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EU and Australian flags

Europe’s Carbon Problem is Now Australia’s, Too

Australia’s accelerated move to a cap-and-trade market means companies there will gain access to Europe’s rock-bottom carbon prices, the New York Times reports. Earlier this month Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd announced that the country will replace its carbon tax with a market-based trading system one year ahead of schedule. The change is … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Fracking Regs, EPA ‘Bias’, Cabinet Votes

The Department of the Interior yesterday released an updated draft proposal that it says establishes safety standards for hydraulic fracturing on public and Indian lands, while increasing flexibility for oil and gas developers. The department received over 177,000 public comments after it released an initial draft proposal in 2012. Gina … Read more »

EU Carbon Prices Plunge to Record Lows

Carbon prices hit record lows today after the European Parliament rejected an emergency plan to boost the ailing EU carbon market. In a 334-315 vote, with more than 60 abstentions, lawmakers rejected a proposal to postpone — or backload — the auctioning of 900 million EU Emissions Trading Scheme allowances … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Aviation Carbon Price, Oil Production, Supply Chains

As predicted, President Obama formally nominated Ernest J. Moniz, a physicist and advocate of natural gas and nuclear power, to run the Department of Energy. He nominated clean air regulator Gina McCarthy to head the EPA. Michael A. Levi, a climate and energy fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said that … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EU Aviation Tax, Transportation Deal, Exxon $1bn Penalty Reversal

EU lawmakers backed a Commission plan to suspend for a year a law that would make all airlines using EU airports pay for their carbon emissions. The committee said that the suspension could be prolonged beyond a year, but only if clear and sufficient progress were made at the International … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Arctic Protection, EU ETS Backloading, Bird-Killing Buildings

The UNEP Year Book 2013 released this week warns that the rush for Arctic mineral resources prompted by an apparent acceleration in sea ice melt calls for caution and effective governance to avoid damage to the fragile environment. Arctic summer ice cover in 2012 was 18 percent below the previous … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Climate Bill, GAO High Risk List, Koch Penalty

Senators Barbara Boxer, D-Calif., and Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., introduced their fee-and-dividend climate bill. The fee-and-dividend idea puts a price on carbon at its source and rebates most of the money back to US residents. The concept is modeled on Alaska’s permanent fund that rebates oil royalties to state residents. Boxer, who … Read more »

Global Carbon Market Value Drops 35 Percent

The value of global carbon markets fell 35 percent to €62 billion ($84 billion) in 2012, largely due to an oversupply of credits, according to analysis from Thomson Reuters Point Carbon. The EU’s Emissions Trading Scheme, the largest global carbon market, saw the estimated carbon price drop 49 percent to … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: EPA Final Emissions Rules, Port of LA in Supreme Court

The EPA has finalized revisions to standards to reduce air pollution from stationary engines that generate electricity and power equipment at industrial, agricultural, oil and gas production, power generation and other facilities. The final revised rule will reduce the capital and annual costs of the 2010 National Emission Standards for … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Steel ETS Permits, Quebec Cap-and-Trade, India CSR, Solar Grants

The European Commission may give more free pollution allowances to the steel sector next year to counter the risk that the industry could be driven out of Europe. Though the cost of carbon on the EU ETS is at record lows, it is expected to rise. Some in heavy industry … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: Airlines in ETS, BP Felony Charges, Black Elk

President Obama has signed into law a bill that excludes US airlines from European carbon emissions taxes in the EU ETS. The US airline industry argued that the rules – which the EU put on hold earlier this month – were unfair because they would have been applied to the … Read more »

Policy & Enforcement Briefing: 4-Degree Warning, Honeywell $78m Cleanup, Gas Spike

The World Bank’s new report “Turn Down the Heat” warns of catastrophic consequences if average world temperatures rise more than 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century. The study said the 4 degree increase would likely trigger widespread crop failures and malnutrition and dislocate large … Read more »