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Reproduced from IEA; Chart: Axios Visuals

A new International Energy Agency report highlights one big challenge facing China as the world's largest CO2 emitter begins implementing its national emissions trading system: The country's coal fleet is very young.

Why it matters: IEA's analysis this week warns that while newer facilities are far more efficient than older models, the average plant age "potentially locks in large amounts of CO2 emissions" for decades.

  • "More than 88% of CO2 emissions from coal-fired power plants in 2018 came from plants less than 20 years old," they find.

Threat level: The policy recommendations warn that the current design of the trading system’s allotment of emissions permits could hinder its effectiveness (in part due to large surpluses). It also says that eventual expansion of the system beyond coal- and gas-fired power will be important.

The big picture: "Entities can receive surplus allowances for their supercritical and ultra-supercritical [coal] plants, but currently receive no surplus by investing in low-carbon power technologies such as renewables," IEA notes.

  • "This situation may even have the perverse outcome of making the most efficient coal power plant more economically competitive than renewables."

Go deeper

Ben Geman, author of Generate
Oct 7, 2020 - Energy & Environment

Unpacking JPMorgan's new climate plan

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

JPMorgan Chase said late Tuesday that it will "align its financing activities" with the goals of the Paris Agreement.

Why it matters: JPMorgan is the country's largest bank and, as the Wall Street Journal notes, holds "considerable sway in boardrooms around the globe." It's also the banking sector's largest financier of fossil fuels, per an analysis from several environmental groups of lending and underwriting.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

First look: The LCV's $4M ad buy

A screenshot from a new League of Conservation Voters ad supporting Rep. Stephanie Murphy.

The League of Conservation Voters and Climate Power are aiming another $4 million worth of ads at centrist House Democrats, urging them to support the climate provisions in President Biden’s $3.5 trillion budget reconciliation package, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: Progressive groups are trying to counter the onslaught of conservative money pouring into swing districts. Both sides are trying to define Biden’s Build Back Better Agenda and pressure lawmakers to support — or oppose — the legislation scheduled for a vote in the House this week.

4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Shutdown Plan B

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

The Senate will hold a futile vote Monday night — just 72 hours before a potential shutdown — on a House-passed bill to fund the government through Dec. 3 and raise the debt limit.

Why it matters: The bill is going to fail. Period. But then comes Plan B: A "clean" continuing resolution — stripped of language about raising the debt limit — that Democrats spent the past week preparing, Axios is told.