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Past violations at Wisconsin livestock offset project did not halt new reporting period, documents show
An offset developer and verifier were aware of past regulatory non-compliance issues at a Wisconsin-based livestock project last summer, but those previous problems did not halt the progression of a new reporting period from the dairy digster under California’s ETS, according to emails obtained by Carbon Pulse.
Lawmakers on Wednesday introduced the legislation to establish a post-Brexit UK emissions trading scheme from Jan. 1, 2021.
Portuguese oil and gas company Galp Energia has recorded a loss of €60 million from “unauthorised” transactions in carbon allowances, it said Tuesday.
The UK government could need to continue auctioning EU carbon allowances even after it leaves the bloc and its emissions trading scheme, Carbon Pulse has learned.
EUAs climbed back above €30 early on Wednesday as markets lifted on COVID-19 vaccine hopes, though prices eventually tumbled nearly 3% to below €29 following a weak auction and as oil prices jolted lower.
Australia’s proposal to issue carbon credits to big industrial emitters that beat their baselines under the Safeguard Mechanism raises deep concerns about the potential market impact, and should only be considered under certain strict conditions, according to the country’s leading carbon industry group.
New Zealand carbon allowances rose 1.3% in Wednesday trade to climb back above the NZ$32 mark as potential sellers are happy to hold on to their supply, forcing buyers to push higher.
Colorado could achieve its new 2030 GHG reduction target and drive carbon abatement at a lower cost than sector-specific strategies by implementing an economy-wide cap-and-trade programme, according to a report published Tuesday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Fossils first – G20 governments’ pandemic recovery packages are steering much more funding to fossil fuel industries and energy-intensive sectors like airlines than clean energy, a new analysis shows. The new Energy Policy Tracker project from several think-tanks and activist groups shows that major economies are providing $151 bln for policies “supporting production or consumption of fossil fuels”, with only $30 bln of that coming with climate targets or new emissions requirements. Meanwhile, $89 bln has been steered toward clean sectors like energy efficiency, solar and wind, with another $28 bln in the “other energy” category that doesn’t fall into their “fossil” or “clean” taxonomy. However, Quartz points out that the analysis only counts funding that has been officially committed, while funds that are still in discussion, like the EU’s $850 bln green recovery plan, are not included. (Axios)
Fugitives abound – Fossil fuel developments are rapidly increasing methane emissions, led by the opening of coal mines and gas fields. An international team of researchers say agriculture formerly provided about two-thirds of non-natural methane emissions – with fossil fuels making up the remainder – until the early 2000s. Since then, the gap has begun to close with the growth of emissions of the gas from fossil fuels double those from farming. A new study has found the contribution to rising atmospheric levels of methane from fossil fuels has caught up with farming over the past decade. (Sydney Morning Herald)
Wealth creators – Tackling the global nature crisis could create 400 mln jobs and $10 trillion in business value each year by 2030, according to a report published by the World Economic Forum. It warns that when the world recovers from the coronavirus pandemic, there can be no ‘business-as-usual’, with today’s destruction of the natural world threatening over half of global GDP. In 2019, scientists warned that human society was in jeopardy from the accelerating decline of the Earth’s natural life-support systems. The report, from the New Nature Economy project, published by the WEF, says a nature-first approach from business and political leaders will be a jobs-first solution. (Guardian)
Paying prop(-up)s – European banks have helped prop up some of the continent’s biggest coal-burning polluters with billions of euros in loans despite their own public policies, a new study has claimed. Since a landmark 2018 report by the UN’s IPCC warned that internationally agreed Paris goals would be missed by a wide margin, UniCredit, BNP Paribas, Barclays, and Societe Generale have lent €7.9 bln to the eight highest-emitting coal consumers, according to the research. In some cases, lenders have committed funds after making public commitments to step away from the coal industry, the data compiled by environmental lobby group Europe Beyond Coal show. The findings come at an awkward time for banks, which are facing pressure over their role in supporting the fossil fuel industry as activists switch their focus from shareholders to lenders. (Financial Times)
Having another go – The UK government is poised to reveal plans for a new state-backed green bank to help finance Britain’s climate ambitions, three years after ministers agreed to sell the UK’s Green Investment Bank. Kwasi Kwarteng, the energy minister, said that he expects the government to set out how it plans to create a successor to the Green Investment Bank “in the not-too-distant future”. The move to rebuild a new green lender comes amid growing calls from climate campaigners, economists, and academics to invest in green infrastructure to help revive the UK’s struggling economy and help meet its climate targets. The government sold the UK’s original Green Investment Bank to Australian bank Macquarie in 2017, only five years after it was formed, in a controversial deal dubbed “deeply regrettable” and “politically dubious” by critics of the sale. (Guardian)
Built up – The UK Green Building Council (UKGBC) this week announced a new task group that will develop guidance on the procurement of renewable energy and offsets for the built environment sector. The work will build on UKGBC’s Net Zero Carbon Buildings Framework, which was developed to build industry consensus on the definition of a net zero carbon building for both construction and operation. The new task group will develop guidance for procuring renewable energy, provide a set of principles for offsetting outstanding carbon balances, and set a transition plan for phasing out the future use of offsets. This guidance will support those using UKGBC’s framework to develop net zero carbon buildings and built environment businesses setting their own net zero strategies. The UKGBC will undertake a consultation on the draft guidance this autumn to capture perspectives from across the industry.
