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Several big-emitting Asian nations are considering stepping up their low-ball Paris emission pledges as they discover viable alternatives to coal and a limited role for emissions trade under Article 6, according to the operational head of intergovernmental body GGGI.
European carbon hit a fresh three-week high on Wednesday, whipsawing around for another session as EUAs continue to be directed by Brexit-fuelled fluctuations in the British pound.
Carbon market analysts have raised their medium-term EU carbon price forecasts by as much 18% on the view that coal-to-gas fuel switching potential will be exhausted sooner than previously thought.
Australia needs a carbon price for its electricity sector to ensure continued emission cuts, though the sector could deliver much deeper reductions at only modest cost to consumers, Origin Energy said Wednesday.
The Queensland government in Australia is looking to buy over 90,000 carbon credits through its CarbonPlus Fund to offset emissions from its vehicle fleet.
New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation will release a draft post-2020 RGGI regulation this year and will hold a public comment period as it looks to conform to the US Northeast ETS’ revisions, a government source told Carbon Pulse.
An economy-wide CO2 price in the US would help prevent against emissions leakage versus sub-national and sector-specific initiatives, while Congressional action would be needed to clarify if federal law will allow for a power sector carbon charge, according to wholesale grid operator PJM.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Border grappling – Carbon border measures are “clearly complex — and intellectually and politically challenging,” an EU official told the Financial Times, as the bloc grapples over how to impose them without breaching WTO rules. The most likely practical route for any such scheme would be initially to limit any carbon border adjustment to the highest polluting industries of steel, aluminium, and cement and set at a rate equivalent to that of an average EU producer, with foreign companies eligible for rebates if they could demonstrate lower carbon usage. Meanwhile, a carbon border adjustment could skew the playing field rather than level it, director general of the World Steel Association (Worldsteel) Edwin Basson told Argus on the sidelines of the association’s general assembly in Monterrey, Mexico. While Basson acknowledges carbon will acquire a cost, and already has a price in parts of the world, he does not believe politicians and participants have sufficient understanding to ensure these costs do not lead to a “vastly unstable or uneven operating field” between producers in different localities. It is not impossible that a border adjustment could be misused or misdirected, and take on a similar feature to other tariffs, he said.
Debate dud – Tuesday night’s three-hour US Democratic presidential debate did not feature a single question on climate change, drawing the ire of environmental activists and others. The debate, hosted by CNN and The New York Times, did see US Senator Bernie Sanders (I) criticise fossil fuel company CEOs who “know full well that their product is destroying this world,” Senator Elizabeth Warren call for breaking up oil giants, and billionaire activist Tom Steyer say that the US needs to work with international allies and “frenemies” to solve the climate crisis. (Axios)
Doing more – The UK government has pledged to ramp up its efforts to cut GHGs after a progress report from the Committee on Climate Change warned current policies will not meet targets to cut emissions in the coming decades, the Independent reports. The government proposed “fresh plans” to cut emissions in transport and buildings, including “dramatically” improving the energy efficiency of commercial buildings in the private rented sector. (Carbon Brief)
Green dream – Germany’s government says it will work towards reaching a “global consensus” on addressing sustainability and climate risks in international finance by pushing the topic at the EU level and in international frameworks such as the G20. At a finance industry meeting by Germany’s Green and Sustainable Finance Cluster Germany’s (GSFC) in Frankfurt, finance ministry state secretary Joerg Kukies reiterated it was the country’s ambition to become “a leading location” for the budding sustainable finance sector but admitted that this “won’t be easy” as other countries are already more advanced in systematically reviewing sustainability aspects in investment and lending decisions. Kukies also pointed to ongoing debates over the funding of fossil fuels and nuclear energy at the EIB, which showed that a consensus on far-reaching financial policy adjustments still faced considerable challenges. At the GSFC summit, Germany’s new Sustainable Finance Advisory Council (SFC) presented a first set of strategic recommendations to better integrate the country’s financial sector with climate policy and to consolidate Germany’s position on EU efforts to green the bloc’s financial system. (Clean Energy Wire)
Reduction regimen – The Maryland Department of the Environment on Tuesday released a draft plan ordered by the Greenhouse Gas Reduction Act signed into law by Governor Larry Hogan (R). The plan incorporates a set of over 100 measures, including investments in energy efficiency and clean and renewable energy solutions, adopting electric vehicles on a widespread level, and improving farm and forest management. The measures, which also incorporate Maryland’s continued participation in the Northeast US RGGI ETS and Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) cap-and-invest programme under development, would result in a 44% reduction of GHGs below 2006 levels by 2030. (Baltimore WJZ)
Sayonara sixty – California will auction off 60 fewer carbon allowances at the WCI programme’s November auction, according to an updated notice posted by state regulator ARB on Tuesday. The permits will be deducted from the share of Vintage 2017 allowances, resulting in 201,608 units being offered for sale instead of 201,668.
And finally… Canyonero calamity – Sport utility vehicles (SUVs) were the second-biggest contributor to global emissions growth after the electric power sector from 2010-2018, according to new analysis by the International Energy Agency (IEA). Over that period, SUVs accounted for all of the 3.3 mln barrels a day of growth in oil demand from passenger cars, with the number of those vehicles on the road growing to 200 mln last year from 35 mln in 2010. The IEA said that if consumers’ appetite continues to grow at a similar pace, SUVs would add nearly 2 mln barrels a day in global oil demand by 2040, offsetting the savings from nearly 150 mln electric cars. (Axios)
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