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Virginia Democrats filed legislation on Tuesday to allow a linkage with the Northeast US RGGI programme and for the state to sell 100% of allowances under its proposed cap-and-trade rule.
Canadian MP Jonathan Wilkinson was appointed minister of environment and climate change as the minority Liberal government’s cabinet reconvened on Wednesday, while current agency head Catherine McKenna transitioned to a different department.
Alberta has suspended its engine fuel management and vent gas capture offset protocol under its CO2 pricing regime for unspecified issues, and is soliciting comments on the additionality of conservation cropping projects as it mulls sunsetting the methodology, the Canadian province’s Environment and Parks department announced.
Australia’s emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor will this Friday seek support from state governments for changes to the Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF), media reports said Wednesday.
China’s Hubei province will next week hold two CO2 permit auctions, with participation in the first one restricted to ETS compliance buyers and the second open to wider participation.
EUAs climbed 2.6% to back above €24 on Wednesday as surging oil prices helped spur enough gains to trigger a bout of short-covering.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Still rising – Countries are on track to produce more than twice as much oil, gas, and coal by 2030 than would be compatible with limiting global temperature rise to 1.5C, according to UN Environment’s Production Gap report released Wednesday. Using the IPCC’s scenarios, projections of planned production to 2030 would see the world generating 53% more oil, gas, and coal than can be burnt to limit warming to 2C by 2100 – the Paris Agreement’s upper target. The same projections show fossil fuel production levels are 120% higher than would be compatible under a 1.5C pathway – Paris’ more ambitious target. (Climate Home)
Most definitely still rising – Barely a week goes by without fresh confirmation that China continues to boost its coal-fired electricity generation capacity even though it’s not really needed. A Global Energy Network report just out says China has added 42.9 GW or 4.5% to its total capacity in the 18 months leading up to June, or enough to power nearly all of France, Reuters reports. It adds that some 148 GW of coal plants – nearly as much as the entire coal-fired power output of the EU – are under construction or have been approved. According to the report, China will have to shut down some 40% of that capacity to be in line with keeping the world on a 2C trajectory. The massive addition to capacity levels is coming even though most of existing coal plants run at less than half capacity and are losing money.
Trade hurdle – Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro’s decision to allow sugarcane cultivation in the Amazon region has emerged as a further obstacle to ratification of the EU-Mercosur trade deal. European Commission officials said they were “assessing the implications” of Bolsonaro’s decision earlier this month to repeal a 2009 decree that prevented sugarcane production in the Amazon. (Financial Times)
Renewable superpower – A number of studies over the past few years have emphasised Australia’s capacity to become a renewable energy superpower, and two of the country’s richest men are now trying to put this into practice. Atlassian founder Mike Cannon-Brookes and chairman Andrew Forrest of the Fortescue Metals Group are investing in a 4,500 km transmission cable between Australia and Singapore with the aim of exporting solar power, according to Bloomberg.
Back on frack – California will restrict permits for fracking projects and put a pause on approvals for new steam-injected oil drilling wells, Governor Gavin Newsom said Tuesday. Applications for new fracking permits moving forward must pass an independent scientific review with the state’s Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Newsom said, and his administration will work with public health and climate advocates next year to develop new regulations around establishing buffer zones for oil wells. A CityLab analysis shows that the Newsom administration has approved 33% more new oil and gas permits since taking office in January than were approved over the same time period by former Governor Jerry Brown. (Climate Nexus)
Softly, softly – The UK Labour party has softened its pledge to find a path to net zero carbon emissions by 2030 after unions pushed for a target of significant progress rather than a firm commitment, The Guardian reports. The party’s autumn conference had passed a motion setting 2030 as the target for net zero, but trade unions raised concerns about the risk to jobs and industry. Sources present at a recent meeting finalising the party’s manifesto said the GMB trade union and other union representatives had pushed for softer wording, aiming for progress rather than completion. One source said the aim in the manifesto would be for a “significant majority” of carbon emissions to be eradicated by 2030. And according to The Independent, Labour will remove companies that fail to act on the climate change that they cause from the stock exchange. John McDonnell, the shadow chancellor, pledged his government would ensure firms are “pulling their weight” to tackle the “existential threat” to the planet. And he warned: “For those companies not taking adequate steps under Labour they will be delisted from the London Stock Exchange.” Labour is currently in a distant second place behind the Conservatives in the polls for the Dec. 12 general election.
And finally… Emergency broadcast syndrome – Oxford Dictionaries has named “climate emergency” as its 2019 Word of the Year, choosing it from an all-environmental shortlist that also included “climate action,” “climate denial,” “eco-anxiety,” “extinction”, and “flight shame.” Normally, the shortlist includes a variety of different words that illustrate new trends in language usage. While the choices are often politically inflected, Katherine Connor Martin, an editor at Oxford Dictionaries, said the unusual decision to focus on climate-related terms reflected a “demonstrable escalation” in the language around climate. The use of the term “climate emergency” increased by a hundredfold since 2018, according to data collected in the Oxford Corpus, a database containing hundreds of millions of words of written English. In fact, it was the most common compound involving “emergency,” occurring three times as often as the next most-common, “health emergency.” (The New York Times)
However, not everyone believes there’s anything to worry about. The Conservative grouping of MEPs in the European Parliament on Wednesday held a hearing entitled “There is no climate emergency”, where they downplayed or refuted the science pointing to runaway climate change. The meeting organised by the European Conservatives and Reformists (ECR) group was attended by several British Tory MEPs, who belong to a party at home that is currently communicating a very different message in the midst of an general election campaign. In fact, many Conservative MPs supported a UK parliamentary motion this past May declaring a climate emergency, pointing to the lack of party cohesion on the subject. “What a chilling reality check .. OUR 👏 HOUSE 👏 IS 👏 ON 👏 FIRE. I am sick to my stomach at the wicked and deceitful measures of this party,” tweeted UK Greens MEP Alexandra Phillips.
I am absolutely astonished that the @Conservatives political group in the EP, @ecrgroup, is right now holding a hearing entitled “there is no climate emergency”. What planet are they living on?! I’m here to find out what’s going on… #ClimateEmergency pic.twitter.com/bYNTrWUuQF
— Ellie Chowns MEP (@EllieChownsMEP) November 20, 2019
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