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Several dozen financial entities, large corporate emitters, and offset standards and retailers on Wednesday unveiled a taskforce to build consensus on how to best grow the voluntary carbon market in the face of higher credit demand and to meet Paris Agreement climate goals.
Some 43 out of 52 EU ETS-covered industries are likely to face the maximum possible tightening of their free allocation benchmarks over the next five years, according to a European Commission draft seen by Carbon Pulse that matches officials’ prior expectations.
EUAs were propelled back above €28 early on Wednesday as the market comfortably absorbed the biggest auction in five weeks, spurring confidence among bulls.
British Columbia will push back the scheduled increase of its C$40/tonne carbon levy by another six months in order to assist COVID-19 economic recovery efforts, the provincial government announced Wednesday.
In-state hydroelectric power displaced California natural gas generation throughout 2019 and reduced imports, likely leading to significant cuts to the electricity sector’s cap-and-trade obligations, according to data released this week.
Virginia utilities must submit documentation by next month to begin the process of registering in RGGI’s CO2 Allowance Tracking System (COATS), but it is unclear when these compliance entities may formally join the cap-and-trade registry.
Mining firm BHP Billiton has signed a five-year renewable energy purchase agreement with power firm CleanCo to supply its Queensland mines, aiming to cutting CO2 emissions from those sites in half.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Majority miss – Most nations including top emitter China are likely to miss a 2020 deadline to upgrade their Paris Agreement NDCs for reducing emissions, UN climate chief Patricia Espinosa told Climate Home. Espinosa said she expected about 80 out of the 197 signatories to the 2015 pact to submit updated or more ambitious climate plans in 2020, though declined to name any of them. Only 11 countries have so far revealed their new NDCs ahead of the end-2020 deadline to do so under the Paris’ five-year update cycles, with the COP26 climate summit in the UK pushed back one year to Nov. 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak.
Crash and burn – The number of fires in the Brazilian Amazon last month was the second-highest in a decade for August, nearing the crisis levels that unleashed a flood of international condemnation last year, official figures have showed. Fires meanwhile tripled year-on-year in the Pantanal, the world’s largest tropical wetlands, causing alarm on a new front. Despite government guarantees that it is acting to curb the destruction, there were over 29,000 fires in the Brazilian Amazon last month, just 5.2% lower than Aug. 2019. (AFP)
Cash and abate – An ETS in Colombia would allow the South American nation to cost-effectively meet its GHG mitigation targets under the Paris Agreement, according to a new study. The research, published in the journal Climate Policy, suggested the implementation of an ETS across multiple economic sectors would result in a reduction in Colombia’s annual GDP growth by 0.8 percentage points on average versus the business-as-usual scenario. Colombia’s 2018 law that established the basis for a national carbon market gave the government three years to define the operational features of the ETS, and market observers said a rulebook previewing that step has been delayed due to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Leaving his Mark(ey) – US Senator and Green New Deal co-sponsor Ed Markey warded off primary challenger Representative Joe Kennedy (D) in Massachusetts’ primary election on Tuesday. The race between the two men was competitive, though Markey ended up leading in surveys taken the week ahead of the election, possibly buoyed by endorsements from progressives including fellow Green New Deal co-sponsor Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Elizabeth Warren, as well as environmental campaigners Sunrise Movement. The primary challenge marks the first time a member of the Kennedy family political dynasty, including the representative’s great uncle, President John F. Kennedy, and grandfather, Attorney General Robert Kennedy, has lost a state-level political race in Massachusetts. (Vox)
Fifteen more years a slave (to fossil fuel power) – Research released Tuesday by Wood Mackenzie suggests Joe Biden’s $2 trillion climate plan could help the US achieve complete power sector decarbonisation by 2035, 15 years ahead of Woodmac’s base case scenario. If Biden’s presidential bid fails, one researcher added, the US could forfeit years of progress on climate change. While Biden’s plan could accelerate decarbonisation, other experts say forces outside the control of the president have put the US power sector on a course for dramatic emissions reduction. Job growth could prove to be the greatest benefit of a Biden climate plan, with some 500,000 jobs potentially created if a national clean energy standard is adopted, according to the Center for Environmental Public Policy. (Utility Dive)
Crisis call – Seventy US House Democrats are calling for the climate crisis to be a central focus of the upcoming presidential and vice presidential debates. In a letter Wednesday to the Commission on Presidential Debates, the lawmakers stressed that their constituents must hear from the candidates about how they plan to tackle “one of the most pressing and all-consuming issues currently facing our country.” Even a single question on climate change at the upcoming debates would be an improvement over 2016, when presidential debate moderators did not once bring up the rapidly worsening global crisis. The first presidential debate will take place Sep. 29. (HuffPost)
Tender green shoots – Victoria has announced plans to procure a minimum of 600 MW of new solar and wind energy capacity for the state, through a second Renewable Energy Target auction that is reported to take government operations to 100% renewables. The Australian state’s energy department will also kick off a process to test industry interest in joining the tender. The auctioned capacity is expected to power the state’s hospitals, schools, and train network. (RenewEconomy)
On board – Shipbuilding giant Mitsubishi announced that it will build and test a carbon capture system for ships, which it says promises to reduce emissions by up to 90% and even produce raw materials for new fuels to be produced. R&D and the testing phase are set to last two years, with the firm expecting to complete construction of the onboard capture system by mid-2021. (EurActiv)
Not down with the shut-down – Power supplier Greenpeace Energy has launched a complaint with the European Commission to stop Germany’s new hard coal phaseout tenders. The tenders are part of the country’s coal exit strategy, and encourage coal plant operators to quote a bid value at which they are willing to refrain from burning coal and, if successful, are compensated by that amount. Previous run-times and expected CO2 emissions are taken into account when judging the bids. The maximum price set in the first round of tenders for a capacity of 4 gigawatt, which ended on 1 September, was 165,000 euros per megawatt net nominal capacity. Greenpeace Energy claims this procedure harms competition in the power sector and is bad for the climate. Because coal power operators could bid to receive the shut-down premium immediately but then let their plants run until the winners were announced, the hope of being awarded millions in shut-down payments could lead even loss-making plants to continue operating, the power supplier argued. More coal power in the system will reduce the wholesale power price and therefore reduce the income of new, renewable power generators. “If the German government is compensating the operators of coal-fired power plants with large sums of taxpayers’ money, then in our view this is illegal state aid,” said Soenke Tangermann, CEO of Greenpeace Energy. Results from the first round of tenders will be announced after Dec. 1, 2020. (Clean Energy Wire)
Sheep-shifting – While recent research suggests most sheep farming in the UK is not profitable without subsidies, farmers could make money by allowing native trees to return to their land, and then selling credits for the amount of CO2 the trees absorb as part of efforts to tackle climate change. The study comes as the government shifts the post-Brexit farming payments scheme away from subsidies for the amount of land farmed to paying for ‘public goods’ such as storing carbon and stopping flooding. (Yorkshire Post)
And finally… Bog off – Deep in the Estonian woodlands, a group of volunteers is toiling to restore a bog that was drained last century for mining purposes, turning the area into a major source of GHG emissions no longer trapped in damp, heavy earth. A third of all Estonia’s CO2 emissions in the country come from the bogs, and although peatland covers only 3% of the earth’s land surface, those deposits contain twice as much carbon as all the world’s forests put together. (Reuters)
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