CP Daily: Tuesday September 8, 2020

Published 23:10 on September 8, 2020  /  Last updated at 23:10 on September 8, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

MEPs back 55% EU emissions goal for 2030 in contested knife-edge vote

The European Parliament’s industry committee (ITRE) on Tuesday narrowly backed the raising of the bloc’s 2030 emissions goal to 55%, though opposing MEPs contested the outcome, which could give an early indication of the level of climate ambition sought by the wider assembly.

EMEA

Poland’s climate ministry plans faster shift from coal power

Poland’s climate ministry on Tuesday unveiled an updated 2040 energy strategy, planning an accelerated shift away from coal power but without giving a phaseout date.

EU ETS may not work for cars, might for shipping -Timmermans

The EU carbon market might not be the best policy for cutting road transport emissions but it could be more useful for the shipping sector, the bloc’s climate chief Frans Timmermans said Tuesday.

EU Market: EUAs slide with energy, equities as auctions continue to weigh

European carbon prices slid along with the wider energy and equity markets on Tuesday, flirting with yesterday’s two-week low as increased supply from the daily auctions weighs heavier.

AMERICAS

Aggressive Q3 auction buying may halt RGGI allowance bull run -traders

RGGI traders anticipate allowance prices in the Northeast US ETS will stagnate or sink on the secondary market after emitters ramped up purchases during the Q3 auction, following permit values hitting four-year highs this summer.

California carbon prices see little movement despite heatwave and higher power consumption

Record-setting California temperatures increased the deployment of CO2-emitting electricity generation through the first week of September, though the recent heatwave has yielded few impacts on California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices.

AVIATION

Aviation industry targets hydrogen in sector’s long-term decarbonisation strategy

Green hydrogen could help slash the long-term carbon footprint of global air travel in the coming years, while more stringent carbon abatement targets and a decreased reliance on traditional biofuels will also be necessary to increase the pace of emissions reductions, a conference session heard Tuesday.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Green stump – Africa’s “Great Green Wall”, the world’s most ambitious reforestation project, has covered only 4% of its target area despite being more than halfway towards its 2030 completion date, according to a status report that is calling for more funds, greater technical support, and tighter oversight to plant the targeted 100 mln hectares. The Great Green Wall was conceived in 2007 by the African Union as a 7,000km (4,350-mile) cross-continental barrier stretching from Senegal to Djibouti that would hold back the deserts of the Sahara and Sahel. (Guardian)

Easy does it – The behavioural and economic ramifications of COVID-19 will permanently reduce global energy demand, according to DNV GL’s newly published Energy Transition Outlook. Compared to the pre-pandemic forecast, energy demand will be lowered 6-8% each year to the middle of the century. COVID-19 has prompted major behavioural shifts important to energy consumption, as demonstrated by a reduction in long distance travel and the increase in home offices, both of which are responsible for the peak in transport energy demand and oil demand in 2019. DNV GL believes these trends are likely to have lasting societal effects, which have a major impact on energy demand from transport and commercial buildings. It added that CO2 emissions are set to fall 8% this year, making 2019 the world’s peak year. “However, we will still blow past the carbon budget for a 1.5C future in 2028, and if we are to meet this target, we must repeat the 2020 emissions saving every year until the middle of the century,” DNV GL added.

Bank check – Another financier – the Australia based bank ANZ – has said it will drop carbon-heavy business customers if they repeatedly refuse to develop a plan to deal with climate change risk. The bank has asked its 100 biggest-emitting business customers, in sectors such as energy, transport, construction and agriculture, to provide a low-carbon transition plan by 2021. (Australian Financial Review)

Bubbling mess – Australian government officials have conceded that the estimates of cost and emissions abatement guiding its much-vaunted technology roadmap are little more than thought-bubbles, and derived from departmental guesses rather than an authoritative and independent source. The technology roadmap is heavily focused on gas and CCS and is being developed as an alternative to the Morrison government setting more ambitious emissions reduction targets. The roadmap is likely to be used to justify the redirection of taxpayer funds into fossil fuel and CCS projects, including by raiding two leading clean energy funding bodies, the Clean Energy Finance Corporation and the Australian Renewable Energy Agency. (RenewEconomy)

