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The Conoco Phillips refinery in Rodeo, Calif. (Getty Images)

A free-market auction has established a price for pollution in California: for each metric ton of carbon dioxide emitted, businesses, utilities and industries that bought allowances last week will pay just $10.09.

The results of the first auction, announced on Monday, came as both a relief and a bit of a disappointment, although state officials put the best face of it. In a statement, Mary D. Nichols, chairwoman of the California Air Resources Board, said, the auction was “a success and an important milestone for California as a leader in the global clean-tech market.” She added, “By putting a price on carbon, we can break our unhealthy dependence on fossil fuels.”

Among traders and regulators, there was relief that all of the 23.1 million allowances covering 2013 emissions that were up for auction were sold. The number of bids exceeded the total allowances by about 3 to 1. Polluters do not have to submit the allowances to cover their emissions until November 2014.

“Given the lack of short-term requirements to purchase anything, I would say market participants that we spoke to were surprised that the full volume cleared and that it was three times oversubscribed,” said Lenny Hochschild, the managing director of global carbon markets for the advisory and brokerage firm Evolution Markets.

And Thad Huetteman, the president of Power and Energy Analytic Resources, said: “It closed close to the minimum, but clearly there was demand for the allowances. Since we defeated that expectation — that the market would be undersubscribed — that caused a sigh of relief.”

But some analysts had expected a higher final price — at least between $11 and $12, not a bare nine cents above the $10 floor.

Mr. Hochschild suggested that the outstanding legal challenges to the cap and trade program, one of which was filed by the Chamber of Commerce on the eve of the Nov. 14 auction, made investors skittish about the program’s long-term viability and thus depressed the price.

While proponents of the new market feel that it will become more robust once financial firms actively take part, the overwhelming majority — 97 percent — of the allowances sold in California’s first auction went to what the air regulators refer to as “compliance entities” — the companies that must account for their greenhouse gas emissions.

Most of the nearly $300 million in auction proceeds is likely go back to investor-owned utilities in the state like Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric Company, to be directed back to their customers. On Friday, the California Public Utilities Commission announced a proposed division of these spoils: 85 percent to households, which would receive a “climate dividend” of $30 on their bills twice a year; 10 percent to small businesses; and 5 percent to help industries whose out-of-state competitors do not have to pay for the pollution they generate.

On the other side of the country, the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, a coalition of Northeastern states that has imposed a cap and trade system on the electric utility sector, has so far had 17 auctions of emissions permits. The administrator for that program recently told Point Carbon that the system has lowered electricity bills overall in the Northeast by $1.3 billion since 2009.

In the first eight RGGI (pronounced reggie) auctions, the subscription of current permits sold out. But that has only happened once more in the ensuing nine auctions held since the fall of 2010. The clearing price for an allowance after the most recent auction was $1.93.


All 23.1 million allowances in California’s first cap and trade auction found buyers. (California Air Resources Board)

Author: Felicity Barringer
Source: The New York Times
Original: http://goo.gl/cx9sk


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Average Chinese person’s carbon footprint now equals European’s. The per capita emissions of the world’s largest national emitter is almost on a par with the European average, new figures show.


China became the largest national emitter of CO2 in 2006, though its emissions per person have always been lower than those in developed countries such as Europe. Photograph: Carlos Barria/Reuters

The average Chinese person’s carbon footprint is now almost on a par with the average European’s, figures released on Wednesday reveal.

China became the largest national emitter of CO2 in 2006, though its emissions per person have always been lower than those in developed countries such as Europe.

But today’s report, which only covers emissions from energy, by the PBL Netherlands Environmental Assessment Agency and the European commission’s Joint Research Centre (JRC) show that per capita emissions in China increased by 9% in 2011 to reach 7.2 tonnes per person, only a fraction lower than the EU average of 7.5 tonnes.

The figure for the US is still much higher – at 17.3 tonnes – though total Chinese CO2 emissions are now around 80% higher than those of America. This widening gap reflects a 9% increase in total emissions in China in 2011, driven mainly by rising coal use, compared with a 2% decline in the US.

