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Policy & Enforcement Briefing: California-Quebec ETS, Energy Efficiency, Canada Emissions Target

The California Air Resources Board released proposed regulations to link its cap-and-trade program to the carbon market in Quebec. The proposal, which has a 45-day public comment period, includes market security measures, guidelines for ensuring that carbon allowances on the two platforms are interchangeable at auction, and enforceable standards for the use of carbon offsets, CARB said.

The EU’s Energy Efficiency Directive may be agreed upon by July 1, the end of the Danish presidency, but environmental advocates say that the current version, slated for three more discussion sessions in May and June, is too weak. The amended text is now estimated to reduce year 2020 primary energy consumption by about 58.1 million tons of oil equivalent, down from 202 Mtoe, EurActiv said. A clause to withdraw CO2 permits is also splitting negotiators, Point Carbon said.

Canada’s environmental commissioner said that a lack of government oversight, especially for the fast-growing oil and natural gas industry, will keep Canada from meeting its target of 17 percent GHG emissions reduction from 2005 levels by 2020. Emissions are projected to be 7.4 percent higher in 2020 than they were in 2005, the New York Times said.

China’s recently released draft climate change law states the country’s rejection of carbon or similar taxes placed on its airlines or ships by other countries, and indicates that the government will continue to back Chinese domestic companies in their development of Clean Development Mechanism projects. The proposal also includes plans for a national carbon tax and ETS, writes Commodities Now.

Saudi Arabia has announced plans to install 41 GW of solar power by 2032; PV is expected to contribute 16 GW, and CSP will add 25 GW. As well, the kingdom intends to broaden its renewable energy mix with wind, geothermal, waste-to-energy and nuclear plants, PV Magazine writes.

The EPA has added three new hazardous waste sites to the National Priorities List of Superfund sites. The three sites are: Jervis B. Webb Co., a former metal fabrication facility in South Gate, Calif.; Southern Avenue Industrial Area, an adhesive manufacturer in South Gate, Calif.; and Bremerton Gasworks, a former gasworks facility in Bremerton, Wash.

The EPA has issued a final rule that systems used at gas station pumps to capture gasoline vapors while refueling cars can be phased out beginning later this year because modern vehicles are equipped to capture those emissions. The rule affects about 31,000 gas stations, primarily in urban areas, and has an annual savings potential of $3,000 for the stations, the EPA said.

Senate Republicans introduced a bill to make the appointment of the EPA’s 10 regional administrators subject to confirmation. The bill follows the controversial remarks and subsequent resignation of former EPA Region 6 administrator Al Armendariz, The Hill said.

Acting under-secretary of energy Arun Majumdar will leave his position effective immediately and will step down as head of the Energy Department’s Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy in early June, citing family reasons. Majumdar was never confirmed as under-secretary of energy because of a hold placed on the nomination, The Hill said.

Growth in Argentina, where GDP increased by 7.3 percent last year is driving energy demands primarily served by fossil fuels. Climate strategists see the government dealing with its energy crisis, which included the government takeover of oil company YPF from Spain’s Repsol last month, by moving away from a national climate change law and renewable energy plans, Reuters said.

Syngenta Crop Protection has agreed to pay a $102,000 civil penalty and to relabel certain shipments in a settlement related to the sale or distribution of misbranded pesticides at a facility in Omaha, Neb., and a farm supply retailer in Savannah, Mo., the EPA said.

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