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Recent gains in the California Carbon Allowance (CCA) market are leading traders to question whether prices could diverge from historic trends amid an influx of bullish new speculators, with some predicting the rise will be short-lived.
EUAs climbed back towards €22 after touching a three-week low on Wednesday, as higher natural gas prices lifted the wider energy complex.
Nevada state lawmakers introduced a bill this week to raise the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and achieve 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050, building on increased climate action in the southwest US state over the past year.
Japan’s most powerful business lobby this week urged the government to prioritise economic growth in the battle against climate change, such as backing exports of efficient coal power technology while steering clear of an explicit price on carbon emissions.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Bad banks – Some 33 global banks have provided $1.9 trillion to fossil fuel companies since the adoption of the Paris Agreement in 2015, according to a new report from green groups and economic watchdogs. The “Banking on Climate Change 2019″ report, released by organisations, including Rainforest Action Network, BankTrack, and Indigenous Environmental Network, found that the amount of financing has risen in each of the past two years. On a company level, New York-headquartered JP Morgan Chase was found to be the worst funder of fossil fuels and fossil fuel expansion, providing $196 bln towards those sectors since the Paris Agreement was struck. The report also said that all six of the US banking giants are in the top “dirty dozen” bankers of climate change, accounting for 37% of global fossil fuel financing.
To be continued – EU leaders aren’t ready to set a target date for the bloc to reach net-zero emissions at their Council meeting this week, with climate discussions pushed back later into the year as talks on Brexit and China trade take precedence. A draft council conclusions paper prepared by diplomats merely “emphasises the importance of the EU submitting an ambitious long-term strategy by 2020 striving for climate neutrality”. (Reuters)
Svenja’s table – The German ‘climate cabinet’ that aims to improve coordination among ministries to put the country on track to meet its emission reduction targets will be led by environment minister Svenja Schulze of the centre left SPD coalition partner. The cabinet will include Chancellor Merkel, finance minister Olaf Scholz, transport minister Andreas Scheuer, agriculture minister Julia Kloeckner, economy minister Peter Altmaier and chief of chancellery Helge Braun. (dpa, Clean Energy Wire)
Tax attack – Following Tuesday’s start of Alberta’s provincial election campaign, opposition leader Jason Kenney of the United Conservative Party (UCP) doubled down on his opposition to the Canadian jurisdiction’s carbon levy. Kenney said the first piece of legislation his UCP government would introduce after the Apr. 16 vote is “Bill 1: The Carbon Tax Repeal Act”, scrapping Alberta’s C$30 fee on fossil fuels implemented by ruling NDP Premier Rachel Notley in 2017. The UCP said they would partially pay for the lost carbon revenue by a C$1.1 billion reduction in the province’s Climate Leadership Plan, along with reducing corporate welfare and other proposed spending from the NDP. Additionally, Kenney reiterated his commitment to sue the federal government if it subsequently imposes its C$20 ‘backstop’ carbon levy on Alberta. A full UCP environmental plan is expected in the coming days.
AG sign off – Connecticut Attorney General William Tong (D) approved the final proposal from the state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection that would install the post-2020 RGGI Model Rule. That approval was widely expected after the state agency sent the finished regulation to the Attorney General’s office in early March. The regulation will still need to be approved by the Legislative Regulation Review Committee before being implemented. The state expects to approve the regulation by April.
State support – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra on Wednesday filed an amicus brief supporting the cities of San Francisco and Oakland in their lawsuit against several oil companies the jurisdictions say are responsible for the costs of sea-level rise. The legal challenge alleges that the companies’ business practices exacerbate global warming, leaving local governments to deal with the costs that hotter temperatures and extreme weather events have on erosion, flooding, and property damage. Although a federal district court dismissed the case in June, two months later the jurisdictions appealed in the US Ninth Circuit. Nine other states and Washington DC are supporting Becerra’s brief.
Crushed by coal – The White House has dropped plans to nominate David Hill for commissioner of the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) after opposition from Energy Secretary Rick Perry and major coal companies headed by some of President Trump’s allies, Politico reports. Hill, a current executive for gas utility NRG Energy and former Department of Energy (DOE) general counsel under George W. Bush, has publicly criticised the DOE’s push to subsidise struggling coal plants. That led to opposition from Perry, along with Alliance Resource Partners and Murray Energy Corporation, which are coal companies headed by the major GOP donors Joe Craft and Bob Murray, sources told the news agency. Hill’s rejection suggests that another nomination is at least three months away.
And finally… Beat the meat – Start-ups specializing in meat substitutes, from mung bean-based eggless eggs to pea-stuffed burgers and cell-grown fish products, are piling into the Chinese territory of Hong Kong to tap the mainland’s booming multi-billion dollar food market. (Reuters)
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