CP Daily: Wednesday August 26, 2020

Published 02:08 on August 27, 2020  /  Last updated at 02:12 on August 27, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Romanian industry under pressure amid delayed indirect EU ETS cost payments

Many of Romania’s heavy industries risk insolvency as the government has not yet compensated facilities for their indirect ETS costs, despite getting EU state aid approval to do so in May.

EMEA

EU trade commissioner resigns over Irish golf dinner scandal

The EU’s trade chief, one of the members of the EU Commission in charge of designing the bloc’s carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), resigned on Wednesday over uproar that he breached COVID rules.

EU Market: EUAs retreat after hitting new six-week high above €29

EUAs extended a six-week high above €29 on Wednesday but later fell back, consolidating their late August surge after one of the month’s bigger sales cleared comfortably.

Icelandic direct air capture project scales up carbon removals

An Icelandic direct air capture (DAC) project is to remove 4,000 tCO2 a year from a geothermal power plant, the project developers said on Wednesday in a significant scaling up of the three-year-old pilot.

INTERNATIONAL

HSBC, Pollination team up to launch world’s largest natural capital offset fund

Climate-focused investment firm Pollination has teamed up with the wealth management arm of HSBC to develop the world’s largest fund focused on natural capital.

CORSIA offset demand could plunge by two-thirds if baseline change extends through 2035 -analysis

Carbon credit demand under the global aviation offset mechanism CORSIA may plummet if nations agree to extend this year’s emissions baseline alteration over the entirety of the programme’s 15-year lifespan, analysts said.

New jurisdictional REDD standard may generate offsets in 2021

The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) programme’s new standard for combating tropical deforestation may start yielding carbon credits as soon as next year, depending on the status of negotiations with potential partner governments, a webinar heard Wednesday.

AMERICAS

August heatwave sends California power consumption above 2019 levels

California’s heatwave this month pushed power consumption above levels for the same period in 2019, with much of the increase filled by carbon-emitting sources, according to California Independent System Operator (CAISO) data.

California divvies out 1 mln compliance offsets as the largest project earns new credits

California Carbon Offset (CCO) issuances hit a two-month high this week as regulator ARB granted more than 1 mln credits, with the programme’s largest project gaining nearly half of the new offsets, according to state data published Wednesday.

ASIA PACIFIC

China performs first test of national ETS registry

The Hubei Emissions Exchange has carried out a first live test of the registry that will serve China’s national carbon market, one of the major hurdles China must clear before it can launch the scheme.

EDL, Terra Carbon earn most of Australia’s latest offset issuance

Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has issued over 400,000 new carbon credits, with almost half of that going to just two developers.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Race to the bottom – Hydrogen made from renewable power will be able to compete on price with producing the gas from fossil fuels within two decades, according to analysis by research firm Wood Mackenzie. The cost of green hydrogen will drop 64% by 2040, the researchers said. Hydrogen is seen as key to cutting GHGs as it could eliminate the use of polluting fuels in industry and transport. (Bloomberg)

Mean green? – The UN-backed Green Climate Fund is facing a wave of internal misconduct complaints including allegations of sexism and harassment in the workplace, and criticism over the death of an employee from coronavirus. Some 17 current and former staffers speaking to the Financial Times said they had witnessed or been the victim of misconduct, including abuse of power, racism, sexism, harassment, and inappropriate relationships at the fund’s 330-person headquarters in the South Korean city of Songdo. The GCF said it has zero tolerance for such behaviour and is committed to creating a respectful, professional working environment for all its personnel. The fund put out a separate statement on its website expanding on its response and refuting claims of systematic problems.

The bear growls – The EU’s planned carbon tax is “hidden protectionism under a plausible pretext” and may entail billions of euros in losses for Russian companies, Dmitry Medvedev, deputy head of the country’s Security Council, said on Wednesday. The former Russian PM said Moscow would support the companies affected and will hold “international negotiations” on this matter with the EU and multilateral organisations. According to Medvedev, the carbon tax may “run counter to norms of effective international agreements including the UNFCCC, which prevents using climate change control activities to limit international competitiveness”. (TASS)

