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The RGGI cap-and-trade system’s CO2 output plummeted more than 10% during the third quarter of 2019 as New York- and Massachusetts-based generators emitted less amid milder weather, putting the Northeast ETS on track to eclipse its all-time yearly low.
This year’s UN climate talks will now be held in Madrid, Chilean President Sebastian Pinera said Thursday, with the Spanish government offering to hold the summit after Chile pulled out due to ongoing protests in the country.
Saudi Arabia, the world’s biggest oil producer, is planning to establish a domestic carbon trading system and will present a proposal soon, its energy minister told a Riyadh conference Wednesday, according to Reuters.
The European Commission adopted rule changes on Thursday aiming to clamp down on the rampant gaming of the bloc’s carbon market by industrial companies over the past decade.
The suspension of the UK’s ability to allocate or auction EU carbon allowances will continue despite British lawmakers agreeing a delay to the Brexit deadline with Brussels, the UK government said Thursday.
European carbon prices dipped on Thursday after hitting a fresh eight-day high as a weak auction soured sentiment.
Spain-based utility Iberdrola reported a 59% jump in its ETS-regulated thermal output over the first nine months of 2019, as gas-fired output ramped up to cover lost hydro generation, the company said in its financial results on Thursday.
RGGI allowances (RGAs) inched up on the secondary market this week ahead of Virginia’s general election, while California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices stabilised amid increased spread trading.
The proposed structure of Canada’s Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) raises questions about the additionality of GHG reductions from oil and gas efficiency improvements under the programme, and may potentially crowd out the development of new alternative fuels, a researcher said.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator issued just over 76,000 new carbon credits this week, as numbers fell to a quarter of the weekly average so far this year.
Analysts Refinitiv have hired a Beijing-based expert from the Energy Foundation to track developments ahead of next year’s launch of China’s national emissions trading market.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Kiwi control – The New Zealand government on Thursday launched a public consultation on how to make it mandatory for businesses to assess and report their financial climate risk. Such information would make financial markets able to effectively price in climate change risks and incentivise low-emission investments, Climate Change Minister James Shaw said in a press release.
Much obliged – Corporations in Canada have an “obligation” to disclose how the climate crisis will disrupt their long-term plans, according to a report released Wednesday by the Business Council of Canada. The lobby group, representing chief executives of Canada’s largest corporations, said the country needs to develop a “national resource and climate strategy,” in part to meet intensifying demands for cleaner energy. Yet the group’s task force that authored the report also recommended that the federal government “prioritise” infrastructure projects like oil and gas pipelines, along with suggesting, without providing specific evidence, that Canada can help cut global GHG output by exporting its liquified natural gas. (National Observer)
Moe says no – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau should suspend the ‘backstop’ CO2 levy on Saskatchewan next year while the province and federal officials re-evaluate the jurisdiction’s climate plan, Premier Scott Moe said. In a letter to Trudeau on Wednesday, the conservative leader of Saskatchewan said the province has an “aggressive plan” in place to reduce emissions, and a re-evaluation would prove the jurisdiction is doing its fair share to meet the country’s Paris Agreement targets without a carbon tax. Saskatchewan’s output-based pricing system (OBPS) operates alongside the federal government’s version in certain sectors, while the province never proposed an economy-wide price on carbon before last September’s national deadline, leading the federal Liberals to impose the C$20/tonne tax on the province this year.
Nova Scotia net-zero – The Nova Scotia legislature on Wednesday passed the Sustainable Development Goals Act, which sets a GHG reduction target of 53% below 2005 levels by 2030 and net-zero emissions by mid-century. Green groups and members from the left-wing NDP called for more ambitious 2030 targets, but Nova Scotia’s majority Liberal government turned down those requests. (CBC)
BC-ing held accountable – British Columbia environment minister George Heyman introduced amendments to the province’s Climate Change Accountability Act on Wednesday, mandating more detailed tracking of the ongoing status of CO2 reduction efforts. The amendments would establish an independent oversight body to monitor progress on GHG abatement, require the NDP-Green coalition government to set an interim abatement target between now and 2030, and set individual GHG reduction goals for different economic sectors by Mar. 31, 2021. (CBC)
Ballots and Bentz – Organisers with environmental coalition Renew Oregon on Wednesday submitted over 6,000 signatures to the Secretary of State, an interim step in getting three clean energy petitions on the state ballot next November. The Oregonians for Clean Air Initiative earlier this month filed three ballot petitions that would install several GHG reduction and clean energy goals and mandates if Oregonians approve the measures at the state’s 2020 election, coming as a backup method if legislators fail once again to pass a WCI-modelled cap-and-trade bill in the upcoming February lawmaking session. Campaigners will have to gather 112,000 signatures for each of the three initiative petitions to get them on the ballot. Meanwhile, Oregon State Republican Senator Cliff Bentz on Tuesday announced his intent to run for the US House of Representatives seat being vacated by Congressman Greg Walden (R). Bentz was one of the 11 Oregon Republicans from the upper chamber that fled the state in June to deny Democrats a quorum to vote on the carbon market legislation. (Mail Tribune, Salem Reporter)
Oregon reporting – An advisory committee for Oregon’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will hold a meeting in Portland on Friday regarding a rulemaking on GHG reporting and third party verification. The proposed rules would modify the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program to incorporate existing reporting and emissions accounting protocols into regulation, as well as streamline the reporting requirements of the Greenhouse Gas Reporting Program and the Clean Fuels Program to enable entities subject to both programmes to report into a single online system.
Go for it – German utility Uniper has been given the green light to start commercial operations at its new €1.5 bln Datteln 4 coal-fired power plant despite recommendations to not link it to the grid, government and industry sources told Reuters. Talks about payments to keep it offline are no longer being pursued because the modern plant would have relatively low CO2 emissions and it would make more sense to switch off older units first instead of paying millions of euros in compensation, a government source told Reuters. The 1.1GW Datteln 4 plant would be Germany’s largest hard coal plant and is scheduled to be operational by mid-2020. Germany’s coal exit commission recommended earlier this year not to start up the Datteln 4 plant, and to compensate Uniper instead. Germany aims to phase out its coal-fired power plants by 2038 at the very latest.
There was 3 farmers had a lawsuit – A Berlin court on Thursday threw out a case brought by three farmers against Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government over its failure to meet climate protection targets, hyped by campaigners as the first such legal challenge in Germany. After the government admitted it would fail to meet its own and GHG goals for 2020, the would-be plaintiffs – farmers backed by environmental group Greenpeace – had tried to sue to force corrective action. They said the government was breaking the law and infringing on their fundamental rights by damaging their crops. But judges found there was “no visible legal basis that would create an obligation for the federal government to act” if they heard the case, the Berlin administrative court said in a statement. (AFP)
And finally… Resurrecting Rex – Former ExxonMobil CEO and ex-US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson took the stand in New York yesterday as part of the state’s lawsuit against the oil giant. In two hours of testimony, Tillerson parroted Exxon’s claim that it did not wilfully misrepresent climate information or intentionally use two different sets of numbers to downplay the financial impacts of future regulations. He said the company “tried to understand” the impacts of climate change on its business, and he repeatedly claimed he was unable to recall or remember several key details in the case, including any internal discussions around aligning the two numerical estimates. (Climate Nexus)
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