CP Daily: Monday February 4, 2019

Published 01:51 on February 5, 2019  /  Last updated at 01:51 on February 5, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

ICE seeking listing for California offset, WCI and RGGI auction-indexed contracts

ICE has asked the US Commodities Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) to approve several new carbon market products, including California Carbon Offsets (CCOs).

AMERICAS

Virginia publishes revised RGGI proposal as controversy threatens governor’s tenure

Virginia on Monday published in the government registry its revised proposal for a cap-and-trade system to link with the northeast US RGGI market in 2020, regulations that are not expected to be impacted by the recent controversy involving Governor Ralph Northam (D).

Massachusetts distributed nearly 570k additional carbon units under GWSA market, with more to come

Massachusetts gave out almost 570,000 additional carbon allowances last year to power plants capped by the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) market, and emissions data suggests those allocations likely flipped the programme’s overall balance from short to long.

Connecticut aiming to finalise RGGI regulation by spring

Connecticut is aiming to finalise its regulations to adhere to the post-2020 Model Rule of the northeast US RGGI market by this spring, a state official told Carbon Pulse.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs rally by nearly €2 intraday after hitting 2019 low

EUAs rallied by almost €2 after hitting a 2019 low early on Monday, as shorts were squeezed and buyers picked up cheap units ahead of an industry conference this week.

INTERNATIONAL

French, Indian firms awarded UN offsetting contracts in 2018

The UN has awarded two contracts to buy a total 140,800 Gold Standard CERs to offset the organisation’s annual emissions.

ICYM

UPDATE – Q4 drop can’t offset nearly 7% rise in 2018 RGGI emissions

*Updates figures from last week’s story to account for emissions adjustments made by RGGI on Friday*

Power sector emissions covered under the northeast US RGGI carbon market increased by almost 7% last year despite falling in Q4, marking only the second time in the programme’s history that yearly CO2 output has accelerated.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Hot fines – The German heating installations industry has warned in a letter to the economy and energy ministry that reducing emissions to meet the building sector’s EU-derived target to cut from 119 million tonnes of GHGs in 2018 to 72 Mt by 2030 currently is “a very distant prospect”, as the rate of energy-efficient retrofitting of buildings is far too low to meet the sector’s climate targets. Non-compliance penalties could reach a “two-digit-billion-euro amount.” (Die Welt, Clean Energy Wire)

Read Carbon Pulse’s article on how Germany is at the forefront of an as-yet untapped EU market for inter-governmental emissions trade in sectors outside the ETS.

Phaseout rethink – Germany’s phasing out of coal-fired power stations could be delayed beyond 2038 if the deadline creates problems for the security of electricity supply, a senior legislator in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s party said. In remarks that appeared aimed at the right of a party not always comfortable with Merkel’s centrist approach, Ralph Brinkhaus, chair of the conservative benches in parliament, said it was crucial not to be “dogmatic” in pursuing a goal that was widely accepted. “Energy supply security must be guaranteed,” he told Welt am Sonntag newspaper. “If it is endangered, we should be free to do another round and address that, without abandoning the path we’ve chosen.” Brinkhaus, from the CDU’s most pro-business wing, last year toppled a Merkel ally in the race for the influential parliamentary leader post, precipitating the sequence of events that led to Merkel resigning as party leader and announcing that this would be her last term as chancellor. (Reuters)

Leading the pack – The UK’s CO2 emissions peaked in the year 1973 and have declined by around 38% since 1990, faster than any other major developed country. That’s according to Carbon Brief’s analysis showing the reasons behind the decline since 1990. The most significant factors include a cleaner electricity mix based on gas and renewables instead of coal, as well as falling demand for energy across homes, businesses, and industry. (Carbon Brief)

Under pressure – The Times reports that Lord Deben, the Conservative peer who chairs the Committee on Climate Change, is “under pressure to resign … after his private company Sancroft was paid hundreds of thousands of pounds by green businesses”. A Mail on Sunday story “alleged that Sancroft’s clients have included several companies and campaign groups that have benefited from policies pushed by the CCC”. Lord Deben’s solicitor told the Sunday paper that the “allegations of conflict of interest and other improprieties are wholly false and misconceived”, adding that “at all times, [he has] made disclosures in accordance with the advice he has been given by the House of Lords and CCC”. (Carbon Brief)

Ship shape – The European Commission on Monday adopted a proposal to revise the EU system for monitoring, reporting and verification of CO2 emissions from maritime transport in order to take appropriate account of the global data collection system for fuel oil consumption of ships established by the IMO. The proposal aims to facilitate the harmonious implementation of the two systems, while preserving the objectives of the current EU legislation, i.e. to keep the collection of robust and verified CO2 emissions data at individual ship level to stimulate the uptake of energy efficiency solutions and inform future policy making decisions. By streamlining some aspects of the two MRV systems such as specific definitions or monitoring parameters, the proposal aims at reducing the administrative burden and associated costs for ships having to report under both systems.

