal, noting that while the government was still consulting with the public on the PCs replacement climate plan, that method would not include a carbon tax. (National Observer)
Flying Dutch – The Dutch civil aviation sector has pledged to reduce its gross CO2 emissions originating in the Netherlands by 35% by 2030. This is in addition to airline commitments required under the EU ETS and the global CORSIA offsetting scheme. To achieve the target, the industry has presented the Dutch government with its ‘Smart and Sustainable’ action plan covering seven areas, including ground operations, where it believes emission reductions can be made. It adds the plan aims to make the Dutch airline industry “the smartest and most sustainable sector in the world,” with research consultancy CE Delft assessing its objectives as ambitious yet achievable. (GreenAir Online)
Out-sized – Canada’s push to be an international leader in the fight against climate change may be hampered by a distinction that it produces the most per-person GHGs among G20 economies. Climate Transparency, a coalition of international climate organisations, released its latest report analysing the climate polices of G20 members, just two weeks before the group’s leaders summit in Argentina. The report says none of them has a plan in place to cut emissions enough to hit the goals of the 2015 Paris climate change agreement. The analysis says, on average, each Canadian produces 22 tonnes of GHGs gas per year, which is the highest among all G20 members and nearly three times the G20 average of 8 tonnes per person. Canadians are also the highest per-capita users of energy, with emissions from both the transportation sector and buildings four times the G20 average. (Canadian Press)
Tree tripping – UK should increase tree planting from 9,000 hectares per year to 20,000ha by 2020, then triple it to 27,000ha by 2030 as part of radical changes to land use, the UK government’s Committee on Climate Change (CCC) expert advisors said. Land currently used to produce food would need to be converted to woodland, growing crops to produce energy and for new homes to accommodate the growing population. This would bolster forest cover from 13% of the UK to 19% by 2050. (The Guardian)
Alberta offsets – The Alberta Climate Change Office has published the Final Quantification Protocol for Landfill Gas Capture and Combustion, Version 3.0. The update comes as part of an ongoing process to align the emission offset system with the province’s carbon levy, and also includes updates to the protocol’s baseline condition and quantification methodology. The protocol is now approved for use in the Alberta Emission Offset System and new projects may be initiated using this protocol.
RGGI meeting – The RGGI, Inc. Board of Directors will meet on Monday, Dec. 3 to approve the administrator’s 2019 budget and conduct executive committee elections. Members of the public are welcome to register in advance of the meeting by following this link.
And finally… Commie scum – Brazil’s right-wing president-elect Jair Bolsonaro has chosen a new foreign minister who believes climate change is part of a plot by “cultural Marxists” to stifle western economies and promote the growth of China. Ernesto Araujo, a 51-year old mid-ranking official who has never served as an overseas ambassador, wrote in a blog post last month accusing unnamed left-wing politicians of hijacking environmentalism to serve as a tool for global domination. In another post, he claimed the centre-left opposition Workers Party in Brazil had said that every baby is a risk to the planet for increasing carbon emissions. He has warned of the “criminalisation” of red meat, air conditioners, and Disney movies. (The Guardian)
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