Intensive incentives – Germany is planning to seek EU approval to support the steel and chemicals industry in its efforts to become climate-neutral, its economy minister said on Wednesday, adding he hoped to make substantial headway in the second half of 2020. Peter Altmaier, speaking after he presented the country’s national steel roadmap, said that this usually covered support payments of 25-35% of total investments of a specific sector. Germany’s steel industry must invest about €30 bln to become climate-neutral by 2050. (Reuters)
Price falls rock LNG boats – Origin Energy is set to wear up to $1.2 bln in write-downs as a result of a collapse in global gas prices, as the company assesses the impacts of a coronavirus-affected economy on its LNG investments and as the massive write off of fossil fuel assets has its impact in Australia. In a statement to the ASX, Origin Energy said that it had been forced to write down the value of two of its LNG investments, after it was caught out by a sudden collapse in gas prices. It’s a substantial impairment for one of Australia’s largest energy companies, and undermines arguments being made within the Morrison government that Australia’s needs to embrace the gas industry to lead the COVID-19 economic recovery. (RenewEconomy)
The NEPA for speed – President Donald Trump on Wednesday finalised changes to the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) to speed up approval for major projects like pipelines and highways. The administration’s new regulations, originally proposed in January, reduce the types and number of projects that will be subject to review under the NEPA and drop the requirement that agencies consider the cumulative environmental effects of projects, such as their contribution to climate change. The administration’s rule changes also set a strict two-year time limit for agencies to issue environmental impact statements, require public comments be submitted more quickly, and limit the topics that can be covered in those comments. (NPR)
The cost of (un)doing business – The US Government Accountability Office has found that the Trump administration underestimated the economic damages caused by GHG emissions significantly, up to seven times lower than previous estimates, to justify easing or repealing environmental regulations. The July 14 GAO report recalled that President Donald Trump in Mar. 2017 issued an executive order that disbanded an interagency working group charged with developing social cost of carbon estimates and discarded that group’s guidance and cost estimates. As a result, federal agencies recalibrated and lowered their estimated social costs of carbon. Although both the prior and current estimates of the costs were calculated using the same economic models, the GAO reported that the agencies changed two key assumptions that resulted in a lower estimated social cost of carbon. The agencies considered damages on a domestic rather than global-scale and used higher discount rates than had the Obama administration, the GAO said. (S&P Global Platts)
Ultimate cost – The “ultimate cost of carbon” to humans over a 1 million-year timescale is around $100,000 per tonne, a new study estimates. The authors explain: “We assume that this hypothetical population is technologically stationary and agriculturally based, and estimate climate impacts as fractional decreases in economic activity, potentially amplified by a human population response to a diminished human carrying capacity.” The best cost estimate is $100,000 per tonne, but range from $10,000 to $750,000 per tonne for various assumptions about the magnitude and longevity of economic impacts, the authors add. (Carbon Brief)
And finally… Weiss up – Premier Jason Kenney’s campaign manager and an outspoken anthropogenic global warming sceptic has been hired as the Alberta Energy Regulator’s (AER) new vice president of its science and innovation branch. John Weissenberger announced his appointment to the AER on LinkedIn, saying he will provide leadership in various disciplines to ensure regulations are based on sound science and that technical advice comes from an unbiased perspective. However, published articles and blogs by Weissenberger dismiss climate change believers as being part of a “popular delusion” and participants in a form of “collective psychosis.” In an Apr. 2006 article in the Calgary Herald, Weissenberger and co-author George Koch accused Canada’s oil and gas industry, specifically the Canadian Association of Petroleum Producers, of being “intellectually lazy” for accepting the “validity” of global warming theory. Critics said Weissenberger’s appointment would further undermine public trust in the provincial regulator, coming after the AER’s recent decisions to suspend oil sands environmental monitoring during the pandemic, its failure to address Alberta’s massive orphan well and oil sands tailings pond problems, and a recent scandal involving self-dealing by senior AER executives. (CBC)
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