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California will require all new vehicles sold to be zero-emissions by 2035, a move that will slash the state’s GHG emissions by an estimated 35%, according to an executive order signed by Governor Gavin Newsom (D) on Wednesday.
Voluntary carbon credit prices flatlined in 2019 amid increased transactions, as new buyers rushed to buy cheap renewables-sourced units ahead of this year’s cut-off for registering many clean energy projects.
An Oregon-based forestry project registered under California’s compliance offset programme appears to have been affected by devastating wildfires in the American West, potentially triggering the WCI-linked cap-and-trade scheme’s credit buffer pool.
California Carbon Offset (CCO) issuances hit a five-month high this week, boosted by two large forestry projects receiving more than 8 million credits, as the total number of credits distributed by state regulator to date ARB topped 200 mln.
Supreme Court oral arguments against the Canadian government’s ‘backstop’ carbon pricing system entered the second and final day on Wednesday, as Quebec contended the federal system threatens its ability to implement its WCI-linked ETS, while New Brunswick offered Ottawa’s response to the coronavirus pandemic as a better model of cooperative federalism.
Ontario’s GHG emissions rose year-on-year in 2018 from specified sources as Premier Doug Ford yanked the province out of the WCI-linked ETS midway through the year, according to recent government data.
Poland’s largest utility PGE must discuss the future of its Belchatow lignite power plant with environmental NGOs that want the facility shut down, a regional court ruled on Wednesday.
The proposed inclusion of carbon sinks under the EU’s 2030 climate plans is unlikely to give emitters much wriggle room as the effect of Brexit and other shifts make the bloc’s overall reduction goal harder to reach.
The European Commission is laying down the groundwork to propose a “robust” certification scheme to incentivise farmers and foresters to cut GHG emissions, EU officials said Wednesday.
European carbon prices fell back on Wednesday, handing back almost all of the previous day’s gains as quarterly EUA options expired, the market saw a heavy inflow of supply, and technical signals remained bearish to help maintain the wild volatility seen over the past month.
Australia has announced plans to use its offset market to cut a staggering 35-90 MtCO2e worth of emissions every year through soil carbon projects, but even if the technological challenges are overcome, who will buy all those credits?
The UN’s CORSIA international aviation offsetting mechanism will add just 17 euro cents to ticket prices for long-haul flights from the EU, according to an NGO-commissioned study published Wednesday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
A big deal, but not enough – President Xi Jinping’s pledge that China will achieve carbon neutrality before 2060 is the most significant climate policy move for years and, if achieved, could curb likely global warming by 0.2-0.3C this century, researchers said. If delivered, the pledge would bring about the biggest reduction in projected global warming of any climate commitment made to date, according to research consortium Climate Action Tracker (CAT). In contrast, the combined efforts of all the pledges made under the 2015 Paris Agreement are estimated to result result in global warming of around 2.7C by 2100, CAT said. But even with China’s new plan, the net effect of all pledges is still far above the 1.5C limit scientists say would avoid the most severe impacts of climate change. To cap warming at this level, global CO2 emissions would need to fall to net zero by 2050 – 10 years earlier than China’s pledge. Xi also said China would achieve a peak in CO2 emissions before 2030. The country is responsible for roughly 29% of the world’s CO2 emissions. (Reuters)
Throne thoughts – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government reaffirmed its commitment to climate change policy in Wednesday’s throne speech, saying climate initiatives will spur the creation of one mln jobs to help the country recover from the COVID-19 pandemic. Environmental groups pointed out that the minority Liberal government reaffirmed its 2019 campaign pledge to overachieve on its 2030 GHG reduction target and reach net zero emissions by 2050, though the administration said it would immediately put forth plans to accomplish these goals. The throne speech also said the federal government will make Canada a world leader in clean technology by launching a fund to attract new investments in zero-emissions products and cutting corporate taxes in half for those companies. (HuffPost)
Delay, delay – The UK is working on a raft of plans to drive climate action ahead of critical UN climate talks in Glasgow next year, but its strategy is being challenged by a resurgence of COVID-19 cases at home. PM Boris Johnson was poised to outline his government’s vision for COP26 at the virtual UN general assembly session that started on Tuesday. Instead, a number of policy announcements, including ending overseas fossil fuel financing and bringing forward a ban on the sales of new petrol and diesel vehicles to 2030, are being deferred to later this autumn, sources told Climate Home. Plans for a National Investment Bank to help the country cut its GHGs to net zero by 2050, which have gathered wide support in government, could also be delayed, though a source told Carbon Pulse this announcement could also come on Thursday. On Tuesday, Johnson presented new restrictions to halt a steep rise in coronavirus infections, warning the country had reached a “perilous turning point“. His name was absent from the list of world leaders sending video messages to the UN general assembly plenary. The UK government has also shelved announcing its autumn budget. Separately, plans will be announced at the UN on Thursday to convene “the world’s most ambitious climate leaders” for a global roundtable on Dec. 12 – the 5th anniversary of the signing of the Paris Agreement.
