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August 1st, 2010 Cap and Trade Newsletter


August 1st, 2010 Enerhope News Letter  

Tom Markowitz - Sunday, August 01, 2010

Welcome to Enerhope

Enerhope’s Cap and Trade Newsletter

August 1, 2010

…a summary and perspective on the previous month…

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China Moves to Cap and Trade
The most important cap and trade news of July, 2010, was that China, the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitter, will begin domestic carbon trading programs during its 12th Five-Year Plan period (2011-2015) to help it meet its 2020 carbon intensity target.

China has mostly relied on traditional “command and control” environmental regulations to realize its 20 percent energy intensity reduction target between 2006 and 2010. To that effect, the country's top 1,000 energy consumers have signed contracts with the central government to improve their energy efficiency.

But with rising domestic energy demand, command and control measures are too expensive for the country to meet its future energy conservation targets.

Cap and trade is regarded as a cost-effective supplement to command and control, in reducing carbon emissions.

Currently, the Chinese leaders are discussing whether the pilot carbon trade projects should start from a selected industry, or a certain area.

Possible sectors for piloting carbon trade projects include carbon-intensive industries such as coal-fired power generation.


US Senate Energy Bill Fails to Move
On July 22nd, the US Democratic administration abandoned its efforts to present a greenhouse gas cap and trade bill for USA power plants in the US Senate.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid was unable to assemble support from a minimum 60 senators, required to pass the bill and overcome a filibuster on the Senate floor.

Republican Senators and some Democratic Senators from fossil-fuel producing and consuming states voiced their opposition to the proposed bill.

The proposed bill for power plants followed the failure of a much larger energy bill, proposed by Senators Kerry and Lieberman, in April. (See Enerhope Forum Topic: Kerry-Lieberman, OK? Not OK?)

The failure of the proposed Senate bill strands the massive Waxman-Markey bill which was passed in the US House of Representatives in June, 2009. (See Enerhope Forum Topic: Whither USA?)

The Senate will recess from August 9th until September 10th, then into a hard-fought midterm election campaign, where 37 of the 100 Senate seats will be contested.


Western Climate Initiative Announcement
On July 27th, the Western Climate Initiative, a partnership of seven (western) US states and three Canadian provinces, published a detailed design for a regional greenhouse gas cap and trade system, to begin in January, 2012. The system will start with fossil-fuel electricity generating stations, and then extend to large industrial facilities and transportation. The design also includes offsets for emission reduction activities outside the capped facilities. The partnership has chosen to distribute allowances by auction.


The future of Australia’s emissions trading system is in some doubt, following the April 27th decision to suspend the system until at least 2013. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, the new Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, who replaced Kevin Rudd as Prime Minister on June 24th, will not commit to delivering an emissions trading scheme at any particular time, and perhaps not ever.


British Columbia
On July 28th, the Canadian province of British Columbia released the details of a proposed emissions trading regulation and an offsets regulation for greenhouse gases.

The public has 45 days to submit written comments on the proposed emissions trading system to British Columbia’s Climate Action Secretariat.

The Secretariat hopes that the regulations will be finalized by year’s end.

The proposed emissions trading system would cap 40 large industrial emitters.

British Columbia’s target for industries in 2020 is 15% below their 2005 total.


The Government of Japan announced that it will stop buying offsets (and allowances) from other countries to meet its greenhouse gas reduction targets and international obligations.

To meet its national target, the government intends to promote a domestic offsets system.


Sea Otters
Biologist Chris Wilmers, of the University of California, Santa Cruz, and his team, published a paper in The New Scientist, in which the team maintains that restoring the population of sea otters around the world’s coastlines would allow the return of massive kelp beds, storing 10 megatonnes of carbon. Sea otters consume sea urchins, which consume kelp. If the sea otters were encouraged to return, the sea urchin population would decline, allowing the kelp to return to former levels.



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