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New Zealand on Thursday allocated funds to begin building an NZU auctioning platform through its 2019 budget, but did not offer any new information on the future level of the fixed price option, sending prices tumbling to 6-month lows.
While EU carbon’s increasingly rangebound trade is pointing to an impending breakout, more experts are breaking with those technical conventions and expecting prices to remain near current levels in the coming months.
European carbon prices dipped in a quiet session on Thursday to remain locked in a narrowing channel, as the market braced for new allowance supply to mushroom next week.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices rose this week amid increased buying after the most recent WCI auction fell within market participants’ expectations, while RGGI Allowance (RGA) dipped in front of their own quarterly sale.
The Republican-controlled Ohio House of Representatives passed a bill on Wednesday to subsidise two nuclear plants slated to close in 2021, but the latest version of the legislation would eliminate the state’s renewable portfolio standard (RPS), which incentivises clean energy.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
London calling – London Mayor Sadiq Khan has put his city forward as host of the 2020 UN climate negotiations, saying it would send a “positive message” about the UK. In a letter to the prime minister dated May 28, the Labour politician urged the Conservative government to make “every effort” to win the presidency of the talks. Twelve British business chiefs and 162 members of parliament from across the political spectrum have also expressed support for the UK’s candidacy, which was announced by British environment minister Claire Perry at last year’s talks in Katowice. It is unclear if other British cities are being considered as candidates. Britain is competing with Italy to hold the COP26 summit, which comes at a critical moment for boosting national targets under the Paris Agreement. (Climate Home)
Banking balance – Climate change could hit bank balance sheets with a knock-on effect on financial stability, the European Central Bank warned in a special feature for its semi-annual Financial Stability Review on Wednesday. The ECB said problems will materialise if markets aren’t correctly pricing the risks stemming from extreme weather events and the transition to a low-carbon emission economy. (Bloomberg)
Left pleading – The National Farmers Federation on Thursday joined the Australian Climate Roundtable, an association of leading business and finance lobby groups as well as green NGOs. The association took the opportunity to reaffirm its principles, which is that the country should play a fair part in addressing global warming, eventually reducing its GHG emissions to net zero or below. That goal should be backed up by a well designed, stable, and internationally linked policy plan. With the conservative Coalition government recently re-elected, the groups are getting ready for another attempt at trying to co-operate with officials to develop such a plan.
More trees – US-headquartered Port Blakely has bought the 3,000ha Clutha Forests in New Zealand, according to the Otago Daily Times. The company now owns nearly 35,000ha of plantation forests in NZ. Much of the forest it already owns has been opted into the New Zealand ETS, and the company will look for similar opportunities with Clutha, said Port Blakely. Depending on circumstances and type of tree, the property might generate some 75,000-100,000 NZUs per year.
Report card season – Environmental campaigners Greenpeace USA released a scorecard on climate policy for 2020 Democratic presidential candidates on Thursday, giving Washington Governor Jay Inslee the highest markets while placing former Vice President Joe Biden at the bottom of the pack. While Biden received a “D-”, his low grade was “primarily due to a lack of info” on his positions, a Greenpeace USA spokesperson said. The scores were based on positions taken since 2013 and “gave zero credit” to candidates with “no apparent record” on a given issue. Meanwhile, Inslee earned an A- from the environmental group after making climate change the primary focus of his campaign, while US Senators Bernie Sanders and Cory Booker each notched a B+. (NBC News)
Going through the motions – Virginia published its final RGGI-modelled cap-and-trade regulations in the state’s registry on Monday, but the programme is unlikely to be implemented this year due to budget amendments that would place restrictions on the state. GOP-backed amendments signed into law by Governor Ralph Northam (D) earlier this month would funnel carbon revenues into the state’s general fund to be spent by the legislature, and also would prevent any state funding from being used to support its membership in the RGGI programme. Those restrictions would prevent the state from joining RGGI in 2020 as it was slated to do, but despite that obstacle, the state’s Department of Environmental Quality published the finalised regulations anyways. If Democrats win a majority during the Nov. 2019 elections, they could reverse the GOP amendments, enabling them to implement the carbon programme without passing new legislation.
Stacked storage – Mitsubishi Hitachi Power Systems and Magnum Development plan to develop 1,000 MW of renewable energy storage in central Utah, in what the companies say is the largest initiative of its kind in the world. The Advanced Clean Energy Storage (ACES) project will deploy renewable hydrogen, compressed air energy storage, large-scale flow batteries, and solid oxide fuel cells at utility scale. Magnum, which owns the only known domal-quality salt formation in the western US, said its project site is located next to the coal-fired Intermountain Power Project, allowing it to integrate seamlessly with the region’s power grid. (Energy Manager Today)
Exit stage left – Two senior officials with international green group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) have left the organisation after an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct, according to documents obtained by Politico. The departures were announced in an email Tuesday from CEO Mark Tercek to staff. An internal investigation of TNC’s workplace culture by law firm McDermott Will & Emery came after a series of anonymous tweets on Mar. 21 alleging sexual misconduct by an executive at the organisation, with official complaints having been registered between May 2014 and Mar. 2018.
And finally… Stuffed puffins – Climate change “played a role in the deaths of thousands of puffins” on an island off the coast of Alaska, according to a study in the journal PLOS. It suggests the birds starved to death when the fish they eat migrated north with rising sea temperatures. Many were moulting at the time, which made flying farther for prey difficult. Up to 9,000 puffins and other seabirds died over the course of a few months in 2016. (BBC)
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