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Switzerland has announced dates for its first carbon allowance auction since linking to the EU ETS, but it warned that the sale could be cancelled if the current trend of excessively low clearing prices continues.
RGGI’s upcoming programme review could be delayed as member states discuss the potential expansion of the power sector ETS and regulators also craft a new cap-and-trade scheme to cover fuel sector emissions across the region, regulatory sources said.
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, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, California, and Arizona.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator this week handed out over 400,000 carbon credits, but also revoked a project under contract to deliver almost 350,000 tCO2e worth of abatement, further eroding the impact of the country’s primary climate policy tool.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
EUA prices were poised to end Friday more than a euro below last week’s close, as a weak auction stifled prospects of a recovery while traders remain preoccupied with when the UK will finally be able to sell its backdated units.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Money at risk – More than half of S&P 500 companies hold assets at high risk from climate change, according to an S&P Global presentation at the 2020 Annual Meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos. The biggest physical risks for those companies come from heat waves, wildfires, water stress, and hurricanes linked to rising average global temperatures. Another key factor is the location of assets, which outweighs the industry or sector, S&P Global found. Companies in the S&P 500 index own physical assets in 68 countries, and 60% of them hold assets that are at high risk of at least one type of climate-related physical event. Some, like real estate investment trusts with portfolios concentrated in the US, UK, and Canada, face heightened risk from sea level rise. (PIonline)
Go south – Bushfires have declined in northern Australia in recent years, partly because of savanna burning projects that earn carbon credits through fire management that limit the extent of fires during the main fire season. After this summer’s devastating fires in the south, a similar method should be applied to the southern part of the country, the Aboriginal Carbon Foundation – one of the biggest developers of such projects – told ABC. They estimated it would take 3-4 years to develop an approach that would work in the south. However, the government is reluctant, saying that as bushfires are less common in the south, it would be difficult to develop a solid baseline.
Do more – Japanese NGOs under the international Climate Action Network (CAN) umbrella have called on the government to increase its Paris ambition to emission cuts of 45-50% below 1990 levels by 2030, instead of the current goal of 26% below 2013 levels. The increasing global climate emergency demands Japan do more, and the government should consider phasing out fossil fuel use and bring in carbon pricing instruments to boost energy efficiency, the groups said in a statement.
Brit aid – An investigation co-conducted by Greenpeace’s investigations unit Unearthed found that the UK Export Finance (UKEF) has helped to finance oil and gas projects that, when complete, will emit 69 million tonnes of carbon a year, equivalent to nearly a sixth of the total annual UK emissions. Since 2010 UKEF has financed £6 bln of fossil fuel projects including Brazilian offshore oil wells and refineries in Bahrain and Oman. The government said that the cash had helped sustain UK jobs at a time of low oil prices, the emissions figure was a “worst case” scenario and that the agency also finances renewable projects. (BBC)
Same book, new cover – Earlier this week, the far right Progress party left the Norwegian four-party coalition government amid controversy around bringing a woman that had joined ISIS and her children back to Norway from Syria. That led to a Cabinet reshuffle, which on Friday saw Climate Change Minister Ola Elvestuen from the centre-liberal party Venstre return to parliament. He will be replaced by Sveinung Rotevatn, also from Venstre. He is a former MP, and comes from the position as state secretary in the climate change ministry, indicating the change will mean little in terms of policy direction.
Free McNamee – US Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioner (FERC) Bernard McNamee (R) announced on Thursday he will not seek another term on the commission. As he was appointed to finish out former Chair Kevin McIntyre’s term at FERC, McNamee’s time at the commission officially ends on June 30. McNamee plans to stay through the end of the year or until another commissioner is appointed, whichever comes first. The Trump administration is working on a nominee to replace McNamee, with FERC currently controlled by Republicans by a 2-1 margin. (Utility Dive)
Twenty-one pilots – California regulator ARB has approved the first 21 entities to perform third-party verification services for Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) data reports. The ARB board approved LCFS amendments in 2018 that add the third-party requirement, consistent with the state’s cap-and-trade programme and international best practices. LCFS verification services are required beginning this year.
And finally… Anyone but us – The company pitching a high-pollution iron plant in New Brunswick says the provincial government should get other industries and emitters to cut their emissions to accommodate the new facility. Maritime Iron acknowledges in its environmental impact assessment document that implementing the project will make it difficult for New Brunswick to achieve its current aspirational climate change goals once the plant begins operating in 2022. But according to CBC, the company boldly proposes that the province simply encourage other emitters to scale back their emissions enough to stay on target. “Before 2030, New Brunswick would need to identify opportunities to meet this target through reductions across all sectors, including continued efforts and cooperation by the industrial sector as well as reductions in the transportation and electricity sectors,” the document says. The proposed plant, which would process iron ore into pig iron, would create a net increase of at least 2.3 Mt/year in GHGs if it is linked to NB Power’s Belledune generating station, which would burn gas by-product from the iron plant and reduce its coal consumption. Operated separately, emissions from the Maritime Iron and Belledune plants would total 6.5 Mt/year.
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