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Emissions reductions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic increase the need for California to implement an annual surplus metric for its WCI-linked carbon market, with a rule-based mechanism the best solution to adjust future allowance supply, an ETS watchdog official told Carbon Pulse.
Australia should drive additional investments in low-carbon energy by making Large-scale Generation Certificates (LGCs) and government-issued carbon credits fungible as part of a wider plan to back a low-emission recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, the Clean Energy Council said Tuesday.
Massachusetts power generators remained significantly below their annual Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) CO2 limits amid the coronavirus pandemic, with two plants having barely operated during the first quarter, data shows.
The US State Department’s chief climate negotiator has exited President Donald Trump’s administration for a role in the sustainability consulting arm of a multinational utility, Carbon Pulse has learned.
EUAs slumped back towards €19 on Tuesday, with early gains given up when a very weak auction helped knock carbon prices below technical support.
French energy major Total has set new 2050 voluntary goals to reach net zero emissions from its global operations, as well as from its products sold to European customers, the company announced on Tuesday.
In the latest Carbon Pulse Conversations podcast, we speak to Oregon Senator Michael Dembrow (D) and Representative Karin Power (D) about the state’s challenges to pass WCI-modelled carbon market legislation, as well as the new GHG reduction programme ordered by the governor.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Stimulating work – Green projects deliver higher short-term returns, create more jobs, and lead to increased long-term cost savings relative to traditional stimulus measures, according to a study due to run in the Oxford Review of Economic Policy by top US and UK economists including Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz and Nicholas Stern. It examined more than 700 economic stimulus policies launched during or since the 2008 financial crisis, and surveyed 231 experts from 53 countries. Among the worst-performing policies was bailing out airlines without attaching climate conditions. The study said that as nations plan their post-pandemic recoveries, industrialised countries should focus on backing clean physical infrastructure while poorer ones could support farmers to invest in climate-friendly agriculture. (Carbon Brief)
Subverted subsidies – A new working paper finds that trade barriers worldwide are generally lower for carbon-intensive goods than cleaner products, creating a large “implicit subsidy to CO2 emissions.” In the paper, University of California, Berkeley economist Joseph Shapiro pegged this subsidy at $550-$800 bln annually, with tariffs and other import penalties lower on products like metals and petrochemicals that are used as manufacturing inputs for consumer goods. He added the resulting change in CO2 emissions “has similar magnitude to the estimated effects of some of the world’s largest actual or proposed climate change policies”. (Axios)
Divided we stand – German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s call last week to raise the EU’s 2030 emission target to 50-55% from 1990 levels from 40% appears to have divided her own party – the centre-right CDU/CSU. “One may well ask whether a tightening of targets is appropriate in view of the coronavirus crisis,” Georg Nuesslein, deputy leader of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, told German newspaper Handelsblatt. According to the outlet, the group will adopt a paper next week calling for a new allocation of GHG reduction contributions among member states in the EU’s Effort-Sharing Regulation (ESR), which governs emissions not covered by the EU ETS. Although Germany is on track to achieve its 2030 emissions reduction target of 55%, this would need to be raised to 64-68% if the EU-wide ESR target is increased, Nuesslein said. (Clean Energy Wire)
Bank bitterness – The powerful oil lobby American Petroleum Institute (API) and Republican senators are attacking big banks’ financial restrictions on Arctic oil drilling, and mulling ways to go beyond just verbal pushback. API President Mike Sommers and President Trump said the US government may try to use coronavirus relief policies as leverage to compel major American banks to drop recent restrictions they’ve placed on Arctic oil and gas financing. Meanwhile, Politico reported that GOP lawmakers plan to launch a “pressure campaign” against the banks, with Alaska Senator Dan Sullivan offering banks the following threat on their move: “You think this is a cost-free action? Let’s see about that”. (Axios)
Family first – California has asked the briefing schedule in its fight against the Trump administration’s revocation of the Clean Air Act waiver that allows the state to enforce tougher vehicle emissions standards. In a motion before the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit filed Monday, California said key attorneys have been waylaid by family responsibilities during the coronavirus pandemic as well as deadlines in a separate case, arguing that it now needs until July to present its initial brief. However, the Trump administration argued that the current June 12 deadline is sufficient, with automakers and Republican-led states also opposing the request. If successful, California’s request could push oral arguments into 2021. (Politico)
And finally… Can’t beat the heat – As much as one-third of the global population will live in areas scientists say are too hot for humans in 50 years, with an outsized portion of those affected among the world’s poorest and least able to adapt, according to a new study published in the journal PNAS. For every degree C of warming beyond current levels, the study found an additional 1 bln people will be forced to adapt to, or migrate from, a nearly-unliveable climate. The scientists utilised research methods like those used for other wildlife to determine the ideal conditions for human societies is an annual average temperature of between 11 to 15 C – what they call the “climate niche” in which humans and civilizations have developed over the past 6,000 years. (Climate Nexus)
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