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International emissions trade under a well-functioning Article 6 of the Paris Agreement could save as much as $250 billion per year by 2030 and improve the chances of meeting the pact’s climate goals, according to a study published Tuesday.
Norway and Germany have pledged funding for new major REDD deals to protect African rainforests just a month after the two nations stopped payments to a similar programme in Brazil.
The German government’s new 2030 climate plan will likely be overhauled to increase its ambition, according to media reports, after a wide array of critics slammed the strategy released last Friday for being too lenient.
EU carbon prices were briefly jolted back towards €26 early on Tuesday as they reacted to a UK court verdict that could cut the chances of no-deal Brexit, but they ultimately finished lower amid bearish energy fundamentals.
Plans to price emissions from New Zealand agriculture have stalled as the government coalition partners struggle to agree details, according to domestic media reports.
South Korean CO2 allowances rose another 2% in Tuesday trade, climbing to all-time high for the seventh consecutive session as some emitters chased KAUs ahead of the Sep. 30 compliance deadline.
The Canadian Liberal Party unveiled its climate plan on Tuesday that would set a legally-binding 2050 net zero goal, overachieve on the country’s 2030 goal, and provide training for workers to adjust to the shifting economy.
The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) will unveil a draft framework in early October of its proposed cap-and-invest programme to regulate fuel sector emissions in the Northeast US, a Massachusetts official said Monday.
Prices for cellulosic biofuel credits (D3 RINs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) will climb back to historical higher levels if the US EPA resets the fuel type’s annual volume quotas to account for carryover credits, according to new analysis.
The US EPA does not have a target date for the White House to sign off on the agency’s regulatory review of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), a move that could alter the biofuel volumes in the programme over the next several years, an agency official said Tuesday.
Connecticut’s Legislative Regulation Review Committee (LRRC) passed the state’s revised RGGI regulation to incorporate post-2020 changes on Tuesday, making it the penultimate member of the Northeast US ETS to do so.
The Green New Deal has been the focal point of the climate debate among the Democratic presidential candidates. Less publicized is the Climate Risk Disclosure Act, a proposal from Senator and presidential contender Elizabeth Warren, that seeks to frame climate change as a threat to the public markets.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Nuke rebuke – Nuclear power is losing ground to renewables in terms of cost and capacity as its reactors are increasingly seen as less economical and slower to reverse GHGs, an industry report said. In mid-2019, new wind and solar competed efficiently against even existing nuclear in cost terms, and grew generating capacity faster than any other power type, the annual World Nuclear Industry Status Report (WNISR) showed. “Stabilizing the climate is urgent, nuclear power is slow,” said Mycle Schneider, lead author of the report. It estimates that since 2009, the average construction time for reactors worldwide was just under 10 years – well above the estimate given by industry body the World Nuclear Association (WNA) of 5-8.5 years. Nuclear is also much more expensive. The cost of generating solar power ranges from $36 to $44 per MWh, while onshore wind comes in at $29-$56. In contrast, nuclear costs $112-189/MWh. Over the past decade, the WNISR estimates levelised costs, which compare the total lifetime cost of building and running a plant to lifetime output, for utility-scale solar have dropped by 88% and for wind by 69%. In contrast, they have increased by 23% for nuclear. (Reuters)
Boris’ billion – Britain will create a £1 billion fund for scientists around the world to create and test new technology to help developing countries reduce carbon emissions, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced Monday. The money is intended help developing countries cut emissions through measures like using solar technology, improving large-scale battery technology to replace diesel generators, designing clean stoves to cut firewood use, using low-emission and electric vehicles and cutting emissions from factories in polluting industries like iron and steel.
Helping hand – Green group Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) and the China Electricity Council signed a memorandum of cooperation on Monday to help facilitate discussions about reducing emissions from the power sector, including researching potential issues electricity markets face in carbon schemes. The two entities said the agreement would help the power sectors in the US and China exchange expertise, promote emission reductions, and build trading capacity for China’s power sector.