Added absorption – Letting forests regrow naturally on cleared land has the potential to absorb 8.9 GtCO2 each year through 2050 (equivalent to 1/4 of global fossil fuel emissions) a WRI study has found. The IPCC underestimates carbon sequestration rates in young forests by 32% globally, and by a full 50% for tropical forests, according to the research. The new data also helps identify locations across the globe where natural forest regrowth has high climate mitigation potential. Global Forest Watch will publish the new data layer on its global map.
Cash back – German government plans to partly reimburse costs under its new CO2 pricing system for transport and heating to certain energy-intensive companies, the environment ministry said Wednesday. Companies will be able to apply for financial compensation on the basis of a so-called carbon leakage regulation if the CO2 price puts them at a disadvantage in international competition, according to the proposal, which still needs to be turned into regulatory text. In return, beneficiary companies will be obliged to operate an energy management system and implement measures to improve energy efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions. Less efficient facilities will receive less compensation, with benchmarks set based on the top performing 10% in each sector. (Clean Energy Wire)
Making the grade – The IEA has conducted an energy policy review of the Netherlands’ transition policies. The country is targeting GHG reductions of -49% by 2030 and -95% by 2050 from 1990 levels. The report highlights the country’s heavily reliance on fossil fuels and concentration of emission-intensive industries, but commends its policy framework and efforts on CCS, hydrogen and carbon pricing.
High-flyers – Low-cost carrier Norwegian has pledged to reduce the per passenger km emissions of its operations by 45% by 2030, compared to 2010 levels. These emissions have fallen by 28% from 2010 to 2019 and Norwegian will need a further reduction of 24% by 2030. The airline aims to achieve the target through fleet renewal and the use of sustainable aviation fuel. (GreenAir Online)
Hey, EU! Tax CO2 – Climate activists, researchers, local politicians, and former and current EU lawmakers on Wednesday joined a call to support the European Citizens’ Initiative campaign StopGlobalWarming.eu. The initiative proposes introducing a carbon price floor from €50/t in 2020 to €100/t by 2025, abolishing the system of free allocation of EUAs, and implementing a carbon border tax on non-EU imports. The campaign – currently supported by some 41,000 people – is still far from its target, as it needs a million signatures by Jan. 2021 to be debated in the EU institutions.
And finally… AppNow, ActNow – The UN has launched a new mobile app in support of its ActNow campaign to drive climate action and turn the recovery from COVID-19 into an opportunity to build a more sustainable future. The app allows users to not only log and track a set of everyday actions, but to also see the impact they are making in terms of CO2, water, and electricity saved. Impact metrics along with educational journeys, challenges, tips, and quizzes provide engaging entry points for users to develop sustainable habits. Targeting primarily individuals in the G20 major economies, which account for 78% of global GHGs, the ActNow campaign encourages people to take 10 everyday actions for a healthier planet, such as driving less, buying local produce, eating more plant-based meals, and making clothes last longer. Since the original launch of the campaign at the COP24 in 2018, ActNow has seen close to 800,000 individual climate actions logged through a chat bot.
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