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Global emissions from shipping in 2020 are set to shrink by up to 35% year-on-year due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but could recover quickly as progress to tackle maritime pollution remains slow, researchers have projected.
The International Energy Agency (IEA) on Thursday called for the EU to strengthen its ETS and non-ETS carbon pricing to help meet its decarbonisation goals, playing down the carbon leakage risk that to date has resulted in heavy industries getting the vast majority of their EUAs for free.
The Energy Community secretariat will this summer release a study setting out a roadmap to introduce carbon pricing in the Western Balkans and Eastern European countries, an official at the regional organisation said Thursday.
EUAs briefly slipped below €25 on Thursday, dropping back from the previous session’s four-month high as traders flagged warnings about a correction as wider markets showed more weakness.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices fell further below the WCI auction reserve value this week as secondary market activity declined, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) dropped beneath the supply-curbing Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR) trigger price.
CO2 prices three-to-seven times higher than RGGI’s Emissions Containment Reserve (ECR) trigger levels are necessary for New England states to meet their long-term economy-wide GHG abatement goals, according to an analysis commissioned by power producers that was published Wednesday.
Australia’s Clean Energy Finance Corp. has invested A$1.7 million ($1.2 mln) in a start-up firm seeking to improve soil carbon technology to help sequester carbon and offer farmers a technological solution to participate in emissions markets.
Australia’s Emissions Reduction Fund (ERF) will pilot buying offsets up front from soil carbon projects in a bid to help farmers overcome high initial costs.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Home front – The UK has failed against 14 of 21 indicators of progress towards net zero emissions and remains off track overall, its Committee on Climate Change advisors said in an annual progress report assessed by Carbon Brief. Using much more forceful language than the 2019 edition, the report flagged just two of its 31 key policy milestones as met and urged the government to seize the opportunity for a green recovery to the COVID-19 crisis to get back on track before it hosts the COP26 UN climate talks in Nov. 2021. Climate Home reports that the UK may struggle to meet the UN’s year-end deadline to submit a tougher Paris Agreement pledge, given that the Committee only plans to publish its advice on raised ambition in December. The Financial Times flagged that the Committee recommended bringing forward by three years the ban on petrol and diesel cars to 2032, suggesting that fuel taxes could be raised while prices are low. It noted the Committee’s reiterated call – reported initially in Carbon Pulse – to raise additional carbon prices or set new ones, giving the potential to raise up to £15 bln a year, though the body said some of that revenue should be returned to households.
We’re in this together – Europe’s largest steelmaker, ArcelorMittal, unveiled plans on Thursday to reach carbon neutrality in the EU by 2050, insisting however that success will depend on public support and incentives, including a carbon border tax. The plan is meant to align the company’s goals with the EU’s target of cutting emissions to net zero by 2050, a commitment the bloc made under the Paris Agreement. In the short term, the company says it is committed to Europe’s 2030 climate target by developing new ways to increase the use of low-quality scrap metal in its primary steel production process. But the firm added that it needs “policy incentives” to reach the 2050 goal, which is estimated to require investments of $15-25 bln over the next 30 years. (EurActiv)
Just do it – The Australian Energy Council, whose members include 24 of Australia’s biggest electricity and downstream gas businesses, on Thursday called for the Coalition government to set a net zero carbon target for 2050. The group said a long-term, economy-wide target underpinned by “well-designed, market-based, and stable national policy settings” would help its members make investment decisions that could bring emissions down. The group is the latest in a long line of businesses, industry groups, experts, and analysts calling for such policies, though the government remains resistant. (Guardian)
Nice try – Investors in Japan’s Mizuho Financial Group have rejected the country’s first climate-related shareholder resolution, which would have required the bank to disclose its climate risks and publish a plan detailing how its investments are aligned with the Paris Agreement, Bloomberg reports. But despite the rejection, 35% of shareholders backed the push, including Nordea Asset Management, a unit of Nordea Bank, which has $265 bln in assets under management.
Plugging loopholes – New Zealand on Thursday amended its Resource Management Act, meaning large projects can now be rejected if they are deemed to have climate implications inconsistent with the Paris Agreement or the NZ zero carbon legislation. Until now, regulators have not been allowed to take climate change into account when considering new projects under the act. In a statement, Climate Change Minister James Shaw called the move one of the most significant climate achievements the government has managed this term.
Carbon tax changes – The South African government has introduced a handful of changes to its carbon tax programme, taking into account stakeholder feedback collected around six months ago. The Ministry of Finance last Friday gazetted several amendments to the country’s Carbon Tax Act, including modifications affecting trade-exposed industries and some of the scheme’s emissions intensity benchmarks. It established a methodology for determining the applicable benchmark where multiple benchmarks or a range applies for a single activity. It also updated the data and calculation methods to determine the trade intensity of sectors and sub-sectors including tobacco products and man-made fibres. As well, it modified the trade intensity calculation and trade exposure allowance for South Africa’s sugar industry. The trade exposure allowance aims to assist companies that may face potential adverse impacts on their competitiveness, with companies able to qualify for a tax allowance of up to 10% of their total GHG emissions. “There were some concerns from stakeholders that the approach taken to determine which sector or sub-sector qualifies for the maximum trade exposure allowance is too generous (the 30% trade intensity threshold), and does not reflect the actual trade exposure of a sector,” the government said. “The analysis shows that sector trade intensity on average exceeds 50%, but to aid the economy transition to a low-carbon economy, the 30% threshold was maintained as the cut off.”
Capital challenge – Washington DC Attorney General Karl Racine on Thursday sued oil companies ExxonMobil, Chevron, BP, and Shell over climate change, coming just a day after Minnesota filed a lawsuit against Exxon and two other fossil fuel companies and trade groups. The lawsuit by the US capital alleges that the companies “systematically and intentionally misled consumers” about the central role of their products in causing climate change, specifically accusing them of knowing about the impact carbon emissions would have on global temperatures since as early as the 1950s. (The Hill)
Coast to coast – Electrify America on Wednesday announced the company has completed its first cross-country route allowing electric vehicle (EV) drivers to travel from Washington DC to Los Angeles using a direct current fast charger (DCFC) network spanning 11 states and more than 2,700 miles – with charging stations about 70 miles (113 km) apart, on average. The company, which runs the largest open DC fast charging network in the US, says it is in the process of building out a second route from Jacksonville, Florida, to San Diego. (Utility Dive)
REDD requests – Offset standard developer and manager Verra this week issued a request for proposals for a consultant to develop and draft updates to the VCS’ AFOLU Non-Permanence and Jurisdictional and Nested REDD Risk Tools. Applications are due July 17, with a selection expected by the end of that month. Additionally, Verra is taking applications for a Forest Carbon Innovations Working Group of approximately 10-15 people, with submissions also due by July 17. Successful candidates will be notified by Aug. 14, and the first working group meeting will be held in September.
And finally… InFLUEncers – Australian utility Jemena has in recent weeks been paying Instagram influencers and reality TV personalities to promote natural gas, despite it being a significant contributor to climate change, RenewEconomy reports. Influencers on the social media platform have been supporting gas using the hashtag #GoNaturalGas, including by referencing the advantages of the “natural gas flame” for cooking and heating.
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