CP Daily: Thursday August 27, 2020

Published 22:50 on August 27, 2020  /  Last updated at 22:50 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

EU Commission likely to push for most ambitious 2030 emissions reduction goal -media

The European Commission EU will “probably” propose the most ambitious 2030 emissions reduction target currently under consideration, media reported on Thursday.

EMEA

EU Market: Prices climb on reports Brussels to target higher 2030 emissions target

EUAs climbed back above €29 in a choppy session Thursday, with buying triggered by a report that the European Commission will probably push for a higher 2030 GHG reduction target next month.

British carbon fraudster finally behind bars after 3.5 years on the lam

A carbon trading fraudster is finally behind bars in the UK after he fled an eight-year prison sentence for a £2.4 million scam that saw him and his accomplices sell illiquid and overpriced offsets to over 100 vulnerable investors.

AMERICAS

NA Markets: RGGI hits $7.00 as bullish trend continues, CCAs prices drop after Q3 auction result

RGGI allowance (RGA) prices continued their bull run this week despite traders noting some resistance in the market, while California Carbon Allowance (CCA)  values dropped after the second consecutive WCI auction failed to sell out.

RFS Market: RIN prices tread higher on strong bean oil prices

US biofuel credit (RIN) values jumped on Thursday as the bean oil-heating oil spread increased, while Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden hit back against the EPA’s handling of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) under President Donald Trump’s administration.

ASIA PACIFIC

New Zealand prepares to strike down on industrial over-allocation next year

New Zealand expects to implement new rules in the second half of 2021 to limit potential over-allocation of carbon allowances to industrials covered by its ETS, according to internal environment ministry documents released by the government.

INTERNATIONAL

CBL Markets introduces CORSIA-aligned global offset product

Trading platform CBL Markets announced a new offset product on Thursday based on the parameters of carbon credits approved for use under the international aviation trading mechanism CORSIA.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Taxes ain’t no trouble – Policy-makers often express concern about the negative impact of carbon taxes on the economy. But Resources for the Future (RFF) has found just the opposite, namely a zero-to-modestly-positive impact on employment and GDP. In a study focusing on European countries that have implemented carbon taxes over the past 30 years, the US-based think-tank found no robust evidence of a negative effect of the levies on jobs or GDP growth. RFF also looked at whether the positive effects might stem from nations that used the revenues to reduce other taxes. While the evidence was consistent with this view, it was inconclusive. As well, RFF considered the impact of the taxes on GHG cuts and found a cumulative reduction of around 4-6% for a $40/tonne CO2 tax covering 30% of emissions. “We argue that reductions would likely be greater for a broad-based US carbon tax since European carbon taxes do not include in the tax base those sectors with the lowest marginal costs of carbon pollution abatement,” the authors said.

Chess moves – Norway is planning to expand oil drilling in previously untouched areas of the Arctic, a move campaigners say threatens the fragile ecosystem and could spark a military stand-off with Russia. A public consultation on the opening up of nine new Norwegian oilfields closed on Wednesday, and the areas in question are much further north in the Arctic than the concessions US President Donald Trump announced for Alaska this month. (The Guardian)

Speaking of Russia – Another day, another Russian official commenting on the EU’s plans to implement a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) to protect its heavy industry from carbon leakage. On Thursday, it was Ekaterina Mayorova, the director for trade negotiations at the Russian Ministry of Economic Development. She told news outlet Sputnik the EU’s CBAM strategy risks hurting European businesses as well as Russian ones. She added: “if the mechanism is designed not as a protectionist tool and genuinely pursues to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, then its application must obviously consider a variety of factors. For example, almost half of Russia’s territory is covered with forest. Our country accounts for 20% of the world’s cumulative forest area. So our country makes a significant contribution to the global absorption of carbon dioxide, evidently partly produced by the EU economy. We don’t charge foreign companies for that, even though our taxpayers pay considerable sums to maintain forests.” Her comments come a day after Deputy Head of the country’s Security Council and former Russian PM Dmitry Medvedev slammed the CBAM as hidden protectionism disguised by a noble cause, whose aim is to prevent Russian goods, primarily gas, from reaching the European market, and as a result lead to billions of euros in losses for Russian firms. (Urdupoint)

Radical restructuring? – Poland could phase out coal as early as 2035 under a BAU scenario, according to Greenpeace, which analysed the latest government plans to restructure the country’s virus-hit energy sector. The Polish government is currently preparing a major restructuring of the country’s three state-controlled energy utilities, including of the nation’s biggest coal producer PGG, and also involves the closure of two mines. (Euractiv)

Cost-cutting – Electricity generated from wind and solar in the UK is 30-50% cheaper than previously thought, according to government figures published without fanfare earlier this week. The new report is Britain’s first public admission of the dramatic reductions in renewable costs in recent years and comes ahead of the government’s upcoming energy white paper, due this autumn. (Carbon Brief)

Davey’s back – Former UK Energy and Climate Change Secretary Ed Davey has been confirmed as the new Liberal Democrat leader, comfortably defeating his colleague Layla Moran in the party’s latest leadership election. Speaking following Thursday’s results, Davey – who had been serving as acting leader since former leader Jo Swinson lost her seat at last year’s election – said his priorities remained social justice, political reform, equality, and protecting the environment. Davey stressed his support for the party’s goal of delivering net zero emissions by 2045 – five years earlier than the UK’s current national target – and highlighted his record in delivering climate action. The Lib Dems currently number just 11 MPs.

