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The Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) collaborative’s future will still hinge on the final design of the cap-and-invest programme in 13 US jurisdictions despite criticism over the initial proposal, regulatory sources told Carbon Pulse.
EUAs strode to their highest so far this year on Friday, notching a 5% weekly gain as sentiment was bolstered by sustained demand amid doubled supply.
A summary of legislative and regulatory action on carbon pricing and clean energy at the US subnational and federal level taken this week, including developments in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Washington state.
After a bumper start to the year, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator this week handed out only around 60,000 new offsets this week, while the government launched a public consultation on some proposed changes to the carbon credit programme.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Death of a nation – A youth-led climate lawsuit, Juliana v. United States, was dismissed on Friday in a 2-1 decision. The Ninth Circuit Court wrote in their 32-page opinion that the judicial branch doesn’t have the power to order the kind of emissions reduction plan sought by the plaintiffs, who were demanding that the US government limit global warming to 1C above pre-industrial levels. However, District Judge Josephine Staton wrote in her dissent that “seeking to quash this suit, the government bluntly insists that it has the absolute and unreviewable power to destroy the Nation.” (Grist)
GOP hop – US House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) hosted a meeting Thursday where more than a hundred Republican members discussed policies the party could present as a way to address climate change. The focus, which marks a shift away from denying or ignoring the problem over the last decade, comes as voters – especially younger ones – are more concerned about the matter. Policies Republicans are discussing include components to boost energy research and development, energy efficiency, new tree planting, and conservation. As well, they are looking at expediting small modular nuclear power and expanding tax credits for carbon capture technology, but not comprehensive proposals such as a price on CO2 emissions. McCarthy also reiterated his long-standing opposition to a carbon tax. House Republicans are looking to unveil a package of related legislation in the spring. (Axios)
Mike and the mechanics – Billionaire and former NYC mayor Michael Bloomberg’s presidential campaign unveiled plans on Friday to cut carbon from transportation, the US’ biggest source of GHGs. According to Axios, the plan is ambitious and major portions of it would require new action from Congress, notably tax code changes and big new investments. It follows a number of other climate-related initiatives announced by the campaign this week, including a plan to make all new buildings in the US zero-carbon and “hyper” energy-efficient by 2025, and a programme to halve property losses and deaths from catastrophic wildfires within four years. Bloomberg’s transport plan includes:
- Adding a national zero-emissions vehicle standard – “so that, by 2035, 100% of new vehicles are pollution-free.”
- Expanding availability of EV tax credits and a launch a “Clean Cars for All” programme that provides rebates for low- and moderate-income families to trade in older vehicles.
- Developing new mileage and emissions requirements for heavy-duty vehicles so that 15% of new trucks and buses are “pollution free” by 2030, and creating a voucher programme to incentivise fleet owners to trade in old trucks and buses.
- Making new federal investments in EV charging infrastructure, mass transit, high-speed rail, and making areas more bike- and walking-friendly. Plus, add new incentives for moving freight from highways onto electric railways.
- Overhauling the current national ethanol mandate to become a low-carbon fuels standard, “requiring reductions in the carbon content and giving credit to both electric charging and biofuels.”
Looking to leave – Connecticut is taking “a serious look” at exiting its regional power market because it is being forced to invest in natural gas plants it doesn’t want or need. Katie Dykes, commissioner of the US state’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP), said there was a “lack of leadership” at ISO New England that is hindering Connecticut’s power to fight climate change. “This is forcing us to take a serious look at the cost and benefits of participating in the ISO New England markets,” Dykes said. The DEEP will host a meeting on the issue on Jan. 22 before the legislature convenes on Feb. 5. (The Connecticut Mirror)
Closing the gap – Chinese wind and solar power will be price competitive with coal in 2026, according to consultants Wood Mackenzie Power and Renewables. Renewables have been closing the cost gap to coal for several years and is already cheaper than natural gas, but so far only Shanghai and the western province of Qinghai have solar and wind as cheap as coal. Cost premium over coal for wind and solar was an average 26% across all provinces last year, down from over 100% the year before. The government will be phasing out subsidies for renewables at the end of next year. (Power Engineering International)
Underwater credit – Asian, Middle Eastern, North African, and small island countries face the greatest credit risks from sea-level rise, a reality that would make recovering from climate-fueled damage more costly, according to credit-rating agency Moody’s. Between 10-25% of the population or GDP in Vietnam, the Bahamas, Egypt, Suriname, and some Persian Gulf states are vulnerable to rising seas, Moody’s said in a report. Asia has the most people exposed to higher seas, led by Bangladesh, China, Indonesia, and India. The report looked at several studies to assess the effects of seas rising 1-3 meters by 2100, with such events potentially steepening borrowing costs to rebuild after natural disasters, especially if a nation endures repeated shocks. (Politico)
New credits – Japan and Indonesia have issued 17,673 carbon credits to three projects under the Joint Crediting Mechanism, the biggest issuance round under the mechanism so far, taking the total number of credits generated to date above 40,000. The two countries split the credits 50-50, according to the environment ministry, giving Japan 8,837 more offsets. It expects to earn 50-100 million credits in total from the JCM by 2030. Issuances have been minor so far but are expected to accelerate as more and bigger projects come online. The biggest batch of credits this time, more than 16,000, went to an energy saving scheme at an Indonesian paper mill.
Andean wood – Colombia’s will increase monitoring of its forests to fight deforestation and protect its species both with satellites and on-the-ground measures including increased fines for illegal loggers and miners, according to environment minister Ricardo Lozano. He defended further exploration for oil and gas – the government signed 31 contracts with oil producers in 2019 – as part of what he said was an energy transition. (Reuters)
And finally… YouScrewed – YouTube has been “actively promoting” videos containing misinformation about climate change, says Time, reporting on findings released by campaign NGO Avaaz. Time continues: “Avaaz examined 5,537 videos retrieved by the search terms ‘climate change’, ‘global warming’ and ‘climate manipulation’, and then the videos most likely to be suggested next by YouTube’s ‘up next’ sidebar. For each of those search terms respectively, 8%, 16%, and 21% of the Top 100 related videos included by YouTube in the ‘up-next’ feature contained information that goes against the scientific consensus on climate change – such as denying climate change is taking place, or claiming that human activity is not a cause of climate change.” The report also finds that the videos were also shown alongside online ads by brands like Greenpeace and L’Oreal with ties to either sustainability or environmental protection. Avaaz called on YouTube to implement new policies to prevent the further spread of climate misinformation on its platform. (Carbon Brief)
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