CP Daily: Wednesday October 3, 2018

Published 23:09 on October 3, 2018  /  Last updated at 23:09 on October 3, 2018  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Manitoba scraps carbon tax plan after getting “no respect” from Ottawa

Manitoba has scrapped its carbon tax plan in defiance of the Canadian federal government, the province’s premier has announced.

INTERNATIONAL

US retains support for CORSIA, says China participation “essential”

The US still supports the CORSIA international flight offsetting mechanism but sees China’s early participation as essential to the scheme’s launch, an industry event heard on Wednesday.

EMEA

EU ministers extend ETS tax fraud protections to 2022

EU finance ministers on Tuesday agreed to extend until mid-2022 regulations protecting the EU ETS and wider European energy markets from tax fraud.

EU Market: EUAs back above €21 as futures curve steepens further

European carbon prices clawed back above €21 on Wednesday, recovering from a three-day low hit intraday amid a firmer energy complex and a steepening EUA futures curve.

ASIA PACIFIC

Cabinet reshuffle clouds way forward for Japan carbon pricing

Japan’s latest push on carbon pricing was plunged into uncertainty this week after Prime Minister Shinzo Abe replaced Environment Minister Masaharu Nakagawa, who had launched twin processes to put the issue back on the government’s agenda.

AMERICAS

California’s ARB says will not file further appeals on La Paloma bankruptcy case

The California Air Resources Board (ARB) will not submit additional appeals in the La Paloma bankruptcy case, an agency official said, after a federal judge threw out its legal challenge this summer.

Shell, biofuels groups find common ground in opposing RFS waivers

The heated battle over the direction of the US Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) between refiners and biofuels advocates has found some common ground in criticising the EPA’s issuance of numerous compliance waivers this year, according to stakeholders speaking at a conference this week.

Nodal Exchange, IncubEx to launch US environmental markets on Nov. 16

Nodal Exchange and IncubEx will begin offering a suite of North American environmental products, including California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) and RGGI Allowances (RGAs), on Nov. 16 pending regulatory review.

FOREST TRENDS

How blockchain can make carbon markets more accessible

As more companies and individuals are looking for tools to mitigate their impact on climate change, the idea of utilizing blockchain technology has been on the forefront of many conversations. It is one of the building blocks behind cryptocurrency and companies are looking to utilize blockchain technology as a means to streamline the development and sale of carbon credits.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Car vote – The full EU Parliament has backed a target to cut CO2 emissions from cars and vans by 40% by 2030, tougher than the 30% proposed by the European Commission and including a credit system to encourage electric vehicle sales. The lawmakers’ position for negotiations on the final targets with the bloc’s 28 member states, which are still debating their position and expected to take a weaker stance. (Reuters)

It’s fully and strongly climate-aligned green bonds, stupid – The Climate Bonds Initiative has released its annual state of the market report for 2018, finding that the climate-related bond market has grown over 10% to $1.45 trillion, counting all categories. China again was the biggest market, with nearly $200 billion outstanding in bond issuances where 75-95% of revenues were derived from climate-aligned assets and green business lines. The US came in second, but had a greater share where more than 95% of revenue came from climate-related assets. France, UK and Germany made up the next three spots, making Europe the leading continent for the bonds.

Rising from the ashes? – Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison last month announced the National Energy Guarantee (NEG) was dead, but those rumours might be exaggerated, according to Kerrie Schott, chair of the Energy Security Board. Speaking at a Melbourne conference Wednesday, she said most of the elements of the NEG still survive in one form or another, and once a federal and a host of state elections are done by the middle of next year, Australia might be able to get back to discussing a carbon emissions target for the electricity sector, Renew Economy reports. The ruling Coalition will head to next year’s election pledging to keep the current 26% reduction target by 2030 but without any new policies. The opposition Labor says it will aim for a 45% target, but has yet to clarify which climate policy portfolio it is currently backing.

