CP Daily: Monday August 24, 2020

Published 01:28 on August 25, 2020  /  Last updated at 12:00 on August 25, 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 Market: EU carbon prices leap nearly 8% on price, vaccine optimism

EUAs gapped up and jumped by nearly 8% on Monday, hitting a five-week high above €27 as traders said a bullish weekend Financial Times article and wider market optimism about prospects for effective COVID-19 treatments stoked carbon buyers.

EMEA

EU ETS registry issues persist after outage -Commission

The EU ETS registry system continues to experience technical issues following last week’s three-day outage, the European Commission said late Monday, with problems specifically affecting Britain’s EUA auctions and transactions involving Kyoto Protocol credits.

EU-wide 55% target “technically and economically” feasible -report

The EU can achieve a 55% emission reduction target below 1990 levels by 2030 but the goal will require significant climate policy changes, including to the ETS’ own architecture, according to a report released on Monday.

Industry competitiveness goes far beyond carbon costs, says UK-commissioned report

Industry competitiveness goes beyond carbon leakage tests applied to EU and California carbon markets, according to a UK-commissioned study published on Monday, findings that could drastically alter carbon pricing safeguards for British emitters.

AMERICAS

INTERVIEW: Advocates push CO2 tax proposal to fill virus-induced budget shortfalls across the US

The next US Congress could take up a $52/tonne carbon tax plan to help state and local governments grapple with the significant economic crises brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, backers of the proposal told Carbon Pulse.

Canadian Conservatives maintain opposition to federal carbon tax with new party leader

Canada’s Conservative Party on Monday elected Erin O’Toole as its new leader, with the Ontario MP and former cabinet minister pledging to axe Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s ‘backstop’ carbon tax framework but voicing support for industrial and provincial CO2 pricing.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Investor influx – Carbon trading, specifically in the EU ETS, is a ‘one-way’ bet for speculators based on political will to strengthen the market, according to FT, which spoke with more than a dozen hedge funds, banks, and investors active in the industry. It found that expectations as to where the EU price may eventually settle vary widely, though virtually no one has said they believe EUA values will drop significantly. However, there are headwinds, as the article references Carbon Pulse’s July 9 exclusive on how EU lawmakers are considering speculation curbs or a price cap. It also details the carbon buying of big-emitting utility RWE, the subtleties of which have been tracked by Carbon Pulse and indicate the company still needs further carbon purchases for the next three years.  The article is said to have contributed to EUA prices surging by 8% today (see top story).

Border bluff – Europe’s plan to put a carbon price on dirtier imports risks getting caught up in global trade tensions, with a growing consensus that it may not even happen, Bloomberg reports. The outlet cites a range of experts pointing out that the EU’s plans for a carbon border adjustment mechanism may prove a mostly symbolic gesture to drive more climate ambition worldwide, particularly if Democrat Joe Biden is elected US president this year.

Lobby loss – Norway’s largest private asset manager Storebrand has divested its relatively small holdings in big-emitting companies ExxonMobil, Chevron, Rio Tinto, and BASF, citing their lobbying practices regarding climate. “If you have corporates that are spending a lot of resources and energy to try to avoid that regulation that is required, that is clearly not supportive and not in the long-term interest of anybody,” said CEO Jan Erik Saugestad. (Reuters)

A free pass for this gas – A draft EU methane strategy seen by Reuters will not impose standards on natural gas sold in the bloc. While the EU regulates methane emissions from gas burned in the bloc, it doesn’t do so for emissions during the production or transport of gas imports, meaning those emissions don’t show up in the tally of GHGs linked to Europe’s gas-fuelled power plants and are not counted in the EU’s climate goals. As part of the strategy, the European Commission only commits to “explore” options for emission standards, without a fixed date. Instead, it will propose legislation next year requiring oil and gas companies to better monitor and report methane emissions and repair leaks. (Reuters)

And we can call it a ‘tree-mium’ – The German government is considering paying forest owners for providing a natural carbon sink, according to newspaper tageszeitung. The federal government is working with the states on giving landowners a “tree premium” in return for their “ecosystem service”, which may total up to €1.5 bln per year to support reforestation amid prolonged droughts throughout the country. German forests swallow some 60 MtCO2e every year, while the country emitted a total 805 Mt in 2019. (Clean Energy Wire)

Destination: Nigeria – As part of its long-running series on how the world’s key emitters are responding to climate change, Carbon Brief looks at whether Nigeria – Africa’s largest economy and most populous nation – is likely to move past its economic reliance on oil and how it intends to supply power to its rapidly booming population. Nigeria was the world’s 17th largest emitter in 2015, and profits from petroleum exports currently account for 86% of the country’s total export revenue.

The greenest – The EU can help Africa become “the greenest continent,” Germany’s development minister Gerd Mueller said. In an op-ed for German business newspaper WirtschaftWoche, penned together with economist Claudia Kemfert and published on Monday, Mueller said that the bloc’s upcoming EU-Africa partnership due in October must focus on the clean energy transition, with Africa and other developing regions being hardest hit by climate change. They said such a move would not only give people in poorer countries a livelihood and economic development opportunities, but also help tackle social injustices, defuse regional and geostrategic conflicts, and protect global resources. (Clean Energy Wire/Climate Home)

Waste not, want not – Maximising co-digestion capacity at California’s wastewater treatment plants could reduce statewide GHG output by as much as 2.4 Mt per year, more than half of the emissions from landfills that the Golden State has committed to slashing by 2030, according to a report published Monday by CalEPA. Building on a survey of the nearly 225 wastewater treatment plants in California, the report found that many have anaerobic digestion capacity to accommodate diverted food waste. Statewide capital investments required to use the co-digestion capacity range from between $900 mln to $1.4 bln, while the net benefits to the state could be up to $255 mln each year. (Note: internal CalEPA server errors prevented accessing the report as of press time)

And finally… Negative punks – Scottish brewer BrewDog has announced it is going carbon negative and will take twice as much carbon out of the air as it emits.  The company has bought 2,050 acres of land in the Scottish Highlands that is currently being used for grazing.  Through an investment of £30 mln, it will create a 1,500-acre ‘BrewDog Forest’ of native woodlands and an ecosystem under the Woodland Carbon Code accreditation programme. It will plant 1 mln trees on the land in the coming years, as well as restore 650 acres of peatland. However, that won’t be enough to offset BrewDog’s emissions twice over, so the company is also investing in electric delivery vehicles, an anaerobic digester for brewery wastewater, and technology that captures the CO2 produced by beer fermentation. As well, the Scottish brewer is funding other nature-based offsetting projects in the UK through The Woodland Trust and The Ribble Rivers Trust, as well as projects overseas through the Nature Conservancy of Canada and Australia’s Carbon Neutral Gold Standard. Brewdog’s sustainability report reveals that its Scope 1, 2, and upstream Scope 3 emissions in 2019 totalled 67,951 tonnes of CO2e. (edie)

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