CP Daily: Wednesday September 9, 2020

Published 01:28 on September 10, 2020  /  Last updated at 01:28 on September 10, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Key MEPs converge on 60% EU emissions goal for 2030 ahead of vote -sources

The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) is close to agreeing on efforts to raise the EU’s 2030 emissions reduction goal to 60%, sources said late Wednesday, on the eve of a crunch vote that could signal a drastic increase in the bloc’s climate ambition.

AMERICAS

California offset invalidation from Wisconsin livestock project could affect subsequent reporting period

Additional offsets from a Wisconsin-based dairy digester may be impacted by California state regulator ARB’s decision last week to void nearly 5,000 credits for regulatory non-compliance, market sources said.

California doles out 2.1 mln offsets to primarily non-DEBs projects

California regulator ARB issued more than 2 million new offsets this week, with the bulk not providing direct environmental benefits to the state (DEBs), according to state data published Wednesday.

RFS Market: RIN prices spike on report that US EPA will reject retroactive biofuel waivers

US biofuel credit (RIN) values briefly surged Wednesday morning on a news report that President Donald Trump instructed the EPA to deny retroactive compliance waiver applications under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) in order to shore up electoral support in the Midwest.

EMEA

Lead MEP confident EU Parliament will vote to fast-track shipping into ETS

The European Parliament is likely to vote next week in favour of fast-tracking international shipping into the EU ETS, though the issue may face delays as member states grapple other priorities, the lead MEP on the issue said Wednesday.

EU Market: EUAs rebound from two-week low ahead of key vote on bloc’s CO2 goals

EUAs rebounded from a fresh two-week low on Wednesday as the biggest auction so far this year cleared at a strong premium, as traders readied for a key vote in the European Parliament.

ASIA PACIFIC

SK Market: KAU auction goes undersubscribed again in uncertain market

South Korea’s monthly CO2 auction went undersubscribed on Wednesday, the fifth consecutive month the government has failed to sell out as COVID-19 and policy uncertainties cloud the market outlook.

NZ Market: NZUs jump to all-time high on supply dearth

Spot allowances in New Zealand’s carbon market jumped to a record high on Wednesday, as a persisting lack of supply finally forced buyers to pay higher after weeks of little action in the market.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Financial first – A massive report released Wednesday, commissioned by appointees of President Donald Trump and compiled by dozens of analysts from firms across the economy, says “climate change poses a major risk to the stability of the US financial system and to its ability to sustain the American economy.” The findings themselves are not entirely new, but the fact that they were published by the US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC), the regulatory body charged with overseeing the complex financial instruments that set the prices of commodities like corn, wheat, and oil, carries significant importance. The publication is the first federal government report of its kind to focus on the effects of climate change on financial markets. “It was shocking when they asked me to do this,” Robert Litterman, the chairman of the panel that produced the report and a founding partner of investment management firm Kepos Capital, told the New York Times. “This is members of the entire community involved in financial markets saying with one voice, ‘This is a serious problem, and it has to be addressed.’” (Climate Nexus)

Decoupling – Fossil CO2 output from EU member states and the UK dropped 3.8% in 2019, while globally the increase in emissions continued in 2019, although at a slightly slower pace, according to a study from the EU’s Joint Research Centre. This means the EU and the UK’s CO2 emissions were 25% below 1990 levels – the largest reduction among the top emitting economic areas around the world. These are the results of the latest updates of the Emissions Database for Global Atmospheric Research (EDGAR), a tool developed by the JRC in support of policy impact evaluation and climate negotiations, providing a benchmark against which national and global estimates can be compared.

Footing the bill – European Council President Charles Michel called on EU capitals to follow up on their July budget deal and create permanent new revenue streams for the EU institutions. “Establishing these new resources is of the utmost importance,” Michel said. “We are ready to establish a carbon border adjustment mechanism in line with an improved ETS to protect our level playing field. If foreign companies want access to our market, we expect them to be on the same footing as our European companies.” (Politico)

Idle earnings – EU Just Transition Fund cash intended to help coal-dependent regions transition to a clean energy future could be wasted under current rules. That’s according to a report by climate think-tank Ember and green group coalition CAN Europe, which found that nearly two-thirds of the money would be directed to seven countries with no plans to exit coal before 2030.

