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The UK government on Tuesday published details and launched a consultation regarding its plan to introduce a new, temporary carbon tax from next year should its post-Brexit, EU-linked emissions trading scheme not be ready in time.
The European Commission will present a proposal to revise the EU ETS Directive in order to fund the bloc’s coronavirus recovery package using EUA auction revenues from an expanded carbon market, a senior official confirmed on Wednesday.
Renewable electricity overtook fossil fuels in the first half of 2020 to account for the largest share of generation among the EU’s 27 member states as coal-fired production shrank by a third, a report released on Wednesday found.
European carbon prices rebounded after hitting a fresh three-week low on Wednesday, with traders noting solid demand for allowances around current levels despite selling and supply-side pressure.
Utility Iberdrola reported a 32% year-on-year fall in its ETS-regulated coal-fired output during the first half of 2020, helping to slash its European thermal generation by 16%.
The South African government will on Thursday launch its carbon offset administration platform, which will help developers to submit project applications and emitters to surrender credits against their national CO2 tax obligations.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) may have eyed a quick resolution of its constitutional challenges to the California-Quebec ETS linkage to enable President Donald Trump’s administration to appeal to a more conservative court, lawyers involved in the case told Carbon Pulse.
California granted more than 157,000 new offsets over the past two weeks, with nearly 70,000 of them tagged as having direct environmental benefits to the state (DEBS), according to data published by regulator ARB on Wednesday.
Quebec will postpone the distribution of the remaining industrial carbon allocations for the 2019 compliance year as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, but the province will still transfer the allowances well before emitters need to surrender them, according to a notice published Wednesday.
New Zealand carbon allowances rose to a fresh record in Wednesday trade as sellers remain content to sit back and watch prices go higher, though some buyers are starting to find it difficult to follow, observers say.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
First is the worst? – The US EPA on Wednesday proposed the country’s first emissions standards for commercial aircraft, aligning with standards set by UN aviation body ICAO. The standards would apply to new type designs as of Jan. 2020 and to in-production airplanes or those with amended type certificates starting in 2028, but would not apply to planes currently in use. Aerospace parts manufacturer Boeing welcomed the move, saying it will help aircraft operators meet the ICAO standards. However, some environmentalists argued the ICAO rules and EPA did not go far enough, and noted the US agency was not estimating any emissions reductions as a result of the proposal. The EPA is expected to finalise the rules next spring, and the Federal Aviation Administration will then issue separate rules to enforce the standards. (Reuters)
Transformers: (Preventing) Age of Extinction – Tech giant Microsoft on Tuesday unveiled a suite of new sustainability initiatives as part of its effort to zero-out the carbon debt the company has accrued over its lifespan. Microsoft is partnering with a group of corporations – Maersk, Danone, Mercedes-Benz, Natura & Co., Nike, Starbucks, Unilever, and Wipro – to create Transform to Net Zero, a coalition dedicated toward achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The company also announced a $50 mln investment in clean-energy focused venture capital firm Energy Impact Partners, the first outlay from Microsoft’s $1 bln Climate Innovation Fund unveiled in January. Additionally, Microsoft is investing in 500 MW of renewable energy from Sol Systems, which will fund solar energy projects in the US in under-resourced communities. (GeekWire, Axios)
Fully charged – Electric vehicle charging company Electrify America on Wednesday announced the first-ever validation of an offset project for electric vehicle charging. The validation stems from a methodology approved for use under Verra’s VCS, which was also pioneered by the Electric Vehicle Charging Carbon Coalition (EVCCC) and developed by Oregon-based Climate Neutral Business Network (CNBN) to secure new sources of capital to build out EV infrastructure. Electrify America’s nationwide EV charging network is on track to meet its targets of achieving validation and verification for its first 400-plus charging station sites early next year, which will include VCUs from 2019 and 2020 in 48 states, excluding California and Oregon that have compliance marketplaces under their low-carbon fuel standards. (InsideEVs).
Portuguese offsetting – Oil major BP is buying carbon credits to offset all emissions associated with the volume of fuels it sells in Portugal. The company said it will need to offset more than 2 Mt of CO2 per year. To this end, BP has already secured the purchase of credits related from projects in developing countries including Mexico and Zambia. The initiative mirrors similar programmes launched by major oil companies in other European countries. BP did not reveal the investment made for this initiative. In the past 14 years, the company has helped customers offset 6 Mt of emissions, raising more than €24 million for carbon reduction projects in various parts of the world. (tekdeeps.com)
Case in point – A 23-year-old Melbourne law student is suing the Australian government for failing to disclose the risk climate change poses to Australians’ super and other safe investments. The case filed on Wednesday in the Federal Court alleges the country of Australia, as well as two government officials, failed in a duty to disclose how climate change would impact the value of government bonds. Katta O’Donnell, the head litigant for the class action suit, said she hoped the case would change the way Australia handled climate change. Experts say it is the first lawsuit where a national government has been sued for its lack of transparency on climate risks. (ABC News)
Range restricted – Doom-sayers and hope-mongers alike may need to revise their climate predictions after a study that almost rules out the most optimistic forecasts for global heating while downplaying the likelihood of worst-case scenarios. Until now, the UN scientific body IPCC has estimated a doubling of atmospheric CO2 from its pre-industrial level of about 280 parts per million has a 66% chance of heating the planet by between 1.5C to 4.5C. But the new study, published in Reviews of Geophysics, shrinks that 66% likely range of climate sensitivity to between 2.6-3.9C, or slightly wider if more uncertainties are included. This smaller band is still dangerously high, which means there is no room for complacency, but the most dire predictions are now considered less probable. (The Guardian)
And finally… Are you @&%#ing serious? – Airlines are taking extreme measures to survive the pandemic, Bloomberg reports, with Asiana Airlines flying the world’s biggest commercial plane more than 20 times, going nowhere and carrying no passengers, just to keep trainee pilots certified. Keeping crew flight-ready is one of the challenges carriers face as they grapple with the unprecedented crisis that keeps more than a third of the world’s fleet grounded. Asiana’s empty Airbus A380 flew over South Korea for a few hours a day for three days in May to enable pilots of the 495-seat superjumbo to practice taking off and landing. The alternative – a trip to Thailand to use a simulator owned by Thai Airways International – was blocked because of travel bans, an Asiana spokesman said.
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