We should see each other more often – After losing a year to the coronavirus pandemic, UN Climate Change is considering an extra meeting in 2021 to resolve sticking points in the negotiations. This year’s COP26 in Glasgow was postponed to Nov. 2021 because of the outbreak, with a preparatory meeting in Bonn also deferred. Members of the UN Climate Change bureau – a group of top diplomats that includes UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa – met on Tuesday to decide the path forward for international climate negotiations. One option under consideration is to hold a third climate meeting in 2021, which would allow negotiators to catch up on work missed this year and arrive in Glasgow ready to negotiate the last unresolved issues of the Paris Agreement rulebook. (Climate Home)

Gig for a governor ­– Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney is joining Canadian asset management company Brookfield to head its green investment programme, in his first major business role since leaving Britain’s central bank in March. Carney, who was governor of the Bank of Canada from 2008-13 and started his career at Goldman Sachs, regularly spoke on environmental issues while at the BoE and encouraged banks to take a greater interest in the risks from global warming. (Reuters)

Curbing coal imports – India plans to significantly reduce its thermal coal imports in “the next few years” to save foreign exchange and create jobs through the development of existing and new coal blocks, a senior official in the federal coal ministry said Tuesday. Coal is among the top five commodities imported by India, the world’s largest consumer, importer, and producer of the fuel after China. India spent 1.58 trillion rupees on importing 247 mln tonnes of coal, including 197 Mt of thermal grade, in the fiscal year to Mar. 2020. (Reuters)

Investor flight – Whitehaven, one of Australia’s largest coal miners, has seen its profits nearly wiped out as coal prices collapse around the world. Following a record-breaking result a year earlier, Whitehaven’s earnings have crashed from $564.9 mln to $30 mln in the year to June 30, causing investors to flee. Whitehaven’s shares tumbled 18% to finish Wednesday at $1.02, the lowest level in several years. (The Sydney Morning Herald)

Miscalculating methane – Australia’s GHG accounting underestimates national emissions by about 10%, largely due to a failure to properly recognise the impact of methane released during gas production, an analysis has found. In late June, energy and emissions reduction minister Angus Taylor amended laws to reflect a scientific consensus that methane plays a greater role in heating the planet than previously thought. (RenewEconomy)

Trend bucking – The Australian Capital Territory will force major projects to account for their prospective GHG emissions during the planning process, bucking a trend that has seen governments seek to protect developers from responsibility. The amendments were proposed by ACT Greens crossbencher Caroline Le Couteur, and will require planning authorities to consider the compatibility of new developments with the ACT’s emissions reduction targets, which include a goal of reaching net zero by 2045. (Guardian)

Wal-to-wal cuts? – US-based retail giant Walmart cut 230 Mt of GHGs out of its supply chain over the past three years, putting it on track to reach its 2030 emission reduction goal, according to the company’s ESG report published Wednesday. The company, which aims to reduce its cumulative carbon footprint by 1 bln tonnes by the end of the decade, says it’s trying to think more systemically about the impact it is having on people and the planet. However, Walmart’s 18 Mt released in 2018 only covers Scope 1 and 2 emissions, as the company does not routinely disclose Scope 3 emissions from suppliers, which make up the overwhelmingly majority of GHGs in its supply chain. (Bloomberg)

2 milly – The UN’s carbon offset platform has sold and cancelled 2 million CERs since its launch in Sep. 2015. The Climate Neutral Now platform allows anyone to buy and retire offsets from around 50 CDM projects worldwide.  “The 2 million CERs cancelled roughly corresponds to $2 million in climate investment that are directly channeled from individuals and organisations to their selected CDM projects,” the UN said in a release.

And finally… The Chamber of Secrets – The US Chamber of Commerce did not include climate and clean energy bills it endorsed in its 2019 legislative scorecard, undermining its claim to support climate action, NPR reports. A new analysis from think-tank World Resources Institute found that although the Chamber has endorsed legislation on energy efficiency, battery research, lower-emissions industrial technology, cleaner power plants, and nuclear energy, almost none of those bills were included on its legislative scorecard. The omissions allowed several members of Congress who deny that humans are causing climate change to rate very highly, according to the Chamber’s evaluation. The only climate-friendly bill endorsed by the Chamber that was included in the scorecard called for research into carbon capture technology. The Chamber did score progressive Democrats’ Green New Deal, which it opposed. (Climate Nexus)

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