CP Daily: Thursday August 20, 2020

Published 00:29 on August 21, 2020  /  Last updated at 00:29 on August 21, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

EU must review ETS accounting rules for biomass, scientists say

A European scientific association has called on the EU to factor in the full lifecycle of emissions from wood pellets under the ETS, a move that could drastically increase costs for biomass-burning utilities such as RWE, Uniper, and Vattenfall.

EMEA

EU expects ETS registry to return on Friday, security breach ruled out

The EU ETS registry system is expected to be repaired and back online on Friday, the European Commission said in a note Thursday in response to an outage that has prevented physical trade in carbon units.

Poland could be climate neutral by 2056 -report

Poland could achieve climate neutrality by 2056, some six years after the EU as a whole plans to reach net zero emissions, a Polish economic think-tank report has found.

EU Market: EUAs sink below €26 as auction, virus fears weigh

EUAs dropped below €26 Thursday on a bearish auction result and wider macroeconomic worries, extending the previous day’s decline as officials said the ongoing ETS registry outage would be short-lived.

AMERICAS

NA Markets: RGGI prices climb toward $7, California allowances stagnate ahead of auction results

RGGI Allowance (RGA) prices continued their summer bull run this week on steady compliance demand and optimistic post-2020 outlooks, as California Carbon Allowance (CCAs) values held firm once again ahead of next week’s Q3 auction results.

RGGI emitters shed permits earmarked for compliance following Q2 auction -report

Emitters in the Northeast US RGGI ETS offloaded allowances held for future obligations following the June quarterly sale as secondary market prices rose, according to a report published Thursday.

Global commodities firm becomes latest speculator to open RGGI account

A multinational commodities firm opened a RGGI CO2 Allowance Tracking System (COATS) account on Thursday, marking the ninth new speculative player in the Northeast US power sector carbon market this year.

ASIA PACIFIC

Western Australia targets national parks for carbon projects

The Western Australian government has launched an initiative to attract investment in projects that can cut emissions and earn carbon credits in the state’s national parks and reserves as part of its COVID-19 recovery plan.

INTERNATIONAL

Paris-compliant CO2 price could impact third of global mines -analysis

Implementing a carbon price in line with the global temperature limits of the Paris Agreement could expose nearly a third of mines worldwide to higher costs, with gold mining operations in South Africa seen bearing some of the greatest impacts, analysis released Thursday showed.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The price isn’t right? – US Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden is unlikely to pursue a carbon tax if he wins the presidency in November, according to several people familiar with his campaign’s thinking, Axios reports. Biden’s campaign said last year it supported a price on CO2 emissions, but has since released policies that embody government mandates, investments, and job creation amid the COVID-19 pandemic-induced recession. The campaign’s positioning reflects the Democratic Party’s overall movement away from a carbon price and towards a new focus on economic recovery and equality, say people following the presidential nominee’s positions. Meanwhile, the third night of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) featured a lengthy 11-minute take on Biden’s climate and clean energy strategy that hammered home some of his big themes rather than the wonky details, Politico reports. The virtual conference featured speeches from New Mexico Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, youth climate activist Alexandria Villasenor, and International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) union journeyman Rob Bair, who represents the fracking-heavy swing state of Pennsylvania that Biden is hoping to flip from President Donald Trump’s 2016 electoral win.

For whom the Bel tolls – Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards (D) signed an executive order on Wednesday that will see the Bayou State reach net zero emissions by 2050. The directive creates a task force of representatives of government, industry, and civic and environmental groups that will recommend strategies, policies, and incentives by Feb. 2021, aimed at meeting interim goals of a 26-28% reduction in GHGs below 2005 levels by 2025, and a 40-50% reduction by 2030. A year later, the task force is required to submit a detailed plan showing how those goals would be met, which would also be given to the legislature for possible action. However, the initial 2025 reduction goal occurs after the end of Edwards’ second term, and there’s no language in the executive order specifying how the goals would be met. (NOLA.com)

Fill in the gap – The US EPA has received nine more “gap filling” Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) waiver applications going as far back as 2011, according to agency data updated Thursday. This brings the total number of retroactive small refinery exemption (SRE) submissions the EPA has published since the spring to 67, and comes after President Donald Trump this week indicated he may personally look into the issue with agency officials after Iowa Senator and biofuel advocate Joni Ernst (R) pressed him on the gap filling submissions. In addition, the agency said it received one more SRE application for the 2019 compliance year, bringing the total number received to 28, and two more for 2020, bringing this total to three.

