Last week’s Emissions Reduction Fund auction contracted just 59,000 carbon credits from three projects, Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator said Thursday, by far the lowest volume of any of the nine auctions held so far.
US RGGI cap-and-trade emissions plunged during the second quarter of 2019, as Maryland and New York-based power generators significantly curtailed their CO2 output amid mild weather in the northeast region.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices fell to a one-month low this week on moderate pre-auction volume on the secondary market, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) dove on bearish emissions data.
Nearly all of the 22 power plants regulated under Massachusetts’ Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) cap-and-trade programme are operating underneath the programme’s 2019 carbon limit through the first half of the year, according to emissions data released Thursday.
European carbon prices on Thursday resoundingly bounced back from yesterday’s two-week low, with buyers racing to pick up allowances as a month of slashed auction volumes began.
Germany’s RWE on Thursday announced it would close its 1.56GW Aberthaw B coal-fired power station next year due to “challenging” market conditions – a move that will leave just four such plants operating in the UK.
New Zealand’s announcement this week that it will cancel all privately held Kyoto units in its registry without compensation will invalidate more than 16 million credits, according to a Cabinet paper.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Lucky 13 – US presidential candidates spent 13 minutes on climate change on the second Democratic debate Wednesday evening in Detroit, one more minute than the 12 spent on Tuesday evening, according to a Washington Post tally. Washington Governor Jay Inslee, whose campaign has centered around the issue, kicked off the discussion by centring climate change as “all the issues that we Democrats care about. It is health. It is national security. It is our economy.” New Jersey Senator Cory Booker joined Inslee in targeting former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan to continue fossil fuel use and Booker calling out Biden’s brag that he will rejoin the Paris Agreement. “Nobody should get applause for rejoining the Paris climate accords,” Booker said. “That is kindergarten.” (Climate Nexus)
Mark’s stark warning – Companies that fail to respond to the challenges of climate change “will go bankrupt without question”, the governor of the Bank of England has warned. Mark Carney said banks and insurance companies were among firms threatened by growing efforts to tackle global warming, which he said would result in “major changes” to the economy. But he insisted that capitalism was “part of the solution” to addressing the crisis and said there would be “great fortunes made” by companies that understood this. (Independent)
Bad bets – BlackRock, the world’s biggest investor, has lost an estimated $90 billion over the last decade by ignoring the serious financial risk of investing in fossil fuel companies, according to economists. A report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis (IEEFA) has found that BlackRock has eroded the value of its $6.5 trillion funds by betting on oil companies that were falling in value and by missing out on growth in clean energy investments. The report found that BlackRock’s multi-billion-dollar investments in the world’s largest oil companies – including ExxonMobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP – were responsible for the bulk of its losses. The fund manager was also stung by the collapse of big US fossil fuel companies, including coal mining company Peabody. (Guardian)
Rejected – Poland’s “last coal-fired plant” may never go ahead after a district court struck down the company resolution authorising construction on Thursday. The ruling dealt a blow to the 1GW Ostroleka C project, a joint venture between utilities Enea and Energa backed by the government. It is a major win for Client Earth. The environmental law firm had bought shares in Enea and filed a lawsuit against the project on the grounds it posed an “unacceptable” financial risk to investors. (Climate Home)
Fake numbers, pants down… – Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro promised new data on deforestation rates Wednesday, days after telling foreign journalists that numbers showing a sharp increase were “lies.” According to Bloomberg, at an event in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday, the president had promised a “surprise” relating to the numbers produced by Brazil’s National Institute of Space Research, INPE. Bolsonaro has repeatedly rejected INPE’s latest data, which showed an 88% rise in deforestation between June 2018 and June 2019, and suggested that organisation’s director Ricardo Galvao was being paid by an NGO. Galvao denied the accusation and said he would not resign. Bolsonaro added that in future he would not be “caught with his pants down” over such important information. His government has announced plans to develop the Amazon region and open up indigenous territories to mining interests.
… Short hair, don’t care – Separately, Bolsonaro cancelled a meeting this week with French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian – opting to get a haircut instead – amid deepening tensions over climate change policy that could endanger the EU-Mercosur trade accord. Bolsonaro’s spokesman cited an agenda clash, even though the meeting with the French cabinet minister was cancelled just one hour before. Bolsonaro went for a haircut at the time of the scheduled meeting with Le Drian on Monday, broadcasting it live on Facebook. (Reuters)
Unspent money, well spent – The European Commission has decided to reinvest unspent funds from the NER300 programme to support low-carbon innovation projects under InnovFin Energy Demo Projects (EDP), an EU financial instrument managed by the European Investment Bank. The first three projects are now benefiting from support of some €73 million, the Commission said on Thursday. Reinvesting the unspent funds from the first NER300 call enables timely support to promising projects before the launch of the EU ETS Innovation Fund in 2020. The first three selected projects to benefit focus on innovative wave energy technology (Wave Roller), floating offshore wind technology (Windfloat) and ultra-fast charging stations for electric vehicles and battery energy storage (Greenway EV Charging Network).
A good match – The International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and UNFCCC are jointly ramping up efforts to fight climate change by promoting the widespread adoption and sustainable use of renewable energy. The new strategic partnership builds on a long history of cooperation that aims to ensure a low-carbon climate-resilient world in line with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the Paris Agreement. In a MoU signed today in Bonn between the heads of IRENA and UN Climate Change, the two organisations have agreed to step up the exchange of knowledge on the energy transition, collaborate more closely at expert meetings, increase capacity building to promote renewables and undertake joint outreach activities.
And finally… Lights, camera, neutral! – Wesley Snipes and Dawn’s Light Media are filming a new casino heist called Payline that they claim will be the first carbon neutral movie. Hollywood films suck up energy left and right, from catering to energy-intensive equipment to sets that last for a mere few days, if not hours. Though some changes can be made relatively easily, such as removing diesel generators from the set, others will require carbon offsets. Jason Cherubini, Chief Financial and Operating Officer at Dawn’s Light Media and the film’s producer, says that the shift to a more eco-driven film set is not as daunting as it seems, and could increase costs by at most 10%. Cherubini said he was inspired by the crew behind Spiderman 3, who had put out a five-minute video about how they had made more eco-friendly choices on set: bikes to get around, no single-use plastics, etc. “This is a vehicle to demonstrate the next generation of indie filmmaking in a 5G powered world,” Snipes said in a statement. “It is our goal to show how a 100 percent Certified Renewable Energy film production can show love for the environment, community and still produce a kick-ass popcorn movie.” (Forbes)