Total emissions in Europe and Japan also fell last year, by 3% and 2% respectively. But emissions rose across much of the developing world, including India, which saw a 6% increase. As a result, OECD nations now account for only around a third of the global total.

The figures published on Wednesday – like most official data on carbon emissions – are based on where fossil fuels are burned. A recent UK select committee report argued that it was also important to consider the import and export of goods when considering national responsibility for climate change. This would affect today’s data, because previous studies have suggested that almost a fifth of Chinese emissions are caused by the production of goods for export.

In addition, the new county data exclude international travel, which accounts for 3% of the global total and is likely to be heavily weighted towards richer countries. Non-CO2 greenhouse gases such as methane and nitrous oxide are also excluded.

For these reasons, the total carbon footprint of the average European most likely remains substantially higher than that of the average Chinese person. In addition, Europe, the US and other developed countries have contributed a disproportionate share of the historical emissions that have caused the warming to date and will remain in the atmosphere for decades or centuries to come.

But a recent study showed that even when imports and international travel are taken into account, the developed world now accounts for less than half of current global emissions. Moreover, China’s emissions may be even higher than reported today according to another study showing that the country’s official energy statistics were as much as 20% lower than they should be.

Owing to factors such as these, precise national emissions figures will remain the subject of debate. Globally, however, the picture is clear. Total emissions from fossil fuels and cement increased by 3%, leaving global emissions at a record 34bn tonnes of CO2. That is less than the rise in 2010, when emissions shot up by 5% as the world economy bounced back from recession, but higher than the average annual increase for the past decade, which stands at 2.7%. This suggests that efforts to curb global emissions have so far failed to make any impact.

The continued steep rise in global carbon emissions will make it even more difficult for the world’s nations to fulfil their stated aim of limiting temperature rise to 2C, considered a danger threshold after which the risks of irreversible climate change increase.

According to the report, if global emissions continue on their current trend, the world will commit itself to 2C of warming within two decades.

Author: Duncan Clark
Source: The Guardian
Original: http://goo.gl/LBDrF


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Administradores do estado de Nova Iorque adotaram na quinta-feira limites, mais rígidos dos que as propostas em nível federal, sobre as emissões de dióxido de carbono de usinas de energia novas e ampliações, tornando quase impossível a construção de novas unidades.

Não existem usinas a carvão sendo desenvolvidas em Nova Iorque, que atualmente abriga cerca de duas dúzias delas, algumas muito antigas, pequenas e raramente ativadas, capazes de gerar cerca de 2,8 mil megawatts (MW) de energia.

“Ao evitar novas fontes de energia intensas em carbono, este padrão de desempenho servirá para minimizar ainda mais a contribuição do setor de energia às mudanças climáticas, que impõe uma ameaça substancial à saúde pública e ao meio ambiente”, comentou Joseph Martens, comissário de Conservação Ambiental do Departamento de Estado de Nova Iorque.

A nova regra, que entra em vigor em 12 julho, estabelece um limite de CO2 de 925 lbs por MWh para grande parte das instalações novas e ampliadas de usinas movidas a combustíveis fósseis, e um teto de 1.450 lbs/MWh para turbinas a combustão de ciclo simples. Um megawatt pode fornecer energia para cerca de 1 mil residências.

Analistas do setor de energia disseram que as usinas a carvão produzem mais de 1000 lbs/MWh de CO2, portanto, as regras evitariam a construção de novas unidades a menos que elas tenham sistemas de captura e armazenamento de carbono instalados.

As usinas de base, que historicamente foram supridas por carvão e fontes nucleares, geralmente operam 24 horas por dia, sete dias por semana. As turbinas de ciclo simples a gás natural geralmente operam durante o verão e picos de inverno.

Mas com os preços do gás natural em baixa, muitas companhias optaram pelas unidades de ciclo combinado a gás para geração de energia ao invés do carvão.

Após a proposição da regulamentação em janeiro pelo estado de Nova Iorque, a Agência de Proteção Ambiental (EPA, em inglês) dos Estados Unidos também sugeriu o ‘padrão de desempenho para novas fontes de CO2’ em nível federal, submisso ao Clean Air Act. A iniciativa da EPA contem um padrão inicial de 1000 lbs/MWh para as emissões de CO2.