Piped down – The Canadian federal government will not appeal the court decision that overturned cabinet approval for the Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project. The court ruling said that while Ottawa had spent several months in 2016 meeting with indigenous communities along the proposed route from Alberta to British Columbia, those consultations were largely note-taking exercises and that the government did not take action to address concerns. Natural Resources Minister Amarjeet Sohi said the government will not start the phase-three Indigenous consultations from the beginning, but did not put a deadline on the process. The expansion would triple the capacity of the existing pipeline. (CTV News)

Prairie power – The Saskatchewan government on Wednesday announced a new programme designed to give government-owned SaskPower additional sources of energy and contribute to the province’s climate change strategy. The Power Generation Partner Program (PGPP) is a two-year initiative, with a third-year option, that allows customers to develop “power generation projects” to sell electricity to SaskPower. The PGPP will accept up to 10 MW of renewable generation and 25 MW of carbon neutral non-renewable generation, such as flare gas, contributing to SaskPower’s goal of reducing emissions by 40% below 2005 levels by 2030. (Regina Leader-Post)

Comments to come – Virginia’s Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) will release a detailed response to comments in early November if its revised cap-and-trade regulations are advanced by the state’s Air Pollution Control Board. The state, which hopes to link to RGGI, last month revised its carbon market proposal with a 2020 cap of 28 Mt, a significant departure from the 33-34 Mt options proposed in Nov. 2017. The Air Pollution Control Board is expected to debate that proposal in October, and if approved, the DEQ would re-open the proposal up for public comment in November. The agency would also respond to comments from stakeholders.

Higher help – A coalition of industry groups may ask the US Supreme Court to consider its challenges to low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) programmes in California and Oregon that have been largely dismissed by an appellate court. This comes after Rocky Mountain Farmers Union, the American Fuels & Petrochemical Manufacturers, and other groups petitioned a three-judge panel of the US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit for the second time in five years last month that the California LCFS discriminates against interstate commerce and should be blocked from advancing. A similar case appealing the constitutionality of Oregon’s clean fuel standard – the Oregon Clean Fuels Program (OCFP) – was also dismissed by the Ninth Circuit in September. While the plaintiffs may seek a review by the country’s highest court, the US Supreme Court opted not to hear an appeal of the Rocky Mountain lawsuit in 2013. (InsideEPA/Climate)

Power plan pal – US President Donald Trump on Wednesday nominated Department of Energy (DOE) official Bernard McNamee to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), filling a vacant seat on the commission with an ally of the administration’s plan to bail out uneconomic coal and nuclear plants. McNamee, who heads the DOE’s Office of Policy, last year helped pitch a plan to provide cost recovery to plants with 90 days of fuel onsite, while also defending the DOE’s authority to keep struggling power plants online using emergency authority. McNamee replaces former Commissioner Robert Powelson, who routinely criticised the plan to support uneconomic generators, and must be confirmed by the Senate. (Utility Dive)

New addition – Former US EPA policy advisor Paul Agryopolous has joined the board of managers of Houston-based natural gas marketer and environmental commodities company Element Markets. Agryopolous, who played a major part in developing and administrating the US Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) during his tenure at the EPA, is currently president of consultants Policy Nexus Advisors. Agrypolous spoke at the OPIS RFS, RINs & Biodiesel Conference in Chicago on Tuesday, where he said that an upcoming review of the federal biofuels programme could help stimulate further legislative reforms next year.

EV-ryone’s invited – The Electric Vehicle Charging Carbon Coalition (EVCCC), working with the Climate Neutral Business Network, has developed a newly approved carbon offset methodology to account for the emission reductions achieved via the charging of electric vehicles (EVs) through EV charging systems and their displacement of conventional fossil fuel vehicles. Using the VCS Program’s framework for standardised methods, this new methodology uses a positive list to simplify the determination of additionality for projects located in 40 countries. The methodology also establishes default factors for the estimation of certain parameters for projects located in the US and Canada as an alternative to project-specific calculations. Verra will hold a webinar on Wednesday, Oct. 17 at 2-3 pm EDT to present this new methodology. Register here.

And finally… You don’t say? – The US government has raised doubts about the science of climate change in confidential comments on a major forthcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), according to documents seen by Climate Home. The IPCC’s special report, due for publication next week, is looking at the implications of 1.5 C of warming and how it could be prevented, and a summary report is subject to line-by-line approval from governments around the world. The US said that the summary for policymakers did not communicate the scale of the global and technological challenge to meet the 1.5 C objective, nor did it provide a discussion or summary of the credibility of models or methodologies used in the report to project future climate impacts. (Carbon Brief)

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