Don’t you… forget about them – Emissions from international aviation and shipping must be included in the UK’s 2050 net-zero emissions target, says the government’s advisory Committee on Climate Change (CCC). However, the body accepts that even with improvements to fuel efficiency and the use of sustainable and novel fuels, zero-carbon aviation is highly unlikely to be feasible by 2050. In a letter and report to the government, the CCC proposes demand growth be limited to at most 25% above current levels, and it calls for the use of what it calls GHG removal offsets to deal with remaining emissions. Aviation, it says, is likely to be the largest emitting sector in 2050 and the sector should also account for the added climate impact of its non-CO2 effects. Formal inclusion of international aviation emissions in the net-zero target would complement agreed international policies, such as CORSIA, and should not be interpreted as a unilateral UK approach to reducing these emissions, says the CCC. (GreenAir Online)
More doubters – The heads of Germany’s environment agency UBA and energy agency Dena doubt the effectiveness of the government’s comprehensive climate policy package to help the country meet its 2030 emissions reduction target. UBA head Maria Krautzberger said she does not expect the programme’s proposals to have a substantial steering effect on CO2 emissions, despite it introducing a carbon price for Germany’s transport and buildings sectors. She added the projected rise in petrol prices of 3-10 cents over the next three years will not be enough to drive lower emissions. Dena head Andreas Kuhlmann said the package could be “a starting point for a change of course”, but added that “what was politically possible today will, in all likelihood, not be enough for reaching the 2030 climate targets”. (Clean Energy Wire)
Muy facil – The collapse in Spanish coal-fired generation this year has made the country’s planned coal phase-out programme look academic, Entso-e data show. Spanish coal-fired generation is likely to have its lowest share of the generating mix ever in 2019, having covered just 6% of it up until the end of August as the impact of CO2 costs, competitive gas prices and increasing renewables force it out. According to S&P Global, Spain has around 10 GW of operational coal plant left. Much of this looks set to close by mid-2020 under the EU’s industrial emissions directive, while the remainder should be gone by 2025.
Chamber of reflection – A decade after companies fled the US Chamber of Commerce over its reluctance to combat climate change, the nation’s biggest business lobbying group is taking a fresh look at the issue, Bloomberg reports. The chamber on Tuesday announced the formation of a “task force on climate action,” meant to examine how the phenomenon is affecting member companies’ business decisions, among other issues. The open-ended initiative – modeled after a similar effort on data privacy – could spur a shift in the chamber’s approach to environmental policy.
Joining the club – US utility NRG Energy will accelerate its GHG reduction goals en route to achieving net zero emissions by 2050, the company announced Tuesday. It said it would meet its 2030 goal of 50% absolute reductions by 2025, and it would increase its 2050 goal of a 90% reduction to net zero by the same year. Achieving the goal would cut an estimated 1 billion tons of CO2 by 2050, it added. NRG said it would hit those goals by continuing technology investments and other internal initiatives that have helped it reduce emissions by 37% since 2014. It would also evaluate existing and forward-leaning technologies to help it met those long-term goals.
Purely hydrogen – The South Australia state government on Tuesday outlined plans for a 100% renewable hydrogen economy, according to RenewEconomy. The state would produce, consume, and export the gas, the plan said. “Some of our longest-standing and closest trading partners are signalling that they will need hydrogen to make their energy transitions over coming decades, and we want to make the most of that growth opportunity by becoming a hub for the export of renewable energy,” said state energy minister Dan van Holst Pellekaan. SA already gets more than half its electricity from renewable sources, and wants to be 100% net renewable by 2030.
Untenable – Elsewhere in Australia, the New South Wales mining industry took one look at last week’s decision by the Independent Planning Commission to reject a new coal mine over environmental and climate change reasons, and decided that’s not how it wants the world to be. The NSW Minerals Council has now launched a multi-million dollar advertising campaign to drum up public support for the state’s coal industry. (Reuters)
Freedom 55(0,000) – A further 550,000 Colombian CERs were voluntarily cancelled against the country’s carbon tax on Sep. 18-19, according to UN data. All were from a hydro project, with 450,000 annulled by Zeuss Petroleum and the remaining 100,000 by Biomax. This brings the total number of Colombian CERs used against the tax to just under 4.9 mln, further squeezing the already extremely short market for eligible offsets. Read Carbon Pulse’s latest take on the subject.
And finally… Driverless Wild West – The unregulated advent of driverless cars could increase traffic in European cities by 50-150% by 2050, which would be like a rush hour that lasts all day, a new study by green group Transport & Environment (T&E) reveals. A ‘Wild West’ unregulated increase in driverless cars – as anticipated by some in the industry – could result in 40% more CO2 emissions from cars between now and 2050, making Europe’s climate goals all but impossible to achieve. “Automated vehicles with no driver could become so cheap to run that they would encourage people, or even cars without people in them, to travel more and for longer,” T&E said. To ensure driverless vehicles do not lead to increased CO2 emissions, the group urged cities to refuse access for automated combustion engine cars, as this could cut emissions by 23% between now and 2050 compared to a world with no electric or driverless cars.
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