Climate 411

COP 24: Transparency, ambition and carbon markets on the Paris rulebook agenda in Katowice

See EDF’s COP 24 materials and meet our Katowice team at edf.org/cop24.

COP 24 Opening Plenary in Katowice, Poland. Flickr/ UNclimatechange

As the world’s leading climate scientists made clear in a recent special report, we are in the race of our lives against climate change, and we need to move faster. The Paris Agreement’s rapid entry into force in 2016 broke records, but records are also being broken outside of the UN that emphasize the urgency of action: record wildfires, record temperatures, record storms, record levels of carbon in the atmosphere.

So the stakes are high in Katowice, Poland, as countries meet to finalize the operating manual for the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change. In 2016, countries set themselves a deadline of this year to complete their task. Once agreed, the Paris “rulebook” will guide them in their efforts to implement the Agreement, including how countries will measure, report and hold each other accountable to their Paris commitments.

Two interrelated issues will be particularly important for the rulebook discussions in Katowice.

First is how to operationalize the Paris Agreement’s transparency system; transparency is vital to strengthening ambition and to the success of the agreement itself.

Second is how that transparency system should link to a new framework for international carbon market cooperation designed to spur the deeper emissions cuts that climate science demands. Read More »

Posted in Carbon Markets, Paris Agreement, United Nations / Leave a comment

Forests could be a hot topic at COP 24 despite not being on the agenda

Tanew River in Poland. Jozef Babij, Flickr.

Katowice, Poland was an odd location to pick for this year’s UNFCCC Conference of Parties (COP 24). The city is small and its ambiance may not be very conducive for climate negotiations (it is frigid, dark, and shrouded with coal smog in December). Yet this is where the important task of finalizing the rules of the Paris Agreement will take place. And while not directly on the negotiations agenda, it will be an important venue for discussion on forest policy and actions being taken in the sector.

In 2017, progress on forest protection was mixed, according to the New York Declaration on Forests’ annual assessment. For example, forest loss significantly decreased in Indonesia, but increased in Brazil. One of its more tragic findings is that more indigenous leaders and forest protectors are being murdered while trying to protect their forests and lands.

How forests are to be covered at COP 24
While forests will not directly be negotiated in Katowice, the negotiation tracks for market mechanisms, transparency, and guidance for constructing Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC) will affect forests. Conserving forests requires that we use all financial resources possible – public, market, and non-market.

Read More »

Posted in Forest protection, Paris Agreement, REDD+, United Nations / Read 1 Response

Full compliance, declining emissions, robust auction: It’s November in California’s cap-and-trade program

This post was co-authored by Maureen Lackner

Golden Gate Bridge Shutterstock

Golden Gate Bridge. © CAN BALCIOGLU / Shutterstock Images.

Today’s strong California-Quebec November 2018 carbon market auction results are the continuation of a month of good news about California’s landmark climate program. Cap-and-trade compliance is at 100% and emissions are falling, demonstrating that addressing climate change is an integral part of doing business in the Golden State.

November’s auction by the numbers

  • All 78,825,717 current allowances sold, clearing at $15.31, 78 cents above the $14.53 price floor and 26 cents above the August auction. This is the final auction before the floor price has its annual increase.
  • All of the 9,401,500 future vintage allowances offered sold at $15.33, 43 cents higher than in August. The current floor price of $14.53 will also increase for future allowances in the next auction.
  • An estimated $813,013,694 was raised for California’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund, which will go to support climate investments across the state and further reduce greenhouse gas and local air pollution.

California’s market is strong & confidence is high

One critical data point showing the strength of this market is that the California Air Resources Board (CARB) reported 100% compliance from all entities covered by cap and trade for the three-year compliance period from 2015 to 2017. California businesses understand the program and know how to make it part of their business plan.

