CP Daily: Friday April 20, 2018

Published 20:46 on April 20, 2018  /  Last updated at 20:46 on April 20, 2018  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

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TOP STORIES

Australian ministers agree to develop NEG policy package, but major issues remain unsolved

State energy ministers in Australia on Friday agreed to let the Energy Security Board continue work on the National Energy Guarantee (NEG), which would introduce a carbon price signal in the electricity sector, but remained concerned over the scheme’s weak climate ambition.

AMERICAS

ANALYSIS: Depoliticisation crucial to preserving cap-and-trade, safeguarding climate investments in Ontario

Ensuring that a change in the Ontario government this June will not lead to the province’s exit from the WCI carbon market will require separating the political elements of cap-and-trade from the pragmatic need to act on climate change, according to stakeholders.

When a carbon price of $100/t isn’t enough: California’s farming emissions dilemma

California faces many challenges in guaranteeing a carbon price to help livestock and dairy farmers struggling to cut emissions, despite having access to buyers willing to pay over $100/tonne for credits.

UPDATE – Lack of technical infrastructure hindering Ontario offset market investment, development

A lack of technical infrastructure and guidance from the Ontario government regarding its compliance offset programme is holding up the first investment and project submissions, according to stakeholders.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs falter on weaker auction for a 6.4% weekly loss

European carbon prices dropped heavily for the second straight session, as a weak auction and slumping power prices triggered selling in choppy trade.

EU member states near 90% completion rate for 2018 free allowance allocations

EU countries have now handed out nearly 90% of their allocations of free 2018 carbon allowances, data released late Friday showed.

DATA

CN Markets: Pilot market data for week ending Apr. 20, 2018

Below is a table of the closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week. All prices are in RMB, and volumes in tonnes of CO2e. Data sourced from local exchanges.

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CARBON FORWARD 2018

SAVE THE DATE: Carbon Forward 2018 – Survive and thrive in the global carbon markets

Don’t miss the 3rd annual Carbon Forward conference and training day – Oct. 16-18, 2018. Spend two days with top experts, players, and decision-makers from the global carbon markets as they address today’s most attractive opportunities and pressing challenges. And join us for the EU ETS pre-conference training day organised by carbon market experts Redshaw Advisors, where you will learn how to effectively manage your carbon risk ahead of the looming overhaul of the bloc’s emissions trading scheme.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Price check – Germany’s new environment minister Svenja Schulze has indicated support for a national price on carbon emissions. The Social Democrat told the daily energy and climate newsletter Tagesspiegel Background that a carbon price model needed to be “socially innovative” to ease the burden on poorer households, Clean Energy Wire reports. Schulze said a price for CO2 emissions is on the cards, pointing to the government’s mandate to assess it as part of the climate action plan 2050. “I find it very plausible,” she said, according of a pre-release of the interview Tagesspiegel Background will run on Monday. Schulze’s Social Democrats had briefly flirted with a national carbon price when drawing up their election programme ahead of last year’s federal elections, but opted instead for a call for a strengthening of the EU ETS.

Stop, but not – Bank HSBC has said it will stop financing coal-fired power stations, oil sands and Arctic offshore drilling projects in a move to support the low-carbon economy. It said the move will apply globally except for three countries – Vietnam, Indonesia and Bangladesh – which it said may be given a five-year “specific dispensation” if experts conclude there is no viable alternative energy source available. (BusinessGreen)

No go – A proposal from the Irish Citizens’ Assembly to introduce a carbon tax on the agricultural sector in Ireland has drawn sharp criticism from the country’s main farming organisations, who call the measure a “no go” and a “completely daft idea”. The Assembly this week issued a report on how the country can become a “leader in tackling climate change”, including calls for the taxation of agricultural GHG emissions and increased efforts to combat food waste.

