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The Utah legislature is unlikely to restore funding this year to challenge California’s cap-and-trade programme and emissions performance standards (EPS) due to budget constraints, though the issue may return next year, a state lawmaker told Carbon Pulse.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has released guidelines that will allow facilities with emissions or offset obligations at state level to establish projects under the federal carbon credit programme.
Vietnam has signed a deal with the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) that could earn the country over $50 million from cutting greenhouse gas emissions from forests over the next five years.
European carbon prices closed higher on Tuesday after trading lower for most of the session following another weak auction result and amid nervousness in wider financial markets.
Swedish utility Vattenfall’s ETS-covered fossil-based power output fell 28% year-on-year for the first nine months of 2020, outpacing an overall generation drop amid ample hydro supply, the company said in quarterly results on Tuesday.
The European Commission plans to launch a second call for projects under the Innovation Fund in early December, shortly after the deadline for the first call has ended, an EU official said on Tuesday.
Brazilian carbon credit prices and transactions surged over the past month as fuel distributors look to comply with the country’s RenovaBio programme after its 2020 biofuel quotas were finalised in September.
The energy demand drop due to the coronavirus pandemic will remove some 2.5 years’ worth of global energy emissions through 2050, according to researchers, who nonetheless say that the world is still heading for 3.3C of global warming.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Sucking > drilling – With the right regulations and incentives in place, the carbon removal industry could soon be bringing in as much revenue as today’s oil and gas sector, according to a new study. The report, published by Vivid Economics, finds that revenue from negative emissions or carbon offsets could reach $1.4 trillion annually by 2050, up from about $300 mln today. For comparison, according to consultancy Rystad Energy, the oil and gas industry is projected to bring in $1.5 trillion this year – about 40% less than it did in 2019. Vivid Economics’ revenue estimates are much higher than those of other experts, though. Julio Friedmann, a senior research scholar at Columbia University, thinks the carbon removal industry’s revenues in 2050 are likely to be closer to $500 bln, while Noah Deich, executive director of carbon removal non-profit Carbon 180, called predicting the value of a market 30 years from now a “highly speculative exercise,” especially when that market barely exists today. (Bloomberg)
Capture collaboration – BP has set out plans to lead an alliance of energy companies in siphoning off CO2 from factory flues under new plans in which almost half the UK’s industrial emissions would be stored beneath the North Sea from 2026. The oil major is leading a partnership including Italy’s state oil company Eni, Norway’s Equinor, National Grid, Royal Dutch Shell, and French energy company Total in a plan to transport 17 MtCO2 every year from two separate carbon capture projects in the Teesside and Humber industrial clusters. (Guardian)
Light duty calls – The US, EU, and Japan together exported 14 mln used light-duty vehicles over 2015-18, with 70% going to developing nations with limited or absent environment and safety regulations governing used vehicle imports, according to a new UN Environment Programme report. The report analysed nations’ import policies and created a ranking system based on factors like emissions standards and vehicle age limits. “Out of the 146 countries surveyed, 81 countries, over half, have ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’ policies to regulate the import of used vehicles,” the study found. The report added that the global fleet of light-duty vehicles is projected to at least double by 2050, with almost all the growth coming from non-OECD countries that import lots of used cars, vans, minibuses, and other vehicle types. (Axios)
Setting sail – Norway’s green hydrogen ship Topeka has been granted €8 mln in EU funding under the Horizon 2020 research programme, Euractiv reports. The prototype vessel could take to Norway’s coastal waters in 2024, ferrying cargo and delivering hydrogen sourced from clean energy to fuel bunkers along the coast. Topeka will not be the only ship that will benefit from the EU funds, as the project consortium HySHIP – in which Equinor is a member – also wants to conduct studies into a smaller tanker barge for use on inland waterways, a fast ferry, and a larger deep-sea vessel. The maritime industry is slowly starting to come to terms with the need to reduce its environmental footprint, and in the EU, the sector could soon be folded into the bloc’s ETS. Read Carbon Pulse’s latest analysis on maritime emissions and their possible inclusion to the EU carbon market.
Breaking the piggy bank – A report from Germany’s Court of Auditors, seen by national newspaper TAZ, has warned the federal government of the rising costs of failing to hit its climate targets. Much of these costs result from sectors not covered by the EU ETS, such as the building and transport sectors, where states that do not meet targets will have to buy pollution rights from members that exceed their targets under the EU’s effort sharing arrangement (known as AEAs). About €240 mln are allocated for this in the 2020 federal budget, the newspaper notes. Because targets will tighten in the period 2021-30, there is a threat of “significantly higher risks” for the federal budget, TAZ quoted the auditors as saying. The authority estimated the number of “missing emissions allocations” at 270 Mt, meaning at an average price of €50/t this would cost around €13.5 bln. (Clean Energy Wire)
Tax policy, part 1 – The parliamentary group of the German Social Democrats (SPD) adopted a position paper on EU policy on Tuesday, with the MPs calling for a CO2 border tax to raise the EU’s own resources, Euractiv reports. They are also calling for emissions to be reduced by at least 55% by 2030, similar to what the European Commission and other member states are pushing for. The SPD said a CBAM should be introduced if multilateral solutions to limit emissions do not show results fast enough.
