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EU ambassadors failed to agree to finance part of the bloc’s coronavirus recovery plan with carbon pricing revenues on Friday, as member states continued to wrangle over the bloc’s next budget.
Polish coal unions struck a deal with the government Friday to phase out the country’s mines by 2050, bringing the lone EU hold-out against a bloc-wide 2050 net zero emission target a step closer to signing on to the goal.
EUAs dropped on another poor auction showing and wider market weakness on Friday, though prices continued to find support around €26.
New York’s post-2020 RGGI regulation is not yet complete, roughly three months after its public comment period ended, but officials are confident the state will implement the ETS update before the end of the year.
A Virginia utility commission has denied a waiver request from a Dominion Energy subsidiary to include RGGI compliance costs in next year’s power rate, according to a document filed this week.
Regulated entities increased their California Carbon Allowance (CCA) holdings by the largest amount since mid-May, as speculators trimmed their positions over the week, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.
New Zealand carbon allowances have been stuck a few cents above the fixed price option (FPO) all week, with trading activity slowing to a trickle as buyers hesitate to pay more while sellers hold back in anticipation of higher prices later.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
Carbon credits from the forestry and land-use sectors could play an important role in helping corporations and governments achieve CO2 neutrality, though experts on Friday put forth different views as to what extent companies should rely on these offsets.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
High jump – At the UN General Assembly on Thursday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen called for the creation of a “high-ambition coalition” of countries that would commit to climate targets in line with the Paris Agreement including China, which this week pledged to achieve carbon neutrality by 2060. Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney also told the summit he was working to make it mandatory for all companies to disclose their exposure to climate risks, adding he wanted this to be agreed to as part of the Nov. 2021 UN climate talks in Glasgow. (Bloomberg)
Clean dream – The US House of Representatives on Thursday passed a $135 bln clean energy and jobs package, although the White House already said this week it would veto the proposal if it reaches President Donald Trump’s desk. The Clean Energy Jobs and Innovation Act notably does not contain any sweeping GHG reduction goals that had been envisioned in draft legislation put forward by the Environment and Commerce and Natural Resources committees earlier this year. But Democrats say it offers a potential jumping off point should they win the White House and the Senate in November’s election. (Politico)
Transport ties – Oil major BP joined four other businesses and organisations from various industries to launch a campaign advocating for the implementation of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) cap-and-trade programme in US Northeast and Mid-Atlantic jurisdictions. BP joined utilities Exelon and National Grid, car manufacturer Ford, and trade group Alliance for Automotive Innovation to create the Coalition for a Better Business Environment. The group will advocate for the 13 TCI jurisdictions to implement the proposed ETS in 2022 to regulate on-road diesel and gasoline. The jurisdictions are slated to released a final Memorandum of Understand (MOU) this fall, with a Model Rule to follow.
Methane money – Alberta will channel C$52 mln ($39 mln) in revenue collected from the province’s Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) regime into methane programmes that will cut 1.5 Mt of emissions “right away”, the provincial government announced Friday. This includes using the TIER fund monies, collected from excess emissions charges by large emitters, to provide a C$25-mln grant to Carbon Connect International to deliver its Methane Technology Implementation Program. Additionally, the remaining C$27 mln will go towards the province’s Methane Emission Management Program for reducing baseline emissions and managing fugitive gases.
The Noring Twenties – Seattle-based carbon removal credit startup Nori on Thursday announced it had raised a $4 mln funding round from Placeholder, North Island Ventures, Tenacious Ventures and other investors. The new funding will help Nori launch its “industrial-grade” carbon credit marketplace, and will also be used to onboard more farmers to sequester carbon. (Built in Seattle)
Rays on the Rhine – Renewables covered about 48% of German power consumption in the first three quarters of 2020, preliminary data from energy industry association BDEW and the Centre for Solar Energy and Hydrogen Research Baden-Wuerttemberg (ZSW) shows, a 5-percentage point increase over the same period last year. On the one hand, the increase is due to the windy and sunny weather conditions of recent months, which were favourable for electricity generation from renewables. In the first quarter in particular, significantly more electricity was generated from wind than in the previous year. An unusually high number of hours of sunshine also led to a sizeable increase in electricity generation from solar energy of 13% compared to the same period last year. On the other hand, the coronavirus pandemic led to a reduction in overall electricity consumption of about 5% in the first nine months of 2020. “The figures make clear that there is still a long way to go before we reach the target of 65% renewables by 2030,” said BDEW head Kerstin Andreae, calling for ambitious reforms of the country’s renewable energy regulations. (Clean Energy Wire)
Clean lift off – A passenger plane powered by a hydrogen fuel cell has successfully completed a test flight in Britain’s Bedfordshire, in a zero-emissions journey hailed as a “world first” by green aviation specialist ZeroAvia. The six-seat plane, which has been retrofitted to run on the hydrogen fuel cell rather than conventional jet fuel, completed a full 20-minute circuit this week. Separately, as part of Boeing’s 2020 ecoDemonstrator programme, a final test flight of an Etihad Airways 787-10 from Seattle to Boeing’s manufacturing site in South Carolina used 50,000 gal (189,200 L) of a 50/50 blend – the maximum permitted for commercial aviation – of sustainable and traditional jet fuel. The sustainable fuel, which has been used in lower blends on other test flights conducted during the programme, was produced from inedible agricultural wastes by World Energy and supplied by EPIC Fuels. Boeing and Etihad have had a long-standing collaboration on SAFs and were founding partners on a pilot project taking place at Khalifa University near Abu Dhabi to produce jet fuel from saltwater-tolerant plants. (BusinessGreen, GreenAir Online)
And finally… Supersuckers – By genetically engineering weeds to grow unusually deep with hefty root structures, rich in an impermeable corklike polymer called suberin, scientists at California’s Salk Institute for Biological Studies are attempting to vastly increase the amount of CO2 each of these plants sucks out of the air and buries underground. If they can replicate these qualities in wheat, corn, soy, rice, cotton, and canola – which together occupy more than half of Earth’s arable land – they believe they might just save the world. The biologists have begun selling their plan to some of the world’s leading seed distributors and are currently finalising their first collaboration with a partner to begin engineering carbon-sucking superpowers into various food crop strains. Separately, the Information Technology & Innovation Foundation concludes in a recent report that gene-editing technologies like CRISPR could lead to a 50% improvement in agricultural productivity by 2050. Some of those benefits could come from reducing food waste, which produces as much as 1.9 bln tonnes of CO2e each year, by genetically engineering plants to last longer. Gene editing and selective breeding could reduce emissions from ruminant animals like cattle, which amount to perhaps 2.86 bln tonnes of CO2e per year. (Bloomberg, Axios)
Weekend bonus… Plastic poop wine – Grapes at vineyards in some of the US’s best known wine regions have been tainted with smoke from the recent wildfires raging on the West Coast. Wineries in California, Oregon, and Washington have survived severe wildfires before, but the smoke from this year’s blazes has been especially bad. No one knows the extent of the smoke damage to the crop, and growers are trying to assess the severity. If tainted grapes are made into wine without steps to minimise the harm or weed out the damaged fruit, the result could be wine so bad it cannot be marketed. The wildfires are likely to be “without question the single worst disaster the wine-grape growing community has ever faced,” said John Aguirre, president of the California Association of Winegrape Growers. In every grape he has come across, Noah Dorrance of Reeve Wines in Healdsburg, California, said “you could already taste and smell this ashy, barbecued flavour, kind of like a campfire”. Aguirre recalled sampling smoke-damaged wine during a tasting. One description on a tasting card compared the flavour to “fecal plastic”. (AP)
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