COP18 kicks off in Qatar

This week, the 2012 UN Climate Change Conference kicks off in Doha, Qatar. The conference takes place from November 26th through December 7th and includes the 18th session of the Conference of the Parties to the UNFCCC (COP 18) and the 8th session of the Conference of the Parties serving as the Meeting of the Parties …

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Evidence Suggests Keystone XL Pipeline Likely to be Approved

"We are Greater Than Oil." Keystone XL Pipeline Protest at the White House, Washington, D.C., November 6, 2011. (Photograph by Emma Cassidy.)

No one knows how the Keystone XL pipeline extension controversy will play out during the current U.S. presidential election campaign, and whether it will lead to, or what role it might play in, a Democratic or Republican victory. Since the issue heated up last year, supporters of the Keystone XL pipeline – specifically, the proposed …

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Two steps forward, one step back…

Noosa Beach, Queensland.

As the Australian Federal government approaches the launch date for its carbon price, conservative state governments in Australia are rolling back their climate change mitigation programs. While parts of this policy recalibration makes sense under a national cap-and-trade scheme, other changes are a missed opportunity to take advantage of the opportunities of a low carbon …

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Can auctioning rescue the EU ETS market?

The challenges of auctioning pollution

Compared to earlier trading periods, Phase III of the EU ETS will see a marked reduction in the free allocation of emissions allowances to industrial installations, with a corresponding increase in auctioning levels. It is hoped that this shift will help redress the imbalance between the importance of the EU ETS in reducing emissions and …

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Australia and international offsets

Australia’s transition from a fixed-price carbon scheme to a full emissions trading scheme in 2015 will also mark the introduction of international carbon permits into the Australian market. This will allow Australian companies to use certified emission reductions such as the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM) to meet their carbon liabilities. In an attempt to balance …

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The new market in EU aviation allowances – trouble ahead?

EUAA trading should not be grounded

Trading in the latest type of carbon credit, EU aviation allowances (EUAAs), has begun despite remaining doubts as to the viability of the new market, which have been exacerbated by diplomatic turmoil. The requirement that all airlines, including non-EU operators, comply with the EU ETS has provoked resistance from a number of key countries. It …

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The Double-Edged Sword of Rare Earths

Rare earths mine, Xianjing, China, 2010. (Source: Flickr Creative Commons)

Recent news of German rare earths agreements with Kazakhstan and Mongolia, as well as slow progress on an Australian rare earths refinery in Malaysia, indicate that the West may finally be starting to break China’s hold on the industry. Since the early 1990s, China has been the world leader in rare earth metals mining. With …

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