Coney confirmed – The US Senate on Monday night confirmed Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court by a 52-48 vote, elevating the 48-year-old judge and daughter of a retired Shell executive and significantly shifting the highest court in the land to the right. Barrett raised eyebrows during her confirmation hearings this month when she dodged Democrats’ questions on climate change science, saying at first she had not studied the science but that it was irrelevant to her judgeship, then later describing the issue as “a very contentious matter on public debate” that she would not address further. Legal experts previously told Carbon Pulse that Barrett’s influence will pose dangers to both current and future US climate policy. (Politico)
Keeping track – US finance company MSCI has launched eight indices to enable institutional investors to position their portfolios in line with the Paris Agreement. The Climate Paris Aligned Index Suite builds on the provider’s existing climate change indices, and will help investors lower transition and physical risks and identify green investment opportunities. To achieve alignment with Paris, the suite has an ongoing self-decarbonisation rate of 10% year-on-year, and aims to reduce physical climate risk by at least 50%. To reduce transition risks, MSCI targets at least 50% reduction in weighted average carbon intensity compared to the reference index, aims to lower its fossil fuel exposure, and underweights high-carbon emitters based on scope 1-3 emissions. (Investment Week)
Peacetime perk – The recent overflight agreement between Jordan and Israel, which allows for flights to cross both countries’ airspace, will result in shorter flight times, reduced fuel burn, and an annual reduction of around 87,000 tonnes of CO2, based on the number of eligible departure airports, according to airline trade group IATA. Should the number of eligible airports increase and traffic returns to pre-COVID levels, the emissions reductions could more than double to 202,000 tonnes each year. (GreenAir Online)
Wasted youth – The young climate activists challenging Canada’s climate policies will not get to lay out their case in federal court, a justice said on Tuesday, striking a blow to efforts to litigate for tougher action sought in massive street protests. Justice Michael Manson rejected the 15 youths’ legal challenge, agreeing with a government motion to strike, saying their claims that government climate policy had hurt them was too broad a question for the courts to consider. But while he said it was not for the courts to decide whether Canada’s climate policy had breached the country’s charter, Manson left open the possibility of a court revisiting the public trust doctrine, an argument the federal government has a duty to protect natural resources, such as permafrost, for the benefit of the public. He added there was little difference between climate policy decisions and other choices made by governments that courts have consistently recognised as falling outside their remit. (National Observer)
Moe and tell – The Saskatchewan Party won its fourth straight majority in the Canadian province on Monday as voters approved Premier Scott Moe for another term. As of Monday evening, Moe’s right-wing Saskatchewan Party was declared the winner or leading in 50 ridings, compared to the left-wing NDP’s 11, easily surpassing the 31 required for a majority. In his victory speech, Moe fired a warning shot over the bow of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s Liberals, promising to defend Saskatchewan’s interests against Ottawa, and to maintain his rock-ribbed opposition to a carbon tax. Saskatchewan and its conservative provincial allies last month argued before the Supreme Court of Canada that the federal CO2 levy on fossil fuels and output-based pricing system is unconstitutional. (Maclean’s)
And finally… Mo(town) and tell – Researchers at Ford and General Motors knew in the 1960s that combustion of fossil fuels was causing global warming and then actively worked to obfuscate that scientific reality to further their bottom lines, an investigation by E&E News found. As early as the mid-1950s, Ford physicist Gilbert Plass was publishing articles on the climatic impacts of CO2, and in 1961 he authored an article that specifically called out fossil fuels like coal and oil as leading causes of rising global temperatures. In 1975, GM researcher Ruth Heck, now 88, published a paper in Science, in which she found aerosols caused “heating of the atmosphere near the poles,” and in 1981 published research exploring “increases in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide.” By 1988, the science was solid and went public with James Hansen’s congressional testimony, but the next year both GM and Ford joined the Global Climate Coalition to oppose efforts to cut GHG pollution and went on to give hundreds of thousands of dollars to climate denial groups and fought efforts to improve fuel efficiency standards, worried such standards would cut into their profits from SUVs and pickup trucks. In 1989, GM’s public relations department published a report casting doubt on carbon pollution and warming. (Climate Nexus)
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