At the same time, greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions are falling, which is the key metric of program success. Read More »

Posted in California, Carbon Markets / Comments are closed

Climate scare tactics won’t work in California

Some polluters and their allies are rolling out an old and tired playbook in Sacramento. California is ahead of schedule in curbing climate pollution and the economy is booming. Yet alarmism persists. These latest scare tactics are focused on one particular provision of the state’s cap-and-trade program: the level of the “price ceiling”. The price ceiling is an emergency provision that is intended to ensure that prices polluters have to pay per ton of pollution don’t reach above unexpectedly high levels.

The California Air Resources Board (CARB) is currently working to update the cap-and-trade program based on direction the Legislature gave in 2017 to extend it out to 2030. CARB will consider proposed amendments to the program today with passage of the amendments expected after a second consideration in January.

The future of climate action in California is optimism and transformation, not fear and anger

Those who look only at doomsday scenarios are mixing farfetched fearmongering with a dose of outrage by boiling this complex policy decision down to an oversimplified estimate of how much Californians might have to pay in the worst possible scenario in 2030. But fear and anger aren’t what California is about (whatever your political leanings). California is transforming its economy to a cleaner and more prosperous version of itself. After the great recession the economy recovered and grew, but carbon pollution did not.

Read More »

Posted in California, Carbon Markets / Comments are closed

Four reasons why the California Air Resources Board should endorse the California Tropical Forest Standard

Tropical forests are key to halting global climate change. Destruction of these forests releases 14 to 19 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions each year, more than the emissions from all the world’s cars, trucks, and ships combined. Tropical forests also house an astounding array of plants and animals and provide livelihoods and the backbone of culture for indigenous and forest people around the world.

That’s why California’s proposed Tropical Forest Standard (TFS) is so important. It sets up a framework for carbon markets to credit greenhouse gas emission reductions to incentivize the protection of tropical forests, and sets the highest bar for social and environmental safeguards seen to date.

California is known as a global climate leader, but the most significant step the state can take right now is to endorse the Tropical Forest Standard to help avert climate catastrophe, protect biodiversity, and support the indigenous communities who depend on tropical forests. Watch the video "California and the Amazon are more interconnected than you might think."

We have a great opportunity to move the needle on tropical deforestation

The TFS would demonstrate what the state views as a legitimate standard by which to gauge any jurisdiction’s forest carbon program, and the emission reduction credits they could achieve for compliance carbon markets. It also lays out key elements that California would require of any program to consider in a potential future linkage.

The TFS sends the critical signal: think big, address emissions at a large scale, and develop partnerships with communities to ensure that the program provides benefits to those who are managing and protecting the forests. Now is an important time to influence other carbon markets as well as jurisdictions that are designing programs to address forest emissions.

Read More »

Posted in California, Forest protection / Comments are closed

Colorado Decides Whether to Adopt State Clean Car Standards – Here’s What You Should Know

This post was co-authored by EDF legal fellow Laura Shields.

Colorado will decide this week whether to join 13 other states and implement protective state clean car standards.

The Colorado Air Quality Control Commission will hold public meetings tomorrow and Friday – and then they’ll vote on whether the Centennial State will adopt standards to protect people from climate pollution and other dangerous pollution from cars.

The proposed standards follow current Governor John Hickenlooper’s executive order directing the state Air Pollution Control Division to establish a clean car program. Newly elected Governor Jared Polis has also expressed his strong support for the state clean car standards.

Here are a few more things you should know before this week’s vote:

Colorado can drive health, environmental and economic protections forward – while the Trump administration takes the nation in reverse

State leadership on climate security and public health initiatives has never been more important.

The Trump administration has proposed to roll back our national Clean Car Standards, but Colorado’s adoption of state clean car standards will protect important environmental and economic benefits in the state.

In joining the coalition of states that have adopted more protective programs, Colorado can also help other states take up state clean car standards, thus catalyzing the important leadership of states all across the country who are protecting climate and clean air safeguards in the wake of damaging Trump administration rollbacks.