As maiores usinas a carvão de nova Iorque são de propriedade da NRG Energy Inc, que está buscando reenergizar suas unidades. As outras, da AES Corp e Dynegy Inc, estão envolvidas em processos de falência.

Traduzido por Fernanda B. Muller, Instituto CarbonoBrasil

Autor: Scott DiSavino
Fonte: Reuters
Original: http://goo.gl/WhfRd


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IT WAS MEANT TO BE one of the key planks of the government’s carbon policy – a floor price of $15 when emissions trading starts in 2015.


The price of carbon needs to be high enough to encourage businesses to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions. Credit: Ilya Naymushin (Reuters)

But Federal Labor is now secretly negotiating to dump – or dramatically rejig – the proposed three year floor price.
Three separate sources have confirmed for Radio National Breakfast that the government wants to walk away from the price floor.

One said that negotiations are at “a pretty sensitive stage”.

Crossbench MP Rob Oakeshott said two months ago that he wanted to abandon the floor price.

He said yesterday: “There are rights and wrongs on both sides of this argument. In the end, what I am interested in is how we can get full bang for our buck in regards market confidence, how we can get bi-partisanship built into the Australian emissions trading scheme, and how we can link internationally as soon as possible.

“I am watching closely and listening closely to where a carbon floor price may be working against market confidence rather than for it, and where it may be working against international linking, rather than for it.”

Despite the passing of the original Clean Energy Act in November 2011, it’s now understood that to impose a price floor, new regulations need final sign off by both houses of parliament. So is it a dead duck?

Rob Oakeshott is not sure. “Not necessarily. I think we are still having a conversation amongst friends of an emissions trading scheme rather than any attempt to rip apart emissions trading in Australia or cause political trouble.”

What’s not widely known is that the government has hit a ‘perfect storm’ in trying to nut out the practicalities of delivering a floor price on carbon once trading starts. And it’s not just because business is lobbying furiously to ditch it. In fact, in some ways it’s hard to believe that last year Labor ever agreed to implement one.

It was opposed by Treasury, and the Department of Climate Change – and still is. But the real problem for the government at the moment is what’s called “international linkage” – Australia trading its carbon credits with the rest of the world. Put simply, these markets just don’t like a floor price.

Rob Fowler is the representative for Australia and New Zealand from the International Emissions Trading Association. “There is a really practical challenge in trying to impose a floor price on an internationally traded commodity. The units that are included in the Australian mechanism are often traded overseas, there are many people who own them or trade them on a daily basis. So for Australia to provide a floor price on those units is very difficult from a practical perspective.”

So does this mean Australia can’t impose a floor price on what is an internationally traded commodity?

Rob Fowler: “It’s very complex, it involves a lot more intervention in particular companies activities than what most people like in Australia and so imposing some sort of floor price there is very difficult. There is however the opportunity to impose some form of reserve pricing on the options for domestic units. And that could have a similar impact while not creating the challenges of an international floor price.”

Richard Denniss, an economist with the Australia Institute, says a two-tiered system – domestic credits with a price floor and international credits at a floating price – is fraught.

“It’s going to make the scheme even more complex, administratively and economically, rather than people being able to swap permits that they don’t need with someone who does need them, if there are two classes of permits floating around the market is not going to work as efficiently, so I hate to say it but I think the scheme is turning into a bit of a Frankenstein.”

But Rob Fowler has let the cat out of the bag. He says in 2015, Australia will have different prices for domestic and overseas credits.

“There is an opportunity to be more sophisticated about splitting those two. At the moment we expect that in 2015 if the current policy settings are maintained, we’ll see dual price in the Australian market, with international units trading one way and domestic units trading at a different level.”

Richard Denniss says one of the problems with a $15 floor price is that it’s never been clear what it was meant to deliver. “A price floor can work, but a price of $15 in this instance isn’t going to deliver [greenhouse gas abatement] for the environment and it’s not actually going to lead to more renewable being built … wind or solar. If $29 doesn’t encourage solar, $15 certainly won’t.”

