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Analysts have trimmed their near-term EU carbon price forecasts following last year’s massive gains and amid Brexit uncertainties and a general lacklustre start to 2019, according to a poll of 12 experts conducted by Carbon Pulse.
EUAs climbed to a seven-day high on Wednesday as colder weather prospects and a bullish result in an oversized Polish auction lifted the energy complex amid wider Brexit uncertainty.
South Korean project developers continue to identify and launch new CDM projects for use in the domestic ETS despite lingering uncertainty over the mechanism’s future and their government being outmanoeuvred at UN climate talks.
California utility Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) possible bankruptcy is unlikely to dramatically alter power sector emissions or the supply-demand balance in the WCI cap-and-trade programme despite potentially dampening renewable energy growth, two climate researchers told Carbon Pulse.
Two Montana state representatives have introduced separate CO2 tax proposals, with one bill utilising offsets as a compliance option and the other setting GHG targets for the US state.
The US EPA’s plan to propose the year-round sale of 15% ethanol blends and reforms to the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) could be delayed if the federal government shut down drags on for a prolonged period, acting agency chief Andrew Wheeler said Wednesday during his confirmation hearing.
Global clean energy investments fell 8% in 2018 to $332.1 billion as a solar panel production glut slashed prices and China cut subsidy access, according to researchers BloombergNEF (BNEF).
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Inching closer – The German government has pledged long-term payments to lignite mining regions, removing a major hurdle to reaching a compromise over the country’s coal exit. After a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz on Tuesday, premiers of the coal states said a deal from the coal exit commission, due by Feb. 1, is now possible, though key issues including supply security and power prices must be resolved first. NGOs insisted a rapid coal exit must also be central to any agreement. While the German economy as a whole would hardly suffer from phasing out lignite, coal regions in the Rhineland, central Germany and especially Lusatia in the east of Germany, are likely to see rising unemployment and people moving away, according to scenario calculations by the Leibniz-Institut for Economic Research in Halle. However, the modelling appeared flawed in that it did not include any state measures as discussed by the commission, and it assumed that no new jobs could be created quickly through state measures in these regions. (Clean Energy Wire)
Risk of failure – The risk that global efforts to tackle climate change will fail has risen despite concerns about the effects, according to a survey of 1,000 experts in the annual Global Risks Report by the World Economic Forum, days before its annual gathering in Davos. The top risk by likelihood in the survey was extreme weather and the risk that failure by governments to limit the magnitude of climate change and adapt to it has risen to second place in terms of both likelihood and impact, compared to only fifth place and fourth place in those categories last year in the survey. (Reuters)
All but one – The Ontario Court of Appeals on Tuesday granted intervenor status to organisations that will take part in the province’s lawsuit against the federal ‘backstop’ carbon pricing plan from Apr. 15-18. According to Bloomberg Environment, all but one individual applicant, Greg Vezina, successfully applied to intervene in the case. Among the successful intervenors siding with Ottawa are green groups Environmental Defence and David Suzuki Foundation, trade lobby IETA, the government of British Columbia, and indigenous communities including the Athabasca Chipewyan First Nation and United Chiefs and Councils of Mnidoo Mining. The government of Saskatchewan, Alberta’s opposition United Conservative Party, and the Canadian Taxpayers Federation were approved to intervene on behalf of Ontario.
Stamp of approval – Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) approved the state’s revised cap-and-trade proposal on Tuesday, setting up the regulation to be posted in the state’s registry on Feb. 4. The state will then take public comments on the proposal from Feb. 4 through Mar. 6. The proposed regulations would enable the state to link with the northeast US RGGI carbon market in 2020, and they mirror much of the programme’s post-2020 Model Rule, including an annual 3% cap decline, a supply-managing Emissions Containment Reserve, and a 2021-2025 bank adjustment.
Clean energy state of mind – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) announced additional clean energy goals during his state-of-the-state speech on Tuesday. Cuomo said the state would target 9 GW of offshore wind energy by 2035, 3 GW of energy storage by 2030, and doubling its solar deployment to 6 GW by 2025. The state is aiming to increase its Clean Energy Standard to 70% by 2030, and it has already set a mandate to decarbonise its power grid by 2040. (Utility Drive)
Demoted – Brazil’s new Bolsonaro administration has demoted climate diplomacy as part of a foreign ministry shake-up. It has erased the word ‘climate’ from an organisational chart, axed the deputy secretary for environmental matters, and subsumed its portfolio into the secretariat for ‘national sovereignty and citizenship affairs’. Staff previously responsible for UN climate negotiations are still there, but the previous task of ‘climate change’ is replaced by ‘protection of the atmosphere’. (Climate Home)
Retirement resolve – Retiring carbon-intensive power plants, services and transport facilities at the end of their lifetimes and replacing them with “zero-carbon alternatives” could give the world a 64% chance of keeping global warming to below 1.5C, a study found. The findings hinge on a set of assumptions including an end to global deforestation, meat production, and the construction of new carbon-intensive power plants and transport after 2018. (Nature Communications)
Renewable Gulf – Renewable energy is the most competitive form of power generation in oil-rich gulf states, according to a report by the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). This is due to abundant resources and strong enabling frameworks that have led to solar PV prices of below 3 cents per kilowatt hour and dispatchable concentrated solar power of 7.3 cents per kilowatt hour, which is less than some utilities in the region pay for natural gas.
Opole open – One of two new 900MW blocks at Poland’s Opole coal-fired power plant has started producing electricity and will enter commercial operations June 15, said operator PGE. The second 900MW block will start commissioning on Sep. 30, Heren reports. When both blocks are in operation, Opole will have the capacity to meet around 8% of Polish demand. Both blocks will use hard coal and will have a net efficiency of around 46%, about 10 percentage points higher than any Polish coal unit currently in operation.
And finally… Drill, baby, drill – House Democrats are criticising the US Interior Department’s decision to recall furloughed employees to work on drilling permits and lease sales on federally-owned lands during the ongoing government shutdown. Dozens of Interior employees were brought back to work this week to prepare for a planned lease sale in the Gulf of Mexico in March. The Interior Department argued those sales are necessary to raise needed revenue. However, Democrats said Acting Interior Secretary David Bernhardt should reverse the decision or explain his reasoning. (Politico)
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