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China aims to finally launch its emissions trading scheme for its power sector next year, and then expand the market to other major industries over the following five years, multiple sources told Carbon Pulse, citing a draft government plan.
The EU’s new Innovation Fund aims to hold its first funding call in the second half of 2020 and give extended support to projects aiming to cut emissions among heavy industries, a conference heard this week.
The UK government has aligned the country’s 2018 EU ETS compliance deadline with that of the rest of the bloc after the Brexit deadline was pushed back by six months.
European carbon prices fell on Friday after hitting a fresh 11-year high earlier in the day, pausing a rally that had added as much as 30% to EUAs since the end of March.
A handful of EU member states doled out another 61.7 million free carbon allowances in the past two weeks, with laggards Italy and Spain making big steps towards completing their 2019 allocations.
Mining major Rio Tinto has threatened to end its membership to any industry organisations that lobby against or try to undermine the goals of the Paris Agreement.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator issued 393,357 carbon credits this week, data showed on Friday, keeping the agency on track to doubling the amount of issued offsets year-on-year.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
Washington’s proposed low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) hit a snag this week as state legislators failed to advance the bill out of a Senate committee, but lawmakers are exploring other avenues to move the programme forward.
A summary of legislative and regulatory action on carbon pricing and clean energy at the US state level taken this week, including Washington state’s 100% clean electricity bill, Hawaii carbon tax proposals, New Hampshire legislation to codify the post-2020 RGGI Model Rule, the Maine Public Utilities Commission’s decision on a hydroelectric transmission line, and a Maryland Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS) proposal.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Off track – The UK government has confirmed it is on course to miss its carbon budgets for the mid-2020s onwards, with the shortfall against the legally-binding goals worsening since the projections made last year. The results will inevitably spark fresh calls for the government to urgently come forward with new policies to close a now widening ‘emissions gap’ apparent ever since ministers acknowledged their 2017 Clean Growth Strategy was not expected to deliver without additional policy action. (BusinessGreen)
Clean possible – A global energy system fully based on renewable energy by 2050 is feasible and would be cheaper than the current global energy supply, according to a study by global network of scientists and parliamentarians Energy Watch Group and the Finnish LUT University. “The report confirms that a transition to 100% renewables is possible across all sectors, and is no longer more expensive than the current energy system,” said Hans-Josef Fell, Energy Watch Group president and former Member of the German Parliament. (Clean Energy Wire)
Boiled frogs – A carbon tax could be “part of the solution” to climate change, but the federal Canadian plan is flawed, Manitoba Premier Brian Pallister said Friday. Although Manitoba’s climate change plan originally included a flat C$25/tonne CO2 tax, Pallister abandoned the commitment in October after Ottawa indicated the rate would fall out of compliance with the rising federal ‘backstop’ price in 2020. During an interview with CBC radio, Pallister said that setting Manitoba’s tax higher than the federal rate of C$20 in 2019 would have been more likely to incentivise people to change their behaviours. “Boiling the frog, if you like — a little bit of a tax and then we’ll give you the money back — how does that work to change behaviours?” he added. Manitoba recently joined fellow conservative provinces Saskatchewan, Ontario, and New Brunswick in launching court challenges against the federal government over the backstop.
Final grades – US GHGs fell by 0.5% in 2017, a slower drop than in the previous two years, according to the US EPA’s final GHG inventory data. That decrease is steeper than the preliminary 0.3% drop expected in the agency’s draft inventory in February. However, HFC emissions rose by 2.1% YoY, while methane emissions also ticked up 0.2%. A federal appeals court last week threw out parts of an Obama-era regulation limiting the use of the high global warming potential gases, coming after the same court scrapped other parts of that rule two years before. (Politico)
RFS rumblings – US EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Thursday that the agency may grant less small refinery exemptions (SREs) to obligated parties under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) because of low biofuel credit prices. In an interview with Reuters, Wheeler said that because the prices of Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) have fallen, refiners should have had less economic harm in complying with the federal programme. That was also followed by the EPA signing a Federal Register notice on Friday to revive discussion on a 2016 proposed rule that would reveal the names of companies that apply for the SREs. Currently, the EPA deems that publication as confidential business information, but the agency could use this proposed rule to release the SRE petitioner’s name and location of the facility, time period for the waiver, and the extent to which the agency granted or denied the relief, which is done in private. (Reuters)
Offal-ly convincing – Choosing more meat by-products, such as liver, sweetbreads and tripe, could help to reduce livestock emissions by as much as 14%, a new study suggests. The research, which focuses on Germany, also suggests reducing meat consumption and waste and improving the efficiency of animal-feed production to help cut emissions. (Carbon Brief)
On a literal cliff edge – Erosion at the UK’s Bacton natural gas supply hub site on the Norfolk coast is increasingly dangerous, with an average of about 1 meter of earth tumbling into the North Sea every three years. A single storm in Dec. 2013 wiped out 10 meters of cliff, according to Royal HaskoningDHV, the Dutch company that’s been hired to fortify the beach in front of the terminal. At the narrowest point, there’s only 15 meters separating the Bacton terminal from the cliff edge. “Any disruption at the Bacton terminal would have huge ramifications,’’ said Wayne Bryan, senior European energy and commodity analyst at Alfa Energy Ltd. “On the wholesale market, price increase would be astronomical. The energy security of the UK would be threatened.” This summer, Royal HaskoningDHV will pump enough sand onto the coast in front of Bacton to fill half of London’s Wembley Stadium. That should protect the facility for at least another decade. Bacton’s role in the UK is central because it’s the only place where pipelines from the more liquid markets in the Netherlands and Belgium connect to the British grid. The terminal also takes in supplies from a number of production fields in the North Sea. (Bloomberg)
And finally… Post-apocalyptic protection – Pinkerton, the infamous US security firm founded before the Civil War, is developing “data-driven risk analysis” on climate impacts to offer its corporate clients in addition to traditional security, the New York Times Magazine reports in a longform piece on the company’s efforts. Pinkerton is seeing a “growing set of anxieties among its corporate clients about distinctly contemporary plagues – active shooters, political unrest, climate disasters.” “If a client has food and water and all the other stuff” during a drought, “and if and when desperate people discovered that cache of water and food,” Pinkerton would provide protection, company executive Paul Rakov explained. “By adding data analytics, Pinkerton stands to compete more directly with traditional consulting firms [in a warming world] like Deloitte, which offer pre- and post-disaster services (supply-chain monitoring, damage documentation, etc.),” the magazine reports, “but which cannot, say, dispatch a helicopter full of armed guards to Guatemala in an afternoon.” (Climate Nexus)
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