CP Daily: Monday September 21, 2020

Published 00:53 on September 22, 2020  /  Last updated at 00:53 on September 22, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Canada accepts weaker Ontario and New Brunswick large emitter programmes to replace federal OBPS

The Canadian government approved Ontario and New Brunswick’s output-based pricing systems (OBPS) under the federal carbon pricing framework on Monday, despite Ottawa’s own admission that both programmes in the conservative-led jurisdictions will achieve fewer GHG reductions than the national ‘backstop’ mechanism.

EMEA

EU Commission confirms plans to trim industry’s indirect ETS cost compensation

Fewer EU industrial sectors will be eligible for indirect ETS cost compensation through 2030, while the share of costs eligible will be also reduced, according to revised guidelines adopted by the EU on Monday.

French plans for aviation tax hike to face parliament after ministerial split

France’s parliament will have the last word over a citizen-led climate proposal to increase an aviation levy, following an inter-ministerial dispute and warnings that the hike may hit the country’s economy, the head of a French consultative assembly said on Monday.

EU Market: EUAs tumble amid broader market sell-off

European carbon prices sank to a two-week low on Monday on another bearish auction result and as wider markets fell on fears that a resurgence in coronavirus cases could spur a new round of government-imposed restrictions.

EU carbon prices could double by 2024 under Commission-inspired ETS reforms -analysts

EU carbon prices could double within the next four years should lawmakers agree to tighten the market based on some of the proposals floated by the European Commission.

UK needs wider, higher, and simpler carbon pricing, report says

Post-Brexit Britain needs to expand its carbon pricing to more sectors at a rate rising to at least £75/tonne ($95, €80) by 2030 to put it on a path to reach its 2050 net zero emissions target, according to a report published by an expert group Monday.

Norway puts up $1.8 bln for world-first industry CCS project

Norway is prepared to finance two-thirds of the cost of the world’s first full-scale industry CCS project, which will initially capture cement emissions but could eventually store CO2 shipped from the rest of Europe.

ASIA PACIFIC

China’s State Council backs voluntary offset exchange

China’s State Council has backed the establishment of a separate exchange for trading voluntary carbon credits likely to be set up in the Beijing region, which some market observers expect to gradually take over handling of CCERs.

Australians found guilty of REDD credit tax evasion scheme

Australia’s federal court has found three men guilty of promoting tax avoidance over the years 2009-12 through a scheme that convinced clients to buy non-issued forest protection carbon credits by promising the investments would be tax deductible.

AMERICAS

Pennsylvania may look at LCFS to address transportation emissions

Pennsylvania may explore a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to reduce emissions from gasoline and diesel in the state, while the proposed 2022 start date of the Transportation & Climate Initiative’s (TCI) cap-and-invest programme is still feasible, a panel heard Monday.

Michigan and Bluesource team up for voluntary forest carbon project

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) last week announced it selected environmental firm Bluesource to develop the country’s first offset project on state-owned forest land, with the aim of supplying credits to the voluntary offset market.

California’s ARB loses second LCFS branch chief in less than 18 months -source

California regulator ARB’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) branch chief stepped down from his role last week, marking the second departure from the agency’s top spot for the clean fuels programme in less than 18 months, a regulatory source told Carbon Pulse.

VOLUNTARY

CO2 neutrality pledges build among corporates and subnational govts, though inconsistencies remain -report

Net zero emissions pledges are ramping up but in subnational jurisdictions and among companies, but the ultimate scope of these efforts could determine their long-term effectiveness in reducing GHG, according to new analysis published Monday.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

That’s rich! – The wealthiest 1% of the world’s population were responsible for the emission of more than twice as much CO2 as the poorest half from 1990 to 2015, according to new research. CO2 emissions rose by 60% over the 25-year period, but the increase in emissions from the richest 1% was three times greater than the rise from the poorest 50%. (Guardian)

Shifting gears – The UK is poised to bring forward its ban on new fossil fuel vehicles to 2030 from 2040 to help speed up the rollout of electric vehicles across British roads. PM Boris Johnson is expected to accelerate the shift to electric vehicles this autumn with the announcement, one of a string of new clean energy policies to help trigger a green economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. (Guardian)

Forest cover – France remains opposed to a free trade deal in its current proposed form between the EU and South American countries due to “major” concerns about deforestation in the region, the government said Friday. France is to set out three demands for negotiations to continue, which would crucially include respecting Paris Agreement targets. (EurActiv)