Banking on breakthroughs – The US power industry would struggle to meet presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s proposed mandate that it become carbon neutral by 2035 without some big breakthroughs in clean energy technology, according to a Reuters analysis of planning documents and a survey of the 10 largest publicly traded power producers and three other utilities. The companies said rapid advances in nascent technologies – such as batteries to store power for lean times, CCS, and advanced nuclear power – will be critical to reaching net zero CO2 output. But these technologies are currently either too costly for mass deployment or not yet commercially viable, the power producers noted. Historically, utilities have invested little in emerging technologies because they are required by regulators to keep costs low.

FERC-get about it – The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) late Friday issued an order that rejected an effort by the New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) to accommodate renewables in its capacity market. The Republican-majority FERC called NYISO’s request “unjust and unreasonable and unduly discriminatory” because it favoured resources supported by state policy – notably nuclear power plants and renewables – over those that did not receive such support, meaning fossil fuel generators. The action was swiftly condemned by green group Natural Resources Defense Council and also by Democratic Commissioner Rich Glick, who issued a statement saying the commission, “perverted NYISO’s buyer-side market power mitigation rules into a mind-boggling series of unnecessary and unreasoned obstacles aimed at stalling New York’s efforts to transition the state toward its clean energy future.” Friday was also GOP Commissioner Bernard McNamee’s last day with FERC. Some close Commission observers say he has been instrumental in pushing minimum offer price rules for PJM and New York that prop up incumbent fossil fuel generators while undercutting state efforts to subsidise renewable energy. (Politico)

Our home and native gas – Canadian liquified natural gas (LNG) is the best choice for global energy investors looking for sustainable and competitive natural gas production, Natural Resources Minister Seamus O’Regan said Monday. O’Regan’s speech on the opening day of the virtual Gastech 2020 conference comes just two weeks before Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is set to unveil his promised “ambitious green agenda” in a throne speech laying out his government’s COVID-19 economic recovery plan. O’Regan hinted at some of what may come in that plan, including promises of investments in the electrical grid and energy efficiency programmes, a focus on workers, and investing in technology to make fossil fuels cleaner. (The Canadian Press)

Let it ride – Rideshare giant Uber will immediately expand its “Green” programme to new cities and set a longer-term target of having fully electric cars account for 100% of its rides on its platform in the US, Canada, and Europe by 2030, the company announced Tuesday. Uber’s new climate pledges also include an $800-mln commitment aimed at helping “hundreds of thousands” of Uber drivers worldwide overcome cost barriers to transitioning to EVs over the next 5 years. The new announcements follows competitor Lyft’s vow in June to have 100% of the rides in its platform come from zero-emissions vehicles by 2030. (Axios)

In memoriam – Ted Halstead, founder and CEO of the US think-tank Climate Leadership Council (CLC), died in a hiking accident last week, the conservative-backed organisation announced Tuesday. The CLC, convened by a group of former Republican officials, has advocated for a federal $40/tonne carbon fee and dividend plan in exchange for eliminating most Obama-era CO2 regulations, with the tax rate rising annually until certain GHG reduction targets are met and a carbon border adjustment to protect US manufacturers. The Council’s board of directors elected Kathryn Murdoch and Robert Litterman as interim co-chairs and appointed Greg Bertelsen as acting CEO.

And finally… I want the rains down in Africa – Plans to build the world’s largest hydro plant in the DRC could see large amounts of green H2 exported from Africa to Germany, said an aide to German Chancellor Angela Merkel. The hydropower dam – which at 44 GW would be twice the size of the Three Gorges dam in China ­– would likely be controversial. But if it goes ahead, it would go some way towards meeting import needs for Germany, which is expecting to require 90-110 TWh of electricity for hydrogen production by 2030, though it may only have 14 TWh in domestic renewable power available. (Recharge News)

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