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RGGI’s December auction settled at $5.35/short ton on Friday, clearing at a premium for the third consecutive time and falling outside of most market participants’ more bearish expectations.
Voluntary market developers should pause exporting carbon credits once the Paris Agreement begins and until trade rules are clear, industry group ICROA said Friday, in a drastic shift in stance that could transform the nature of the sector.
The Asian Development Bank (ADB) has teamed up with Germany and Sweden to launch a new facility to support Southeast Asian nations develop ITMO pilot projects for Paris-era international emission trade.
Energy exchange EEX on Friday published the 2019 auction calendar for the group of 25 EU member states that sell their EUAs and EUAAs on the bloc’s common auction platform, while the European Commission said sales by EEA-EFTA states would finally begin in the new year.
European carbon prices ended Friday higher, adding 1.5% in a becalmed session compared to the previous day’s volatile barn burner to end within sight of last week’s close.
The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) finalised a proposal Friday that would embed a carbon price in its wholesale electricity market, floating few changes to prior versions of the initiative.
A second batch of RGGI offsets have been issued to a Maryland project, the only facility to have received credits under the scheme.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
COPdate – As the COP24 climate talks in Poland approach the end of their first week, Climate Home News reports that “financial aid for poor countries – and how it is counted, publicly reported and locked in for the future – is one of the biggest sticking points in global climate change negotiations. Again.” Among the issues still to be decided: whether the accounting of past aid from developed countries should be tied to the reports they make every two years on future ‘indicative’ support. With a steady drip-feed of draft negotiating texts having emerged over Wednesday and Thursday, analysis by Carbon Brief of the latest draft on reporting past financial aid shows that it includes 41 “options” and 185 square brackets (which denote unresolved issues). Developing countries on Thursday said they would need more funding and technological assistance from rich nations to deliver on their climate change mitigation commitments. There is disagreement over whether Brazil and China should be required to track emissions as closely as developed countries, despite having the economic resources to do so. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia and other oil-exporting nations do not want the phase-out of fossil fuels to be explicitly mentioned as a “policy pathway” for keeping warming to 1.5C. (Carbon Brief, Climate Nexus)
Let’s make a deal – The US Senate’s top Democrat is telling President Donald Trump that any infrastructure deal must contain robust moves to bolster zero-emission power sources and build resilience to climate change. Chuck Schumer’s demand is the latest sign that climate is emerging as a priority for Democrats. He has asked for permanent tax credits for clean power production, electric vehicles, energy storage, efficient buildings and more; federal spending on new transmission to help move renewable power; and new cash for R&D on clean energy and climate change resilience measures. However, Axios notes that while infrastructure is perennially floated as an area where there’s potential for bipartisan dealmaking, actually getting a sweeping political deal done is a far, far tougher thing to imagine happening. And it could be even harder to ink such a pact with a man who doesn’t accept that humans are driving climate change. While Republicans currently control 51 seats in the Senate, at least 60 votes are needed to pass an infrastructure bill, which must also be approved by the soon-to-be-Democrat-controlled House.
On second thought – Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection is considering a petition filed by environmental groups that claimed the state has the legal authority and constitutional duty to impose a limit on GHGs, Governor Tom Wolf said Friday. He added that he supports cap-and-trade and said his state is planning to do more to combat climate change, including adopting a carbon market or developing more ambitious climate goals. It was notable because Wolf campaigned on joining RGGI back in 2014 but then claimed he never made that pledge. Pennsylvania has previously been viewed as a potential expansion state for RGGI, but experts said its Republican-led legislature would make it difficult to pass cap-and-trade legislation. (NPR)
Rejected – Ontario’s appeal to Ottawa to reallocate funding for climate change initiatives has been denied, iPolitics reports. Federal Environment Minister Catherine McKenna said Thursday that Ontario’s PC government would not receive the C$420 mln in funding it lost when it cancelled the province’s cap-and-trade programme, despite introducing new measures to lower carbon emissions. Instead, McKenna said Ottawa would leapfrog the province and give funding to combat climate change directly to communities and organisations in Ontario. The Ford government last week unveiled the province’s new climate plan, pledging C$350 mln to fund innovation, in part via a reverse auction. Premier Doug Ford’s administration also appears to be planning to spend most of the roughly $3 bln that was raised by Ontario’s carbon allowance auctions in 2017-18 on other areas rather than investing the funds in low-carbon initiatives or refunding emitters or consumers.
Whitelist/blacklist – Ottawa is attempting to prevent Alberta’s right-wing United Conservatives from being granted intervener status in the Saskatchewan government’s court challenge of the federal backstop, calling the party’s interest in the case political and speculative. Saskatchewan argues in its submission that the UCP should be granted intervener status, as well as the Canadian Taxpayers Federation (CTF), the Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan (APAS), Saskatchewan Power Corp., and SaskEnergy Inc. Ottawa supported eight organisations as interveners, including SaskPower and SaskEnergy, Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation, the David Suzuki Foundation, and Canadian Public Health Association (CPHA), and wants portions of submissions from the CTF, the Assembly of First Nations (AFN), APAS, and Climate Justice Saskatoon reviewed to make sure they follow legal rules. Saskatchewan said it doesn’t want the AFN, CPHA, or the Intergenerational Climate Coalition admitted as interveners. A panel of three judges will decide which interveners will be allowed on Dec. 12, with the case set to be heard in mid-February. (CBC)
Line-up announced – Trump’s climate adviser and Energy Department officials are slated to speak at the Trump administration’s pro-fossil fuel side event at COP24 next week, according to Axios. Wells Griffith, who serves as Trump’s adviser on global energy and climate issues, and Steve Winberg, who acts as assistant secretary for fossil energy at the Energy Department, will reportedly tout the use of natural gas, coal, and nuclear power at the event. White House and State Department spokespeople said the Dec. 10 session will focus on job-creating innovations that have reduced US emissions while also providing reliable and affordable access to energy.
Let it flow – Carbon Brief has produced a series of interactive flow diagrams using OECD data to show how climate finance “flows” from country to county around the world. It also reveals project-level data, plus the type of finance different donor countries offer.
And finally… Sun in a box – MIT engineers have come up with a conceptual design for a system to store renewable energy and deliver it back into an electric grid on demand. The system may be designed to power a small city not just when the sun is up or the wind is high, but around the clock. The new design stores heat generated by excess electricity from solar or wind power in large tanks of white-hot molten silicon, and then converts the light from the glowing metal back into electricity when it’s needed. The researchers estimate that such a system would be vastly more affordable than lithium-ion batteries, which have been proposed as a viable, though expensive, method to store renewable energy. They also estimate that the system would cost about half as much as pumped hydroelectric storage – the cheapest form of grid-scale energy storage to date. (MIT News)
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