What’s not clear at this stage is why – after digging in their heels initially on a floor price – the Greens may be open to changing their mind.

The speculation is that they will demand a deal to fix the problem with the 2020 Renewable Energy Target of 20 per cent overlapping as it does with the new Clean Energy Finance Corporation.

Renewable energy credits – or RECs – from the Corporation’s $10 billion war chest threaten to further flood the REC market, keeping prices low and making it harder to get up ambitious projects that the Greens want to see, such as big solar. For example, the problem helped contribute to the recent collapse of the $1.2 billion Solar Dawn project near Chinchilla in Queensland.

The EU doesn’t have a price floor, and there’s been considerable debate about the need for one.

Last year, the UK Government announced a carbon price floor of £16 per tonne of carbon dioxide in 2013, rising to £30 by 2020 in 2009 prices. The Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne said last year that the aim of the UK carbon price floor is to provide a stronger, more certain carbon price for investors in the face of the weakness and volatility of prices in the EU ETS.

John Connor, CEO of the Climate Institute, said a price floor was emerging as international best practice – California already has one, and China is considering it, with the International Monetary Fund recommending it. Connor says that business who see the opportunities in low- and zero-carbon technologies also support it, including the Investor Group on Climate Change (IGCC) and energy companies like AGL.

Author: Gregg Borschmann
Source: ABC Environment
Original: http://goo.gl/qxNxI


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Os dados referentes às emissões mundiais do setor de energia em 2010, último ano com números consolidados, já eram ruins, com a Agência Internacional de Energia (AIE) estimando que 30,6 gigatoneladas (Gt) de gases do efeito estufa haviam sido liberados na atmosfera, um recorde histórico.

Agora, a Administração de Informação sobre Energia dos Estados Unidos (EIA, em inglês) divulgou que as emissões teriam sido ainda maiores, alcançando as 31,8 Gt. Trata-se de um aumento de 48% em relação aos dados de 1992, quando foi realizada a Eco92 no Rio de Janeiro.

De acordo a EIA, as emissões norte-americanas voltaram a crescer, depois de uma breve queda entre 2008 e 2009 por causa da crise financeira. Os EUA teriam sido responsáveis por liberar 5,6 Gt na atmosfera.

Porém, a entidade aponta a China como a grande responsável pelo aumento nas emissões globais. O país ocupa o topo do ranking tendo emitido 8,3 Gt, um crescimento de 15,5% em relação a 2009 e mais de 240% desde 1992.

As informações da EIA sobre a China confirmariam a suspeita de que o país estaria emitindo muito mais do que reconhece oficialmente. No começo deste mês, uma pesquisa publicada na Nature Climate Change afirmou que a quantidade de dióxido de carbono sendo liberada pela China poderia ser 1,4 bilhão de toneladas maior do que o anunciado.

Pelo ranking da EIA, o Brasil aparece em 13º, com a emissão de 454 milhões de toneladas métricas em 2010.

Imagem: Infográfico do jornal britânico The Guardian, elaborado com base no levantamento da Administração de Informação sobre Energia dos Estados Unidos.

Autor: Fabiano Ávila
Fonte: Instituto CarbonoBrasil
Original: http://goo.gl/YZyHg


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Coal and oil contain far less carbon-14 than is contained in the CO2 produced by life today

Researchers have demonstrated a way of distinguishing between carbon dioxide in the air coming from fossil fuel burning and that from natural sources.

It measures one type, or isotope, of carbon that decays over time – long since gone from fossil fuels.

As explained in the Journal of Geophysical Research, the method may prove useful in CO2 monitoring efforts.

However, experts say that the approach must be calibrated against existing carbon-measuring techniques.

The research was led by scientists from the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s Earth System Research Laboratory in the US, who studied six years’ worth of atmospheric sampling data gathered by aircraft over two sites in the northeastern US.

The team focused on the rare isotope carbon-14, which is constantly produced in tiny amounts in the atmosphere when cosmic rays hit nitrogen atoms, and which decays away over thousands of years.

Buried away for millions of years underground, fossil fuels contain virtually no carbon-14; and neither does the CO2 emitted when the fuels burn.

But CO2 coming from plants does contain carbon-14.

