CP Daily: Wednesday May 27, 2020

Published 23:13 on May 27, 2020  /  Last updated at 23:13 on May 27, 2020  / Carbon Pulse /  Newsletters

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

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Brussels eyes ETS, border revenues for EU recovery budget featuring scaled up ‘just transition’

The European Commission foresees revenues from both EU ETS auctions and carbon border measures in its coronavirus recovery budget proposal announced on Wednesday, which will help fund a four-fold hike in ‘just transition’ cash.


Petitioners warn of climate rollbacks from DOJ’s challenge to WCI linkage, as California seeks delay

A bipartisan group of states, law professors, and environmental organisations have urged a federal court to reject the US Department of Justice’s remaining constitutional challenge against WCI carbon market linkage, while California officials asked the judge to delay the case until mid-July.

Watchdog member raises concerns about California budget language on ETS rulemaking

A California budget proposal requiring a cap-and-trade rulemaking would create a complicated timeline and likely yield limited public engagement on a significant alteration to the linked ETS, a member of the Golden State’s independent watchdog told Carbon Pulse.

California awards 402k new offsets as CCO-3 conversions slow

California regulator ARB issued nearly 402,000 new credits this week with half going to a single forestry project, while conversions of offsets with reduced invalidation periods declined steeply, according to data released Wednesday.

RFS Market: RIN prices stay strong to hit three-month high

US biofuel credit prices under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) rose over the last week to levels not seen since February, even as federal agencies indicated they would review recent compliance waiver applications for past years.


EU Market: EUAs ease from one-month high, with some predicting larger tracement

European carbon prices eased on Wednesday after posting three straight days of gains, as market participants raised the prospect of EUAs retreating somewhat after yesterday’s one-month high.


Senator renews push to withdraw Australia from Paris Agreement

Queensland senator and former Australian Resources Minister Matt Canavan on Wednesday called for Australia to pull out of the Paris Agreement, just days after Energy and Emissions Reduction Minister Angus Taylor confirmed the nation would not consider a new target under the treaty until 2025.



In the latest instalment of our Carbon Pulse Conversations podcast, we chat with Plinio Ribeiro, CEO of Brazil-based offset project developer Biofilica, about COVID-19 related impacts on the REDD credit market and the outlook for compliance and voluntary market-based programmes both internationally and in Brazil.


Eight offset programmes apply for CORSIA aviation mechanism during second intake

UN aviation body ICAO’s expert panel will consider eight additional emissions unit programmes for the global offsetting mechanism CORSIA, with the submissions ranging from Kyoto-era crediting methodologies to jurisdictional-scale forest and land-use activities to an unauthorised application to incorporate the Northeast US RGGI carbon market.



Game on – The International Chamber of Commerce’s (ICC) business-led Carbon Council will host an interactive carbon trading competition on June 10 on the AirCarbon exchange. While social in nature, the event looks to derive a central price for CORSIA and nature-based carbon, as well as mitigate emissions by donating the virtual trading commissions to help distribute cookstoves in Malawi. The event will begin with a 15-minute orientation followed by a 60-minute simulated trading session. Every participant will start with $1 mln, 50,000 AirCarbon CORSIA tokens, and 50,000 AirCarbon Nature Tokens – each equivalent to a carbon credit or 1 tonne of CO2e. Traders can buy and sell the tokens freely on the exchange, with the top winners determined by whoever has the highest NAV (cash + tokens) at the end of the game. The top three winners will take home Apple products, with the real equivalent of the virtual brokerage fees collected to be donated to the cookstove initiative developed by C-Quest Capital. Spots are limited, so sign up now.

Losing energy – Global energy investment is expected to plunge by around 20% or $400 billion in 2020, its biggest fall on record, because of the new coronavirus outbreak, the IEA said, warning that this could have serious repercussions for energy security and the transition to clean energy as the global economy recovers from the pandemic. At the start of the year, global energy investment was on track for a 2% increase in 2020, its biggest growth in six years from the 2019 total of $1.8 trillion. (Reuters)

Gaining coal – Meanwhile, project approvals for new coal-fired power plants have plummeted over the past half-decade, but additions of new capacity are still outpacing plant closures, the report said. And the IEA sees that continuing in the 2020-23 period, driven largely by China and India. “Net additions of coal-fired plants in 2019 rose for the first time in five years, driven by an uptick in newly commissioned plants in China and, to a lesser extent, in India,” the IEA added. And despite ongoing plant closures, the “large existing construction pipeline” means the global coal-fired power fleet is slated to continue expanding. The IEA tallies 130 GW worth of projects under construction slated to start operation between this year and 2023, meaning additions are happening faster than retirements, leading to estimated net growth of roughly 40 GW. (Axios)

Friendly funding – A new report released by Friends of the Earth US and Oil Change International reveals G20 countries have provided at least $77 billion a year in public finance to oil, gas, and coal projects since the Paris Agreement was agreed. This government-backed support to fossil fuels from export credit agencies, development finance institutions, and multilateral development banks is more than three times what they are providing to clean energy. China, Japan, Canada, and South Korea are the largest providers of public finance to oil, gas, and coal, together making up over two-thirds of the G20 total.

