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Developers are focusing on investing in and promoting carbon-cutting projects they think most likely to be eligible under the CORSIA aviation offset scheme, in an effort to encourage airlines to buy the units ahead of rules being finalised.
As many as 91% of more than 15,000 respondents to New Zealand’s zero carbon bill wanted the target it sets to cover all greenhouse gases, the government said Thursday.
New Zealand carbon allowances remain near record highs, but continue to sit in a tight range while traders await news on the fate of the NZ$25 fixed price option.
California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) reversed course this week after sliding over the second half of September, while the post-auction bull run in the northeast US RGGI market persisted as prices extended 2018 highs.
A group of Mid-Atlantic and Northeast US states are not discussing a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to tackle transportation emissions as they remain focused on cap-and-trade, but a future system could take hold in the Midwest if Illinois signs on, experts said.
A Quebec-based carbon fund and US-based offset project developer and operator have entered into a long-term agreement to expand a mine methane abatement initiative at an Appalachian coal mine, the companies announced on Thursday.
EU carbon nudged higher for a second day on Thursday in another calmer session that contrasts with the recent wild volatility.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Palm off – Norway on Thursday announced its aviation industry would be mandated to use advanced biofuels for 0.5% of its fuel consumption from 2020, saving an estimated 14,000 tonnes of CO2e, but aimed at increasing the use of sustainable biofuels to 30% by 2030. However, the government put a ban on using “problematic” biofuels, such as palm oil.
Are you flamin’ kidding me? – France’s nuclear regulator says EDF’s flagship European Pressurized Reactor nuclear plant at Flamanville might need further work due to the faulty weldings that have already delayed the project, Reuters reports. In July, EDF said there would be delays and cost overruns due to problems with weldings. While around 50 have been repaired, the regulator has suggested that another eight that may need additional work. The Flamanville plant is one of three being built in Europe using next-generation EPR technology – the other two being the Olkiluoto project in Finland and the UK’s Hinkley Point. Ongoing security- and maintenance-related outages in France’s large nuclear fleet have contributed to an increase in carbon emissions over the past few years, thereby supporting EUA prices. Meanwhile, Reuters also reports that France’s new long-term energy plan, expected this month, will “adopt a go-slow approach to reducing its reliance on nuclear energy, with a focus on cutting carbon emissions” – according to industry sources. (Carbon Brief)
Leader of the pack – The UK is leading the rest of the G20 nations in transitioning towards a low-carbon future by decoupling emissions from economic growth, although global decarbonisation rates aren’t currently strong enough to meet the ambitions of the Paris Agreement. That’s according to a new report from PwC, which revealed that the UK has been decarbonising at a rate of 3.7% per year since 2000 – a greater rate than the 3.2% required for a national contribution to the Paris goals. PwC tracked the speed at which global economies are reducing their carbon intensity on an annual basis. During the 18-year period, the UK has reduced emissions by 29% while growing its economy by 34%. China achieved the biggest year-on-year reduction in emissions in 2017, recording a 5.2% fall in its carbon footprint. (edie.net)
Green sky thinking – Coal’s push to $100 a tonne in Europe may benefit the greenest energy providers more than it does miners, according to Bloomberg. Companies that provide alternatives ranging from renewable power plants to natural gas turbines are expecting a lift after the commodity reached a five-year high this week. Far from spurring a revival of the dirtiest fossil fuel, executives of energy companies that provide an alternative expect the move to accelerate a shift toward cleaner power sources. Higher energy costs also put efficiency on the agenda of industry and policy makers, breathing life into technologies designed to squeeze more out of raw materials of all kinds.
No turning back – Poland’s Energa SA will not abandon its contested 6 billion zloty ($1.6 bln) Ostroleka power plant project as the country needs to replace its aging facilities to meet rising demand for electricity, according to its CFO. The 1GW project is slated to be the nation’s last coal-fired unit when it starts operating in 2023. Despite concerns about the soaring cost of carbon emissions and objections by environmental groups and the industry regulator, Energa CFO Jacek Koscielniak remains optimistic. The plant is set to generate more than 300 mln zloty in earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortization annually in “every scenario”, he said. “There’s no turning back from the investment, especially when you take into account the huge determination from all the involved parties and the estimate of higher demand for electricity,” Koscielniak said in an interview with Bloomberg last week.
Returning the favour – Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe announced on Thursday that his province would file for intervenor status in Ontario’s lawsuit against the federal ‘backstop’ carbon pricing scheme. This comes after Ontario Premier Doug Ford announced in July that his province would do the same in Saskatchewan’s own challenge regarding the legality of Ottawa’s carbon tax plan. Meanwhile, Ford will travel to poll-leading Union Conservative Party leader Jason Kenney’s “Scrap the Carbon Tax Rally” in Calgary on Friday. (Ottawa Citizen)
dEVelopments – Two big announcements regarding electric vehicle developments in California. According to Axios, Electrify America – a unit of VW – announced a $200 million plan Wednesday to expand EV charging infrastructure in the state, which is by far the largest auto market in the US. The plan would add fast-charging stations to several metro areas like Riverside-San Bernardino and Santa Cruz, while expanding existing efforts in LA, Fresno, San Francisco, and three other cities. It forms part of a wider, nationwide VW-funded charging initiative that stems from the automaker’s settlement of its diesel emissions cheating scandal. Separately, a coalition of major automakers, state officials and power companies launched non-profit organisation Veloz, which is aimed at speeding up EV deployment in the state, Axios reports. Transportation is the largest source of GHG emissions in the state, and with the sector covered by California’s cap-and-trade scheme, the accelerated push towards EVs could impact the market down the road.
What a waste – The first commercial flight to use jet fuel partly made from recycled industrial waste has landed at London’s Gatwick Airport. The Virgin Atlantic plane, travelling from Orlando to London, was powered by a new blend of normal jet fuel with 5% ethanol produced from waste gases. The biofuel, produced by start-up firm LanzaTech, is certified to make up as much as 50% of a plane’s total fuel supply, reports the Press Association. The company claims it could eventually supply about 20% of the aviation industry’s fuel, and cut its GHGs by “at least 65%”. LanzaTech is aiming to open three UK plants by 2025, producing enough fuel to fly all Virgin Atlantic’s UK outbound flights with a 50/50 fuel mix. (Carbon Brief)
Coast boast – Massachusetts and California were named the number one and two most energy efficient states in the country, respectively, according to an annual study released by the American Council for an Energy Efficient Economy. The coastal states’ investments in energy saving targets, electric vehicles, and efficient building standards helped them secure the top spots, while New Jersey moved up five spots to 18th overall thanks to new annual energy savings targets and its planned linkage to RGGI. On the other hand, the fossil fuel-dependent states of North Dakota, West Virginia, and Wyoming ranked in the bottom three. (The Hill)
WCI hold ’em – California and Quebec will release their third quarter compliance instrument report at 1200 Pacific time on Friday. The quarterly report shows the general and compliance holdings of all entities in the programme. The report will be the last report before the first full compliance period for the transportation sector, which joined in 2015.
And finally… Beyond the barricade – The New Zealand Emissions Trading Scheme has turned 10 years old. The market has had its ups and downs over the years, but the Motu Research Institute found cause to celebrate, and in what better way than to honour the ETS with a song? Performed by Motu carbon market expert Catherine Leining, this is very likely the best Les Miserables-inspired carbon market ballad you’ll ever hear.
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