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South Korea will bring its net greenhouse gas emissions to zero by 2050, President Moon Jae-in said Wednesday, following recent similar statements from neighbours China and Japan and spurring further momentum for climate action in the East Asia region.
China is developing an offset mechanism for its national emissions trading scheme, a government official said Wednesday, reaffirming the market’s intended 2019-20 compliance obligation but not responding to questions on when the programme might see its first trades.
Deferring a carbon emissions target for Australia’s industry by another decade would be the sector’s worst option, a report released Wednesday said, adding the Safeguard Mechanism could be the ideal lever to decarbonise the sector.
EUAs fell to a new four-month low just above €23 on Wednesday after buyers struggled to absorb the bumper UK auction and wider financial markets tumbled on worsening coronavirus prospects.
Free EUA allocation should be phased out if the EU introduces a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), several key MEPs on the European Parliament’s environment committee said on Wednesday.
California granted more than 2.3 mln carbon offsets over the past two weeks, with an Alaska-based project accounting for the largest amount of the new credits, according to data from state regulator ARB published Wednesday.
A California watchdog report to provide suggestions on improving the state’s WCI-linked cap-and-trade programme will be delayed, with no immediate timeline available for a revised publication, an official told Carbon Pulse.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Down & Under – The recent rush of net zero pledges from Asian countries is not making an impression on Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison. According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Morrison said Wednesday that his nation’s emissions targets will not be set anywhere but in Canberra, citing his concern about Australia’s future exports.
Down & Under II – Australia and the UK are in trade talks, but according to the Guardian, reports from the negotiations differ in the two countries. While UK Prime Minister stressed in his media release from the talks that “bold action to address climate change” was a key part of the discussions, that bit was left out entirely in the press release from the Australian government.
Down & Under III – Meanwhile, the new climate goals of the major East Asian nations might crush Australia’s A$80-bln ($56.4 bln) coal exports to the region and put oil and gas company Santos’ Barossa LNG project at risk. (Boiling Cold)
Filipi-no-coal – The Filipino government will no longer accept proposals to build new coal power plants, in a significant policy shift designed to boost the deployment of renewable energy, Climate Home reports. Energy secretary Alfonso Cusi announced the country will declare a moratorium on new greenfield coal-fired power plants in a speech during Singapore International Energy Week on Tuesday. “We are also pushing for the transition from fossil fuel-based technology utilisation to cleaner energy sources to ensure more sustainable growth for the country,” he said. Campaigners have hailed the decision as a “welcome step forward” for the Philippines, where coal accounted for nearly half of electricity production in 2019. A pipeline of 12 GW of new coal projects under various stages of construction and planning would have more than doubled the country’s coal capacity.
Charter greening – The EU is trying to remove fossil fuels from the list of investments protected by the Energy Charter Treaty in order to stop its member states being sued over climate action. However, all 53 parties need to agree and Japan and Central Asian countries have blocked reforms. A leaked European Commission proposal seeks changes that would only fully come into force in ten years’ time and investments made in the meantime would not be protected. (Climate Home)
More haste – The EU could cut its emissions by more than 60% under 1990 levels by 2030, but the decisions about policies and measures have to be taken quickly, according to a paper by Germany’s environment agency UBA. Speedy EU ETS reform would mean the market “can and should ensure a large part of the necessary emissions reduction” by having covered emissions fall 66-71% over the next decade. Rather than “difficult and lengthy” talks to revise national non-ETS targets, UBA proposes the introduction of emissions trading for fuels used in buildings and transport – as Germany is doing – alongside other EU-wide measures. UBA also suggests member states make voluntary additional efforts in return for EU funds under a so-called “gap-filling mechanism”. (Clean Energy Wire)
Less waste – Germany’s research ministry is set to increase its funding by €75 mln to convert CO2 emissions from heavy industry into useful chemical products. Some €60 mln was given to support a pilot at steelmaker ThyssenKrupp to convert waste gases to ammonia and methanol. (Handelsblatt, Clean Energy Wire)
Tree trajectory – The European Commission has adopted the forest reference levels (FRLs) for each EU member state for 2021-25 upon which targets are set for forest-related emissions/removals under the bloc’s land use (LULUCF) regulation. Read Carbon Pulse’s article on the targets, which feature recalculations made for five countries, including significant concessions for Germany, Bulgaria, and Czechia. The levels will come into force 20 days after a two-month legislative scrutiny period.
Budget greenwatch – The EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy should be systematically applied to track green investments in the EU’s post-2020 seven-year €1.8 trillion budget and coronavirus recovery fund, which is currently being scrutinised by lawmakers. That’s according to a report by consultancies Climate Strategy & Partners and Climate & Company that found existing oversight imperfect and capable of showing inflated levels for sums designated for climate action. (Euractiv)
Rhode Island ready – Rhode Island will open a competitive request for proposals to procure up to 600 MW of new offshore wind, Governor Gina Raimondo (D) said Tuesday. The RFP will be developed by National Grid, with a draft proposal to be filed this fall and, if approved by the state Public Utilities Commission, a final RFP is expected to come out in early 2021. When combined with existing commitments, the 600 MW of offshore wind would allow the state to meet about 82% of its estimated 2030 demand with renewables, said Rhode Island Office of Energy Resources spokesperson Robert Beadle. (Utility Dive)
Registered voters for renewables – Most registered voters say they support increasing the US’ use of renewables like solar and wind, according to a new survey from Politico and Morning Consult. Some 79% of voters, including 89% of Democrats and 69% of Republicans, either strongly or somewhat support increasing the use of renewables, and 60% said they’d support shrinking the use of fossil fuels like oil. Asked about transitioning the US from using fossil fuels to renewable energy, 55% of Republicans said they support the policy, alongside 83% of Democrats and 68% of independents. But when it comes to legislating, 34% of respondents said passing a bill to address climate change was a “top priority,” and 30% said it was a lower priority while still important. A further 17% of respondents said it was “not too important” of a priority, while 11% said it should not be done at all.
Silencing science – Political appointees at the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), including some who deny the scientific consensus of climate change, have taken dramatic steps to clamp down on scientific communications at the agency, the New York Times reports. Last month, NOAA chief scientist Craig McLean was fired the day after circulating the agency’s policy on scientific integrity to new political appointees. McLean was replaced by Ryan Maue, previously of the Charles Koch-founded Cato Institute, who has downplayed climate change. Around the same time, David Legates, who denies humans’ role in causing climate change, was appointed to the brand new position of deputy assistant secretary. Both hirings were made without the involvement of NOAA administrator Neil Jacobs, who under the new rules imposed by the administration’s political appointees is prohibited from sending emails to his own staff without first clearing it with political appointees. The new rules also include mandatory approval by Trump-appointed political staff of all internal and external communications, meaning all social media posts, news releases, and even agency wide emails from career scientists. The administration’s goal appears to be to undercut the National Climate Assessment, in order to ultimately weaken the endangerment finding — the 2009 scientific assessment by the EPA that GHG pollution endangers public health. (Climate Nexus)
And finally… Blast from the past – US trading firm Cargill will test solid sails up to 45 metres high on 21 new-build oil and dry bulk vessels in an effort to cut shipping emissions. The project expects to be up and sailing by 2022 and could cut a vessel’s emissions by 30%. (Argus)
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