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The EU is on course to halve its emissions by 2030 and, with a few tweaks including only slightly higher carbon prices, could be on a smooth pathway to net zero emissions by 2050, a report found on Tuesday.
Climate minister James Shaw on Tuesday dismissed a proposal from a parliamentary watchdog to ban fossil fuel companies from using forestry-based carbon allowances in New Zealand’s ETS.
Australia on Tuesday shortlisted 12 projects for underwriting in a bid to boost energy reliability, but a major industry group still called for a more long term post-election policy that allows access to offsets for major emitters.
EU carbon notched a second straight gain on Tuesday to recover further from Monday’s three-week low, as a coal rebound lifted the energy complex amid continued EUA auction strength.
Fossil fuel major BP on Tuesday announced a $100 million fund to lower emissions from its upstream oil and gas operations, months after shareholder pressure forced the company to beef up its climate-related disclosures.
Virginia utility Dominion will permanently close 10 fossil- and biomass-fired units that it had previously placed on reserve last year, coming ahead of the state’s expected entry into the northeast US RGGI carbon market next year.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Green New Votes – The US Senate on Tuesday held a procedural vote on Congressional Democrats’ “Green New Deal” (GND) resolution, with the majority Republicans predictably defeating the non-binding measure by a 57-43 margin. The 42 Democrats and Independent Bernie Sanders voted “present” on the resolution in protest of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) holding the vote without any hearings, expert testimony, or significant discussions on the cost of climate inaction. However, Independent Senator Angus King and Democratic Senators Doug Jones, Kyrsten Sinema, and Joe Manchin joined Republicans in defeating the measure. West Virginia’s Manchin said that he voted against the resolution because “we need to focus on real solutions that recognise the role fossil fuels will continue to play”. Other Senate Republicans had their own ideas about alternative solutions to the GND prior to the vote (See “And finally…” below).
High fives! – The world’s energy systems have not become any greener in the last five years, a damning assessment from the World Economic Forum (WEF) concluded. Despite agreement on global climate targets, falling greener power costs, and mounting public and business concern over the catastrophic impacts runaway climate change could wreak, little to no progress has been made on making energy systems more environmentally sustainable since 2014, the WEF warned. (BusinessGreen)
Road gridlock – The German cross-stakeholder commission charged with proposing emissions cuts for the nation’s transport sector has failed to agree on enough steps to reach the country’s 2030 sectoral target of 40% under 1990 levels. It could only reach consensus on measures that will lower emissions by around two thirds of that. Pro-climate activists were disappointed but welcomed the recommendation to look into introducing a CO2 price for non-ETS sectors. (Clean Energy Wire)
Little gas – Energy company EnBW’s CEO Frank Mastiaux said Germany will build a significant number of new gas-fired power plants to guarantee electricity supply and grid stability as the country exits coal and nuclear energy, according to Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. However, these will not be large-scale projects, but rather many small units that would help stabilise the grid. In addition, existing coal-fired plants could be converted into gas facilities, he added. (Clean Energy Wire)
No chance – Ireland’s Taoiseach has denied a four-fold increase in the country’s domestic carbon tax being planned by the government in a bid to tackle climate change. Leo Varadkar said increased climate action was needed but such a hefty increase was not being considered. “There is an absolutely no prospect of a carbon tax increase of that scale or anything remotely approaching it being proposed by this government in the next budget,” he said. “If there is an increase in the carbon tax, it is my strong view that the money should be ring-fenced, and given back to people in the form of increases in fuel allowance to protect those who are least well-off, in the form of increased tax credits, in the form of a dividend model,” he added. The Irish leader went on to say that a carbon tax will not solve the problem of climate change, but “we won’t solve climate change without a carbon tax”. Ireland currently applies a €20/tonne tax to kerosene, gas oil, LPG, fuel oil, and natural gas, but there are calls to expand it to agriculture and transportation, which make up a majority of the country’s GHG output. (Irish Examiner)
Legislative long shot – US House Democrats are expected to unveil a new piece of climate-change related agenda on Wednesday, aimed at keeping the US in the Paris Agreement, Politico reports. The potential legislation would also require the Trump Administration to come up with a plan to meet the emissions reduction goals under the accord within 120 days of the enactment of the bill. Representative Kathy Castor (D), chairwoman of the House Special Committee on Climate Change, is expected to lead a press conference on the legislation this week, though the bill stands a long shot with President Donald Trump and many Senate Republican’s vociferous opposition to the Paris Agreement.
Brickin’ it – MEPs have today passed a law that will literally change the face of trucks in Europe – from brick-shaped cabs to rounder ones. As a result, new truck cab designs in Europe are expected to reduce fuel use and pollution. Green group Transport & Environment (T&E), which campaigned for the reform, said the new truck designs will save lives, carbon emissions, and fuel.
And finally… Green New Whatever this is…
“The solution to climate change is not this unserious resolution…the solution to so many of our problems at all times and in all places is to fall in love, get married, and have some kids.” –@SenMikeLee on @AOC and @SenMarkey‘s Green New Deal
This is a real quote. pic.twitter.com/fbMzgwUMxA
— Waleed Shahid (@_waleedshahid) March 26, 2019
GND supporters have to answer for all sorts of imaginary crap that isn’t in it. But Republicans can be utter fucking morons, just complete theatrical, spectacular dumbasses, and it’s just another day in DC. https://t.co/LxLb2ZB4wZ
— David Roberts (@drvox) March 26, 2019
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