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The physical link between Switzerland’s carbon market and the EU ETS will become operational in late September, the European Commission has announced, though it will initially be comprised of 10 one-day transfer windows scattered through the remainder of this year.
The EU is weighing whether to impose quotas on airlines to use a rising proportion of sustainable aviation fuels to power flights, according to a European Commission document released on Wednesday.
EUAs reached their highest levels in nearly two weeks on Wednesday, eyeing the €27 mark for a second day after a strong UK auction and as energy markets lifted.
California Carbon Offset (CCO) issuances are expected to be slowed by various COVID-19 factors moving forward, with some protocols already experiencing those impacts in extended review timelines, sources said.
The US Department of Justice (DOJ) is reviewing a federal court ruling last month that found the California-Quebec carbon market linkage did not violate the Constitution, with lawyers anticipating the government will file an appeal in the next month.
Low-cost carrier EasyJet has retired REDD carbon credits to offset 2.2 Mt of CO2 emissions for its current financial year, the company announced in a quarterly trading statement this week.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Pressured generators – Australian energy company AGL Energy faces increased pressure from shareholders to accelerate the closure of two of its largest coal-fired power stations, including the Bayswater power station in NSW and the brown coal-fuelled Loy Yang A power station in Victoria. A shareholder motion calling for the expedited closure timeline has been lodged by shareholder advocacy group Australasian Centre for Corporate Responsibility, which has cited AGL’s own modelling. This suggests that in order to meet goals to limit global warming to 1.5C, the power stations need to close by 2036. AGL has indicated that it expects to close by 2048 the 2,225MW Loy Yang A station – one of Australia’s most emissions intensive power plants and one of only a few remaining that still uses brown coal. AGL also operates the 1,680MW Liddell power station, which is scheduled to close in Apr. 2023. In the past year, more than 80% of its power supply came from coal. (RenewEconomy)
Intensive networking – Japan’s powerful business lobby Keidanren is dominated by energy-intensive sectors that represent less than 10% of the economy, resulting in national policies that favour coal and hindering attempts to combat climate change, a new study said. The influence of the country’s electricity, steel, cement, car and fossil fuel sectors undermines Japan’s attempts to meet its Paris Agreement commitments, according to the report by London-based data analysis company InfluenceMap. The Keidanren, which has close ties with the trade and industry ministry as well as other government bodies, sits on expert panels and other forums where government policies are debated. It has acted as a ‘central negotiating point’ on climate policy for two decades, the report said. (Reuters)
Germans being late? – The German government “made mistakes and acted too late” regarding climate action in the past few years, the country’s economy minister Peter Altmaier told national news agency dpa. He said Germany had an “enormous” backlog regarding climate action, stressing that in “the coming months we have to make sure that the path towards CO2 neutrality becomes irreversible”. Altmaier added, however, that initiatives such as the coal phaseout, the European Green Deal, and Germany’s national ETS for heating and transport starting in 2021 prove that the government is taking climate action seriously and wants it to succeed. (Clean Energy Wire)
Hydrogen test tubes – Britain’s National Grid is planning a £10 mln project in the north west of England to test how hydrogen could be used to heat homes and bring down GHGs from industry, it said Wednesday. Britain has a target to reach net zero emissions by 2050 that will require a huge reduction in the use of fossil fuels, such as gas, which is currently used to heat about 85% of the country’s homes. National Grid hopes construction at a site owned by risk management and energy group DNV GL in Cumbria in the north west of England could start in 2021, subject to approval by energy regulator Ofgem, with trials to begin in 2022. (Reuters)
Testing trillions – A coalition of institutional investors with more than $16 trillion in assets under management has launched the first-ever practical blueprint to help investors deliver net zero emissions globally by 2050. The ‘Net Zero Investment Framework‘ provides a comprehensive set of recommended actions, metrics, and methodologies to decarbonise investment portfolios and increase funding for climate solutions. It has been developed by 70 global investors, and it covers four different asset classes: sovereign bonds, listed equities, corporate fixed income, and real estate, with more to follow. Five pension funds will test the framework by modelling its impact across the performance of their real-world portfolios, collectively valued at $1.3 trillion, with the results expected before the end of 2020. “Countries, cities and companies around the globe are committing to achieve the goal of net-zero emissions and investors need to show similar leadership,” said Stephanie Pfeifer, CEO of the Institutional Investors Group on Climate Change, which convened the investors. (The Actuary)
Making the case for VP – US Democratic Senators Kamala Harris, Tammy Duckworth, and Cory Booker introduced the Environmental Justice for All Act (S-4401) last week, aligning the measure with presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden’s climate platform. The bill, which mirrors a House version floated this spring, would prohibit discrimination based on disparate impacts and removes a legal requirement of proving intentional discrimination. If enacted, it would also require the government to consider the cumulative impacts of permitting decisions under the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act. The bill aligns with many of Biden’s climate and environmental justice platforms, and Duckworth and Harris are both being considered as potential runningmates for the former vice president. The House version of the bill is expected to be debated next month.
Missed deadline – A final New York post-2020 RGGI regulation was not submitted to the state register before the Aug. 4 deadline for publication on Aug. 19. The missed deadline means the earliest that the regulation could be finalised and published is on Aug. 26 if the state submits a completed rule by next Tuesday. New York is one of two RGGI states that have not finished their post-2020 regulation, which will go into effect next year. Those changes include the implementation of the Emissions Containment Reserve, the 2021-25 bank adjustment, and a 3% annual cap reduction. New York officials have consistently said the rule would be completed this year.
Money in the prairies – California’s working land conservation initiatives provide $900 mln to $1.44 bln annually in environmental benefits, according to a University of California, Berkeley study released Tuesday. The paper found those benefits could come in the form of improved habitats, carbon sequestration, food, and watersheds. According to the study, conservation easements, which are agreements between a landowner and a qualified land trust regarding the future use, net $3.47 for every dollar invested.
And finally… Eating bugs & stomping poo – Almost all of the chickens raised in the UK are fed soy beans, which is one of the main drivers of deforestation and habitat loss in countries like Brazil. The good news is that there are a handful of chicken farmers in the UK shaking up the system by trialling a new system for feeding live insects bred specifically for the purpose, including a draggable hut so that broiler birds can follow cows around. The idea behind this rotation grazing is that the chickens can vacuum up all the insects attracted by the cows, while doing an effective job at trampling all of the manure in an even layer into the ground. But upscaling these experiments across the entire UK chicken industry will be a formidable challenge, experts say. At the moment, 95% of chickens see out their days in intensive indoor units. (inews.co.uk)
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