CP Daily: Monday August 3, 2020

Published 01:35 on August 4, 2020  /  Last updated at 01:35 on August 4, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

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TOP STORY

Shell to buy Australian carbon project developer

Shell will buy an Australian carbon offset project developer as part of its global drive to cut GHG emissions through nature-based solutions, its first acquisition under the programme, the oil major announced Monday.

ASIA PACIFIC

South Korea sticking to plans for 4% reduction in ETS cap for Phase 3 -observers

South Korea is considering reducing the average annual amount of CO2 allowances issued to emitters in its ETS by 4% over 2021-25 compared to the 2018-20 period, according to participants at a government organised forum in Seoul.

BNP Paribas launches green bonds linked to new Australian Climate Transition Index

Three major Australian institutional investors have subscribed A$140 million ($100 mln) to a series of green bonds linked to a new climate transition index launched by French-headquartered bank BNP Paribas.

AMERICAS

Business groups challenge Oregon over carbon programme

Five trade associations filed a lawsuit on Friday claiming Oregon Governor Kate Brown (D) exceeded her authority by implementing a carbon reduction plan in targeted sectors and a more stringent clean fuels programme via executive authority earlier this year.

Oil major may convert California refinery for LCFS, storage

Fuel supplier Marathon Petroleum is exploring options for converting an idling California refinery into a storage facility or a renewable diesel plant for the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).

Environmental groups, Republicans take aim at newly passed Massachusetts climate bill

A Massachusetts House of Representatives’ climate bill that passed Friday is facing heavy criticism from environmental groups for not imposing more stringent goals, while a non-profit fiscal group admonished it as a backdoor to a future fuel sector cap-and-trade scheme.

PSEG’s decision to offload RGGI plants could impact future ETS prices

Public Service Enterprise Group’s (PSEG) decision last week to put its carbon-emitting sources across four power sector ETS member states up for sale could impact RGGI allowance prices, traders believe.

EMEA

Poland to end coal-fired output “by 2050 or at latest 2060” -minister

Polish coal-fired power generation is expected to fully shut down by 2060 at the latest as the country is forced to reconsider its coal-based assets, the country’s minister for state assets said on Monday.

EU hydrogen strategy could push carbon prices down €4/t -analysts

The 27-nation bloc’s roadmap to add at least 40 GW of green hydrogen electrolyser capacity by 2030 paired with an increase in renewables generation could cause EUA prices to drop by more than €4/t, analysts said.

EU Market: EUAs withstand dip below €26 as first reduced auction underwhelms

EUAs dropped below €26 on Monday, tumbling after the first auction in a month-long run of half-volume sales cleared at a hefty discount but later recovering amid positive macroeconomic signals.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Finally some good news – The world’s fleet of coal-fired power stations got smaller for the first time on record in 2020, with more capacity retired in the first half of the year than the amount opened, according to data from the Global Energy Monitor. It found that China built more than half of the world’s new coal-fired power plants this year and accounted for 90% of new planned capacity. (Carbon Brief)

Flaring up – Natural gas flared by oil producers reached its highest level in a decade last year, a setback in global efforts to eradicate this environmentally harmful practice, the Financial Times reports. The equivalent of more than 400 mln tonnes of CO2 was released into the atmosphere as the result of burning unwanted natural gas from oil extraction, according to the data compiled from satellite imagery by a World Bank-led initiative. This was more than the annual GHG emissions of the entire UK economy.

Tax rethink – A three-year project to explore how the UK tax system can be better harnessed to benefit the environment by driving the adoption of low-impact lifestyles, jobs, and economic prosperity has been launched by environmental think-tank Green Alliance. Supported by the Joseph Rowntree Charitable Trust, an expert steering group featuring a host of climate policy specialists and economists has been set up by Green Alliance to carry out research and offer recommendations for UK tax system reform. The TransformTax project will take a “multidisciplinary approach”, looking at the history of taxation, behavioural science, analysis of alternative taxation approaches used abroad, and comparisons of fiscal instruments, according to the think-tank. (Business Green)

Renewables up, leadership outVirginia-based utility Dominion Energy anticipates increasing renewable energy capacity to 28.3 GW by 2035 from the 2.9 GW of installed capacity in 2019, while CEO Tom Farrell announced plans to vacate his role by the third quarter. The renewable build out will include a 2.6 GW offshore wind project, and the utility expects the transition will bring additional solar and wind power. Farrell’s announcement comes after the utility saw its Atlantic Coast Pipeline cancelled, leading to a $2.8 bln loss in Q2. Virginia is slated to join the Northeast power sector RGGI scheme next year. (Utility Dive)

Bagged in Bangladesh – Bangladesh’s minister of power, energy and mineral resources, Nasrul Hamid, surprised energy watchers recently when he said the country is planning to ‘review’ all but three of 29 planned coal plants. “We are keeping the three coal-fired power plants that are under construction. At present, we are aiming for [40 to 41 GW of total generation capacity], where only 5 GW is coal based,” said Hamid during a webinar run by the Centre for Policy Dialogue. “We are reviewing how we can move from coal-based power plants.” Bangladesh has one of the largest coal power pipelines in the world, a total of 29 power plants amounting to 33.2GW of capacity, according to a 2019 study by an Australian organisation that tracks fossil fuel investment. If the minister’s comments become government policy, up to 26 power plants accounting for 28GW of capacity could be put under review. That’s 90% of the coal pipeline. (China Dialogue)

And finally… Out of the dark – Murray Energy gave $100,000 to the dark money group at the centre of the alleged Ohio bribery and racketeering scheme to pass legislation bailing out coal and nuclear interests in the state, according to joint reporting from Cincinnati Enquirer and Columbus Dispatch. Bankruptcy filings made by Murray Energy Corp show the company gave $100,000 to Hardworking Ohioans Inc., identified in the federal criminal complaint as “Dark Money Group 1,” in Oct. 2016. Murray’s contribution to HOI came as the group was making a flurry of media buys supporting candidates that backed former Ohio House Speaker Larry Householder’s bid to become Speaker of the House. Householder was the most prominent of five top politicians, lobbyists, and operatives arrested on federal bribery and racketeering charges last month. The now-bankrupt Murray Energy – at one time the largest privately owned coal company in the US – was founded and run by Robert Murray until it filed for bankruptcy last fall. Murray is a longtime Republican supporter and major contributor to President Trump, and the company’s former lobbyist Andrew Wheeler is now the head of the EPA. (Climate Nexus)

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