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Ontario’s Progressive Conservative (PC) government on Thursday unveiled its new carbon tax-free climate strategy, which will see it use output-based performance standards (OBPS) for large emitters while incentivising additional GHG cuts through a fund to reach weakened 2030 reduction targets.
A Hawaii climate commission this week urged lawmakers to enact a carbon tax to help the state curb its transportation emissions, despite the legislature failing to pass an CO2 pricing bill earlier this year.
California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) saw little price movement this week despite a surge of volume after the Thanksgiving holiday, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) continue to see limited activity ahead of the final auction for 2018.
China has developed almost 100 forest carbon projects that will generate offset credits for the national emissions trading scheme, with a view to expanding the portfolio further, according to a government report.
Public climate finance from developed to developing countries totalled $56.7 billion in 2017, marking a 17% rise over the previous year and a 44% increase on 2013, according to data compiled by the OECD on Thursday.
More than 40% of the world’s coal power stations are already running at a loss, and new wind and solar plants will provide cheaper electricity than almost all coal generators by 2030, according to a study published Friday.
European carbon rose back above €20 on Thursday on the day’s auction result and a stronger energy complex.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
On the rise – Greenhouse gas concentrations are once again at record levels and global temperatures are on course to rise by 3-5C this century, far overshooting the Paris Agreement target to limit the increase to 2C or less, the UN World Meteorological Organization said in its annual statement on the state of the climate. “Greenhouse gas concentrations are once again at record levels and if the current trend continues we may see temperature increases 3-5 degrees C by the end of the century,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said. (Reuters)
A little help from my friends – The New Brunswick government has filed a notice of intervention in Saskatchewan’s court challenge of the Canadian federal government’s backstop carbon pricing plan. Saskatchewan’s government has asked its Court of Appeal to rule on whether the federal plan is constitutional. The Ontario government is also challenging the plan in court, and New Brunswick says it will file its notice of intervention in that case in the coming weeks. Ottawa has said it will impose its backstop on the three provinces because they failed to implement their own carbon pricing schemes. (Canadian Press)
We’re just not compatible – Britain’s support for oil and gas exploration in the Arctic is incompatible with its international climate change commitments, a report from a cross-party group of lawmakers said on Thursday. Britain should cease encouraging British business to explore oil and gas opportunities in the Arctic and call on other nations to adopt a similar approach, the Environment Audit Committee said. The report said Arctic multi-year sea ice is at its lowest level since records began and the Arctic Ocean could be ice free in the summer as soon as 2050. The panel called on the government to provide greater funding for Arctic research and set targets to protect Arctic biodiversity as well as setting a timeline to reduce the country’s plastic pollution. It also said the government should press the International Maritime Organisation to ban polluting heavy fuel oils as soon as possible and to designate the Arctic as a special sensitive area. (Reuters)
Where do I sign? – A Philadelphia-based environmental group has submitted a petition to the Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) asking it to adopt an economy-wide cap-and-trade programme for the state. In its petition, the Clean Air Council argues the state has the current authority to adopt a cap-and-trade under its state’s constitution, which guarantees residents the right to clean air. The group’s proposed structure would cut emissions annually by 3% from 2016 levels starting in 2018, reaching carbon neutrality by 2052. Governor Tom Wolf initially campaigned on the promise to join the RGGI programme, but he has not taken any steps to do so. The state’s legislature is run by Republicans, who have largely opposed cap-and-trade programmes.
Self-funded – Adani’s plans for the 60 Mt/year Carmichael coal mine in northern Queensland have been delayed for nearly a decade amid legal challenges and a lack of willing funders. But on Thursday, Adani announced it will fund the mine itself, and it hopes to begin construction before the end of the year. The project will be smaller than originally planned, initially producing 15 Mt coal annually, gradually rising to 27 mln. Green groups have attacked the proposal for the massive carbon emissions expected to come from the production itself and from burning the coal in major Asian nations, primarily India. Those groups have also fought the project tooth and nail over concerns that transporting so much coal over the struggling Great Barrier Reef will deteriorate the reef even more. There are still some minor regulatory hurdles that must be passed before construction can begin. (Fairfax)
The voters have spoken – Two referendum questions seeking to cut Taiwan’s coal generation and block any further coal plants have been overwhelmingly supported by voters. A resolution seeking the development of an energy policy that would “stop construction and expansion of any coal-firing” plants including the recently cancelled 1200MW Shen’ao plant was supported by 76% of those who cast valid votes. A second confusingly-worded question seeking to cut coal generation by 1%/year – which is lower than the government’s plan for about a 2% cut per year – was passed with 75% support. While the referendum results are unlikely to result in any change to the government’s policy of reducing coal and boosting renewables, they have revealed the depth of public concern about pollution from coal plant.
Is that all? – The African, Caribbean, and Pacific (ACP) Group of States could boost their climate action with $2.32 trillion in technical and financial support, according to a Needs Analysis study by the Secretariat of the ACP, one of the leading inter-governmental groups of developing countries. Published on Thursday, the report is the first to analyse the NDCs of the 79 ACP countries. Of these, some 59 outline financial support needs in their plans, worth a total $2.32 trillion. Of this amount, African countries account for 97%, while Caribbean and Pacific states account for 2.5% and 0.06%, respectively. This figure will likely rise as countries detail their financial needs or increase their ambitions.
Lame ducks grounded – US Democratic senators who long have jetted to UN climate summits are grounded this year. The senators are staying in Washington DC because their votes may be crucial to keeping the government open in the lame-duck session. The likely no-shows for the US congressional delegation – which in some years has included Democrats and Republicans – stands in contrast to 2015, when 10 Democratic senators arrived in Paris to urge nearly 200 nations to seal the international agreement on limiting GHGs. The official US delegation to Poland – made up of White House and State Department officials as well as a trio of EPA staff – will include Wells Griffith, tapped in the spring to a top White House international climate adviser post, according to several Trump administration officials. The US is also scheduled to hold a pro-fossil fuels event during the talks, like it did last year in Bonn. (Bloomberg)
And finally… COP crackdown – Poland has upgraded its security alert status to temporarily give police more powers to check vehicles and access private communications across Silesia, where the COP24 UN climate summit is set to begin next week. Climate activists describe a “tense atmosphere” in the coal mining region, with border checks and a ban on spontaneous protesting already in place, and they say there is little general knowledge among residents of what the meeting in Katowice is about. (DeSmog UK)
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