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RGGI’s June auction aligned with traders’ expectations as it cleared under the secondary market for the first time in over a year, with speculators taking home the majority of allowances offered, according to results published Friday.
The number of planned or implemented carbon pricing mechanisms worldwide has grown to 57, but without expanded coverage and higher prices they won’t be sufficient to help meet the temperature goals in the Paris Agreement, a World Bank report said Friday.
EU carbon prices could be boosted by around a third by 2030 should the bloc decide to recalibrate its annual ETS emissions cap reduction rate to align with a more ambitious long-term climate goal, analysts said.
EUAs clambered back above €24.50 on Friday, recovering to last week’s closing levels in rangebound trade aided by a bullish energy complex and a looming dip in auction supply.
Pennsylvania’s Senate Democratic Leader is seeking co-sponsors for a bill to install a power sector cap-and-trade programme, a move that could give a legislative mandate for the Keystone State to join the northeast US RGGI carbon market in the future.
A summary of legislative and regulatory action on carbon pricing and clean energy legislation at the US subnational and federal level taken this week, including a push to vote on New York’s omnibus climate policy bill, clean energy and GHG target developments in Maine, and news on California offset and hydropower bills.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Bloomberg and beyond – Billionaire philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg on Friday launched the “Beyond Carbon” campaign, dedicating $500 mln to put the US on track to a 100% clean energy economy. In a press release, Bloomberg Philanthropies said the organisation would double down on its Beyond Coal campaign with green group Sierra Club and aim to close all US coal plants by 2030, along with stopping the development of new natural gas plants. The campaign will also work with state and local organisations to pass climate and clean energy policies, expand support for grassroots organisations and frontline movements, and help elect climate champions at the state and local level.
Compromise call – Major automakers on Thursday urged President Trump to go back to the negotiating table with California on vehicle emission regulations, calling for a “common sense compromise” on GHG standards. In a letter signed by 17 carmakers, the companies urged Trump to negotiate with California to reach a single nationwide standard, warning of the possible litigation and market instability that would follow. They also sent a letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom (D) arguing that avoiding litigation and agreeing on a single nationwide standard would be better for the environment. The Trump administration released a proposal last August to dramatically scale back vehicle fuel efficiency standards, along with revoking California’s waiver to set more stringent targets that are followed by roughly a dozen other states. (Climate Nexus)
First one – The Service Employers International Union (SEIU) executive board passed a resolution Thursday in support of the US Green New Deal (GND), making it the country’s first major union to do so. The resolution says the Green New Deal aligns with SEIU’s values and “presents an unprecedented opportunity to unite the fights for environmental, racial, and economic justice”. Other unions have been slower to follow since the GND framework to decarbonise the US economy in a 10-year mobilisation period was unveiled in February. (Politico)
Shift to states – As a curtain falls on the potential for federal climate action in Australia after last month’s election, focus is turning to state-led initiatives, similar to what happened in the US after the 2016 election. On Friday NSW Energy Minister Matt Kean – himself part of the ruling Coalition – called on the federal government to stop pitting ideology and populism against science, and put in place the policies needed to cut emissions, reports RenewEconomy. Meanwhile, the WA government has published new data showing state GHG emissions are 23.4% on 2005 levels, making it the worst-performing state in the county. The reason is the LNG boom that has also been driving national emission increases. This sparked the Conservation Council of WA to call on the state government to set a carbon target for the state, as it is the only jurisdiction in Australia that doesn’t have one, according to WA Today.
Un-fiddling figures – The UK has no intention of banking its 384 Mt emissions surplus into its third binding carbon budget (2018-2022), the government said in a letter, clarifying an FT report from earlier this week that suggested it would effectively seek to slow down the need for near-term climate action by carrying forward this past over-achievement. Rather, the government said it will temporarily carry forward 88 Mt pending advice on whether emissions measurement changes risk leaving it in non-compliance. This carryover will be cancelled “once it is clear that it will not be needed to address technical changes in the baseline”. (Climate Home)
“Flawed and simplistic” – A report published by the European Commission finds that imposing VAT on airline passenger tickets and/or applying a kerosene tax to flights would reduce aviation carbon emissions and noise from in line with a reduced demand for flying in Europe. The study modelled impacts on EU States and looked at aviation taxation in other major countries. In most EU countries, a 10% increase in ticket prices would result in 9-11% lower demand and the resulting reduction in the number of flights would produce similar levels of reductions in emissions and noise. However, trade association Airlines for Europe (A4E) has dismissed the report as flawed and simplistic. Meanwhile, the Dutch government has released details of a conference to be hosted by the finance ministry on June 20/21 that is aiming to bring EU States together to discuss unified aviation carbon pricing and taxes. (GreenAir Online)
The no-coal standard – French bank Credit Agricole will phase out coal from its financing and investment portfolio by 2030 in EU and OECD countries, and will do the same by 2040 in China and by 2050 everywhere else. It promised “no new business relations with companies for which thermal coal accounts for over 25% of their revenues except those that have announced plans to close their thermal coal activities or which intend to announce such plans by 2021”, as well as “no new business relations with companies developing or planning to develop new thermal coal capacity”. The announcement was widely welcomed by green groups as setting the industry’s best practice for the coal sector. (BusinessGreen)
Exit stage left, part 2 – The fallout from an investigation into allegations of sexual harassment and workplace misconduct at green group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) continued on Friday as CEO Mark Tercek resigned – a week after the organisation’s President Brian McPeek did the same. Tercek had recused himself from a recent internal probe into workplace issues that led to the departure of two other senior US officials last week, but he acknowledged in a video sent to staff on Tuesday that he mishandled the results of the investigation conducted by law firm McDermott Will & Emery. Tercek joined TNC in 2008 from Wall Street investment firm Goldman Sachs. (Politico)
And finally… Vocal valedictorians – US schools and colleges are being accused of censoring the climate crisis message in graduation speeches, with students saying that authorities have warned them from reading a text that warns of “catastrophic climate change” for being too political. A youth-led movement called “Class of 0000” is encouraging students to read out a prepared text at graduation ceremonies that tells elected leaders to “have plan to get to zero emissions, or get zero of our votes”, among other things. While over 350 students set to speak at graduation ceremonies have pledged to read the message, many have complained that education authorities have barred them from doing so as the global climate emergency is deemed too political to mention. “A lot of adults blame our generation for being sensitive but we have to deal with the problems they have caused,” one student told The Guardian. “We are vocal about climate change because no one else is going to do anything about it. On this issue, it feels like the adults are the children.”
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