Sky-rocketing – BP’s aviation arm and biofuels specialist Neste have inked a deal to ramp up their supply of sustainable aviation fuel to several European airports over the next 18 months, in move they said is in response to rising demand from airlines for greener jet fuel. The two firms have together been supplying sustainable aviation fuel to selected airports in Europe since last year, but have now agreed to increase their supply five-fold in 2020 and 2021, with deliveries to Stockholm and Oslo expected to begin in the coming weeks. (BusinessGreen)

Russia risk – Ruslan Edelgeriyev, an adviser to Russian president Vladimir Putin, is “actively advocating” for the creation of an emissions trading system in the country amid the threat of a carbon border adjustment mechanism in the EU. “Emissions trading will enable us to better counter unilateral foreign efforts and reallocate financial flows from dirty industries to support clean and innovative technologies,” he said, adding that Russia cannot be a “pollution heaven” without transparent and effective regulation of GHGs, while the entire developed world is moving in a low-carbon direction. (Energy Intelligence)

Wiring up – Queensland premier Annastacia Palaszczuk has announced that Queensland will establish three new renewable energy ‘corridors’ as part of a $145 mln investment in new transmission infrastructure to unlock wind and solar investment in the state. Giving a ‘State of the States’ address to an event hosted by CEDA, Palaszczuk said the government would support the deployment of the infrastructure across across North Queensland, Central Queensland, and South West Queensland. The new transmission infrastructure will be targeted towards supporting further investments in new wind and solar projects across the three regions, contributing to the Queensland government achieving its 50% renewable electricity by 2030 target. (RenewEconomy)

Brazilian block – Brazil’s biofuel sector is considering blockchain technology to clear logjams that are preventing corn ethanol and biodiesel plants from issuing carbon credits under the country’s RenovaBio programme. According to a recent industry webinar, officials involved in talks between the government and biofuel sector leaders are mapping out the challenges of traceability – that is, the ability to document the production process of each corn ethanol or biodiesel plant all the way back to the tens of thousands of corn or soybean farmers who produce the feedstock grains. While Brazil began implementing its RenovaBio policy this year, the certification of biofuel plants to issue the programme’s credits (CBIOs) has lagged. (Argus)

Nip some gypsum – Germany’s coal exit is threatening the country’s supply of gypsum, Tagesspiegel Background reports. More than half of the gypsum used in Germany is derived from the exhaust gases of domestic coal-fired power plants, and the federal government has yet to present a plan to replace the enormous quantities of gypsum that will be lost when the country’s coal plants are shuttered. While there are alternatives, such as natural gypsum, finding new sources will take some time and they come at a price. The expansion of gypsum mining, the most obvious solution, is already facing stiff resistance. Most of Germany’s natural gypsum reserves lay dormant in Thuringia, and the state’s premier has already warned the scenic Harz Mountains are in danger of being excavated and quarried.  Germany consumes around 10 Mt of the mineral every year for a wide range of uses, from blackboard chalk for schools, to medical plaster casts and, above all, in construction. Gypsum is the basic material for drywall plasterboard, which is already in increasing demand due to climate protection and the energy saving measures such as building renovations.  The gypsum industry is also covered under the EU ETS. (Clean Energy Wire)

And finally… Hot dam! – The construction of large-scale dams has played a surprising role in limiting rising seas, say scientists. Over the past century, melting glaciers and the thermal expansion of sea water have driven up ocean levels. But a new study finds that dams almost stalled the rising seas in the 1970s because of the amount of water they prevented from entering the oceans. Without them, the annual rate of rise would have been around 12% higher. (BBC)

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