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The UK said it was open to considering a link between a future national ETS and the EU carbon market on Thursday, even as it pushes to reject applying EU rules in a post-Brexit trade pact.
EU member states want Brussels to propose an EU carbon border adjustment tax earlier than 2021 to help safeguard the bloc’s heavy industry, several national ministers said on Thursday.
EUAs dropped below €24 early on Thursday, with the energy complex continuing to come under pressure amid fears that the spreading Covid-19 coronavirus will disrupt the global economy.
UK utility Drax said on Thursday that it will cease coal-fired generation in March 2021, years in advance of the country’s planned 2024 phaseout.
A senior Philippines MP has introduced a bill that would establish a cap-and-trade programme for the biggest-emitting sectors in the South East Asian nation.
A dozen more facilities covered by Australia’s Safeguard Mechanism have switched to using multi-year targets, meaning they don’t have to worry about compliance for another three years.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices rose after the Q1 WCI auction bucked previous trends to settle above the secondary market level, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) this week slid below next year’s supply-curbing Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR) trigger price.
US biofuel credit (RIN) prices fell from new highs on Thursday after the EPA said it has not yet decided how it will address a court decision that questioned the agency’s issuance of compliance waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS).
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Airport grounded – Plans for a third runway at London’s Heathrow Airport have been thrown into doubt after an appeal court ruling that said the government’s decision to allow the expansion was unlawful because it did not take climate commitments into account. Heathrow said it would challenge the decision, but the government said it would not appeal. The judges said that in future, a third runway could go ahead, as long as it fits with the UK’s climate policy. (BBC)
Banking on more – Banks must improve transparency on their exposure to climate risk and central banks need to pay closer attention as the entire financial sector is at risk, European Central Bank President Christine Lagarde said. She began an overarching review of the ECB’s policy framework last month and said the bank must find ways to do its part, even if ensuring price stability would remain its main task. (Reuters)
Hydrogen boost – Oil major Shell and Dutch gas company Gasunie plan to build a massive green hydrogen plant in the northern Netherlands in the next decade, Fueled by a large new wind farm, the plant would ultimately be able to cut Dutch CO2 emissions by about 7 Mt a year by 2040. The companies expect to start a feasibility study this year, while they seek other industrial and energy partners to join.
And environmental justice for all – US House Democrats on Thursday unveiled a long-awaited environmental justice bill, a novel collaborative effort between lawmakers and local groups that have long been ignored on Capitol Hill. Natural Resources Chairman Raul Grijalva (D) and Representative Donald McEachin (D) introduced the “Environmental Justice for All Act,” which would expand the National Environmental Policy Act and slap new fees on oil, gas, and coal to fund communities transitioning away from fossil fuel economies. The legislation faces an uphill battle in Congress this year, but it represents an unusual effort by lawmakers to reach out to communities affected by pollution to pull them into the larger congressional conversation about climate change and the environment. (E&E News)
Moving the coalposts – US regulators moved Wednesday to block a self-described “joint venture” between two coal giants, arguing that it would raise coal prices for consumers. The Federal Trade Commission said in a complaint filed in federal court that Peabody Energy and Arch Coal’s plans to combine two mines in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin “would eliminate the substantial head-to-head competition between the two largest coal miners in the United States, and that loss of competition would likely raise coal prices to power-generating utilities that provide electricity to millions of Americans.” The venture, which the companies announced last summer, would combine operations at seven mines in the Powder River Basin and generate savings for both companies as the coal industry struggles to compete with renewables and natural gas. (Climate Nexus)
And finally… An Olympic feat – A plan to use snow collected in Japan’s mountains to cool 2020 Olympics venues this summer is being stymied by snowfalls on track to be the lowest on record, according to officials involved. Authorities in Minami-Uonuma in Niigata prefecture north of Tokyo have been trying to collect and store snow to bring by train to Olympic soccer and basketball venues, which will be used to cool buildings and also be handed out in packs to spectators approaching the venues. But Japan’s lack of snow this year has forced a rethink, as the city has only collected 1,400 cubic metres (49,000 cubic feet) of snow, compared with 2,000 cubic metres (70,000 cubic feet) last year, when it tested the viability of the plan. Snow depths this winter in Niigata, which usually boasts some of Japan’s heaviest falls, are on track to be the lowest since records began in 1981, based on data on the JMA website. (Reuters)
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