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Governments have agreed to hold an extra week of negotiations on international emissions trade and other rules under the 2015 Paris Agreement, as two weeks of UN climate talks in Bonn ended Thursday yielding little progress.
EU carbon prices hit a fresh seven-year high on Thursday, posting a third day of strong gains in the past four amid a supply-starved week and as the wider European energy complex marched higher.
Italian utility Enel reported a more advanced hedging position in Q1, continuing its accelerated rate from the previous quarter as EUA prices rose.
The delay of China’s national emissions trading programme has forced a number of carbon specialist firms to refocus their business, sparking a price war in the greenhouse gas verification industry.
China’s CDM Fund has approved a 65 million yuan ($10 mln) loan to a Shanghai-based natural gas project in a bid to ramp up fuel supply seen as crucial to help bring down coal consumption and cut CO2 emissions.
Historically, small landowners have had a difficult time accessing carbon markets in which to sell their forest-based offsets.
Carbon prices on both North American coasts stalled this week as participants found little incentive to trade ahead of the next round of quarterly auctions.
A bill to expand Connecticut’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) and revise the state’s energy plan passed a final floor vote in the House on Wednesday, but not before some legislators unsuccessfully tried to put forth an amendment amidst backlash from environmental groups.
Green group The Nature Conservancy and insurance company XL Catlin have teamed up to develop ‘Blue Carbon Resilience Credits’ for marketing the benefits of ecosystems that combine carbon sequestration and climate change resiliency.
CARBON FORWARD 2018
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
First to zero – New Costa Rican president Carlos Avarado announced that the country will ban fossil fuels and become the first country in the world to decarbonise. This builds of his announcement last month that Costa Rica would begin steps to end fossil fuel use in transport, coinciding with the 200th year of the country’s independence. While Costa Rica receives 99% of its energy from renewable sources, experts have said that ending fossil fuel use completely, especially in the transport sector, is a massive challenge, with over two-thirds of the country’s energy-based emissions stemming from transportation. (The Independent)
Northern disclosure – Alaska Governor Bill Walker and Lieutenant Governor Byron Mallet’s Climate Action Leadership Team (CALT) released the newest version of the state’s draft climate policy on Wednesday. While similar to a previous version that circulated in April, the text of the new draft includes carbon offsetting in the state’s efforts to encourage opportunities for natural resource sequestration, and still considers the implementation of a ‘carbon fee and dividend programme’. Additionally, the new draft raises the ambition of the state’s GHG target to 30% below 2005 levels by 2025, as well as increasing energy efficiency by 15% and having the state source of 50% of its electricity from renewables by 2025. Residents are encouraged to review the draft and submit comments on the proposal by June 4.
No sleep til solar – The California Energy Commissions (CEC) approved a new requirement on Wednesday that will mandate solar panels be installed on new homes and low-rise apartment buildings starting in 2020. Exempt from the regulations include homes where solar panels aren’t feasible, like houses covered in shade or units where it is not cost-effective, while installing storage batteries and allowing community-sharing solar generation are additional options. The move still needs the support from the state’s buildings standards commission, and Republicans legislators have warned that the measure will further push up California housing prices past the point of affordability. (The Guardian)
Investor instructions – Over 50% of shareholders in pipeline operator Kinder Morgan passed two climate-related resolutions at its annual meeting on Wednesday, going against the company’s wishes. While the results of the vote are non-binding, the resolution calls on the company to issue a yearly sustainability report along with another yearly update on it plans to align its business model with limiting global temperatures to 2C. (Climate Nexus)
Getting back to black – Canadian energy company Enbridge will sell a US gas pipeline business and a portion of its renewable energy portfolio to jumpstart its debt reduction plan, the company announced on Wednesday. The sale, which will bring in a combined $2.5 billion, includes selling off a 49% stake in the company’s North American and European wind and solar assets, along with Midcoast Operating LP, which operates facilities to process and treat natural gas and natural gas liquids. The company has been under pressure to get rid of its non core assets since purchasing US-based Spectra Energy last year for $28 bln, with the company’s long-term debt mounting to $60.87 bln at the end of 2017. (Reuters).
And finally… Seattle suit – Washington state’s King County, which includes the city of Seattle, sued five oil and gas giants on Wednesday, the latest in a series of municipal-led lawsuits seeking damages from fossil fuel companies related to the cost of climate change. The complaint, filed in the King County Superior Court, cites ocean acidification, sea level rise, a decreasing winter snowpack, and more frequent heatwaves among the deleterious environmental impacts that have resulted from the business of fossil fuel extraction. Shell, BP, Chevron, Exxon Mobil, and ConocoPhillips are the five companies named. The legislation follows similar suits filed by New York, Massachusetts, and several California cities in recent months. (Think Progress)
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