Auto action – France has announced an €8 billion post-lockdown rescue plan for its car industry, including €1 bln to provide grants scaled towards cleaner cars of up to €7,000 to encourage citizens to purchase electric vehicles and money toward investments to make France a centre for electric vehicle output. In return, the two main producers Renault and PSA have promised to focus production in France as the government aims to produce more than 1 million electric and hybrid cars per year over the next five years. (BBC)

New nuke – France’s EDF has submitted an application to build the Sizewell C nuclear plant on Britain’s Suffolk coast, according to Bloomberg. The next step will be obtaining planning permission, and the power company awaits a final investment decision from the government by Nov. 2021. The French company says the new facility will generate enough electricity to power 6 million homes and boost the UK’s energy resilience. (Carbon Brief)

High on hydro – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) on Tuesday called for the state to expedite plans to deliver solar and wind power hydropower from upstate to the New York City region, as well as hydroelectricity from Canada through a transmission project that’s been in the works for years. Among those is the proposed Champlain Hudson Power Express (CHPE), which would carry Canadian hydroelectric power via a buried line below Lake Champlain and the Hudson River to the Big Apple. New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has also called for construction of such a line, and Cuomo was set to discuss infrastructure projects in his meeting with President Donald Trump on Wednesday. However, the CHPE line has faced vehement opposition from utility groups that argue the project would yield few environmental benefits. (Albany Times-Union)

Fasten your seatbelts – California Attorney General Xavier Becerra led a coalition of roughly two dozen cities and subnational jurisdictions on Wednesday in suing the Trump administration’s final rule for rolling back national Clean Car Standards. The lawsuit, filed against the US EPA and National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), argues that the federal government’s rollback – the Safer Affordable Fuel-Efficient (SAFE) Vehicles Rule – violates regulatory text and congressional mandates, as well as “improperly and unlawfully” relying on analysis riddled with errors and unfounded assumptions. The SAFE Rule sets out a 1.5% annual rise in the stringency of CO2 emissions standards and corporate average fuel economy (CAFE) standards for light-duty vehicles through Model Year 2026, well below the previous standards forged under President Barack Obama’s tenure in 2012 that called for an average stringency increase of 5% over the same time period.

State centred – California cities and counties cleared an important hurdle on Tuesday in their legal fight to get major oil companies including BP, Exxon Mobil, and Chevron to pay tens of billions of dollars to deal with the effects of climate change. The US Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit ruled that San Francisco, Oakland, San Mateo County, and other jurisdictions can pursue their lawsuits in state court rather than in a federal venue thought to be more favourable to the energy industry. The suits seek to reimburse taxpayers for costs associated with adapting to impacts such as rising sea levels, from building multibillion-dollar sea walls and repairing damage from powerful storms to – perhaps soon – moving whole communities inland. (Bloomberg Law)

Sun worshippers – Lufthansa Group has signed a letter of intent with the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) and its two spin-offs Climeworks and Synhelion to develop renewable jet fuel from sunlight. The collaborative partnership, initiated by Lufthansa subsidiaries SWISS and Edelweiss, will include cooperation in technology and economic efficiency, with an intention to agree at a later date on quotas of the renewable fuel to support demonstration projects. Researchers and engineers at ETH Zurich have developed processes that make it possible to extract CO2 from the atmosphere and together with water and the help of concentrated sunlight, convert it into a synthesis gas that can be used to produce jet fuel. The fuel releases only as much CO2 as was previously extracted from the atmosphere. (GreenAir Online)

And finally… Dead planet – YouTube has taken down the controversial Michael Moore-produced climate change documentary Planet of the Humans in response to a copyright infringement claim by a British environmental photographer. The movie, which has been condemned as inaccurate and misleading by climate scientists and activists, allegedly includes a clip used without the permission of the owner Toby Smith, who does not approve of the context in which his material is being used. In response, the filmmakers denied violating fair usage rules and accused their critics of politically motivated censorship. Smith filed the complaint to YouTube on May 23 after discovering Planet of the Humans used several seconds of footage from his Rare Earthenware project detailing the journey of rare earth minerals from Inner Mongolia. (Guardian)

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