That difference that showed up in the team’s atmospheric samples as a ratio of natural, “biogenic” CO2 to fossil fuel CO2.

The trick could complement existing carbon accounting methods used to monitor how much CO2 countries and regions are producing, principal among them the self-reporting of fossil fuel usage.

“While the accounting-based approach is probably accurate at global scales, the uncertainties rise for smaller-scale regions,” said the Earth System Research Laboratory’s John Miller, lead author of the study.

“And as CO2 emissions targets become more widespread, there may be a greater temptation to under-report. But we’ll be able to see through that.”

However, the method may not stretch down to a level of geographic detail that is increasingly important for single CO2 sources such as power plants.

“Other types of physical measurement (of CO2 levels) are being driven by emissions trading, and I’m not sure how far this would be able to extend to application at the individual site and installation level,” said Jane Burston, head of the Centre for Carbon Measurement at the UK’s National Physical Laboratory.

The centre’s head of emissions Rod Robinson explained that much work needs to be done to validate the assumptions of the method and ensure it gives similar quality results as existing physical and accounting measurements.

Nevertheless, Ms Burston said the method would be a valuable tool in the quest to understand fully how carbon is released and distributed.

“For things like CO2 concentration in the atmosphere, the best way of going about it is just getting as many measurements as you can from the ground, from the atmosphere, and from satellites,” she told BBC News.

“The more measurements we have from different sources, the more accurate we can make them all.”

Source: BBC
Original: http://bbc.in/HY7Mku


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Custo de controle de emissão de CO2 será cobrado pela Lufthansa. Objetivo é combater mudanças climáticas com redução de poluentes.

A companhia aérea alemã Lufthansa vai repassar aos clientes cerca 130 milhões de euros (R$ 314,3 milhões) referente aos custos de permissão para emitir carbono, cumprindo as regras do novo regime do comércio de emissões da União Europeia.

A maior empresa do setor na Europa disse nesta segunda-feira (2) que vai adicionar o custo do programa à sobretaxa de combustível, se tornando a primeira companhia a dar detalhes de como planeja lidar com esta responsabilidade ambiental.

“Em face da intensiva competição, especialmente de companhias de países não europeus, cuja produção está sujeita a comércio de emissões somente a uma pequena escala, a Lufthansa terá que passar a carga via preços de passagem, como sugerido pela União Europeia”, disse em comunicado.

No entanto, no curto prazo, a aérea não aumentará as existentes sobretaxas, que já sofreream aumento no mês passado – de cerca de 102 euros para 122 euros por trecho para voos intercontinentais e para 31 euros para voos domésticos e europeus – apesar de ter dito na época que a inflação dos valores ocorreu somente para cobrir maiores custos de combustível.


A companhia aérea alemã Lufthansa, a maior da Europa, vai sobretaxar passagens para compensar emissões de CO2 (Fotografia: Reuters)

Mercado de carbono

A partir deste ano, todas as companhias aéreas que chegarem ou saírem da União Europeia terão que acertar as contas pelas emissões de CO2, como parte de uma expansão do maior mercado de carbono do mundo.

As empresas e suas associações hesitaram ao regime e até o desafiaram na Justiça, dizendo que o imposto ambiental tributaria uma indústria que já está sobrecarregada com crescentes preços de combustível, feroz competição e taxas nacionais.

A Associação Internacional de Transporte Aéreo (Iata) estima que o custo anual geral para a indústria, resultado do novo regime de emissões, aumente para 2,8 bilhões de euros até 2020, cerca de 900 milhões de euros apenas neste ano.

Polêmica

A mais alta Corte de Justiça da Europa apoiou o novo regime ambiental no mês passado, significando que todas as companhias terão que pagar pelas permissões de emissão, causando irritação de países como Estados Unidos e China.

A Lufthansa, que disse no passado que a competição era muito árdua para as companhias aéreas repassarem os custos aos clientes, e que precisaria comprar 35% das permissões necessárias para 2012.


Avião levanta voo do aeroporto de Genebra, na Suíça. (Fotografia: AFP)

Fonte: Reuters / Globo
Original: http://glo.bo/ugbwuO


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