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Global coal power generation plummeted by 8.3% year-on-year in the first half of 2020 due to lower electricity demand and a rise in wind and solar generation, a study released on Thursday found.
A Wisconsin environmental agency concluded that violations at a dairy farm stemmed from a waste storage facility, rejecting the California-registered offset project owner’s assertions that a feed storage area led to the elevated ammonia levels, documents show.
Oil major Phillips 66 announced Wednesday the transition of its San Francisco Rodeo Refinery from crude oil to renewable fuels in the coming years, a move that could reduce its compliance obligations in California’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) and WCI-linked cap-and-trade programme.
California granted more than 900,000 new offset credits this week, with roughly a quarter designated as providing direct environmental benefits to the state (DEBs), according to data from regulator ARB released on Wednesday.
California’s ETS floor price expectations rose significant as the year-on-year inflation continued to show improvements in July after dropping during the COVID-19 pandemic, according to federal data released Wednesday.
The British Columbia government should feature carbon offsets as part of the province’s climate strategy and include protections for emissions-intensive, trade-exposed (EITE) industries that other countries and jurisdictions incorporate in their CO2 pricing approaches, an association of some 250 businesses said in a report published Tuesday.
South Korea’s monthly carbon auction failed to sell out on Wednesday, the fourth straight sale that has gone undersubscribed as the market struggles with oversupply ahead of government allocations.
EUAs dropped below €26 on Wednesday as the quiet holiday market struggled absorb the week’s biggest auction.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Metal muscling – The aluminium industry is struggling to adopt common standards on greener processing as rivals focus on promoting their own products rather than the wider green market, according to Reuters, reporting on the multiple initiatives seeking to set low-carbon benchmarks. The Carbon Trust consultancy proposed in June a set of guidelines for labelling aluminium as low-carbon but these have stalled, partly because the research was funded by Russia’s EN+, which owns aluminium giant Rusal, and others are wary of backing it.
Fund pipeline – Geneva-based firm RAM Active Investments, with around $3.1 bln of assets under management, has launched its ‘Global Sustainable Equities Fund’ aimed at tackling the climate emergency and providing an active investment strategy with strong ESG standards, via methods such as investing in firms with low-carbon output. (Reuters)
Railing against – UK rail bosses are urging ministers to raise taxes on road and aviation fuel to cut carbon emissions and encourage more people to travel by train. Under proposals drawn up by an industry body, fuel duty would be increased for the first time in a decade and taxes added to the purchase of jet fuel – leading to higher air fares for holidaymakers. But motoring groups and airline bosses reacted with fury last night, pointing out that British motorists and air passengers are among the most taxed in the world. The AA said drivers are already fleeced on fuel duty, road tax, and resident parking permits, while being ‘hunted at every turn for parking, bus lanes, and other fines’. (Daily Mail)
Interconnected – The EU will need an additional 50 GW of interconnector capacity by 2030 and further a 43 GW by 2040 to reach climate neutrality by mid-century and keep security of supply under control, the network of electricity TSOs ENTSO-E said. Power interconnections currently under conception or development address only 43 GW, about half of the total capacity needed between 2025 and 2040. According to ENTSO-E, increasing interconnector capacity would avoid around 53 Mt CO2e each year until 2040.
Heat treat – Tropical forest soil warmed in experiments to levels consistent with end-of-century temperature projections released 55% more CO2 than control plots, exposing a previously underestimated source of GHGs, researchers reported Wednesday. Before humanity began loading the atmosphere with carbon pollution by burning fossil fuels, the input and outflow of CO2 into soil – one key element in Earth’s complex carbon cycle – remained roughly in balance. Gases emitted by deadwood and decaying leaves, in other words, were cancelled out by microorganisms that feed on such matter. (AFP)
Booking it – Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) has reportedly nominated Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Senior Policy Advisor Hayley Book to an open position on the state’s Public Utilities Commission (PUC). Book has served as the DEP’s point person for draft power sector cap-and-trade regulations that would allow the Keystone State to join the Northeast US RGGI ETS. A finalised draft ETS regulation is expected to be completed by next month, with the state eyeing a 2022 start date. (Pittsburgh Business Times)
Foreign interference – Current and former Maine legislators asked Quebec and utility Hydro-Quebec last week to cease campaigning on a ballot measure at the November election for a cross-border hydroelectric transmission line. The 41 legislators said the utility, which is wholly-owned by the province, was attempting to meddle in the election as residents decide whether to support the Central Maine Power transmission line. The project aims to bring hydroelectric power from Quebec to the US Northeast, but it has faced opposition from environmental groups and natural gas utilities about its long-term environmental benefit. A resident-led initiative would revoke necessary permits for the transmission line if Pine Tree State voters approve it this fall. The completion of the transmission line was among the assumptions factored into RGGI’s post-2020 CO2 caps. (E&E News)
Milking it – Professors from the University of Texas and Clarkson University are exploring using excess milk as a readily-available sustainable waste stream for new carbon capture technologies that could help offset emissions produced in the dairy industry. “The structure of the milk allows for excellent control of the carbon’s porosity and surface chemistry,” said one researcher. The team was able to prepare activated carbon from a natural precursor that was selective for CO2, high capacity, and relatively low cost – a combination that the professors say has not been reported before. (Advanced Science News)
And finally… Another day, another beer-related climate story – When Australia’s coronavirus lockdown forced bars and restaurants to shut down in March, breweries were left with huge inventories of unsold, stale beer. But instead of going to waste, some expired ales and lagers in the state of South Australia have been serving a new purpose: powering a water treatment plant. The Glenelg Wastewater Treatment Plant to the west of the state capital Adelaide mixes organic industrial waste with sewage sludge to produce biogas, which is then turned into electricity to power the whole facility. It usually generates enough biogas to provide about 80% of its energy needs, but the recent influx of beer has boosted its energy generation to new levels, reaching 654 MWh in a single month. (CNN)
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