Split it – Landlords should pay half of the extra costs for heating oil and gas once Germany’s new CO2 price comes into effect in Jan. 2021, the ministries for finance, environment and justice demand in a paper seen by Rheinische Post. The three ministries are led by Social Democrats (SPD) who criticise that, according to existing plans, tenants would pay the raised price for fossil heating fuels alone because landlords can just pass on the costs. In Germany, it is common that blocks of flats are supplied with heat through a central boiler, for which the landlord buys fuel and then charges these costs depending on the size and consumption of the flat to every individual tenant. The SPD-led ministries reason in their paper that both parties can influence CO2 emissions from heating: the landlord by changing to a modern, efficient boiler system and the tenants by heating their flats efficiently. If only tenants were paying the CO2 price, landlords would have no incentive to make the heating system more efficient which is why they should pay half of the emission costs. The German government has decided to put a price on GHGs from the transport and building sectors to help reach national climate targets. As of Jan. 1, a tonne of CO2 will cost €25 in these sectors, which translates to around €0.08/litre for heating oil and around €0.005 cents/kWh for gas. (Clean Energy Wire)

Diesel does it – Diesel must become more expensive to allow a faster transformation of the car industry to comply with more ambitious climate targets proposed by the European Commission, according to Volkswagen CEO Herbert Diess. “If you want to achieve the transition faster, you need the right framework conditions,” Diess told the Welt am Sonntag. “As long as the diesel price is at a multi-year low of €1 per litre, it will be difficult.” (Clean Energy Wire)

Hydrogen long-hauls – Airbus has announced plans for the world’s first zero-emission commercial aircraft models that run on hydrogen and could take to the skies by 2035. The European aviation company revealed three different aircraft concepts that would be put through their paces to find the most efficient way to travel long distances without producing GHGs. (Guardian)

Lafarge and in charge – The world’s biggest cement manufacturer LafargeHolcim will reduce its direct and energy-related emissions –  Scope 1 and Scope 2 – by 21% by 2030. It is the first global building materials manufacturer to sign up to goals approved by the Science-Based Targets Initiative (SBTi), which provides independent validation of businesses’ carbon abatement commitments, and only approves goals that are compatible with the 1.5C warming trajectory that provides the basis for the global temperature goals agreed under the Paris Agreement. (BusinessGreen)

Conservation overcounting – Projects designed to protect the Amazon rainforest in Brazil and reduce GHG emissions overestimated their contributions to reducing deforestation, a team of international researchers reported in a new study. In the article, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the researchers found that the projects overestimated their impacts on tropical forest protection in the late 2000s because they didn’t account for the Brazilian government’s conservation efforts. “Both the government and the projects were doing good things, but the problem was that they weren’t accounting for each other’s efforts when they were making claims about how much of the solution they contributed,” said study co-author Erin Sills, professor at North Carolina State University and interim department head of the school’s Department of Forestry and Environmental Resources.

Morgan Monday – Investment bank Morgan Stanley on Monday became the first US bank to commit to reach net zero emissions by 2050. To achieve that goal, MS is developing the tools and methodologies needed to measure and manage its carbon-related activities in appropriate ways. As part of that effort, the firm recently joined the Steering Committee of the Partnership for Carbon Accounting Financials (PCAF) and will seek to play a leadership role in capacity building. Once consistent, robust, and comparable metrics and methodologies are available, the firm will set its initial financed emissions reduction targets. (Solar Power World)

Goodbye, Ginsburg  US Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg died Friday, leaving in her wake a legal and cultural legacy, and new questions less than 50 days from the November presidential election. In 2007, Ginsburg joined a landmark ruling that affirmed the EPA’s power to regulate GHG emissions, which enabled the Obama administration to issue rules limiting carbon pollution from cars, power plants, and other sources – and set up a contentious legal battle over the extent of federal authority still being waged today. She also authored a 2014 ruling that upheld an EPA rule limiting air pollution that crosses state lines and a ruling in 2000 that eased standing requirements in environmental suits. If Ginsburg’s replacement is named by President Trump, however, the environmental implications could be enormous. Amy Coney Barrett, an early frontrunner for Trump’s promised nomination, is seen as sceptical of a doctrine, known as Chevron deference, critical to environmental protection. In close cases challenging administrative agencies’ interpretation of federal law, Chevron essentially gives the tie to the agency. The two justices already appointed by Trump to the Supreme Court, Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, have also expressed scepticism toward Chevron. If it were overturned, the impact on all manner of government regulations, including environmental protections, would be enormous. Days before her death, Ginsberg dictated to her granddaughter that, “My most fervent wish is that I will not be replaced until a new president is installed.” Trump promised to nominate her successor this week, and on Monday baselessly claimed that Ginsberg’s request was written by prominent Democratic legislators. (Climate Nexus, Politico)

And finally… Subsea salvation – A new study shows up to a 90% carbon footprint reduction for critical minerals for electric vehicle batteries when sourcing them from deep-sea polymetallic nodules, compared to conventionally mined land ores. According to the research, published in the Journal of Cleaner Production, polymetallic nodules from the Pacific Ocean contain rich concentrations of four metals required for EVs in a single ore. These include nickel, a crucial ingredient in EV batteries, with the minerals increasingly being mined from beneath large forested carbon sinks in tropical areas like Indonesia and the Philippines.

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