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China: Slowdown threatens 2017 carbon market deadline & commodity stock slump

The slowing Chinese economy looks likely to undermine President Xi Jinping’s plans to introduce a nationwide carbon market by 2017, reports Bloomberg. There are already seven pilot programs running across the country. A continuing drop in carbon emissions would add risk to a carbon market based on previously inflated projections, said Lauri Myllyvirta.

Energy and raw-material companies slumped amid mounting concern that China’s faltering economy will weaken demand for commodity imports, and the Bloomberg Commodity Index is headed for its worst slump since the 2008 financial crisis.

Coal sell-offs: Rio Tinto & possible New York pensions divestment

Rio Tinto is selling its 40% stake in the Bengalla thermal coal mine in Australia for $606m to focus on more profitable commodities. Some analysts see this as an attempt to exit the struggling coal industry.

Meanwhile New York City’s mayor Bill de Blasio has called on the city’s $160 billion public pension funds to dump their investments in coal companies and reconsider investments in other fossil fuels as he pushes a clean energy agenda for the city.

Climate change risks global stability, BofE governor tells Lloyds insurers

The governor of the Bank of England Mark Carney warned that climate change poses huge risks to financial stability. Speaking to Lloyds, the world’s largest insurance market, he said that physical and financial costs would jump due to the rapid increase in weather-related catastrophes.

The world’s leading countries should do more to ensure their companies come clean about their current and future carbon emissions, he said – and highlighted the risk insurers were particularly exposed to.

In perhaps related news, Pilita Clark in the FT overviews the VW emissions scandalasking how Europe’s governments could have got their policies so wrong.

UK Labour Party conference: “Democratising” energy, the Green New Deal, attack on fracking

Meanwhile in the UK the opposition Labour Party have delivered their main energy and climate-related conference speeches. The shadow energy secretary Lisa Nandyvowed to end “dangerous” foreign investment in the nation’s power supply, hinting that promises to Chinese companies over UK nuclear plants would threaten the country’s economy.

She also used her speech to lay down plans to “democratise” energy – rather than nationalising the Big Six energy companies as leader Jeremy Corbyn proposed (in an interview with ourselves no less) during the leadership race. (The news comes, perhaps fittingly, as shares go on sale for Britain’s potential largest solar energy project in Edinburgh.)

Also at the conference, Labour leader Corbyn proposed a Green New Deal to make the UK “part of an international movement to cut emissions and pollution”, and Kerry McCarthy, shadow secretary for environment, food and rural affairs promised a fight against fracking – citing broken promises from government on extracting shale gas in water protection zones and sites of special scientific interest.