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California compliance entities used fewer carbon offsets at the November interim compliance deadline for 2018 emissions compared to previous years, while total power sector CO2 output rose with indirect emissions, according to regulator ARB data released Wednesday.
Disputes over the rules for the markets chapter of the Paris Agreement may not be reconcilable and countries should consider pressing pause on these talks for a few years, New Zealand’s climate minister James Shaw said Wednesday.
An overwhelming majority of Australian businesses remain disgruntled with the government’s climate policy and fear greater disruptions down the line if the nation continues to delay its decarbonisation process, a survey showed.
Trading platform CBL Markets has announced two major developments that it says will help it build a commanding market share while improving confidence in major burgeoning carbon markets, including US offsets and ICAO’s CORSIA scheme for international aviation.
A bankruptcy judge approved a Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) proposal with $24.5 billion in wildfire settlements on Tuesday, bolstering the company’s chances of emerging from proceedings by mid-2020.
European carbon prices rose for a third straight day on Wednesday, climbing to a three-month high as the annual year-end auction pause set in.
Germany’s energy-related CO2 emissions posted a significant fall for a second straight year amid large drops in coal use and increases in renewables.
Five men sentenced to a combined 43 years in prison for investment fraud related to the reforestation carbon market have been ordered to repay £20.6 million or face an additional 37 years in jail.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Hope floats – Shipping associations have proposed creating a research fund with $5 billion raised by the industry to develop technology to help the sector meet UN targets on cutting emissions, Reuters reports. International shipping associations called on Wednesday for a mandatory contribution of $2 per tonne on fuel used by ships to raise money for a research fund to help develop cleaner technology for the industry. The IMO aims to cut the industry’s GHG output by 50% from 2008 levels by 2050, a target that will require the swift development of zero or low emission fuels and new ship designs using cleaner tech. The International Chamber of Shipping, one of the industry bodies backing the fund, said a $2/tonne fuel contribution would raise about $5 billion over 10 years, based on fuel consumption by the world’s fleet of about 250 Mt a year. The IMO said the proposal would be discussed by the organisation’s Marine Environment Protection Committee at its next meeting at the end of March.
Hope floats, part 2 – Utility Uniper could buy hydro plants and expand the lifespan of a Swedish nuclear plant it co-owns with top shareholder Fortum to help plug the gap from a planned phase-out of coal in Germany, its chief executive said. Outlining the company’s basic strategy ahead of an update planned for March, Andreas Schierenbeck, who led Thyssenkrupp’s elevator division before joining Uniper in June, is currently overhauling Germany’s third-biggest listed utility. Schierenbeck said that while current investments in growth – which average at about €400 million euros a year – were significant, the challenge was to spend them in a way that creates value. “Industry transformation will always cost you some money. The coal assets will be phased out and we have to replace these cash flows,” he told Reuters, adding this would also include plant retrofits and new gas-fired power plants. Uniper has about 9.2 GW of coal capacity, about a quarter of its total installed capacity. Hydroelectric stations account for about 3.6 GW. (Reuters)
Done deal – A German parliamentary committee has agreed to increase the price trajectory of the country’s ETS for transport and heating, with the rate to now begin at €25/tonne in 2021, the prime minister of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern state Manuela Schwesig said on Wednesday. A new lawmaking process expected next spring is needed to implement the plan, Reuters reports. Berlin initially planned a price of €10 euros, which was criticised as too low.
Not on his watch – New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) quickly rejected the state’s participation in the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) following the programme’s proposed draft Memorandum of Understanding (MOU). Sununu, who campaigned against RGGI, said on Twitter he had no intention on signing onto the final MOU, which is scheduled to be completed in spring 2020. “I will not force Granite Staters to pay more for their gas just to subsidise other states’ crumbling infrastructure,” Sununu said. The draft MOU released on Tuesday would seek to cut emissions from the 13-jurisdiction region by as much as 25% from projected 2022 levels by 2032.
Murphy’s law – A New Jersey bill requiring the state’s participation in RGGI will head to Governor Phil Murphy’s (D) desk for final approval. Assembly Bill 1212 (A-1212) was approved by both legislative chambers on Monday after sitting idle for more than a year. The bill would prevent a future governor from pulling the state out of the RGGI power sector ETS without approval from the legislature. Former Governor Chris Christie (R) unilaterally withdrew the state from the scheme in 2011 despite Democrats supporting the cap-and-trade programme.
Just a reserve – Australia in recent years has adjusted downwards its expected future GHG emissions levels every year, and on that trend the government is now increasingly confident it will be able to meet its Paris target without using any of the 411 million carry-over Kyoto-era AAUs it wants to keep in reserve in case it should fail, energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor has told the Australian Financial Review. The insistence on being allowed to use the credits ensured Australia was pinpointed as one of a handful of nations responsible for the poor outcome at the UN climate talks in Madrid.
Exports to the rescue – China’s huge solar power tech industry is seeing declining numbers at home after the government has eliminated key subsidies, and is now increasingly targeting exports in order to stay afloat, according to Reuters. Exports have surpassed last year’s levels and is expected to grow further next year, causing some concern that cheap Chinese equipment might flood the market.
And finally… Hell on earth – Preliminary results indicate Tuesday was the hottest day ever measured in Australia, with the average national high reaching a whooping 40.9C (105.62F), eviscerating the previous 40.3C record set in 2013. Some areas in central Australia saw temperatures approach 50C – which would be almost 20C above December averages. Temperatures are expected to go even higher in the next few days, sounding the alarm in states like New South Wales, which already has around 100 bushfires burning, reports the Sydney Morning Herald. Over 1.6 mln hectares have already burned in NSW, some 10 times more than average for the entire fire season – and the peak is usually not reached until December/January.
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