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US biofuel credit (RIN) values surged to a new annual high on Wednesday, while Republican senators asked the EPA to not increase the 2021 biofuels quota under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) due to the lingering economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
A proposal for a European carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) should “mirror” the price dynamics of an EU ETS reinforced with a carbon price floor, the bloc’s lead parliamentary lawmaker on the file proposed in a draft report ahead of a committee debate next week.
The EU’s environment ministers want to establish a firm process for setting a bloc-wide 2040 emissions target under the European Climate Law, aiming to bridge the 2030 and 2050 climate goals.
European carbon rebounded on Thursday after plumbing a new four-month low near €23, with prices boosted by a solid auction result and gains in the wider energy complex.
Germany’s current policies are putting it on course to miss its domestically-binding 2030 emissions reduction target, a report published on Thursday by its national environment agency UBA confirmed.
Switzerland has scheduled its first ever aviation carbon allowance auction, government data showed, after the country brought the sector into its emissions trading scheme this year.
RGGI allowance (RGA) prices inched up to four-year highs on the secondary market this week as traders shifted positions further out on the curve, while California Carbon Allowance (CCA) values dropped slightly on thin volume.
Chile and Quebec have held numerous discussions to share technical information on the Canadian province’s WCI-linked cap-and-trade programme and offset protocols with a view to potentially developing closer market ties over time, a government official for the South American country said Thursday.
New Zealand carbon allowances closed at their highest-ever level on Thursday as the election result has injected some positive momentum into the market.
Australian oil and gas company Santos has injected 100 tonnes of CO2 underground at its Moomba CCS project as a trial, but the scheme’s future will depend on the government finalising a method that will allow carbon capture and storage projects to earn carbon credits, the company said Thursday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Back-door backing – The World Bank’s private lending branch is indirectly backing one of the world’s biggest new coal complexes despite a new green policy. In September, the International Finance Corporation published its green equity approach, outlining that “IFC no longer makes equity investments in financial institutions that do not have a plan to phase out investments in coal-related activities.” Yet the client it chose to pilot the approach with in 2019, Hana Indonesia, has since approved project finance to the 2GW Java coal power station. (Climate Home)
Counting on forests – The first step to bring forestry under the EU ETS is to ensure that every tonne of CO2 in the forest is counted so that a certification system for carbon removals can be put in place, Artur Runge-Metzger, director at the European Commission’s climate department, told Euractiv in an interview. The EU executive’s senior official confirmed plans to create a carbon farming initiative in mid-2021 and to introduce a full-fledged certification system for CO2 removals by 2023. “If the standard is good enough and one can be sure that a tonne is tonne, then we might be able to recognise them like an allowance under the ETS,” Runge-Metzger said.
Tree-ty prerogative – The EU Parliament has used a treaty prerogative to call on the bloc’s executive to put forward rules to stop EU-driven global deforestation through mandatory due diligence for companies placing products on the EU market. MEPs say that voluntary initiatives, third-party certification, and labels have failed to halt global deforestation and are calling for binding measures to be introduced.
Good CAP, bad CAP – EU lawmakers are throughout this week agreeing their position to review the bloc’s Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), but a majority rejected 10 amendments on Thurday linking the CAP to the European Green Deal’s objectives. According to a guide compiled by green group WWF, MEPs have rejected, among others, the inclusion of a 30% emissions reduction target for agriculture and food by 2030, the support of the organic sector through eco-schemes, and the need to ensure coherence of national CAP strategic plans with the Green Deal. Perhaps as a tiny consolation for some, MEPs agreed on the rhetoric to align the CAP with the Paris Agreement. MEPs will either approve or reject the full CAP revision text on Friday, with mainly left-wing lawmakers and climate activists calling to #VoteCAPDown.
Sticking the land-ing – Offset standard developer and manager Verra on Thursday published the Methodology for Improved Agricultural Land Management under its VCS programme. The protocol quantifies the emissions reductions and soil organic carbon (SOC) removals resulting from the adoption of improved agricultural land management (IALM) practices such as reductions in fertilizer application and tillage, and improvements in water management, residue management, cash crop and cover crop planting and harvest, and grazing practices. The publication comes one week after US agriculture technology company Indigo Ag announced that nine domestic and multinational businesses will purchase offsets at $20/tonne from Verra and the Climate Action Reserve’s (CAR) soil organic carbon methodologies.
Nursing trouble – For the first time since records began, the main nursery of Arctic sea ice in Siberia has yet to start freezing in late October. The delayed annual freeze in the Laptev Sea has been caused by protracted warmth in northern Russia and the intrusion of Atlantic waters, say climate scientists who warn of possible knock-on effects across the polar region. (Guardian)
50-50 – A month ago — when California was on fire and its inhabitants were shocked to see bright-orange skies outside their windows — the Golden State’s natural resources secretary pleaded with President Trump to acknowledge the major role climate change had played in the blazes. To which Trump responded: “I don’t think the science knows, actually.” The statement, given at a meeting near Sacramento with Governor Gavin Newsom and other state officials, was in keeping with Trump’s denial-heavy remarks on global warming over the past decade. But, according to recent reporting from the New York Times, the president himself may not actually believe his own anti-climate rhetoric. Per the Times, after the cameras were turned off, Trump actually acknowledged the role of climate change, not just sloppy forest management, in exacerbating California’s wildfires. “Gavin, I totally get it, and really it’s probably like 50-50,” the president told Newsom when the governor pressed him on the issue of climate change after the televised meeting. (Grist)
And finally… Everything’s dirtier in Texas – The French government blocked trading firm Engie from signing a potential $7 bln deal with a US liquefied natural gas company last month over concerns that its shale gas was too dirty, two people familiar with the situation told Politico. The 20-year contract would have delivered LNG from NextDecade’s planned Rio Grande export facility in Brownsville, Texas. But the French government, which is a part owner of Engie, stepped in to tell the company’s board of directors to delay, if not outright cancel, any deal out of concern that US natural gas producers emit too much methane at the West Texas oil and gas fields that will supply the NextDecade plant.
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