Door’s open – Legislative text from US Congressional Democrats calling for a “Green New Deal” (GND) won’t call for an end to fossil fuels as demanded some of the concept’s supporters, reports Politico. The resolution, slated for introduction as early as this week by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (AOC) and Senator Ed Markey, will include a goal for eliminating the US carbon footprint by 2030. However, it does not explicitly demand the elimination of fossil fuels themselves, with a spokesperson for AOC’s office saying that “the door is open for technology to solve this problem”. AOC has also circulated a “Dear Colleague” letter to generate interest and support for the proposal.

Warming up – Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer (D) has signed an executive directive entering the state into the US Climate Alliance, which commits jurisdictions to uphold GHG reductions of 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2025, as called for in the country’s Paris NDC. In an accompanying press conference, Whitmer cited the roughly 100F (56C) swing between wind chills in last week’s polar vortex and temperatures well above average on Monday as a reason for the Great Lakes State to act. The directive said Michigan would accelerate new and existing policies to lower emissions and promote clean energy at the state and federal levels, without naming any specific approaches. The alliance now counts governors from 19 states and Puerto Rico as members, with Illinois and New Mexico having already signed on this year. Another executive order from Whitmer created the Office of Climate and Energy within the recast Department of Environment, Great Lakes, and Energy.

Burning for Bernhardt – President Trump announced on Monday that he would nominate David Bernhardt, a former oil industry lobbyist and deputy chief of the US Department of Interior (DOI), to head the agency. Bernhardt worked under embattled former secretary Ryan Zinke to lead the administration’s plan to open millions of acres of public land and water to oil, gas, and coal companies. Following a stint at the DOI under George W. Bush, Bernhardt became a partner at law firm Brownstein Hyatt Farber Schreck, where he lobbied for oil companies Cobalt International Energy and Sampson Resources. Environmental groups panned the decision, accusing Bernhardt of dismantling basic protections for lands. (New York Times)

Stability is overrated – Meanwhile, the Trump administration said on Friday that a group of 21 young people has no right to sue the federal government for endangering their future by exacerbating climate change. The Department of Justice (DOJ) filed a brief to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in the constitutional case Juliana v. United States, arguing that the young plaintiffs have “no fundamental constitutional right to a ‘stable climate system’.” The government further contended that because “global climate change affects everyone in the world”, the plaintiffs are only suffering from “generalised grievances”, rather than legally actionable injury. The plaintiffs’ response brief is due by Feb. 22, with an optional reply brief from the government due Mar. 8. (Climate Liability News)

Far apart – Additionally, the Trump administration and California officials remain “pretty far apart” in their bid to strike an agreement on automobile fuel economy and GHG emissions rules before finalising a proposal, US EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Monday. The EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) have said they will strip California of its authority under the Clean Air Act to set its own, more stringent tailpipe limits for new cars and trucks. In an interview with Bloomberg Television, Wheeler said that California “should not” have that authority to set its own standards, which are followed by roughly a dozen other states and jurisdictions. The acting agency head added the federal government must finalise the fuel economy proposal by early April, which includes less stringent standards than those agreed under the Obama administration. (Bloomberg)

Doin’ it for themselves – Sydney Lord Mayor Clover Moore has announced that the Australian city has been selected to host a major international climate conference in 2020. The C40 Women4Climate Conference is an initiative of the C40, a network of 94 of the world’s largest cities, representing more than 700 million people worldwide. (Mirage)

Numbers game – Quebec has updated its 2015-2017 compliance report to include the total number of allowances and offsets used by the fuel sector under the province’s cap-and-trade programme. In its initial publication, Quebec reported individual entities’ use of offsets and allowances from the industrial sector, along with overall totals for the entire market. The revised report shows the fuel sector used a total of 117.6 mln allowances and nearly 4.2 mln offsets during the second compliance period. The overall 170.1 mln allowances and 6.1 offsets used in the entire programme remain unchanged.

Honour roll – Carbon market business association IETA has awarded three honorary fellowships on its 20th anniversary, adding to its roll of those recognised for their contributions to developing market-based solutions to climate change. This year’s honours go to former UN climate chief Christiana Figueres; Richard Sandor, founder of the Chicago Climate Exchange and often called the “father of carbon trading”; and James Cameron, founder of Climate Change Capital, one of the earliest climate finance institutions.

And finally… Glacier erasure – At least one-third of glaciers in the Himalayas will melt by the end of the century, even if the world limits global warming to 1.5C above pre-industrial levels, according to the Hindu Kush Himalaya Assessment released Monday. That study also found that if warming is not curbed, two-thirds of the region’s glaciers could melt by 2100, threatening the livelihoods of over 1.8 billion people living in the region’s mountains or river valleys that depend on the water. (Climate Nexus)

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

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