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The European Commission on Tuesday unveiled a €1 trillion investment plan to help meet the EU’s climate goals, seeking to divert 10% of the funds towards a “just transition” mechanism for fossil fuel-dominant regions, and potentially channelling aid to ETS installations.
US Congressional lawmakers have introduced a bipartisan act for a phase-down of highly potent HFC refrigerant gases, aiming to sidestep President Donald Trump’s refusal to ratify a UN pact amendment that would accomplish those goals.
RGGI’s PJM member states would see higher emissions, generation under carbon border adjustment -analysis
Overall CO2 output in the 13-state PJM region would fall if the grid operator’s member states implemented a carbon border adjustment, but the programme’s three RGGI participants would see slight emission increases, according to initial modelling results released Tuesday.
The Northeast US RGGI carbon market will offer 16.2 million allowances for sale at its first quarterly sale to include New Jersey since 2011, the programme announced Tuesday.
Quebec’s initial free allocation for 2020 remained stagnant year-on-year as regulated parties received their allowances, according to data published by the environmental ministry.
The European Commission is seeking to almost halve the number of industries entitled to indirect cost compensation next decade, according to a consultation launched on Tuesday.
The EU’s southeastern neighbours have appointed a Greek consultancy to help them design a carbon pricing mechanism to help decarbonise their power sectors.
EUAs fell to a two-month low under €24 on Tuesday, briefly dropping below technical support levels as the energy complex weakened to diminish the incentive for utilities to buy carbon.
Increasing pressure on the Australian government to act on climate change amid devastating bushfires is creating a bullish outlook for carbon prices, analysts said Tuesday.
New Zealand carbon allowances rose to fresh record highs in Tuesday trade as last month’s government proposal to raise the Fixed Price Option continued to dominate sentiment.
Carbon Pulse is looking for a Climate and Energy Correspondent to help us bolster and expand our coverage of the EU ETS and other energy and environmental markets, as well as climate and energy policy at a national, EU, and international level.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Flight tax fury – UK environmental groups FOE and Greenpeace are fuming over the British government’s decision to review its air passenger duty on domestic flights, in an effort to help save beleaguered airline Flybe from collapse while still avoiding a breach of EU state aid rules, BusinessGreen reports. The duty is not specifically applied for climate purposes but the greens say it gives a boost for the most carbon-intensive form of travel and risks the country’s net zero 2050 emission goal. The UK’s adjustable rate is one of the highest in the world, but any scaling back to it would be a move in the opposite direction of the EU, which is seeking to ease hurdles to applying wider aviation duties while many member states hike their national ticket taxes.
Bled dry of emissions – Slovenia has become the latest country to declare a goal of carbon neutrality by 2050, with the EU nation unveiling its national energy and climate plan to reduce emissions by at least 36% by 2030 compared to 2005, Reuters reports. It vowed to decide by 2027 whether to build a second nuclear power plant, but will only phase out coal by 2050, far later than the 2030 date environmentalists say is in line with the Paris Agreement.
Poles off coal – Poland used less coal to generate electricity last year than any other time on record after the rising cost of carbon-emissions permits pushed the country toward alternative fuels and imports. According to Bloomberg, the latest data shows that the share of coal in the country’s electricity usage slumped to 71% from 89% over the last decade. Coal was the sole fuel for Polish power plants at the end of communism in 1989.
Investor shift – The world’s largest fund manager BlackRock has announced it will soon toughen its climate stance, vowing to take several new measures to alter its investment approach. Those include making sustainability integral to portfolio construction and risk management, exiting investments that present a high sustainability-related risk like thermal coal producers, and launching new investment products that screen fossil fuels. (The Guardian)
Exceeding on energy – Colombia’s energy demand will increase by around 60% over the next 30 years, but the country will still exceed its Paris Agreement GHG reduction target as renewables and natural gas replace oil consumption, according to the Energy Mining Planning Unit’s (UPME) National Energy Plan. Installed capacity from wind and solar power would surge to 2,500 MW in 2050 from 100 MW at the end of 2019, cutting CO2 output by 22.5% below the business-as-usual scenario for 2030, slightly beating its Paris goal of a 20% cut from BAU. However, the plan said that Colombia’s emissions would still grow at a rate of 1.4%. (Enerdata)
Not as rough – US coal consumption is likely to decline sharply again in 2020, though the current roster of planned and completed coal plant retirements suggests this year may not be quite as rough as the past two. At 13,703 MW, 2019 marked the highest level of annual coal capacity retirements in the US since 2015, a new S&P Global Market Intelligence analysis of federal data shows. The amount of coal capacity planned for retirement in 2020 is expected to exceed the amount retired in each of 2014, 2016, and 2017. Since 2014, US power generators retired nearly 62,000 MW of coal-fired generation capacity, with another 26,947 MW of retirements teed up through 2025.
Down in the valley – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra and state regulator ARB argue the city of Moreno Valley disregarded state environmental regulations when it approved the massive World Logistics Center warehouse project in 2015. In a friend-of-the-court brief filed Jan. 10 with the Fourth District Court of Appeals, the attorney general said the city “improperly” concluded the 40 mln sq. ft. center would fall under the state’s WCI-linked carbon market regulation. The ETS does not apply to development projects like warehouses and logistics centres, meaning the city “used the cap-and-trade program, which does not impose any regulatory requirements on this Project,” as “an excuse not to analyse and mitigate the Project’s climate change impacts,” in violation of the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the filing states. (FreightWaves).
Indirect your attention – The Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) is asking for public comment on a petition to the Environmental Quality Commission (EQC) to adopt rules that regulate indirect sources of air pollution. On Dec. 20, several parties petitioned the Environmental Quality Commission to adopt regulations that would reduce emissions associated with a land-use activity or development that concentrates emissions from mobile sources such as cars, trucks, construction equipment, or locomotives. The DEQ will ask the EQC to take action on the petition at the commission’s Mar. 18-19 meeting.
And finally… Flight shame – Most Chinese, Europeans, and US citizens plan to fly less for holidays this year to limit aircraft emissions and help prevent catastrophic climate change, a survey of 30,000 people by the state-owned European Investment Bank (EIB) showed on Tuesday. In the poll, 36% of Europeans said they already flew less for holidays to help prevent climate change, and 75% intended to do so in 2020. In China, the number of people planning less air travel for holidays this year was 94%, with 69% in the US. (Reuters)
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