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European carbon blasted to a new 11-year high Wednesday, with traders attributing the stellar 6% gain to a series of bullish and not-so-bullish developments.
Ghana will take in up to $50 million for protecting its forests under the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCFP), becoming the third African nation to sign the REDD deal seen as a base for possible international emissions trade.
Nominated European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen promised on Wednesday to introduce legislation within her first 100 days in office to deepen the bloc’s 2030 emission cut target from 40% to 50%.
South Korea sold all 550,000 carbon allowances on offer in its July auction held Wednesday, with permits clearing well below secondary market prices.
Project developers are exploring the possibility of creating a methodology that would make it possible to earn carbon credits from land management schemes in Australia’s vast desert areas.
California hydroelectric generation dropped by 36% in 2018 and was replaced by natural gas and renewable energy, potentially impacting emissions from the sector under the state’s WCI-linked carbon market, according to government data.
California regulator ARB doled out more than 1.5 mln new offsets (CCOs) this week, while the supply of CCO-0s surged as the invalidation period expired on the programme’s second largest project.
Quebec retired 1.8 million V17 carbon allowances on Wednesday to account for surplus Ontario permits left over in the WCI market, according to an updated Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS) report.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Window of shame – The UK is not cutting emissions fast enough and is failing to adapt to rising temperatures, the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change said in its annual progress report. The government has long been off-track to hit its binding 2023-2027 and 2028-2032 carbon budgets, and it has a short window to close the climate policy gap before it risks being “embarrassed” at the COP26 UN summit in late 2020 that it expects to host. (BBC)
Risk dodging – An investor-funded Transition Pathway Initiative (TPI) analysis of the largest publicly-traded, high-emitting companies found that only 20 of 160 were poised to cut their emissions in alignment with the Paris Agreement. These included German energy firm E.ON, Spanish utility Iberdrola, Finnish paper firm Stora Enso, and Californian utility Edison International. Despite progress in the past year, almost half of a wider grouping of 274 do not adequately consider climate risks in their operational decision-making. (Reuters)
Slowdown – Global investment in clean energy is down by 14% to $117.6 billion in the first half of 2019, due to a hiatus in renewable energy project deals in mainland China, according to the latest numbers published by BloombergNEF (BNEF). China – the world’s biggest market – saw a 39% slowdown in renewable energy investment in the first half of 2019 to $28.8 billion, the lowest figure for any half-year period since 2013. The slowdown results from the county’s shift away from government-set tariffs to auctions for new wind and solar capacity.
United on pricing – In a broad alliance, industry associations and workers’ unions have developed joint “Guidelines for CO₂ pricing” in Germany. In a position paper, energy industry associations BDEW and VKU, the Federation of German Industries (BDI), the Association of German Chambers of Commerce and Industry (DIHK) and the German Trade Union Association (DGB) say that CO2 pricing should be one climate action instrument among many in sectors not covered by the EU ETS. They reject the integration of transport and buildings in the ETS and instead come out in favour of a CO2 price built on the existing energy taxes and levies. This would be better for planning security, social fairness and it would be more feasible politically, they said. The organisations call on the federal government to “soon make a reliable decision within the framework of a holistic climate policy strategy.” (Clean Energy Wire)
Emergency announcement – Progressive US lawmakers Senator Bernie Sanders (I), Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D), and Representative Earl Blumenauer (D) rolled out a joint resolution on Tuesday in both chambers of Congress declaring climate change an “official emergency”. The resolution’s text declares that climate change has sparked a crisis demanding a “massive-scale mobilisation” to head off its worst effects. Among other statistics, the five-page document notes that the past four years were the hottest on record and that concentrations of CO2 have increased 40% since preindustrial times. (Think Progress)
What’s one more? – Billionaire Democratic activist and environmentalist Tom Steyer launched his US presidential run on Tuesday with an emphasis on climate change. The former hedge fund manager, who is reportedly planning to spend $100 mln on the race, said he will focus on reforming the country’s “broken political system” and saving the planet from the ravages of climate change. Steyer has helped fund several political action committees over the past several years, including successful efforts to raise Nevada’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and unsuccessful ones to do the same in Arizona. (Axios)
Dead debate – The proposed White House panel that would conduct an “adversarial” review of climate science is dead for now, as President Trump grapples with negative perceptions of his environmental record at the outset of his re-election campaign, E&E News reports. According to Axios, the move suggests the White House isn’t interested in a head-on attack on mainstream climate science before the election – even as the administration’s dismantling of Obama-era emissions rules continues apace.
Charge it – UK-based Ovo Energy’s chief executive and founder Stephen Fitzpatrick has launched a new campaign aimed at bolstering the country’s emissions policies on the road to net-zero. Called ZeroC and backed by £1 mln of Fitzpatrick’s own money, the campaign calls on the next PM to enshrine a general carbon price into UK and to introduce a CO2 “charge” for all products and services based on the emissions generated over their life-cycle. Money raised through the charge proposed by the campaign group would be paid at the point of sale and returned to the general public in the form of a “carbon dividend”. (edie)
And finally… Take a break – Watching online videos via platforms such as Netflix, YouTube, porn sites, or social media emits over 300 Mt of CO2 per year, or roughly the annual emissions of Spain, according to a study by The Shift Project. This is because online video now accounts for a staggering 60% of global data flows. It is the main use of digital tools worldwide, and therefore the principal factor of GHGs in the digital sector, whose global energy consumption grows by 9% per year and could account for 7% of global emissions by 2025, the study found. The organisation is calling for “digital sobriety”, pointing especially the fact that 27% of the global online video traffic is porn. It added that the current evolution of the sector and of the weight of online videos “is inconsistent with the Paris Agreement and the objective of reducing global emissions”. The Shift Project has developed tools and, erm, a YouTube video to raise awareness and help people adopt better digital habits.
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