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EU environment ministers will on Wednesday begin discussions over an upgraded 2030 emissions reduction target, taking the European Commission’s proposed minimum 55% goal recommendation as the basis for the negotiations, according to a leaked draft EU Council document seen by Carbon Pulse.
EUAs jumped nearly 6% on Monday to reclaim last week’s losses as wider markets swung to positive, with carbon further boosted by a bout of short-covering and speculative buying once prices broke above resistance.
The EU will look to establish transitional carbon pricing for new sectors before integrating them into the bloc’s ETS in order to ensure market stability, according to Mauro Petriccione, the European Commission’s top climate official.
The European Commission’s climate boss has defended the inclusion of natural sinks from the LULUCF sector in the EU 55% emissions reduction target plan, adding that early action would make the achievement of the bloc’s 2050 net zero goal more predictable.
Swedish oil firm Preem has withdrawn refinery expansion plans that would have created the country’s biggest EU ETS emitter, it said on Monday, diverting investments into biofuels.
China’s steel sector should join the national emissions trading scheme as early as possible, a senior climate official said in Beijing over the weekend, signalling intent to accelerate the expansion of the world’s biggest carbon market.
South Korea’s greenhouse gas emissions fell 3.4% year-on-year in 2019, provisional government data showed Monday, with reductions in the power generation and heat sectors accounting for most of the drop.
New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Monday said she would try to extend the operation of Rio Tinto’s aluminium smelter by 3-5 years, potentially a bullish signal for NZU prices as the plant is one of the biggest emitters in the nation’s emissions trading scheme.
California power sector emissions plummeted year-on-year during July even as electricity consumption began to return to historic levels from coronavirus-era lows, with the abatement likely helped by hydroelectric imports, according to California Independent System Operator (CAISO) data.
California fuel consumption ramped up in June compared to prior months, but the COVID-19 pandemic continues to depress gasoline and diesel demand beneath historic levels, according to state data published Monday.
California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credit values remained steady last week despite Governor Gavin Newsom’s (D) executive order for the state to phase out the sale of new gas-powered cars by 2035.
Carbon has been labelled “a key commodity to watch” over the next decade as major investors seek to ‘green’ their portfolios.
Job listings this week
- Australian Carbon Projects Development Coordinator, South Pole – Sydney/Melbourne
- Chief Policy and Markets Officer, Verra – Washington DC
- South Africa Manager, Verra – All Locations (in South Africa)
- Policy Adviser, Net Zero Public Engagement, BEIS – London
- Head of Sales, Redshaw Advisors – London
- Corporate Sales Trader (Great Britain Carbon Markets), Vertis – Brussels
- Data and Policy Analyst, Sandbag – Brussels/Paris/Home-based
- Climate Change Policy Expert, International Union for Conservation (IUCN) – Belgrade
- Climate Change Specialist, NZ Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Trade – Wellington
- Assistant Manager, Clean Energy Regulator – Canberra
- Customer Engagement and Business Development Role, Carbon Neutral – Perth
- Carbon Projects Origination Managers, AirCarbon – Africa, Asia, LATAM
- Research Fellow, National University of Singapore – Singapore
- Climate Change Specialist, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) – Colombo
- Climate Change Officer, UK PACT, British High Commission – Abuja, Nigeria
- Carbon Roadmap Project Manager, Apple – Cupertino, California
- Methane Reductions Analyst (x2), Bluesource – Calgary
Or click here to see all our job adverts
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Tax pushback – Air France-KLM is battling new green taxes on top of the coronavirus crisis – in a test of growing policy tensions between righting Europe’s crippled airlines and delivering on climate goals. The Franco-Dutch group, sustained by €10.4 bln in state-backed loans, faces higher duties in both home markets, as well as EU plans to hike airlines’ carbon costs. New taxes “do not support emissions reductions”, said Chief Executive Ben Smith in response to proposed increases to French passenger duties. (Reuters)
A flair for flaring – Britain’s oil and gas rigs are the most polluting in the North Sea oil basin, according to industry data, with enough unwanted gas burned off every year to heat a million homes. Oil rigs in the UK continental shelf released 13.1 MtCO2 into the atmosphere last year, according to data from Rystad Energy, more than those from the Norwegian and Danish regions of the North Sea, which produced 10.4 Mt and 1.4 Mt of CO2 respectively in the same year. The report found that oil rigs in UK waters released 3 MtCO2 through routine “flaring” of unwanted gas totalling billions of cubic feet. (Guardian)