The coalition of states implementing state clean car standards currently covers more than a third of the new car market. As this coalition grows, states can ensure the health, environmental, and economic benefits of cleaner cars for their residents even in the absence of a protective national program.

State clean car standards will secure significant air pollution reductions in Colorado

EDF analysis indicates that Colorado’s adoption of the state clean car standards will bring significant climate and health benefits to the state, securing statewide climate pollution reductions of more two million metric tons annually in 2030, and more than four million metric tons annually in 2040.

The standards will also  secure important reductions in smog-forming volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides. Smog causes serious health problems, including asthma attacks, long-term lung damage, and premature death.

The Regional Air Quality Council, which is responsible for air quality planning in the Denver Metro–North Front Range region, voiced strong support for Colorado’s adoption of clean car standards to guard against impacts of the Trump administration’s proposed national Clean Cars rollback, saying:

“Any increase in future automobile emissions that impact local air quality and/or our climate is unacceptable.”

Colorado’s adoption of state clean car standards will also move the state closer to achieving its climate pollution reduction goals, which is now more important than ever.

State clean car standards will bring massive cost savings to all Coloradans 

Colorado’s adoption of the state clean car standards will protect the fuel cost savings Coloradans would realize under the national Clean Car Standards.

An analysis by MJ Bradley & Associates shows that the average Colorado family could save more than $2,300 in net cost savings over the first six years of car ownership – or almost $400 each year – at the gas pump. The extensive fuel cost savings far offset increased technology costs.

Colorado’s lower-income families stand to gain even more from the state’s adoption of a state clean car program. Additional analysis shows that under the current national standards lower-income households save a higher percentage of their annual income compared to higher-income households. Adoption of the state clean car standards will protect these cost savings and ensure that Colorado’s lower-income families are not disproportionately impacted by the Trump administration’s damaging rollback.

Colorado clean car standards have broad support

Colorado’s proposed adoption of a state clean car program has received broad support from a diverse set of stakeholders.

A local government coalition of ten cities and counties – including the City and County of Denver, Jefferson County Public Health, the City of Fort Collins, and the County of Pueblo – has urged adoption of the standards:

“Many Colorado communities are already experiencing the impacts of a warming climate in the form of reduced snowpack, earlier snowmelt, increased risk of high-intensity wildfires and their associated air pollution, extreme weather events, and an increased number of ‘high heat’ days. Far from being a problem of the future, climate change is impacting Coloradans now in a number of ways … Continuing a clean car program that includes the most stringent reductions possible is critical to achieving Colorado’s climate commitments.”

The American Lung Association expressed strong support for Colorado’s adoption of state clean car standards in the face of the Trump administration’s proposed rollback:

“As the federal government takes steps to weaken our national vehicle emissions programs, adopting stronger vehicle standards provides assurances that our residents will be protected to the greatest extent possible under the Clean Air Act – even if the federal standards move backwards.”

A coalition of Colorado businesses commented in support of Colorado’s adoption of low-emission vehicle and zero-emission vehicle standards, noting the positive impact a state clean car program will have on the Colorado’s business community:

“[Electric vehicles] have lower maintenance costs and both [zero-emission vehicles] and [low-emissions vehicles] have lower fuel costs, reducing the risks associated with fuel cost and supply volatility. These savings benefit not just our bottom line, but also our commuting employees and customers.”

The Manufacturers of Emission Controls Association (MECA) applauded Colorado’s commitment to state clean car standards:

“MECA commends the Colorado [Air Quality Control Commission] for taking important steps through this proposed rulemaking to reduce criteria pollutant and greenhouse gas emissions from light-duty vehicles in the state.”

Colorado’s adoption of state clean car standards will bring immense benefits to residents of the state, and will position Colorado as a leader in implementing policies that improve climate security, protect human health, and save our families hard-earned money.

Posted in Cars and Pollution, Economics, Greenhouse Gas Emissions, News, Partners for Change, Policy / Comments are closed