CP Daily: Tuesday September 15, 2020

Published 02:11 on September 16, 2020  /  Last updated at 02:21 on September 16, 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 Parliament supports expanding ETS to international shipping from 2022

The European Parliament on Tuesday adopted an amendment that could fast-track the inclusion of emissions from ships using EU ports to the bloc’s ETS as of Jan. 2022.

AMERICAS

DOJ appeals California-Quebec ETS linkage case to Ninth Circuit

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) filed an appeal Monday evening in the California-Quebec ETS linkage case after a lower federal court ruled earlier this year that the cross-border agreement did not violate the Constitution.

Pennsylvania board approves draft RGGI regulation with eye to 2022 linkage

The Pennsylvania Environmental Quality Board (EQB) on Tuesday moved the state’s draft RGGI-aligned cap-and-trade rulemaking ahead to a public comment period, though resistance from the legislature may stand in the way of the state linking with the Northeast US power sector ETS.

Dominion petitions for power rate hike to cover RGGI obligations

Dominion Energy’s Virginia subsidiary is seeking to increase utility rates next year to account for RGGI compliance obligations, while it is already procuring allowances for future carbon exposure, according to documents filed this week.

Five Wisconsin-based offset projects seek entry into California LCFS market

Five California Carbon Offset (CCO) projects based in Wisconsin have applied to move into the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS), marking the seventh out-of-state dairy digesters to do so this month.

EMEA

Netherlands confirms carbon tax on ETS-covered industry

The Netherlands will apply from next year a carbon tax on EU ETS-covered heavy industries, the government announced Tuesday, though high EUA prices and wide initial exemptions mean the levy may have little impact at first.

EU ETS free allocation should be “better targeted” to reflect climate goals, auditors say

The current system of free allocation of EU carbon allowances should be “better targeted” in light of the bloc’s net zero 2050 emissions goal and the enhanced ambition for 2030, the EU’s auditing body said.

EU Parliament study assesses the assembly’s own GHG reduction pathways

The European Parliament should put in place measures to cut emissions from MEP travel and energy use as part of an institution-wide 2030 carbon footprint reduction target, according to a study published by the assembly’s secretariat on Tuesday.

EU Market: EUAs hold near €30 as market readies for EU climate announcements

European carbon prices consolidated near €30 on Tuesday, holding on to most of Monday’s stellar gains and coming within a hair of their 14-year high as buying continued ahead of this week’s release of the EU’s new climate strategy.

ASIA PACIFIC

NZ Market: NZUs break through price ceiling as financiers forced to report climate risks

New Zealand carbon allowances on Tuesday traded above the NZ$35 fixed price option (FPO) for the first time ever, as a mix of patchy supply and policy uncertainty continued to fuel bullish sentiment.

COMMENT

MARCU MY WORDS: The vision for the EU ETS in the 2030 Framework – will it be up to the challenge?

With so many issues being brought to the table and put on the menu for possible EU ETS reforms and to embody the European Green Deal, there is a real risk of not being able to see the forest for the trees, argues Andrei Marcu. Any revision of the EU ETS needs to be put in the context of the role of the market in the 2030 timeframe and beyond, and the objectives of the review. If not, we may get wrong not only the review of the EU ETS but also, due to a lack of debate, its role going forward.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

J’accuse! – The European Commission has been accused of “cheating” on its 2030 plans to reduce emissions by at least 55% below 1990 levels – a proposal expected to be made official on Wednesday – by proposing to include carbon sinks, The Guardian reports. Greenpeace said this strategy was “risky” because nature was under massive pressure from global heating and biodiversity loss, highlighted by forest fires in the western US, the Amazon, and the Arctic. According to German Greens MEP Michael Bloss, shadow rapporteur for the bloc’s Climate Law, the inclusion of removals was a deviation from the current system that could weaken the 2030 target. “It is a concern as the current legal framework for the EU’s 2030 target … defines the absolute reduction in greenhouse gas emissions,” he said.

Can’t jive with 55 – The European Commission’s enhanced ambition for 2030 has been criticised by German industries, politicians, and NGOs alike. The former two have warned that a new, more ambitious EU 2030 climate target could overburden the bloc’s largest economy, while the latter said the proposal expected this week is not enough to meet Paris Agreement temperature goals. German industry argued the new targets could overburden businesses, especially in the face of an economic downturn caused by the coronavirus crisis. It also decried a plan to further tighten passenger car emission limits, with the Commission set to propose that average CO2 emissions of new cars should be 50% below 2021 levels by 2030, up from the current 37.5% reduction. (Clean Energy Wire)

Trending trials – Three environmental groups have launched a lawsuit against the Spanish government, accusing it of taking insufficient action to tackle climate change. It comes after similar action was launched by green groups elsewhere in Europe including France, Germany, and the Netherlands, where the Dutch government lost a landmark case on cutting emissions in 2018. (AFP)

No Newydd project – Tokyo-based Hitachi has formally withdrawn from the £15-£20 bln Wylfa Newydd nuclear power plant in Wales, the Isle of Anglesey council confirmed on Tuesday, according to the BBC. Work on the two-reactor nuclear plant – the biggest energy facility ever proposed in Wales – was suspended in January last year because of rising costs after Hitachi failed to reach a funding agreement with the UK government. With 9,000 workers ready to start the construction phase, the decision in Jan. 2019 was described as “a tremendous blow” to the Welsh economy by business leaders.

Pumping gas – The Australian government will use a looming negotiation with the country’s LNG exporters to try and ensure sufficient supply is made available to the domestic market without having to impose a formal gas reservation policy – a scheme the industry would strenuously oppose. The PM, who has been championing a “gas-led recovery”, is pointing to new commitments in the October budget, including funding of $38.6 mln to unlock more supply of gas and boost transportation infrastructure. (Guardian)

Blaine and simple – New Brunswick’s Progressive Conservatives won re-election Monday night with a majority government for Premier Blaine Higgs, who last month called a snap election, the first Canadian provincial vote to be held during the COVID-19 pandemic. Higgs won his coveted majority after two years of leading the province’s first minority government since 1920, and ends a streak of four consecutive single-term governments. The PCs were elected in 27 ridings, two more than the 25 needed for a majority. Meanwhile, the Liberals saw their seat count decline by four to 17, while the Greens maintained their three seats and the right-wing People’s Alliance lost one to hold onto two. (CBC)

Only the best plastic is good enough – Toymaker Lego Group on Tuesday unveiled a swathe of new sustainability commitments around plastics, waste, emissions, and the circular economy, backed up with a $400-mln investment package. Lego vowed to ensure that manufacturing operations are certified as carbon neutral by 2022, and will increase its renewable energy sourcing through a mix of tariffs, power purchase agreements, and onsite solar installations to meet this goal. Additionally, the company does expect to use some carbon credits to reach this goal, but only as a “last option”, and will work with green group WWF to ensure the offsetting projects it backs are credible and create additionality. (edie)

And finally… When the rubber leaves the road – General Motors is exploring options in the aerial electric taxi market, including whether to build the vehicles known colloquially as “flying cars,” as part of a push by the US automaker to look for growth in related transportation markets, two people familiar with the matter told Reuters. Air taxis are vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft that use electric motors instead of jet engines and are likely to fly low-level routes, relieving traffic congestion on roads. Corporate and private investors have poured at least $2.3 bln into more than 100 aerial vehicle startups, including drones and electric air taxis, but the technology still faces significant roadblocks to commercialisation and profitability, according to investor website PitchBook. The sources said GM could make an announcement on its electric taxi plans early next year.

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