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New Zealand on Wednesday published its draft “Zero Carbon Bill” to make the country achieve net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050 except for methane output from livestock, which accounts for more than a third of GHGs and was given a less ambitious target.
California legislators have called on regulator ARB to undertake an independent review of the state’s cap-and-trade forestry offset protocol, amid concerns raised by an academic report that the protocol inflates emission reductions due to lenient leakage assumptions, according to a letter seen by Carbon Pulse.
Australia’s opposition Labor party would likely pursue bilateral agreements for carbon trading as part of a beefed-up Safeguard Mechanism if elected as an international market under the Paris Agreement will take time to develop.
South Korean carbon allowances again rose to new record highs in Wednesday trade, but later in the day the monthly KAU auction settled 4.6% below the secondary market.
The US-based Grantham Environmental Trust has agreed to invest up to A$2.5 million ($1.75 mln) in an Australian start-up seeking to generate carbon credits from soil carbon projects.
California regulator ARB granted 1.2 million California Carbon Offsets (CCOs) this week, reversing a recent trend of issuances below the 1-mln mark, according to state data.
Two US legislators unveiled a proposal on Wednesday to implement a federal Clean Energy Standard with an accompanying credit trading programme as they seek to almost fully decarbonise the country’s electricity sector by 2050.
US regional grid operator PJM is aiming to release a study on incorporating a CO2 charge into the wholesale power market by the end of the summer, coming after a committee recently endorsed utility requests to conduct analyses on the topic.
The EU ETS has performed better in its environmental aims as prices have more than doubled over the past year in anticipation of agreed reforms, but many challenges remain if the policy is to remain a ‘cornerstone’ of the bloc’s climate policy, a report found Wednesday.
EUAs rose for the fourth straight day on Wednesday as bullish sentiment was stirred by the market comfortably absorbing the day’s bumper auction and buoyant gas prices.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Net push – Eight of the 27 EU nations (France, the Netherlands, Belgium, Sweden, Denmark, Spain, Portugal, and Luxembourg) urged the EU to sign up to the more ambitious pathway of a Brussels plan to achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions “by 2050 at the latest” at the May 9 leaders’ summit in Sibiu, Romania. Germany, Italy and Poland (the UK is not attending) were notably absent from the list of signatories of the leaked “non-paper”, along with Finland, which is still forming a coalition after an election but had its previous environment minister join his eight counterparts in urging the 2050 net zero goal in earlier that month. (EurActiv)
Tax clash – Germany’s conservative Manfred Weber and the Netherlands’ socialist Frans Timmermans – the two most likely European Commission president candidates – clashed over the question whether the EU should introduce a carbon tax in a TV debate on Germany’s ARD. Timmermans wants one, Weber doesn’t, fearing higher fuel prices and instead calling for more innovation. Timmermans also argued for a kerosene tax on air travel while Weber was more nuanced, saying unequal taxes for air, rail, and cars must stop. (Clean Energy Wire, ARD)
EU cutting – In 2018 EU CO2 emissions from fossil fuel combustion decreased by 2.5%, according to preliminary estimates from the EU statistics body Eurostat in figures that encompass wider use than the 4% year-on-year decline in ETS emissions suggested by preliminary data. (Eurostat)
Peak prediction – Global oil demand could peak by 2025 and fall by more than 30% by mid-century if countries take aggressive steps to hold long-term global temperature rises to under 2C, analysts at London-based investment bank Barclays said in a new report. The study’s climate-friendly “dynamism” scenario would require larger industry and national investments in efficiency and technology, 35% electrification of energy demand by 2050, and significant adoption of carbon capture and storage from 2040 onwards, more than twice as much as in their business-as-usual “development’ scenario. (Axios)
Hear ye, hear ye – US House Ways and Means Chairman Richard Neal announced Wednesday that the Committee will hold a hearing entitled “The Economic and Health Consequences of Climate Change” on May 15. Although it is not listed on the committee’s press release, the topic of a carbon tax could come up during the meeting, as Representative Neal has previously said the issue is a priority. (Bloomberg Environment)
Landfill loss – The Trump administration violated the US Clean Air Act by not taking action on harmful emissions from landfills, a federal court ruled this week. The US District Court for the Northern District of California found the EPA failed to meet its statutory obligation to restrict climate-warming methane and various conventional pollutants that spew from municipal solid landfills across the country. While the Obama administration created landfill emissions guidelines in 2016, Trump officials have not taken the necessary steps to review state implementation plans or craft a federal programme. Under the court’s order, the EPA must make final decisions approving or disapproving existing state plans by Sep. 6 and finalise a federal plan by Nov. 6. (E&E News)
Digital deal – Spot exchange operator CBL Markets has teamed up with technology company Xpansiv to launch a public trading forum for “Digital Feedstock”, which the companies’ press release says is “a new data format that combines data science, cryptography, and distributed-ledger technologies to support the digital migration of the commodity sector”. According to the press release, Digital Feedstock combines authenticated source production data with secondary data in a single dataset, providing new information about tradable commodities in a transactable format. The companies added they will release their first exchange-traded product, Responsibly Produced Natural Gas, in the coming months.
And finally … Rock solid plan – Scientists from Switzerland’s ETH University are injecting tiny volumes of CO2 dissolved in salt water into rock deep inside Mont Terri in the Jura Mountains to discover if it can be safely locked away rather than emitted. The project is supported by Switzerland, France, Canada, Japan, and the US, as well as oil majors Total, Chevron, ENI and BP. (Reuters)
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