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Virginia Governor Ralph Northam (D) on Thursday refused to veto Republican-inserted language in the state’s 2019 budget that would prevent the state from joining the RGGI carbon market next year and the future Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) programme, but directed staff to explore ways to implement the state’s power sector ETS independently.
The UK is furthering plans to develop its own post-Brexit ETS, publishing a consultation paper late Thursday that sought views on a proposed design that closely aligns with the EU scheme apart from an auction reserve price and looser measures for airlines.
The UK should adopt a 2050 net zero greenhouse gas emissions target and meet it without relying on international credits, the government’s independent expert body said on Wednesday, though the panel did suggest buying a limited amount of GHG removal units as a contingency.
Just over 220 installations and airlines operating have failed to meet their obligations under the EU ETS in 2018, according to data published by the European Commission on Thursday, showing that the non-compliance rate has dropped under 2%.
EUAs continued the week’s downward path on Thursday, breaking several technical support levels as traders saw little reason for buyers to emerge after the annual compliance deadline and amid bearish signals from the energy complex.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices continued their months-long bull run this week as they eclipsed the $18 mark on the benchmark contract, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) remained stagnant amid limited secondary market activity.
Two offset project developers from the US and Canada have started a new joint venture to develop and sell voluntary credits from grasslands conservation, with the possibility of exploring other project types and entering compliance carbon markets.
A row over how much it would cost to increase Australia’s emissions ambition and the impact of using international offsets dominates the country’s newspaper headlines ahead of the May 18 election, as the nation’s decade-old climate wars show no sign of receding.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Partly Paris – The Democrat-controlled US House of Representatives on Thursday voted 230-190 on a resolution to keep the US in the Paris Agreement, though the Republican-controlled Senate has already indicated it will not take up the proposal. Three GOP legislators in the House joined their Democratic colleagues in endorsing HR-9, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said prior to the vote that the bill “will go nowhere” in the upper chamber, criticising the Paris Agreement as “the big international deal that the Obama administration cheered on” but that had “tons of red tape and real economic damage for zero measurable effect.” (Bloomberg Environment)
Beto says no – US Democratic White House hopeful Beto O’Rourke has signed an activist-backed pledge to refuse contributions from over $200 from fossil fuel industry executives and return donations received to date. The former US congressman cited the “enormity” of the climate challenge and danger of extreme weather events, and said he made the decision after input from students and young activists. O’Rourke released a climate plan this week calling for net zero GHG emissions in the US by 2050, and now joins 11 other presidential candidates in the “no fossil fuel money” pledge. (Axios)
Money growing on trees – With New Zealand carbon credits nearly quadrupling their value over the past four years, planting trees for carbon storage can now be more profitable in many cases that farming sheep. Carbon credit returns for radiate pine is now around NZ$700 per hectare from year five, compared to NZ$387 per hectare for an east coast sheep and beef farm. (Stuff)
High-flying offsets – Air New Zealand reintroduced its carbon offset programme in late 2016, and since then its passengers have now paid more than NZ$1 million ($663,000) to carbon neutralise their trips, the company announced. The funds mostly go towards planting permanent forests in NZ under the Permanent Forest Sinks Initiative, while a minority is invested in projects abroad, according to the company.
And just transition for all – Environmental non-profit Climate Xchange will host “The Role of Carbon Pricing in a Just Transition” webinar at 1500 Eastern time (1900 GMT) on May 8. The webinar will feature Climate Xchange’s Maria Virginia and climate justice organisation Green for All’s national director Michell Romero to discuss how putting on pollution must take equity seriously and incorporate the voices of frontline communities. Registration is available here.
Drought dread – Human-caused climate change has been influencing droughts since the early 20th century, and they’re only going to get worse, new research shows. A study published Wednesday in the journal Nature used tree ring atlases to observe global drought trends since pre-industrial times, finding a drying trend between 1900-1945 that coincides with increased GHG production. Human fingerprints on drought trends have become more pronounced in recent years, and the paper’s authors note that “the human consequences of this, particularly drying over large parts of North America and Eurasia, will likely be severe.” (Climate Nexus)
And finally… Sticker mock – The Ontario Green Party is offering a response to Premier Doug Ford’s Progressive Conservative government railing against the federal C$20 CO2 price via anti-carbon tax stickers. The Greens unveiled their own version of the sticker on Thursday, with a similar graphic design, lettering and colour scheme, but a completely different message. “Climate change will cost us more,” declares the Green Party’s sticker. The version Premier Doug Ford revealed last month declares, “The federal carbon tax will cost you.” Gas station companies that fail to post the government’s sticker on the pumps could face fines of up to C$10,000 a day, under new legislation the Progressive Conservatives call the Federal Carbon Tax Transparency Act. However, the Canadian Civil Liberties Association says it intends to challenge the constitutionality of the law, claiming that it violates freedom of speech by compelling gas station owners to post a political message. (CBC)
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