Climate 411

Western Climate Initiative auction results show resilience of cap and trade and benefit of long-term climate investment strategy

Yosemite National Park, California. iStock.

The results of the latest joint California-Quebec cap-and-trade auction were released today. As expected, the auction was significantly undersubscribed, something not seen since February 2017. The low revenue from this auction points to a need for California to develop a diversified, long-term strategy to fund critical climate programs, even as the state works to balance many important fiscal priorities. At the same time, the resilience of the cap and trade program even during periods of instability provides a critical backstop, ensuring California’s targets for reductions in climate pollution are achieved.

Here’s a quick recap of the results:

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Posted in California, Carbon Markets / Leave a comment

Hurricanes are getting stronger, more dangerous and forming earlier. Here’s how we can prepare.

(This post originally appeared on EDF’s Growing Returns. It was written by

Last week, Tropical Storm Arthur skirted North Carolina’s coast before veering into the Atlantic. While damage was minimal, this marked the sixth straight year that a named storm developed in the Atlantic before the official start of hurricane season on June 1.

Experts are predicting this year to be a very active hurricane season, and even more concerning, researchers from NOAA and the University of Wisconsin at Madison just released a study that found climate change is causing more intense and dangerous hurricanes. Their research indicates that the likelihood of a tropical cyclone becoming a Category 3 or stronger storm has increased 8% per decade as a result of climate change.

This news comes on the heels of several record-breaking hurricane seasons. It is a reminder of the urgent need to curb emissions to limit the worst impacts of climate change, while also working to build resilience to the changes we know are coming.

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CORSIA: Industry-sought rule change threatens aviation climate program

https://www.pexels.com/photo/silhouette-of-airplane-during-sunset-99567/

Silhouette of Airplane during Sunset. Pixels.com

The coronavirus pandemic has created a global health and economic crisis that has affected families all over the world and nearly all industries, with aviation taking a particularly steep toll.

Airlines may feel under pressure to save money at any cost, but hastily rewriting the fundamental structure of the industry’s flagship market-based program to address airline carbon emissions would be penny-wise and future-foolish.

In a new analysis by Environmental Defense Fund, we look at the implications of a rule rewrite sought by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) to the Carbon Offsetting and Reduction Scheme for International Aviation, or CORSIA.

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Posted in Aviation, Carbon Markets, International, United Nations / Comments are closed

The Trump administration’s air toxics loophole would intensify environmental injustice

One of the most disturbing aspects of the new coronavirus crisis is that people already struggling with underlying respiratory conditions seem to be at greater risk. This means that vulnerable communities already bearing the brunt of the health harms from dangerous pollution may suffer even more.

Yet the Trump administration has spent the last few weeks racing to roll back policies that safeguard the air we breathe. These rollbacks often impact vulnerable communities the most as well.

One such roll back is the proposed air toxics loophole, which would allow thousands of large industrial facilities nationwide to evade pollution controls and emit more toxic air pollution. In a previous post, we presented analysis of EPA’s own data indicating that the loophole could lead to an increase in emissions of hazardous air pollutants like benzene and mercury by over 49 million pounds across 48 states. We’ve now done further analysis and found that the facilities likely to increase toxic air pollution under this loophole are disproportionately located in vulnerable communities – leading to increased exposure to these dangerous pollutants for primarily minority and low-income neighborhoods.

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Posted in Cities and states, Clean Air Act, Health, Policy / Comments are closed

Power company commitments to cut carbon pollution are an important step for our climate and health. Here’s what we need next.

Arizona’s largest utility, Arizona Public Service, has joined over a dozen other power companies across the U.S. that have committed to delivering 100% carbon-free electricity by 2050. These commitments, which add to momentum for ambitious climate action and would significantly reduce health-harming pollutants that contribute to soot and smog, are a key step in addressing one of our nation’s leading sources of climate pollution. They also highlight the types of action that will be required across all sectors of the U.S. economy to reach net-zero economy-wide carbon pollution by mid-century, a target guided by science and supported in recent bills introduced in the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives.

Not only do these commitments show strong federal policy is feasible, they underscore that the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle limits on carbon pollution from existing power plants ignore the most effective strategies for reducing pollution from the power sector. In fact, nine of the nation’s leading power companies recently submitted a brief in court opposing the Trump administration’s rollback for this very reason.

At the same time, these commitments by themselves are not enough. Due to the cost-effective pollution reduction opportunities in the power sector and the urgent need to reduce climate pollution by electrifying other sectors, even more ambitious near-term targets from power companies will be needed to achieve net-zero emissions economy-wide by 2050. In addition, commitments alone from power companies must be followed up with concrete actions that will achieve real reductions in carbon pollution – and reduce other harmful pollutants associated with premature death and respiratory illnesses.

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What the Coronavirus pandemic means for China’s national carbon market

This post is written by Hongming Liu, Project Manager for Carbon Pricing, and Xiaolu Zhao, Project Manager, both from EDF’s China program

Photo by form PxHere

Electricity transmission towers in China. Photo from PxHere.

COVID-19 pandemic has upended the global economy and peoples’ lives. The crisis has caused China’s central government to shift policy priorities to better address the health and economic fallout of the epidemic. It’s the right move and expected.

Prior to tragic spread of the coronavirus epidemic, China was preparing to roll out its national emission trading system (ETS) this year, according to The National Carbon Emission Trading Market Establishment Work plan (Power Generation Industry). Although initially covering only the power sector, which includes around 1,700 companies, the ETS will be the world’s largest carbon market. It will eventually cover 7,000 companies from heavy industries, like cement and steel. Its successful operation is key to China meeting its commitment under the Paris Agreement.

The pandemic will clearly have an impact on the pace and timing of the rollout, but the strong work done before the country shut down has put the ETS in a good position to avoid a prolonged delay.

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Posted in Carbon Markets, International / Comments are closed