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US state officials began discussing potential investment strategies from a Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) cap-and-invest programme to benefit low-income communities and reduce regional pollution, but environmental justice critics continued to advocate for delays in the process in order to solicit more feedback.
California regulator ARB will consider endorsing an updated version of its Tropical Forest Standard (TFS) at the board’s Sep. 19 meeting, nearly a year after the agency delayed its original approval of the possible precursor to jurisdictional REDD offsetting following a flurry of backlash.
US biofuel credit (RIN) prices under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) dropped on Tuesday morning after a media outlet reported that EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler defended the programme’s existing compliance waiver process at a recent meeting.
New Zealand should seek a deal where the government could buy Australian carbon credits and auction them off to domestic emitters as part of the strategy to meet its Paris treaty obligations, brokerage OM Financial said Tuesday.
New South Wales Energy and Environment Minister Matt Kean on Tuesday said his state might go it alone on a climate policy for the energy sector unless Australia’s federal government steps up, prompting fresh speculation that a state-led initiative to curb emissions might emerge.
European carbon prices closed below €28 for the first time in almost two weeks on Tuesday amid auction pressures, a softer energy complex, and concerns about Brexit.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Deduct a decade – CO2 emissions in Chinese may peak up to a decade earlier than the nation has pledged under the Paris Agreement, according to a new study. In analysis published in the journal Nature Sustainability, a team of researchers showed that as China’s burgeoning cities become wealthier, their per capita emissions begin to drop. According to their analysis, this trend could in turn trigger an overall dip in CO2 levels across the nation, and mean that despite the current target for emissions peaking by 2030, they may in fact level out at some point between 2021 and 2025. (Carbon Brief)
Powered down – German primary energy use fell almost 2% in the first half of 2019 due to a sharp decline in coal consumption for power and steel production, writes AG Energiebilanzen (AGEB). Consumption of lignite fell by 18%, while consumption of hard coal dropped by more than 15% compared to the same period in 2018. The significant fall in coal consumption was due to rising renewables, partly caused by favourable weather conditions, and a rise in the use of natural gas in power generation, according to AGEB. Overhauls of lignite-fired power plants, the transfer of some units into security standby, and the effects of the Hambach Forest clearance stop also contributed to the fall in coal consumption. Renewable energy consumption increased by 4%, resulting in a share of 15.2% of total energy use. Wind power made a particularly large contribution with a rise of 18%, while solar energy rose by 5%. Separately, Germany imported more electricity than it exported in June 2019, making the country a net importer for the first time since July 2014, writes German energy industry association BDEW. The increase in imports is mainly attributable to rising CO2 prices in the EU ETS and the decommissioning of coal power plants. In the first half of 2019, Germany recorded net power exports of 21.1 billion kWh, down from 23.9 billion kWh in the same period last year. (Clean Energy Wire)
Suffer story – Six in 10 Canadians want the government to take action to address climate change even if the economy suffers, according to new results from a Mainstreet Poll for iPolitics. The fourth release of results from the pollster’s phone survey of 2,651 Canadians – conducted between June 27 and July 2 – showed that number was even higher in Quebec (76.8%) and the Atlantic provinces (67.3%), while 59% of Alberta residents disagreed with the statement. Some 66.1% of women nationwide also agreed with the statement, versus 56% of men. Meanwhile, attorneys general from Alberta and Ontario discussed the timeline of the different legal challenges launched against the federal carbon tax at a meeting in Saskatoon today. The two justice ministers were joined by their legal teams and their counterparts from New Brunswick and Saskatchewan. Saskatchewan is hosting the meeting to discuss their appeals to the Supreme Court of Canada. Both Ontario and Saskatchewan have lost their cases in their own provincial appeal courts. Saskatchewan’s appeal to Canada’s highest court is tentatively scheduled for Dec. 5, while Ontario must file its own appeal by next month. (The Canadian Press)
Excited about equity – US senator and 2020 presidential candidate Kamala Harris (D) and Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D) on Monday floated a new piece of climate justice legislation. The “Climate Equity Act” would assign environmental and climate bills a quantitative “equity score” akin to budgetary analysis conducted by the Congressional Budget Office. It also creates a process to measure costs and benefits of regulations on frontline communities, and aims to ensure federal investments benefit these populations. (Axios)
Big brothers – As South Africa makes efforts to reduce emissions, there are two major contributors that produce more than half of its greenhouse gases: Eskom and Sasol. State-owned power utility Eskom, which said it accounts for 42% of the nation’s total GHGs, uses coal to generate most of the country’s electricity from 15 power plants, while Sasol, which emits 11%, makes fuel and chemicals from the mineral. The companies are South Africa’s two biggest by revenue. South Africa’s emissions by 2025 and 2030 are forecast to be in a range between 398-614 Mt, the environment minister said in a March report. GHGs rose over 20% from 2000 to 2015 to 512 Mt and the country is the world’s 14th biggest source of CO2, one place above the UK, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists. (Bloomberg)
Plans grounded – Marseille Provence Airport has been forced to revisit expansion plans after the environment authority questioned how they fit with France’s climate targets, Climate Home reports. Developers were judged to have underestimated the environmental impacts and overestimated the economic benefits of proposed facilities to handle up to 7.5 million extra passengers a year from 2027. In a ruling that could have implications for other airport projects, the authority cited the 2050 net zero emissions target adopted by France’s national parliament in June. It sent developers back to the drawing board, asking them to “demonstrate the compatibility of the project with France’s commitment to achieve carbon neutrality by 2050”. This should include details of arrangements to offset any emissions that could not be reduced or avoided, the authority said.
Planting palooza – Officials in Ethiopia say they have broken the world record for tree-planting with more than 350 mln seedlings in one day, reports BBC News. The project is being led by the country’s prime minister in an effort to counter the effects of deforestation and climate change. The initiative ultimately aims to plant 4 bln trees.(Carbon Brief)
Under one roof – Offset standard developer and manager Verra will transition from a multi-registry system administered by APX and IHS Markit to a single system administered in-house, the organisation announced in an email Tuesday. Starting in mid-January 2020, account management, project information submission and maintenance, issuance of VCU and CCB labels, and invoicing of registry and programme fees will be managed directly by Verra. The organisation has also partnered with APX to develop the new Verra Registry platform, which is currently under construction.
Nobody likes you when you’re Vintage 23 – The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) on Monday listed Vintage 2023 (V23) contracts for California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) and RGGI allowances (RGAs) for each of the North American cap-and-trade programmes. A Vintage Specific 2023 contract is also available for CCAs, which allows for delivery of permits only corresponding with that vintage year.
And finally… Less Douglas – California’s cap-and-trade scheme will help catalyse the phasing out of Douglas-firs on the US West Coast to the benefit of other types of trees, a new study has found. The Oregon State University paper predicts an accelerated switch to hardwoods and ponderosa pines, because carbon pricing policies that subsidise forest landowners for sequestering carbon will reward trees that have higher absorption rates in a warming climate. At the moment, about half of all non-federal forestland that is harvested in Oregon and Washington is replanted with Douglas-fir by landowners. Modelling by the study’s authors suggests the share of Douglas-fir planting by landowners will shrink to 25% by the end of the century as landowners adapt their management to the projected warming climate. The trend will also shrink the share of harvested land planted in Douglas-fir even further, to about 15%, the authors said. The study, the first to estimate an economic model of forest-planting choices by landowners as a function of climate, was published in the Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists. (Phys.org)
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