CP Daily: Monday November 9, 2020

Published 01:37 on November 10, 2020  /  Last updated at 01:37 on November 10, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

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TOP STORY

ANALYSIS: Biden election win presents numerous climate policy opportunities, though challenges loom

The projected presidential victory of Democratic nominee Joe Biden this weekend opens the door for the US government to take swift action on domestic and global climate policy during the first days of his administration, although a potentially divided Congress could stifle some of the progress necessary to achieve rapid and deep decarbonisation.

VOLUNTARY

INTERVIEW: Carney-led voluntary CO2 market taskforce “barking up the wrong tree”, says South Pole boss

On the eve of the release of an expert report that could help revolutionise the “murky” global voluntary carbon market, the head of South Pole – one of the world’s biggest offset developers – says the authoring taskforce led by former Bank of England head Mark Carney is “barking up the wrong tree” and should be focused more on how to significantly raise prices than on creating benchmarks or improving transparency.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs soar almost 7% on positive COVID vaccine news

EU carbon prices surged by nearly 7% to a one-month high on Monday, tracking wider financial markets higher on positive news surrounding the race for a COVID-19 vaccine.

Three EU nations to produce 90% of bloc’s coal power in 2030, putting enhanced climate target at risk -report

Three EU member states will generate 90% of the bloc’s total coal power output by the end of the decade, which risks the bloc missing its proposed emissions reduction target of 55% below 1990 levels, a report released Monday found.

UK to give companies three more years before requiring climate risk disclosures

The UK plans to become the first major economy to require all listed companies and investors to disclose their climate risks, Finance Minister Rishi Sunak said on Monday, setting a deadline three years later than draft plans had outlined.

Switzerland completes first EU-linked carbon allowance auction

Switzerland has successfully completed its first carbon allowance auction since linking its emissions trading scheme with that of the EU.

EEX re-appointed as Common Auction Platform for post-2020 EU ETS

Germany’s European Energy Exchange (EEX) has been re-appointed by the European Commission as the Common Auction Platform (CAP) for carbon allowance auctions during the first half of the EU ETS’ Phase 4 (2021-20).

AMERICAS

Offset participants back suggestions from California protocol task force, as EJ groups assail draft report

California Carbon Offset (CCO) market stakeholders threw their weight behind a committee report released last month that would reduce offset invalidation periods and allow regulated entities to trade compliance limits, though environmental justice (EJ) organisations called for the state to suspend the credit programme pending a further review, according to public comments.

RFS Market: RIN prices briefly top 70-cent mark on likely Biden election victory

US biofuel credit (RIN) values under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) surged by 11% on Monday after Democratic nominee Joe Biden was projected to win the presidency over the weekend, but prices swiftly came off over the course of the morning.

ASIA PACIFIC

Australian MP introduces net zero emissions bill as climate pressure mounts on govt

Independent MP Zali Steggall on Monday was set to introduce a bill that would commit Australia to net zero emissions by 2050 just as international focus on the nation’s climate policy is increasing after Joe Biden’s US election win.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

*Carbon Pulse is organising and moderating a series of side events at the IETA-ICAP Carbon Markets Virtual Pavilion on Nov. 11-12, including sessions on the EU ETS, China, Canada, RGGI, and carbon as an investible asset class. The full event programme also offers high-level discussions and interactive sessions, along with an informal carbon markets networking area for people to connect and stay in touch. Registration is free and open to the public, but spaces are limited for the Carbon Pulse side events so sign up now!*

Offset red line – Oil companies are welcome to join the cross-stakeholder Race to Zero campaign requiring that they have set science-based targets in line with 1.5C, according Nigel Topping, high-level climate action champion for next year’s Cop26 UN climate talks in Glasgow, who co-leads the campaign with Chile’s Gonzalo Munoz. Speaking to Climate Home, Topping hopes some will be in a position to join the campaign before COP26, with oil sector-specific guidance due to be published early next year. Companies claiming to be “climate neutral by buying lots of offsets” rather than cutting emissions won’t be allowed to join, Topping added. Race to Zero today started a 10-day event series rolling out sector-specific net zero pathways.

Pouring gas on the fire – MEPs in the economic affairs and budgetary committees voted on Monday on the EU’s recovery fund package, but a ban on spending funds on fossil fuels suggested by the environment committee will not be in the final agreement. Therefore, gas investments will still be eligible for funding from the €750 bln pandemic relief fund. According to the amended draft, funded projects will still need to be in line with the ‘do no significant harm’ principle, but gas is now neither promoted nor excluded in the agreement. When MEPs in the ENVI committee voted to exclude fossil fuels from the recovery fund last month, its chairman Pascal Canfin hailed the agreement, saying he will “fight for this position to have a majority in plenary”. (Euractiv)

Joburg block – South African investors have pulled out of the 630MW Thabametsi coal-based power plant project in the water-scarce northern Limpopo province following the withdrawal last month of South Korea’s state-run KEPCO, and South Africa’s big four banks last year. Only Japan’s Marubeni, which along with KEPCO held a 50% stake, remains a backer of the facility that had been due online in 2021. (Reuters)

Not up to standard – The proposal by the US EPA to adopt ICAO’s CO2 standards for aircraft into federal regulations violates the Clean Air Act because it fails to reduce GHGs, despite the agency’s findings that such emissions endanger public health and welfare, according to environmental groups. In public comments, the groups said the proposal’s failure to consider the statutory factors laid out in the Act or analyse the costs and benefits of a range of possible emissions standards, and refusal to select an alternative based on the evidence before the agency was “arbitrary and capricious”. Although the majority of aircraft will not be subject to the standards until Jan. 2028, the industry is calling for finalisation of its domestic adoption by the end of this year. (GreenAir Online)

If you’re not first, you’re last – US utility FirstEnergy on Monday announced it will achieve net zero emissions by 2050, along with an interim goal of 30% below 2019 levels by 2030 for GHGs within the country’s direct operational control. Additionally, the company said that it will prepare for eliminating coal-fired power from within its West Virginia fleet by 2050 and incorporate CO2 pricing into financial forecasting. (MetroNews)

And finally… Grave endangerment – The White House has removed the scientist responsible for the National Climate Assessment, the federal government’s premier contribution to climate knowledge and the foundation for regulations to combat global warming, in what critics interpreted as the latest sign that the Trump administration intends to use its remaining months in office to continue impeding climate science and policy, The New York Times reports. Michael Kuperberg, executive director of the US Global Change Research Program, which produces the climate assessment, was told Friday that he would no longer lead that organisation, people with knowledge of the situation said. Kuperberg is expected to be replaced by David Legates, a deputy assistant secretary at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) who previously worked closely with climate change denial groups. A biased or diminished climate assessment would have wide-ranging implications, including being used in court to bolster the positions of fossil fuel companies being sued for climate damages, or to counter congressional efforts to reduce emissions. Ultimately, it could weaken what is known as the “endangerment finding,” a 2009 scientific finding by the EPA that GHG emissions pose a threat to human health and therefore are subject to government regulation. Undercutting that finding could make it more difficult to fight climate change under the terms of the Clean Air Act.

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