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A federal judge on Friday ruled California’s cap-and-trade linkage with Quebec does not violate the US Constitution’s Foreign Affairs Doctrine, settling all four challenges filed by President Donald Trump’s administration.
Poland is resisting renewed pressure from other EU nations to commit to a bloc-wide 2050 net zero emissions target, with the issue snagging EU budget talks on Friday.
EUAs lifted above €27 on Friday, clawing back more than half of the previous session’s near-8% crash as a stronger auction outcome boosted confidence that this week’s move to €30 was more than a speculative bubble.
Compliance entities slightly increased their California Carbon Allowance (CCA) holdings this week as prices inched up on the secondary market, while speculators once again made few alterations, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.
California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits extended their recent losses this week as a large seller looked to offload credits and Governor Gavin Newsom (D) re-imposed several coronavirus restrictions due to surging case totals.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Shovel-ready-set-go – More than 1,000 climate-friendly projects could line up for a piece of the EU’s post-coronavirus recovery package, as ministers begin to discuss the bloc’s 2021-27 budget and economic stimulus fund, according to research seen by Reuters. EU leaders met in Brussels on Friday to try to agree the budget and COVID recovery fund, which have been criticised this week by environmental think-tanks for falling short of what is needed to meet the bloc’s current goal to cut GHGs by at least 40% against 1990 levels by 2030. The EU Commission has proposed a €1.1 trillion budget plus a €750 bln recovery fund aimed at rebuilding economies most affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
Cool it – Energy-efficient cooling with climate-friendly refrigerants could avoid the equivalent of up to 460 bln tonnes of GHGs being added to the atmosphere through 2060 – roughly equal to eight years of global emissions at 2018 levels. To meet all needs by 2050, the number of cooling appliances worldwide would almost quadruple from 3.6 bln now to 14 bln, contributing greatly to rising world temperatures, according to a major new report being launched Friday by the UN Environment Programme and the International Energy Agency. Doubling the energy efficiency of air conditioning by 2050 would reduce the need for 1,300 GW of additional electricity generation capacity to meet peak demand – the equivalent of all the coal-fired power generation capacity in China and India in 2018. Worldwide, doubling the energy efficiency of air conditioners could save up to $2.9 trillion by 2050 in reduced electricity generation, transmission and distribution costs alone.
Behemoth backed – The Norwegian government’s decision to fund the scale-up of CCS technology with more than €2 bln got the green light from a state aid regulator of the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) on Friday, and is the largest tranche of funding ever approved by the body. Norway has been cleared to pay 80% of the costs on a large-scale CCS project, which the association hailed as a “groundbreaking step towards tackling climate change”. EFTA’s Surveillance Authority (ESA) ensures that members Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein all stick to the rules of the European Economic Area, including state aid awards, so that their access to the EU’s single market is not revoked. Norway’s is the largest single award approved by the regulator in its history. (EurActiv)
Sure to endure – Increased working from home and use of e-commerce will be “powerful and enduring” in the US, potentially enough to reduce vehicle miles travelled (VMT) by up to 9%, according to new analysis by accounting firm KPMG. While driving has recovered a lot from the depths of the pandemic, the company said that going forward, US VMT could drop by a range of 140-270 bln miles per year, equating to 7-14 mln fewer vehicles on US roads. However, KPMG cautioned against assuming that the new work and driving habits on their own will have a major long-term effect on motor fuel use, as delivery truck miles and the avoidance of public transit in favour of cars could help offset some of the impact. (Axios)
True North impact – Proposals for new mines, power plants, pipelines, or railways in Canada will have to include plans to hit net zero emissions by 2050 if they have any hope of getting approved, though the new rules are not the all-encompassing climate test environment groups had been hoping to see. The rules for the Impact Assessment Act, contained in the government’s final strategic assessment on climate change released Thursday, will for the first time include a project’s effect on climate change as one of the considerations. However, green groups countered that the rules fail to put any specific requirements for projects to be in line with Canada’s 2030 climate goals, and only require projects that will operate after 2050 to have those net-zero plans. Additionally, they noted that there is nothing requiring an assessment of the emissions that will be produced downstream. (Canadian Press)
Name & shame – Asset management firm BlackRock has published a list of 244 companies it says have taken insufficient action against climate change. BlackRock has taken voting action against 53 of them, including seven utilities, according to a report. Public censure and voting action by BlackRock sends a clear message to the firm’s portfolio companies, and may be part of a wider trend toward investor activism, analysts say. However, environmental advocates say market forces, consumer trends and other forces seem to hold more sway with utilities than action by investors. (Utility Dive)
And finally… A greener Whopper – Burger King has partnered with top scientists to develop and test a diet for cows to produce less methane. Preliminary tests suggest that adding 100 grams of lemongrass leaves to the cows’ daily veterinary-prescribed diet during their last four months helps them release less methane as they digest their food, the chain said. The new diet reduces a cow’s methane emissions by up to 33% per day, on average, during the last three-to-four months of their lives, according to initial study results. But farm leaders say the ad is “condescending and hypocritical”, while some scientists also criticised the message and its focus on flatulence instead of belching, which they say is largely responsible for cow emissions. According to the UN’s FAO, livestock is responsible for approximately 14.5% of global GHGs. Burger King’s ‘greener’ Whopper with reduced-methane beef is available at select restaurants in Miami, New York, Austin, Los Angeles, and Portland, Oregon, while supplies last. Watch the unbelievably catchy music video announcing the initiative. (USA Today, BBC)
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