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European carbon prices rocketed to their highest in 11 months on Wednesday, as traders said unabated buying by unidentified speculators continues in the face of bearish fundamentals, low liquidity, and a general lack of compliance player participation.
The EU will this month begin its delayed CO2 allowance sales to fund the bloc’s Innovation Fund, the European Commission announced late Wednesday, adding a further 50 million EUAs to the 2020 auction calendar, which was also revised to reflect MSR-linked supply changes.
Extending the EU ETS to include transport and buildings, or creating a separate carbon market for the two sectors, will not deliver the required emissions reductions, a report released on Wednesday found.
Jamaica has increased the ambition of its emissions reduction commitment in a new economy-wide Paris Agreement NDC, while also signalling that it may use market mechanisms for either its own targets or to assist other countries.
Ozone-depleting substance (ODS) destruction projects that contain any amount of California-based product would be deemed to provide direct environmental benefits to the state (DEBs) under the state’s compliance offset programme, an official confirmed to Carbon Pulse.
A New York-based energy retailer opened a CO2 Allowance Tracking System (COATS) account in the Northeast US RGGI carbon market this week, marking the fifth new account in the programme this year, according to public data.
Australia has amassed a total 430 million surplus Kyoto Protocol units, the government said Wednesday as the nation’s commitments under the treaty ended June 30, more than sufficient to prop up any shortfall in meeting its Paris Agreement targets.
ICAO’s Council on Tuesday agreed to omit 2020 from the carbon neutral growth baseline during the international aviation offset programme CORSIA’s first three years, while leaving the door open for the UN body’s Assembly to make that change for the entire 15-year duration of the scheme.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Hydrogen rivals – Energy company E.ON and steelmaker Thyssenkrupp are going to work together on a new hydrogen infrastructure, Clean Energy Wire reports. The joint project will see Thyssenkrupp-built electrolysis plants connected to E.ON’s power grid. The plants can help to stabilise the grid by using more electricity at times of high input from renewable sources and throttle operations when input is low. The move comes weeks after rival utility RWE’s tie-up on hydrogen with Thyssenkrupp and the unveiling of Germany’s €9 bln hydrogen plan. Read Carbon Pulse’s take on the matter.
Win some – Maizuru Green Initiatives, a Japanese company set up to build a 66MW power plant fuelled by palm oil from Malaysia and Indonesia, has decided to not go ahead with its plans after pressure from local residents as well as environmental groups, according to a statement Wednesday by environmental organisation Hutan Group. The plant would have added some 120,000 tonnes to palm oil imports annually, a significant contributor to deforestation in Southeast Asia.
Lose some – South Korean majority state-owned power company KEPCO has decided to take a stake in the controversial Jawa 9 & 10 coal-fired power plants planned in Indonesia, with support from two government-owned banks. The decision comes just two months after the nation’s ruling party won the domestic parliamentary election running on a green new deal platform, and has sparked criticism at home as well as protests in Jakarta. The 2,000MW project is due to go online in 2024. (Eco-Business)
The end of discretion – The US EPA is set to end its “enforcement discretion” policy on Aug. 31, according to an agency memo. The agency cited the adjustment of pandemic-related policies across the country as the rationale behind its decision, though nine states have pushed back on that original suspension in a brief sent to the US District Court for the Southern District of New York last month. Those states are asking the court to issue a preliminary injunction that would halt the EPA’s policy, announced in March, which forgives companies that fall into non-compliance with civil violations due to the coronavirus pandemic. (Utility Dive)
Rule rundown – The White House released the spring Unified Agenda on Tuesday, providing insight on the status of some rulemakings at the EPA. After years of waiting, the agency appears to be close on acting on GHG pollution from aircraft in line with UN body ICAO’s minimum standards, listing July for a proposal and a year from now for finalisation. EPA watchers also have been wondering as to the whereabouts of the agency’s rollback of GHG standards for future coal plants, and it seems the wait continues. Despite the agenda listing a June finalisation target, EPA has not yet sent the final text to the White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) for review. The agency said in April that the pandemic was to blame for delays and that it would hope to issue the final rule this summer, but there’s been no word since. (Politico)
Block party – Texas Senator Ted Cruz (R) on Wednesday announced he will block the nomination of Doug Benevento to be deputy administrator of the EPA until agency chief Andrew Wheeler takes action to quell biofuel prices (RINs) under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS). Cruz argued that RIN prices have quadrupled since the beginning of the year and further burdened small refineries and blue-collar workers on top of the coronavirus pandemic. Cruz’s block comes after Iowa Senator Joni Ernst (R) last week also announced she will oppose Benevento’s nomination, albeit for a different reason, as she will withhold approval until the EPA says how it will address 52 “gap filling” small refinery exemption (SRE) applications under the RFS for past compliance years.
REDD extension – Colombian offset certification programme CERCARBONO has extended the public comment period on its new REDD+ methodology to July 16 from Wednesday’s original cut-off date. The company said the extension was granted to allow participants more time to complete a thorough review.
Don’t let them die in vain – Businesses representing 80% of the UK’s meat sector have vowed to slash emissions and waste on a “farm-to-fork” basis, as investors have made fresh pleas for the global meat industry to accelerate decarbonisation efforts. The new pledge for the UK industry, ‘meat in a net-zero world’, is being co-ordinated by non-profit WRAP, as an offshoot of its Food Waste Reduction Roadmap scheme. Its aim is to prevent more than 150,000 tonnes of meat from being wasted in the UK every year, equivalent to 27% of the total amount sent to landfill on an annual basis. This waste costs the national economy £1.5 bln and is a contributor to GHG emissions, given that meat is carbon-intensive to produce in the first instance and that food waste gives off methane in landfills. Recent research from OurWorldInData found that 6% of global annual GHG emissions are attributable to food waste, and a further 26% to other parts of the food value chain. The ‘meat in a net-zero world’ pledge has been signed by all major grocery retailers – including Tesco, Sainsbury’s, Asda, Morrisons, Lidl, Aldi, Marks & Spencer, and the Co-op – along with meat processors, hospitality, and food service giants. In total, 38 businesses have signed – a cohort collectively responsible for 80% of the UK’s meat production. (edie.net)
And finally… Face(book) the music – Prominent US environmentalists and Democratic activists say Facebook is “allowing the spread of climate misinformation to flourish, unchecked” and are urging the company’s external oversight board to intervene. A new open letter organised by Climate Power 2020, with signatories including Stacey Abrams, John Podesta, and Tom Steyer, takes aim at distribution of content from a group called the CO2 Coalition without warning labels or restrictions. The letter to Helle Thorning-Schmidt, co-chair of the board, centres on recent reports about how Facebook addressed a post from the CO2 Coalition, which argues more carbon emissions are a “net benefit” and rejects consensus science on warming. “Instead of heeding the advice of independent scientists and approved fact-checkers from [the non-partisan fact-checking group] Climate Feedback, Facebook sided with fossil fuel lobbyists by allowing the CO2 Coalition to take advantage of a giant loophole for ‘opinion’ content,” it states. “The loophole has allowed climate denial to fester by labelling it ‘opinion,’ and thus, avoiding the platform’s fact-checking processes.” (Axios)
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