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Australia’s leading opposition party, on track to win next year’s election, said it won’t push for an outright carbon price for electricity generators but is open to establishing a market mechanism to reduce emissions in other sectors.
European carbon prices rose to a six-week high above €21 on Thursday, amid optimism about Brexit and ahead of a reduction in new supply and the first auction-free day in over two months.
The German government will seek to postpone publication of the final report of its coal exit commission until January amid opposition, according to media reports.
California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) rose throughout the week before dipping after the November auction settlement results were released on Wednesday, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) increased slightly on thin volume.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Concentrate on – GHG concentrations in the atmosphere reached a new high in 2017 with no sign of reversal in this rising trend, according to the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) In its annual greenhouse gas bulletin. CO2 levels reached 405 ppm – a level not seen in 3-5 million years. The increase from 2016 to 2017 was smaller than the rise from 2015 to 2016, but it’s close to the average growth rate seen over the last decade. There are also signs of the banned CFC-11 industrial gas that campaigners earlier this year linked to output from China. (BBC)
Let’s hear it for the boy – A new El Nino is brewing in the tropical Pacific, threatening an uptick in global temperatures and extreme weather. Scientists around the world have been tracking the looming El Nino – the warm phase of a normal three to five year global weather cycle – since at least May, watching the warming waters of the tropical Pacific Ocean for telltale signs that a large-scale shift in winds and weather patterns has set in. On Tuesday, the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said that water temperatures have now crossed the required thresholds, and a full-scale El Nino is likely to start sometime in December. US forecasters place a 90% chance of it forming by January. (Grist)
Virtual pledging – The 48 nations of the Climate Vulnerable Forum (CVF), a cross-cutting group of developing nations of 1 billion people, hosted a 24-hour virtual summit on Thursday that gathered several world leaders and many speakers via video statements, panels, and films. It failed to see any nation bar the Marshall Islands hosts raise their NDCs, though all CVF countries have pledged to do so before the Paris Agreement era begins from 2020.
Another lawsuit – The Pacific island state of Vanuatu could become the first nation to sue fossil fuel corporations and other governments over climate change, Foreign Minister Ralph Regenvanu told the Climate Vulnerable Forum summit. He said nations like Vanuatu were the first to feel the dangerous impacts of climate change, but had at the same time reaped the fewest benefits of fossil fuel consumption. “I am therefore today putting the fossil fuel industry, and the states that sponsor it, on notice that the climate loss and damages ravaging Vanuatu will not go unchallenged. My government is now exploring all avenues to utilise the judicial system in various jurisdictions – including under international law – to shift the costs of climate protection back onto the fossil fuel companies, the financial institutions and the governments that actively and knowingly created this existential threat to Vanuatu,” he said. (The Guardian)
Another appeal – US District Court Judge Ann Aiken has approved another appeal by the Trump administration in Juliana v. United States, keeping the landmark youth-led climate suit paused while the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals considers the government’s attempts to stop the case before trial. While Aiken argued in her ruling on Wednesday that the case would be better situated for appeal after trial, not before, she acknowledged the Ninth Circuit’s suggestion that she reconsider her previous denial of an interlocutory appeal – a rare legal manoeuvre in which a higher court reviews a lower court’s decisions before a trial has concluded. The Juliana trial had been scheduled to begin in Aiken’s courtroom on Oct. 29 before the latest volley of government appeals succeeded in delaying it. (Climate Liability News)
Help on the way – Alberta’s oil and gas drillers will receive a tax break from the province’s carbon levy, Premier Rachel Notley announced Thursday. According to the Star, the oil-drilling industry will get an exemption from the provincial carbon tax for clear fuel usage in on-site drilling. Notley also said the industry will be eligible for carbon tax rebates dating back to when the levy first began. Speaking at an industry event in Calgary, Notley said the decision was about bringing the drilling industry in line with other trade-exposed industries that get similar relief from the carbon tax. She said the rebates could cost up to C$1.5 million. Alberta oil prices this week fell to a lowly $13/barrel.
Poland planting – Poland has called for more forests to be planted worldwide to combat climate change ahead of its hosting next month of UN climate negotiations. Warsaw has promoted so called Carbon Forest Projects, which are expected to absorb about 1 million tonnes of CO2, but campaigners Greenpeace called the idea a “cheap excuse” and a “secret weapon” for the climate conference amid the country’s continued heavy use of coal for power and its aborted increase to logging in its primeval Bialowieza forest. (Reuters)
A gassy proposition – Hydrogen is a “credible” option for reducing UK’s emissions if used “selectively”, according to a report from the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC). It could replace natural gas in some otherwise hard-to-decarbonise areas, but it is “not prudent” to rely solely on hydrogen. (Carbon Brief)
And finally… *hic* Climate change isn’t so bad *hic* – The alcohol content of Australian wine is on the rise as a result of climate change, according to experts. Rob Geddes, one of Australia’s leading Masters of Wine, said that grapes being grown for wine are being harvested earlier every year because of hotter, drier conditions, resulting in riper wines with higher alcohol content. “We are seeing higher alcohols and this is the result of ripeness and also, to a degree, the result of some berry shrivel, depending on the grower. We were tasting one day and the wines that were 14.5% alcohol… a lot of them were actually 15.5%.” (Xinhua)
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