Electric endorsement – Volkswagen’s CEO has endorsed Bill Gates to advise governments on how to lower CO2 emissions from transportation and renewed his criticism of Germany’s slow abandonment of coal power, according to a publicly shared LinkedIn post. VW has embarked on the auto industry’s biggest push into electric cars in the wake of its 2015 diesel emissions scandal, investing €33 bln over five years to develop the world’s largest fleet of battery-powered vehicles. (Bloomberg)

Carbon categories – Legislative amendments establishing the Australian government’s $1 bln Grid Reliability Fund have finally been introduced into parliament, a step that may revive the government’s plans to invest taxpayer funds in new gas generation by re-categorising it as ‘low-emissions technology’. Battery technologies are intended to be eligible, regardless of how they source their power, and coal plants are excluded from the fund, while it is unclear whether CCS will be eligible. (RenewEconomy)

Our increasing inferno – Fire outbreaks around the globe are up 13% this year on 2019’s record-breaking numbers, according to a report published Thursday. Global Forest Watch’s fire report states that in the past four weeks, Argentina had the most fire alerts globally (7,630) followed by Cyprus, Comoros, Lesotho, and South Africa. In Australia, the 2019-20 fire season was the worst ever, with one-fifth of all trees destroyed. The latest data from Brazil reveals fires in the Amazon rainforest are up 52% in 2020 compared to the 10-year average, and are almost a quarter higher in the past three years. The new analysis, by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Boston Consulting Group, found that alerts of deforestation in the Amazon region are also a third higher than last year, which increases the risk of fires due to dried-out vegetation. Fire seasons are also now nearly 20% longer than in the 1970s, and becoming more intense. And according to the report, 75% of all wildfires are started by people, and the blazes have released the equivalent amount of CO2 into the atmosphere as all EU countries combined on an annual basis. (The Independent)

Tree spree – Several dozen major US companies, non-profits, and local governments on Thursday announced a commitment to plant and conserve 855 mln trees by 2030, in a step toward fulfilling the global Trillion Tree Initiative that President Donald Trump backed in January. Among those offering pledges are Salesforce, Mastercard, Arbor Day Foundation, and the cities of Dallas, Boise, and Detroit. Reforestation offset project developer ACRE Investment Management said it will contribute 100 mln trees, while Bank of America said it would commit $300 bln in part to help develop a voluntary offset market to leverage more planting and reforestation projects. (Politico)

Out of step – More than half of Republican voters want clean energy production or GHG reduction legislation to be a priority for the US Congress, according to a poll conducted by Morning Consult for Environmental Defense Fund Action. The poll, which surveyed nearly 2,100 Republican and independent voters, found 62% supported action on clean energy production and 56% wanted to see legislation to lower GHGs. According to the results, 65% of polled voters who backed President Donald Trump wanted some climate action by Congress. Trump has rolled back numerous Obama-era environmental regulations and policies, including withdrawing from the Paris Agreement, while Democratic nominee Joe Biden has promised to bolster the country’s climate action, including increasing clean energy deployment across the US. (Washington Examiner)

New and improved – Offset standard developer and manager Verra will host a webinar on its new Methodology for Improved Forest Management on Sep. 2 at 1600 Eastern (2000 GMT). The proposed VCS protocol, developed with the American Forest Foundation, The Nature Conservancy, and TerraCarbon, is designed to make participation in carbon markets accessible to small landowners, and is also applicable to a wide range of IFM practices. Public comments are accepted through Sep. 16.

And finally… Do it for the free cake – Inhabitants of Lahti in Finland can now earn rewards if they cut car use under the EU-funded “CitiCap” project to lure the public into lower-carbon lifestyles. It allows individuals to track their emissions as they move around, using an app that detects whether they are in a car, on public transport, walking, or cycling. Anyone who uses up less than their allocated carbon allowance each week earns “virtual euros”, tradable for benefits such as swimming or bus tickets, as well as free bike lights or a slice of cake and a coffee at a cafe. The project’s wider aim is to develop a new method for encouraging greener behaviour, using a “personal carbon trading” system that other cities can copy. (France 24, AFP)

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