Refining plans ­– Poland’s top oil refiner PKN Orlen said it plans to invest $6.6 bln in green energy projects that will help it become climate neutral by 2050. The state-run firm’s plans, which follow low-emission strategies from Europe’s energy giants, don’t align with the wider approach by Poland – the only EU state to refuse to commit to mid-century carbon neutrality. (Reuters)

Hydrogen race – France has a green vision for its nuclear fleet: Use the electricity it generates to make emissions-free hydrogen seen as key in decarbonising industries such as heavy transport and steel. The country this week unveiled plans to invest €7 bln by 2030 in hydrogen fully made in France – pooh-poohing other countries’ import plans. It hopes its aim of 6.5 GW of electrolyzer capacity by 2030 will edge the 5 GW Germany hopes to build over the same timeframe with its €9 bln initiative that could include importing solar power from Africa. (Politico)

Public vs private – A citizens’ assembly has called on the UK government to make those who fly more pay more and to ban polluting private jets and helicopters. The 108 members of the Climate Assembly represent a cross-section of the British public. They were invited by lawmakers to work out how the UK can reach its target of net zero by 2050, and the flying-related restrictions were among the more radical proposals in a package of recommendations on how to decarbonise in a fair and socially acceptable way, Climate Home reports.

Keystone State conflict – The Republican-controlled Pennsylvania Senate on Wednesday passed legislation to block Governor Tom Wolf’s (D) administration from joining the Northeast US RGGI ETS or any other independent or regional CO2 pricing programme without approval of the General Assembly. Four Democratic senators and one independent joined with the GOP majority in passing HB-2025 by a 33-17 margin, giving the upper chamber a two-thirds majority to override Wolf’s forthcoming veto. However, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives this summer fell six votes shy of attaining the same threshold when legislators in the lower chamber passed HB-2025. Wolf’s administration has repeatedly said that the state already has the authority to implement a power sector cap-and-trade programme, and the state’s Environmental Quality Board will vote on whether to advance a draft RGGI regulation at its Sep. 15 meeting.

TCI in two – The bipartisan group of US Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions that make up the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) will host two webinars this month to share updates on the collaborative’s proposed fuel sector cap-and-invest programme. The Sep. 16 webinar will feature updates on the development of a regional low-carbon transportation policy, including presentations on new modelling results and discussion of how a regional TCI programme could effectively manage a wide range of uncertainties, including those related to COVID-19. The Sep. 29 webinar will focus on proposed measures intended to ensure the programme fosters equity for overburdened and underserved communities, building on states’ long-standing commitment to designing a programme that benefits all communities, including those on the frontlines of air pollution and climate change impacts.

Reg-y or not – The Quebec environment ministry (MELCC) on Wednesday published a draft regulation to alter its post-2020 ETS reserve sale prices in alignment with California. MELCC published a regulatory impact analysis on the move in August, though the agency swiftly removed the document after accidentally releasing it early. A public consultation on the draft regulation runs until Oct. 24.

REN o’er me – The Colombian environment ministry on Tuesday launched the National Registry for the Reduction of Greenhouse Gas Emissions (RENARE) that will allow the registration of emission reduction projects within the country. The ministry said the platform, administered by the government-run Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology, and Environmental Studies (Ideam), will allow Colombia to monitor and report on its progress in realising Paris Agreement goals. Stakeholders have said RENARE is also a critical step for operationalising the South American country’s ETS in the coming years, as foreign companies will be able to register accounts on the platform in order to qualify for payments for offset projects and other initiatives.

And finally… Diversity disappointment – After the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) last week announced details for its much-anticipated technical conference on carbon pricing, some stakeholders expressed disappointment with the line-up, decrying a lack of representation from renewable energy and consumer advocates, as well as minimal gender diversity. Of the 30 panelists lined up for the conference, seven represent grid operators or their market monitors and seven represent energy companies, but none represent renewable energy or consumer interests, and only one represents state interests. Other speakers include academics, consultants, trade groups, and law firms, but only three members of the panel are women. Critics of the line-up say leaving consumer advocates and states out of the discussion is a misstep because it won’t help mounting state and federal tensions over wholesale electricity market policy. (Utility Dive)

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