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The pending bankruptcy filing of California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) is raising new questions about the future of the state’s lone nuclear power plant slated to close in the next decade and how the facility could influence future emissions.
Business group Carbon Market Institute on Tuesday outlined a strategy with options for how Australia can transition the Safeguard Mechanism into a carbon trading programme, just weeks before the opposition Labor party is expected to present a similar plan ahead of May elections.
The Korea Exchange will on Wednesday hold the nation’s first regular carbon allowance auction, a new feature as the market shifts away from full free allocation.
New Zealand carbon allowances have traded in a narrow 22-cent range for the past month with most traders away from their desks and little news to drive prices.
China’s public banks and corporations have become world leaders in funding coal-fired power plants, providing financing for over a quarter of the world’s new facilities while domestic limits often prevent such investments at home, a report has found.
China’s thermal power generation rose 6%, the government said Monday, likely pushing the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions up even as the country registered its slowest economic growth rate since 1990.
Oil major BP purchased offset credits from two of the largest projects in the WCI cap-and-trade programme, a company official confirmed last week, but data suggests the fuel supplier is reselling many of those Alaska-sourced units on the secondary market.
Oregon can improve the environmental and economic performance of its planned cap-and-trade programme by freely allocating carbon allowances to the industrial sector rather than exempting those companies from the scheme entirely, according to a study released Tuesday.
European carbon prices resumed their recent rally on Tuesday, climbing by as much as 3.6% to a three-week high above €25.
The European Commission is planning to host a conference on international carbon trade this spring to help clinch a deal on rules for Article 6 of the Paris Agreement after recent talks fell apart.
Something is happening in the “Zero-Deforestation Supply Chain Movement,” which is a key component of the global effort to end climate change, and this week’s Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum (WEF) could provide the impetus for moving beyond lateral drift into fervent activity.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Climate risks hitting home – Bank of America worries flooded homeowners will default on their mortgages. Walt Disney is concerned its theme parks will get too hot for vacationers, while AT&T fears hurricanes and wildfires may knock out its cell towers. Coca-Cola wonders if there will still be enough water to make Coke. As the Trump administration rolls back rules meant to curb global warming, new disclosures show that the country’s largest companies are already bracing for its effects. The documents reveal how widely climate change is expected to cascade through the economy – disrupting supply chains, disabling operations and driving away customers, but also offering new ways to make money. Read more from Bloomberg.
Protect and serve – Germany will protect its manufacturing industry from the impact of its coal phase-out, its economy minister said Tuesday.“We will take clear and responsible steps to compensate energy-intensive companies,” Peter Altmaier told an energy industry conference. Germany’s coal phase-out commission plans to publish its findings between Jan. 25 and Feb. 1, including a timeline for when Germany’s last coal-fired power station will go offline. Experts expect that date to be between 2035 and 2040. If Germany speeds up its exit, the extra power costs could hit €54 billion by 2030, a study conducted for the BDI industry association and DIHK Chambers of Commerce said on Tuesday. (Reuters)
Slow down? Nein! – German transport minister Andreas Scheuer has dismissed calls for a speed limit on the country’s motorways as “against all common sense” and “completely exaggerated, unrealistic mind games,” the Daily Telegraph reports. Scheuer’s comments follow a government commission set up by his own ministry recommending a new national speed limit and higher fuel taxes to limit harmful pollution. Germany is one of the last countries in the world not to impose a national speed limit. “The derogatory remarks made by Andreas Scheuer clearly show that the transport minister doesn’t care about road safety or climate protection,” Jürgen Resch, head of the activist group German Environmental Aid (DUH), has said, according to the Daily Telegraph. (Carbon Brief)
No pricing – As trailed earlier this month, the new Franco-German treaty (Treaty of Aachen) signed today does not mention a new carbon pricing initiative, EurActiv reports. Overall, France and Germany commit to adopt “ambitious measures to fight climate change” and “act in close relationship” with one another “in order to formulate common approaches and policies”. But although they declare their intention to “put in place incentives mechanisms for the transformation of their economies,” they no longer mention carbon pricing as a solution to turn those pledges into concrete action. Germany has has been reluctant to put its name to international initiatives for more ambition on carbon pricing, aiming not to prejudice a domestic plan to phase out its coal power.
Grasping the concept – New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has become the latest Democratic presidential hopeful to endorse the “concept” of a Green New Deal, her Senate aide told Axios. That also preceded a spokesperson for newly-declared candidate Kamala Harris telling The Huffington Post that the California senator also supports the goals of the Green New Deal, which calls for the decarbonisation of the US power sector within 10 years. Already, Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren and former Obama housing secretary Julian Castro have voiced their support for the concept upon announcing their own candidacies for the Democratic nomination.
Recession reservations – Ontario Premier Doug Ford gave a speech to the Economic Club of Canada on Monday where he said the federal government’s carbon pricing plan would be a “total economic disaster”. Ford did not offer any details in his speech of how the ‘backstop’ carbon pricing scheme would lead to a recession, though the premier’s press secretary told CBC that a study by the Conference Board of Canada found the CO2 tax would shrink the nation’s GDP by C$2.1 billion. However, that is only a fraction of a percent of the country’s C$3 trillion GDP, and the organisation’s report does not mention that the carbon tax will actually cause a recession. Additionally, the Bank of Canada did not cite the carbon pricing plan in its most recent report laying out the major risks to the economy in 2019.
Another first – The first carbon credits have been issued under Japan’s Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) co-operation with Laos, the environment ministry announced. An energy efficient data centre in the South East Asian nation earned 207 credits for emission cuts achieved between Feb.-Aug. last year. Japan received 174 of the credits, with Laos retaining the rest. Toyota Tsusho Corp., Internet Initiative Japan, and Mitsubishi UFJ Morgan Stanley Securities are involved in the project on the Japanese side. The project is the only registered Laotian programme under the JCM.
Salt off the earth – Etihad Airways has operated the world’s first commercial flight to use jet fuel derived from plants grown in saltwater, GreenAir Online reports. The fuel was produced by the Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC) established by Masdar Institute, which operates a pilot facility in Abu Dhabi cultivating salt-tolerant halophyte plants that thrive in desert conditions and do not need fresh water or arable land to grow. The initiative is also intended to address food security in the UAE through the farming of seafood as a core element in the process. Masdar is part of Khalifa University, and other members of SBRC include Boeing, ADNOC, Safran, GE, and Bauer Resources, as well as Etihad. The consortium expects to expand the facility to commercial-scale over the next few years.
And finally… Under da sea – Britain could store enough renewable electricity to last through winter by creating vast reservoirs of compressed air under the North Sea, a study has suggested. Researchers from the universities of Edinburgh and Strathclyde propose using electricity generated from wind and tidal power to force hundreds of millions of cubic metres of air into porous sandstone formations. These undersea reservoirs of compressed air could be charged during the summer, with the air released during the depths of winter to drive turbines that would produce electricity when demand rose. (The Times)
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