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EU leaders failed to agree on setting a 2050 date for the bloc to reach net zero emissions late Thursday, as talks broke with four nations holding out.
Oregon Senate Republicans fled the state on Thursday in protest of a scheduled final vote of a WCI-modelled cap-and-trade bill, leaving Democrats without a quorum to conduct any business in the interim.
Four California assemblymembers asked state regulator ARB this week to adopt the Tropical Forest Standard (TFS) for international sector-based offset programmes despite ongoing disagreement and environmental justice opposition to the proposal.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices dropped significantly on the secondary market this week as aggressive sellers caused the first major retracement since this spring’s bull run began, while RGGI allowances (RGA) dipped slightly amid New Jersey finalising its regulations to join the nine-state ETS.
The New York legislature late Wednesday passed an omnibus climate bill that will see the Empire State make deep emission cuts through 2050 with the possible use of some in-state offsets, though environmental justice groups lamented compromises made regarding the allocation of green project revenues.
Ontario Premier Doug Ford has appointed a new environment minister to replace Rod Phillips, who was shifted to the finance file in a major cabinet reshuffle on Thursday.
The Netherlands formally launched a bid for an EU-wide carbon tax on aviation on Thursday, stressing that it would take unilateral measures if the effort failed.
European carbon held near €25 on Thursday, with buyers once again emerging to lift prices back following several swift bouts of selling pressure.
A former senior Chinese government official has rubbished claims from the power sector that the country must build more coal-fired power plants to avoid power shortages.
Australian Energy Minister Angus Taylor’s claim that Australia should be credited for emission cuts caused by its natural gas exports does not hold up against scrutiny, argues this op-ed by Frank Jotzo and Salim Mazouz of the Australian National University.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Joining the party – The Alberta government on Thursday announced it has filed a constitutional challenge against Ottawa’s ‘backstop’ carbon tax in the province’s Court of Appeal. The lawsuit, which United Conservative Party (UCP) Premier Jason Kenney campaigned on this spring, alleges the federal government’s plan disrupts the balance of federalism by not allowing Alberta to manage its own natural resources, economy, and GHG reduction plan. The province joins fellow conservative-led jurisdictions Saskatchewan, Ontario, and Manitoba in challenging the ruling Liberals’ landmark climate strategy, though Saskatchewan’s Court of Appeals rejected the province’s federalism-centred argument against the federal backstop plan this spring. After the UCP scrapped the previous NDP government’s C$30/tonne CO2 tax in recent weeks, Ottawa announced the backstop tax will take effect in Alberta starting Jan. 1, 2020. (Global News)
A gentleman’s sport – The UN-backed scientific body IPCC’s Special Report on 1.5C may get dropped from Paris Agreement discussions in a ‘gentleman’s agreement’, spurred by objections to the study by major fossil fuel producer Saudi Arabia. The deal, which was struck before negotiations opened, was done in order to allow countries to discuss the substance of the report “without offending the other side”, according Belize’s negotiator that took part in the backroom dealing. However, some countries and outside groups criticised the agreement as crowding out space to discuss the landmark climate report, while others are trying to find additional ways to incorporate discussion of the report. (Climate Home)
Support essential – Greek state-controlled utility PPC has said that the €1.4 billion under-construction Ptolemaida coal-fired plant project is at risk without a capacity mechanism, following a jump in carbon costs. Company president Manolis Panagiotakis had written a letter to Brussels saying the mechanism was “absolutely necessary” to ensure its viability. (Reuters)
The people’s voice – The UK is set to hold a citizen’s assembly to steer climate policy, Climate Home reports, months after activist movement Extinction Rebellion made it one of its three core demands. Six parliamentary select committees made the announcement in response to government plans to slash GHG emissions to net zero by 2050. Lawmakers focused on policies across business, energy, transport, science, housing, environment, and finance all backed the democratic exercise, to take place over a series of weekend sessions. Set to launch in autumn, the citizens’ assembly will debate how to share the potential costs of a shift to a clean economy, considering the impacts on vulnerable and fossil fuel dependent communities. Its conclusions will not be binding, but will inform policymakers.
Shipping goals – Norway will reduce GHG emissions from domestic shipping and fishing by 50% by 2030, the government announced Thursday. As part of the strategy it will consider requiring new vessels in the oil industry to be zero or low-carbon, and wants emission free ports where possible by 2030. Norway also reiterated its intention to play a leading role in paving the way for a global low-carbon shipping industry.
Waiver watch – President Trump has directed members of his cabinet to review the administration’s expanded use of compliance waivers under the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), three sources tell Reuters. The move reportedly came after Trump received feedback from angry farmers during his tour of the Midwest last week, which led him to ask the heads of the EPA and United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) to look into solutions. The sources said the EPA is now considering limiting the use of small refiner exemptions (SREs) or reallocating exempted gallons of fuel to larger refiners, both of which biofuels advocates have pushed for. Some 39 SRE applications remain outstanding for the 2018 compliance year.
CORSIA webinar – UN aviation body ICAO will host two webinars on July 3 for emissions unit programmes wishing to apply for assessment by the Technical Advisory Board (TAB) of the international offset programme CORSIA. Programmes are invited to use this form to register for one of the webinars, and to submit questions which will be addressed during the webinars. Completed forms should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
And finally… Pissed about pissing contests – The ongoing battle between California and the US federal government over the latter’s proposed rollback of vehicle fuel economy standards continued on Thursday during a House of Representatives hearing in Washington DC. At one point during the hearing, hosted by two House Energy and Commerce subcommittees, a letter from EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler to top House Energy and Commerce Republicans circulated, accusing California Air Resources Board (ARB) Chairwoman Mary Nichols of “unwilling to be a good faith negotiator.” Nichols, who spoke on a second panel as a top defender of California’s rules, refuted Wheeler’s characterisation, arguing that the Trump administration “unilaterally” cut off talks with the state that were intended to reach a resolution. The back-and-forth led Michigan Representative Debbie Dingell (D) to put an end to the bickering. “I’m really not interested in a pissing contest between California and this administration, to be perfectly blunt,” she said. The federal rollback, which has been delayed until at least later this summer, would freeze federal fuel economy standards at 2020 levels while revoking California’s waiver authority to set its own, more stringent standard. (ThinkProgress)
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