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Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) signed an executive order Tuesday to set a declining emissions cap for several sectors, double the state’s Clean Fuels Program (OCFP) target, and boost energy efficiency goals after the legislature failed to pass a cap-and-trade bill for the second straight year.
RGGI market participants anticipate the first quarterly sale of 2020 this week will largely mirror past trends and align with the secondary market price, despite the inclusion of New Jersey in the Northeast US ETS for the first time in eight years.
Utility Nova Scotia Power’s CO2 output increased in 2018 ahead of the initial start of the Canadian province’s cap-and-trade programme, while emissions from fuel suppliers and industrials fell, new government data showed.
Brussels pledged a state aid review and support for clean hydrogen in its latest industrial strategy, which was unveiled on Tuesday even as the EU institutions cancelled multiple meetings amid efforts to contain the coronavirus.
British bank RBS and its commodities trading division have been found liable for dishonestly assisting and knowingly facilitating tax fraud linked to the EU ETS after two emissions traders at the subsidiary ignored obvious risks, a UK High Court ruled Tuesday.
German-based utility Uniper’s EU ETS-covered emissions fell 21% in 2019 amid lower coal output, it said in financial results on Tuesday, while flagging a pick-up in power hedging in recent weeks.
EUA prices lifted above €24 on Tuesday as wider financial markets rebounded on stimulus hopes following the previous session’s massive oil collapse and quickening spread of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Japan and Saudi Arabia have issued the first offsets under their Joint Crediting Mechanism (JCM) programme, for which Japan intends to use its share towards meeting its obligations under the Paris Agreement.
New Zealand’s Climate Change Commission wants the ETS fixed price option (FPO) for 2020 to be set higher than the proposed NZ$35, and says the market’s Cost Containment Reserve should be increased annually after its introduction in 2021.
Deadlines for companies regulated by Shanghai’s pilot emissions trading scheme to report 2019 emissions and ensure they are in compliance have been postponed due to the coronavirus situation, the municipal government said Tuesday.
A demand boom in palm oil and soy driven by Brazil, Indonesia, and possibly the international aviation sector, could spur enough deforestation to emit 11.5 billion tonnes of CO2e to 2030, a report published Tuesday said.
CANCELLED – Carbon Fast Forward Mediterranean
Our Apr. 2 Carbon Fast Forward conference in Athens has been cancelled, following discussions between event partners Carbon Pulse and Redshaw Advisors and after consulting with sponsors, speakers, venue and delegates. Given that the COVID-19 coronavirus situation is likely to worsen, we have opted to cancel the event with a view to Carbon Forward holding a similar event later this year.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Sustain the swamp – The White House is strongly considering pushing federal assistance for oil and natural gas producers hit by plummeting oil prices amid the coronavirus outbreak, as industry officials close to President Trump’s administration clamour for help, The Washington Post reports, citing four people familiar with internal deliberations. White House officials are alarmed at the prospect that numerous shale companies, many of them deep in debt, could be driven out of business if the downturn in oil prices turns into a prolonged crisis for the industry. The federal assistance is likely to take the form of low-interest government loans to the shale companies, whose lines of credit to major financial institutions have been choked off. Additionally, Trump and his advisors have been taking calls since Monday from concerned energy sector allies, who have voiced concern and at times exasperation not only about oil prices, but also privately warning against the administration supporting any sweeping paid sick leave policies.
Closing time on cloture – Key blocs of US senators revolted Monday over their desire to vote on an amendment that would phase out potent HFCs over 15 years, leaving the pathway for the Senate’s bipartisan energy package uncertain. The chamber voted 47-44 to limit debate on the 600-page energy package, as modified, failing to hit the 60-vote threshold required for cloture. Leading that revolt were Senators John Kennedy (R) and Tom Carper (D), who took to the floor to urge their colleagues to reject cloture unless they got a vote on the HFC language. (Politico)
Down to two – The New Brunswick Progressive Conservative government on Tuesday delivered its annual budget for the Canadian province, detailing its plan to implement its own CO2 levy while dropping its gas tax. The federal government’s ‘backstop’ carbon price imposed on New Brunswick was set to rise to C$30/tonne, or 6.6 cents per litre of gasoline, on Apr. 1, but a deal struck between Premier Blaine Higgs and Ottawa in December will see the Maritime province implement its own CO2 tax at that rate while cutting the provincial gas levy by 4.6 cents/L, leading to a net 2-cent carbon tax at the pumps. However, legislation to implement the changes has still not passed by the Apr. 1 cut-off, and a coalition of Liberals and Greens could defeat the conservatives’ budget at a Mar. 20 vote to trigger another election. (CBC)
Mandate money – Next door, the Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) government tabled its provincial budget on Tuesday, with C$6.7 bln devoted to climate change. However, environmentalists criticised the right-wing government’s plan to only spend C$322 mln of that this year, with the bulk of the money not allotted unless the CAQ wins a second mandate. Additionally, the CAQ said it’s committed to meeting the emissions target set by the previous government of a 37.5% reduction from 1990 levels by 2030, while Finance Minister Eric Girard acknowledged the province’s cap-and-trade system won’t be enough to curb emissions. (CBC)
Not plausible – The UK cannot go climate neutral much before 2050 unless people stop flying and eating red meat almost completely, according to a report by government-funded research group Energy Systems Catapult. It warned that the British public do not look ready to take such steps to substantially change their lifestyle, rebuffing calls by campaigners Extinction Rebellion to bring forward the target. (BBC)
Slot spot – The European Commission will temporarily review EU law to allow airlines to keep their slots in airports amid the recent coronavirus outbreak, President Ursula von der Leyen announced in a statement Tuesday. Due to a sharp decrease in passengers in recent days amid the spread of the COVID-19 virus, airlines are increasingly flying empty planes in order to keep their slots that they would otherwise need to forfeit. Von der Leyen also said the measures will help decrease emissions from the so-called “ghost” flights. Separately, a majority of European citizens would support a ban on short-distance flights to fight climate change, according to a survey by the EIB. Of 28,088 respondents to the survey, 62% favoured a ban and an even greater majority of 72% said they would support a carbon tax on flights. The poll, conducted in September-October 2019, covered the then-28 EU member states including Britain.
Frozen five – The freeze in the UK’s fuel duty since 2010 means the nation’s CO2 emissions are as much as 5% higher than they would have been, analysis by climate journal Carbon Brief shows. The assessment comes amid widespread lobbying and speculation over the future of fuel duty in the UK’s next budget, due to be announced by the new chancellor Rishi Sunak on Mar. 11.
And finally … Attack Ibama – Brazil’s federal environment agency (Ibama) last year gave out the fewest fines for breaking conservation laws since 1995, the agency’s press office told Reuters on Monday, as the efficacy of the agency continues to fall under far-right President Jair Bolsonaro. Ibama said it gave out 2,266 fines for environmental infractions in 2019, down 17% from the previous year, without giving a reason for the drop. On the campaign trail, Bolsonaro railed against an “industry of fines” that he claims is out of control and perpetuated by Ibama. His rhetoric has had a chilling effect at the agency, with the government reining in its ability to take on environmental criminals, agency sources told Reuters last year.
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