US Senator launches lobby to push climate change policy

By Tierney Smith

– The day’s top climate change stories as chosen by RTCC
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Wednesday 12 December

Last updated: 1515

South Africa on the US: The US should budget its carbon emissions up until 2020 and provide more clarity on how it will lower these for the coming years, South African climate negotiator Alf Wills has told Bloomberg. In return, they should be allowed to access the carbon markets, despite not having a binding emissions reduction target. (Bloomberg)

Carbon Price: The price of UN carbon credits reached a record low of 15 cents having started the day on 31 cents. The dip in value of Emission Reduction Units (ERUs) has been attributed to three large owners selling en mass and tomorrow’s vote in the EU that could ban some companies from using the credits to meet obligations through the bloc’s Emissions Trading System (ETS). (PointCarbon)

US: ExxonMobil has given a potential US carbon tax  as a solution to avoiding the fiscal cliff a thumbs down. The company backs a “revenue neutral” tax that would see revenues either matched with cuts in levies elsewhere or returned to citizens in the form of a dividend. VP of Public and Government Affairs ken Cohen said: “If the policy objective is to raise revenue, it’s not on the table. If the policy objective is to put a cost on the use of carbon to discourage its use, then we believe that a revenue-neutral carbon tax should be very much on the table.” (Politico)

Aviation: Work will begin today at the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) to develop a mechanism to help airlines reduce their emissions. ICAO has until its general assembly in the Autumn, which only happens every three years, to come up with feasible suggestions. Earlier this year the EU withdrew international aviation from the list of sectors included in its own emission trading scheme on the condition that a global system was in place by 2013.

UK: The row over “fracking” for shale gas stepped up a notch in the UK as industry experts, environmentalists and even the Prime Minister David Cameron gave evidence to a committee of MPs yesterday. Cameron backed the controversial method of gas extraction. NGOs said the practice, which results in the leaking of methane, the quantity if which is up for debate, is incompatible with the country’s emission reduction targets. Environmentalists are also concerned that a surge in domestic gas production would derail the pursuit of renewables. (The Independent)

US: Senator Barbara Boxer, chairperson of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee announced she will form a “climate change caucus”. Boxer says Hurricane Sandy has shifted the debate in the US. “I am going to form a climate change caucus, because people are coming up to me, they really want to get into this. I think Sandy changed a lot of minds,” Boxer told reporters in Washington DC. The move could signal a renewed push from Democrats on climate change legislation. (The Hill)

Olympics: The London 2012 Olympics produced 28% fewer greenhouse gas emissions than forecast. The most significant savings were from reduced energy use. The organisers had promised that London 2012 would be the greenest games ever and have succeeded in surpassing the stringent targets that they set for themselves. (Reuters)


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