Drax’s axe – Britain’s Drax plans to cut the cost of the electricity it generates from biomass by a third over the next 10 years to reduce its reliance on subsidies, its CEO told Reuters. Drax, which generates about 6% of Britain’s electricity, has converted three of its previously coal-fired units to using biomass wood pellets, often made from compressed sawdust. A fourth unit conversion will be complete by the end of the year. “We have a cost of delivering energy from biomass that is about £75/MWh and we are looking to drive that down to around £50 over the course of the next 10 years,” Chief Executive Will Gardiner said. Wholesale electricity prices in Britain are currently about £50/MWh.

African coal – Around 12 African countries are following South Africa’s lead and building or planning new coal-fired power plants totalling 40 GW and often backed by China. Yet many of Africa’s proposed coal plants may never get built as governments grow more intrigued by hybrid solar/diesel plants where the fossil fuel provides back-up ‘spinning reserves’ capable of responding to volatile demand. (Economist)

Cheaper CCS – Japan’s $300 mln Tomakomai seabed CCS plant features by-product gas piped from the nearby Idemitsu Kosan oil refinery. By using the remaining gases to generate power and recycling heat, energy costs are cut to between 1/2 and 1/3 of a typical extraction plant. The plant is yet to operate at commercial scale, so far capturing 150,000 of its targeted 300,000 tonnes of CO2. (Reuters)

Really? – The Trump administration is embracing a curious – and some would say dated – argument as it builds its case to weaken federal rules championed by California that require cars and SUVs to average 55 miles per gallon by 2025, the LA Times reports. It is warning that the fuel-efficiency targets, seen by most as key to meeting climate and air quality goals in California and nationwide, could actually end up killing people. The EPA is preparing to make the case that tough fuel economy rules could effectively force automakers to sell smaller, lighter and thus less crash-worthy vehicles. And it warns the rules could drive up the cost of cars to the point that consumers will put off buying new, safer models equipped with life-saving technology improvements.

No experience needed – The US senate on Thursday narrowly confirmed Rep. Jim Bridenstine (R-Okla.), a former Navy pilot with no scientific credentials and who doesn’t believe humans are primarily to blame for the global climate crisis, to lead NASA. Bridenstine will become the first elected official to hold the NASA administrator job. He joins a Cabinet already loaded with people who question the near-universal scientific consensus that climate change is real and that human activity is the primary cause. The final vote ― which was 50-49 along party lines ― came one day after the Senate narrowly advanced Bridenstine’s nomination, thanks to an about-face from Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and a key vote from Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.). (HuffPost)

Commonwealth, common goal – The 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London concluded today with a commitment from all 53 member states to limit global warming to below 1.5C. In a communique signed off from all heads of state, governments “recognised that temperature and sea level rise and other adverse impacts of climate change are a significant reality and risk to many of the Commonwealth’s most vulnerable member countries.” “They renewed their commitment under the Paris Agreement to keep the increase in global average temperature to well below 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit the temperature increase to 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.” Governments also agreed to “engage with the Fiji and Poland-led Talanoa Dialogue” and “expressed their determination that the Paris Agreement work programme be completed at COP24,” the UN climate summit that will take place in Katowice later this year. (GSCC)

Modal shift – Brussels has found a Swedish €56 mln public support scheme to encourage a shift of freight transport from road to rail to be in line with EU state aid rules.  The aid takes the form of a subsidy to railway companies that carry freight, with the objective of channelling part of the advantage to end customers, incentivising them to switch to rail transport. (European Commission)

And finally… Every Rose Bowl has its thorns – US EPA Inspector General Arthur Elkins confirmed on Thursday that the agency will begin investigating agency administrator Scott Pruitt’s use of security detail on his personal trips. The investigation, originally called for by Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse (D) comes after Pruitt apparently sent five aides and security agents to an ultimately-cancelled Australia trip at a cost of $45,000, with security also having followed the EPA boss on trips to Disneyland and the Rose Bowl. Pruitt will also face scrutiny on his spending habits during a hearing before the House Energy and Commerce subcommittee next week. (Climate Nexus)

Got a tip? Email us at news@carbon-pulse.com

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