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EU carbon prices jumped to a one-week high on Thursday on technical buying and short-covering and after the European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) – as expected – voted to support a tougher bloc-wide climate target for 2030, traders said.
RGGI Allowance (RGA) prices stagnated on the secondary market this week despite increased buying after the Q3 auction, while California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices sank despite a heatwave sweeping across the Golden State.
A Montana climate council called on the state to explore the feasibility of either a federal or regional CO2 pricing approach as part of a swath of proposed emissions reduction methods on Wednesday, but subsequent comments from Governor Steve Bullock (D) and the state’s probable Republican-led legislature going forward suggest the recommendation may never come to pass.
Global demand for carbon offsets is likely to surpass supply by around 2025 as governments tighten climate regulations and more major emitters set voluntary net zero targets, according to a report by ratings agency Fitch.
Transforming the power sector alone will only get the world one-third of the way to net zero emissions by 2070, the IEA said in a report published on Thursday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
White House watch – The EU is locked into a domestic political process aimed at slashing emissions no matter who wins the White House in November. That’s not the case for China and other big emitters, who are waiting for the outcome of the US election before deciding on whether to boost their climate pledges, Politico reports. That means that if President Donald Trump wins re-election this November, the EU would be much more alone in pushing the international climate agenda.
Don’t just survive, THRIVE – US Democratic lawmakers on Thursday unveiled an economic recovery agenda that would bolster union jobs while tackling climate change and racial injustice – a wide ranging alternative to Republican proposals for stimulating the coronavirus-battered economy. Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and Representative Deb Haaland introduced the resolution called THRIVE (Transform, Heal, and Renew by Investing in a Vibrant Economy), which so far has 83 congressional co-sponsors, including Senator Ed Markey and Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez – co-authors of the Green New Deal. The new resolution calls for federal investments to boost renewable energy and retrofitting buildings to make them more efficient, giving workers the right to organise, protecting minority communities affected by air and water pollution, and defending tribal sovereignty. Meanwhile, US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D) said that major climate change legislation would be an “early part” of Democrats’ 2021 agenda if her party wins back the White House this fall. (Reuters, The Hill)
(Off)Shoring up support – BP will pay fellow oil company Equinor $1.1 bln for a 50% stake in wind farms the Norwegian company is developing off the coasts of New York and Massachusetts, marking the British fossil fuel major’s first foray into offshore wind. The oil-and-gas companies, which are both making more moves into renewables, also announced a “strategic partnership” to jointly pursue other US offshore projects. The projects Equinor is developing in the two Northeast states will have a potential combined generating capacity of 4.4 GW, enough to power over 2 mln homes, the companies said. (Axios)
Transition training – Greece will spend €5 bln to offset the impact of ditching coal in power generation by 2028, a government official said on Wednesday. Energy Minister Kostis Hatzidakis told reporters the total will include state money, EU funds, and EIB loans. The spending will go to infrastructure projects, subsidies for new businesses, and training to help western Macedonia and Megalopoli switch to green energy, agriculture, and tourism. (Reuters)
See you in court – The British government faces a legal challenge following their decision to exclude municipal waste incinerators from the upcoming UK ETS after Brexit. Environmental campaigner Georgia Elliott-Smith has sent a pre-action letter to the government, making the case that in creating the domestic carbon market, the government has unlawfully excluded municipal waste incinerators. The letter also includes a challenge to the government’s decision to roll forward carbon allowances to future years. According to Elliott-Smith’s lawyers, by excluding waste incinerators and allowing the banking of carbon allowances, the UK will fail to achieve its obligations under the Paris Agreement to limit the global temperature increase to 1.5C. (Environment Journal)
Reserve reservations – Australia’s untapped gas reservoirs could lead to three years’ worth of global GHG emissions if they were developed to their full extent, an analysis suggests. With the Morrison government proposing what it has described as a “gas-led recovery”, a report by the think-tank Australia Institute also found 22 major gas production and export projects proposed across the country in government data, which if developed would lead to about 0.5 bln tonnes of emissions, roughly Australia’s annual GHG output. (Guardian)
Back on the table – Australian independent MP Zali Steggall looks set to resume her bid to hold the Morrison government to account on climate change, setting a November date for the introduction of legislation proposing to set a national policy framework based on a bipartisan target of net zero emissions by 2050. The Climate Change Bill, which Steggall had planned to present to parliament in March, was put on indefinite hold at the beginning of that month when the scale of the COVID-19 pandemic started to become clear. (RenewEconomy)
You’re my boy, blue! – Offset standard manager and developer Verra this week released the first blue carbon methodology approved under any major GHG programme. The methodology, which is a revision to the VCS REDD+ Methodology Framework, adds blue carbon conservation and restoration activities as an eligible project type and is expected to unlock new sources of finance for tidal wetland conservation and restoration activities. Verra will hold two webinars this month to provide an overview of the offset methodology. Additionally, Verra announced that the Rimba Raya REDD+ project in Indonesia has become the first initiative to register to the organisation’s Sustainable Development Verified Impact Standard (SD VISta), which enables projects to assess and report the sustainable development benefits they generate directly against the UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Swaying to the SYMFONI of reduction – The US Department of Energy has awarded the University of Illinois with $4.5 mln to calculate farm-scale carbon credits, allowing individual farmers to understand the value of their land and practices towards participating in offset markets, the school announced Wednesday. U of I’s “SYMFONI” project – also carried out with two other universities, the US Department of Agriculture, and Lawrence Berkeley National Lab – will allow accurate and rapid field-level quantification of carbon intensity for every individual field across the US and can be seamlessly scaled up to the global scale. This is made possible through the integration of field-based observations with satellite and aerial hyperspectral data, physics-guided deep learning, mobile soil sensing, and supercomputing.
Doing the Charleston – Charleston, South Carolina Mayor John Tecklenburg announced a lawsuit Wednesday in state court against 24 fossil fuel companies, including Exxon Mobil and Chevron, in a bid to hold them accountable for the costs associated with adapting to climate change, including the increased frequency of flooding and capital projects to address sea-level rise. The complaint, filed in the South Carolina Court of Common Pleas, seeks to put the costs associated with climate change on the companies, rather than taxpayers. The suit also makes Charleston the first city in the US South to sue Big Oil over climate change costs. Chevron spokesperson Sean Comey dismissed the suit, arguing its claims have no merit. “They are not a serious solution to a serious problem,” he said. (Politico)
And finally… Paradise (nearly) lost (again) – The explosive North Complex Fires tore through Butte County, California on Wednesday, killing at least three people with 12 still missing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. The fires, which grew by an estimated 230,000 acres (93,000 ha) in a 24-hour period, threatened the town of Paradise, whose residents are still reeling from devastation by the Camp Fire just two years ago. Fires throughout California have burned an unprecedented 2.5 mln acres (1 mln ha) so far this year, with the typical Southern California wildfire season just beginning. CO2 emissions from the record fires this year also appear to have totalled 60-65 Mt, roughly the same annual output as California’s power generators. (Climate Nexus, InsideEPA)
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