High hopes – Poland expects the European Commission to approve a plan to gradually close mines owned by its biggest coal producer PGG and provide more public aid for the industry. Ending weeks of negotiations on the restructuring of troubled PGG, Poland’s government struck a deal with the company’s trade unions on Friday to gradually close its coal mines by 2049. However, analysts and environmentalists have criticised the deal, saying it is detached from the EU’s climate neutrality goal and contradicts Poland’s latest proposal to accelerate the phasing out of coal so that its share in power production falls to 11-28% in 2040 from more than 70% now. (Reuters)
CSR rivals – South Korean KB Financial Group has officially renounced its carbon-heavy investment plans in a group-wide directive toward taking the initiative to tackle climate change. The move is part of a last-ditch effort to win a four-year contract to handle a state fund of 10 trillion won, managed by the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education. In the neck-and-neck race are KB Kookmin Bank, the group’s bank subsidiary, and NongHyup Bank, which has been the handler of the education office’s fund since 1964. The education office said the two will be evaluated on their degree of CSR contributions to education as well as anti-coal campaigning efforts. The winner will be announced soon. (Korea Times)
NDP partner – Canada’s left-wing New Democratic Party (NDP) intends to back the minority Liberal government’s throne speech last week and a new coronavirus benefits bill, preventing a fall election. NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh confirmed his party would vote in favour of the speech put forth by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government, as long as the Liberals honour the agreement reached to secure their support. Trudeau’s speech reaffirmed his 2019 campaign pledge to overachieve on Canada’s 2030 GHG reduction target and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. (Global News)
Skirt stakes – Five Wolastoqey First Nations communities in New Brunswick have filed a lawsuit against the province accusing it of grabbing up to C$4.85 mln ($3.6 mln) in gas tax revenue from community budgets this year by using carbon pricing to skirt existing fuel tax sharing agreements. New Brunswick has revenue-sharing agreements with all provincial Wolastoqey and Mi’kmaq First Nations covering fuel and tobacco taxes, and gaming and HST revenue that last year generated an estimated C$62 mln for the 15 communities, which is used to help fund economic development and a variety of social services. But in April, to meet the requirements of federal carbon pricing rules, the New Brunswick government lowered provincial fuel taxes nearly 30% to make room for replacement carbon taxes. Because the fuel tax has been reduced, and in the province’s view the carbon tax that replaced it is not covered by any tax-sharing agreement, the amount flowing to First Nations is being cut. (CBC)
OEB on RNG – The Ontario Energy Board (OEB) last week approved natural gas utility Enbridge’s application to offer a Voluntary Renewable Natural Gas Programme on a pilot test basis. Residential and small business customers that take part in the RNG Programme will pay a charge of C$2 per month starting in Jan. 2021. The charge will be used to fund the higher cost to Enbridge of obtaining RNG rather than conventional natural gas.
Ain’t that Ameren-ca – US utility Ameren on Monday set a goal of reaching net zero emissions by 2050, with a long-range plan that invests nearly $8 bln in renewable energy and accelerates some coal plant closures, although it will retain much of its coal fleet through 2040. In its 15-year integrated resource plan (IRP) released Monday for review by Missouri regulators, the utility serving about 2.4 mln customers in the Show-Me State and Illinois plans to add 3.1 GW of renewables to its generation mix by 2030, hitting a total of 5.4 GW by 2040. This will allow it to reduce CO2 emissions by 50% from 2005 levels by 2030 and by 85% by 2040, accelerating by a decade its previous plan to cut CO2 output 80% by mid-century. (Greentech Media)
And finally… Nature vow – Some 64 leaders from five continents have signed a 10-point Pledge for Nature vowing to address pollution and plastic in the seas by 2050 in a strategy to halt the destruction of the planet. The pledge includes a renewed effort to reduce deforestation, stop environmentally harmful fishing practices, and switch to sustainable food production systems. All signatories have committed to putting wildlife and the climate at the heart of post-pandemic economic recovery plans, promising to address the climate crisis, deforestation, ecosystem degradation, and pollution. The announcement comes ahead of a UN biodiversity summit on Wednesday, hosted virtually from New York. (Guardian).
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