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The UK will commence its 2019 free EU ETS allocations within days and hopes to start auctioning its share of allowances for both 2019 and 2020 in early March, the British government announced late Friday, confirming that a year-long suspension on distributing its EUAs was being lifted.
The UK government has sacked the president of this year’s UN climate talks in Glasgow, announcing that the position will be made a ministerial role.
The Northeast US RGGI cap-and-trade system recorded its lowest annual emissions figure in 2019 after reporting that fourth quarter CO2 output in the region slid 12%, with many of those reductions coming from New York and Maryland.
California regulator ARB invalidated nearly 19,000 offsets issued for use in the state’s ETS on Thursday after determining a Michigan-based project was not in regulatory compliance during one of the two reporting periods under review.
WCI market stakeholders remain unsure of whether regulator ARB can void California Carbon Offsets (CCOs) after their invalidation period expires based on the timing of a probe, with the most recent decision providing little clarity on the scenario.
Massachusetts state senators approved a wide-ranging climate policy package on Thursday night, including the option of a cap-and-trade programme to link with the regional Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI).
The Chilean senate approved changes to the Latin American nation’s $5/tonne CO2 levy on Wednesday, altering the methodology for applying the tax and setting out the use of offsets as a compliance option.
Regulated entities in the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) drew down nearly 150,000 tonnes on the credit bank in the third quarter of 2019, but administrative adjustments kept the programme’s surplus bank mostly constant.
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 the Pacific Northwest, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Hawaii, and Illinois.
Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison and New South Wales state Premier Gladys Berejiklian on Friday unveiled a A$2 billion ($1.34 bln) bilateral agreement on climate and energy centred around efforts to produce more natural gas for domestic consumption.
New Zealand carbon allowances took another beating on Friday, shedding 2.7% as some emitters sold off units with a view to locking in profits by paying the NZ$25 fixed price option in May.
EUAs notched a small gain on Friday to inch away from their recent two-month low, posting a 2% weekly loss as Britain readied to leave the EU with no indication yet as how the country will distribute its 2019 allowances.
The German government has ‘named and shamed’ another handful of airlines for failing to comply with the EU ETS, admonishing flagship carriers from Russia and Iraq.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Out with the old – Indonesia may scrap as much as 11,000 MW worth of coal-fired power plants and replace it with renewable energy capacity, Energy and Mineral Resources Minister Arifin Tasrif said, according to Reuters. The plan is to retire coal-fired generation capacity older than 20 years, although with a number of new coal plants in the pipeline, coal is expected to continue to make up the majority of Indonesia’s energy mix for the next decade.
Steel resolve – France’s finance minister Bruno Le Maire is threatening to veto a takeover of stricken UK firm British Steel by China’s Jingye Group. The number two UK steelmaker went bankrupt seven months ago despite getting a £120 million government loan to cover its 2018 EU ETS compliance, with Turkish pension fund Ataer Holdings passing on a subsequent deal. France’s permission is needed because British Steel is a major supplier to the French rail network and is designated as a strategic national asset. (Sky News)
Ketchup effect – The oil industry risks collapsing prices and seeing its value cut in half under a scenario where governments continue to do little about climate change, before swiftly cracking down on fossil fuels a few years down the road, according to analysts Carbon Tracker. In a report they said governments should act now to put an end to new fossil fuel projects at risk of becoming stranded assets, while encouraging oil firms to prepare for a change in policies. US, Chinese, and Russian oil companies were the most vulnerable to such a shock, with ExxonMobil, ConocoPhillips, and Chevron most exposed to a price collapse, the report said. (Guardian)
Last ditch pitch – New Mexico’s landmark clean energy law will apply to the retirement of the San Juan coal plant, the state’s Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday. State utility regulators in July ruled to effectively bypass New Mexico’s Energy Transition Act, which officially became law last June, by placing a portion of the San Juan retirement proceeding in a January docket. The move prompted outcries from the governor, state legislators and clean energy groups that had supported the ETA, which will bring the state to 100% carbon-free power by 2045. But although the plant’s majority owner, the Public Service Company of New Mexico, will be allowed to abandon the plant in 2022 through this ruling, the city where the plant resides may still have a say in its future. Local carbon capture company Enchant Energy and Farmington, New Mexico, on Thursday signed a MOU as a first step in a coal supply agreement with Westmoreland Coal Holdings in response to the order. (Utility Dive)
Date change – In consultation with the UNFCCC, Uganda has decided to move the dates of the upcoming Africa Climate Week to Apr. 20-24. The new dates take advantage of the G77 Heads of State and Government Summit being held at the same venue from Apr. 17-19 and will facilitate participation of ministers and high-level stakeholders. The event in Kampala, at the Speke Resort Munyonyo Conference Centre, will be the first Regional Climate Week to be hosted this year and will be followed by Climate Weeks in the Asia-Pacific, Latin America and Caribbean, and Middle East and North Africa regions.
And finally… Sustainable substance abuse – Colorado Governor Jared Polis (D) unveiled two pilot programmes on Wednesday aimed at helping cannabis cultivators and craft brewers operate more sustainably. One of the pilots will test a closed-loop system where Denver Beer Co. will recapture, sell, and deliver its CO2 by-product to The Clinic marijuana dispensaries. A second will bring “local electric cooperatives and municipal utilities” together to “provide eligible cannabis cultivation businesses with no-cost technical energy use assessments”. “These pilot programmes combine a few of the things that Colorado is known for: environmental responsibility, craft beer, and cannabis,” Polis said via a press release. (THCNET)
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