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*FREE READ* Global carbon markets grew by 34% in 2019 to hit €194 billion ($215.1 bln) in value, according to analysts at Refinitiv, marking a third straight year of growth and a nearly fivefold increase in two years.
China’s coal-fired power generation rose 1.7% in 2019 and is set to grow further this year, according to the main power sector industry lobby group, paving the way for CO2 allocation in the national emissions trading scheme to be nearly triple that of the EU market.
*FREE READ* – The outlook for Australia to step up efforts on climate change in the wake of the massive forest fires is dimming as the government has shifted focus to hazard prevention and is blaming state agencies for failing in their responsibilities.
Australia has implemented a new offset method that broadens the scope for pig and dairy farmers to earn carbon credits, the Clean Energy Regulator said Wednesday.
European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen warned on Wednesday that the EU will press ahead with border carbon adjustment plans to protect its industry and workers, but she praised California and China’s carbon pricing efforts that could mean the measures are never needed.
EUA prices lifted back above €25 on Wednesday, though much of the early gains made in the auction-free session were given back later on.
US states in the PJM grid region could benefit from a carbon tax after a Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) order last month threatened clean energy and environmental goals, but the support for that CO2 regulatory policy is uncertain, experts said Wednesday.
New York will release a draft RGGI regulation shortly to implement the Northeast US carbon market’s post-2020 programme changes, but there is no timeline for the completion of that process, state and regulatory sources told Carbon Pulse.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Looney talk – Incoming chief executive at BP Bernard Looney “plans to expand the company’s climate targets and is considering overhauling the structure of the oil and gas major in one of the biggest shake-ups in its 111-year history”. Four sources with knowledge of internal discussions with the new CEO say the new chief intends to adopt broader targets that will likely include cutting emissions from fuels and products sold to customers, rather than just from BP’s own operations. This could lead to the company selling its most carbon-intensive businesses such as oil and gas fields in Angola and Canada. (Reuters)
Why? – Japan’s environment minister Shinjiro Kuizumi has questioned his country’s role in financing a new coal-fired power plant in Vietnam, according to the Mainichi newspaper. The Japan Bank for International Co-operation (JBIC) is among interested parties in funding the Vung Ang 2 plant, although it will be built by Chinese and US contractors, a structure Koizumi said was “nonsense”. He also told reporters that the move was against efforts to reduce global warming and that Japan would not get understanding in public opinion at home or abroad for its role in paying for new coal plants, saying he would be willing to take up his point of view with other ministers.
HFC records – Emissions of extremely potent refrigerant HFC23 have hit record levels, raising concerns that China and India are misleading the world about their efforts to stamp out production. Both nations claim to have sharply reduced emissions of the gas in recent years, with each informing the Multilateral Fund, an offshoot of the UN’s Montreal Protocol charged with policing ozone-depleting and global warming gasses, that they have made dramatic cuts. However, scientists in Britain and Germany have discovered that atmospheric levels of HFC-23 are growing at alarming rate and have linked the rises to those countries. (The Times)
Not a radical shift – The final US Safer Affordable Fuel Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles rule under review by the White House avoids “radical changes” to how fuel economy and emissions are calculated, reports Bloomberg, citing three unnamed sources. The proposal floated changes to the compliance flexibilities used by automakers, including extra credit for selling electric vehicles and “off-cycle” credits that count emissions reductions from air conditioning and other technologies. EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler has long argued that the Trump administration’s rule could achieve significant emissions reductions despite loosening the numerical limit by reducing the compliance flexibilities, or as Wheeler often calls them, “off-ramps”. But some automakers subsequently cautioned that even if the Trump administration eases the numerical stringency, companies still need the flexibilities in order to comply given the complexities of the rule and the marketplace. The final SAFE rule, which could still be revised, backs off serious changes to compliance, according to Bloomberg. (Politico)
Coal comrades – Wyoming Governor Mark Gordon (R) announced Tuesday morning that the state has joined Montana in asking the US Supreme Court to hear a challenge to Washington state’s rejection of a proposed coal export terminal permit. The conflict centres on Washington’s permit denials for the Millennium Bulk Terminal, which would sit on the Columbia River in the town of Longview. In their case, Wyoming and Montana argue the denial violates both the Dormant Commerce Clause and the Foreign Commerce Clause of the US Constitution. (WyomingTribuneEagle)
And finally… Lonely travel – Travel guidebook publisher Lonely Planet has launched its own collection of carbon-neutral small-group holidays with operator Intrepid. The intention is to have minimal impact on the environment, and include carbon-offsetting contributions in the price. Intrepid recently launched a partnership with Offset Earth, planting trees in Kenya to neutralise carbon emissions. (The Guardian)
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