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Vietnam’s National Assembly this week passed a revised environmental law, which included provisions to set up a domestic emissions trading market.
Canadian Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson introduced a long-awaited bill on Thursday to install five-year GHG reduction budgets and a mid-century commitment to net zero emissions, with the forthcoming 2030 target to serve as an update to the country’s Paris Agreement goal.
RGGI Allowance (RGA) prices inched up on the secondary market this week on bullish outlooks for the post-2020 period, while California Carbon Allowance (CCA) values edged down slightly as traders await the results of the Q4 WCI auction.
EU carbon fell on Thursday on technical selling and profit-taking, as well as worries surrounding weaker fundamentals, policy disputes, and COVID-19, with EUA prices retreating further from a two-month high touched in the previous session.
The European Commission plans to launch a second call for projects under the Innovation Fund on Dec. 1, with just a tenth of the cash that was made available during the first.
Global emissions far off track for 1.5C, even as US GHGs to plunge to 1983 levels this year -reports
Countries are progressing on their GHG reduction targets too slowly to reach net zero emissions by mid-century, even as the COVID-19 pandemic may inadvertently put the US on track to meet its previous Paris Agreement goals, according to two reports published Thursday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Let’s do this – The EU unveiled plans on Thursday to transform its electricity system to rely mostly on renewables within a decade and increase its offshore wind energy capacity 25-fold by 2050. Renewable sources like wind and solar provide roughly a third of EU electricity today, Reuters reports, but the EU says that share will need to expand to about two-thirds by 2030 to put the bloc on track for its plan to become climate neutral by 2050. The European Commission said in its offshore renewable energy plan that the EU’s climate change targets required 60 GW of offshore wind by 2030 and 300 GW by 2050, confirming draft plans leaked to the press. That is a five-fold increase by 2030 and a 25-fold increase by 2050 from the bloc’s current offshore wind capacity of 12 GW. The Commission also outlined plans for 40 GW of EU wave and tidal energy by 2050, lower than a draft plan to build 60 GW but still a leap from the 13 MW operating today.
Fuel down – The European Commission on Thursday adopted its 2018 Fuel Quality Report based on the data submitted by EU countries. According to the data provided, the average GHG intensity of fuels in the 28 reporting member states had fallen by 3.7% compared to the 2010 baseline. The year-on-year progress achieved compared to 2017 was limited to a 0.3% decrease. Progress varied greatly across states, but almost all need to take swift action to meet the 2020 target of 6% below 2010 levels. The Fuel Quality Directive sets strict quality requirements for fuels used in road transport in the EU to protect human health and the environment. In 2018, fossil fuels made up the vast majority of the total fuel supply, with diesel dominating in most EU countries. Meanwhile, biofuels accounted for 5.2% of total 2018 supply. All diesel sold in the EU was marketed as containing percentages of biodiesel by volume, and over 90% of petrol was marketed with percentages of bioethanol. Overall, there is a high level of compliance with the quality limits in the EU, and the very large majority of key fuel parameters in the 2018 samples were reported to be within the tolerance limits.
Eastbound and down – A higher EU ETS emissions reduction target for 2030 could help slash power sector CO2 in four Central and Eastern European countries by about 80%, according to Katherine Poseidon, an analyst at BloombergNEF. Modelling showed that coal-fired power in Poland, Czechia, Romania, and Bulgaria could shrink by 40 GW over the next decade – with the majority of capacity closing by 2025 – if the EU agrees a 55% emissions cut for the ETS, she said in a white paper published in July but released on Thursday. (Montel, $)
Countdown starts now – In a ruling hailed as “historic” by environmental activists, France’s top administrative court on Thursday gave the government a three-month deadline to show it is taking action to meet its commitments on global warming, AFP reports. The French government, which brokered the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, was hauled before the Council of State by Grande-Synthe, a low-lying northern coastal town that is particularly exposed to the effects of climate change. The Council, which rules on disputes over public policies, said that “while France has committed itself to reducing its emissions by 40% in 2030 compared to 1990 levels, it has, in recent years, regularly exceeded the ‘carbon budgets’ it had set itself.” It also noted that President Emmanuel Macron’s government had, in an April decree at the height of the first wave of COVID-19 infections, deferred much of the reduction efforts beyond 2020. Before issuing a final ruling on the matter, the Council gave the government three months to justify “how its refusal to take additional measures is compatible with the respect of the reduction path chosen in order to achieve the targets set for 2030.”
We choo-choo-choose something besides coal – State-owned German railway company Deutsche Bahn will sharply cut back its use of coal power by increasing the share of renewable electricity, reports Spiegel Online. DB secured 780 GWh of green electricity in three deals with power providers – enough to power around 40,000 trains for 23 days. Of that, 80 GWh will be provided by a solar park in Eastern Germany, 440 GWh by a hydroelectric plant on the Bavarian-Austrian border, and another 260 GWh by an offshore wind farm off Heligoland that is being built by RWE. The contracts are intended to secure long-term supply for a period of 15 years, and they get DB much closer to its goal of covering about 80% of its electricity needs using renewables by 2030. Currently, around 61% of the railway’s electricity comes from sustainable sources. (Clean Energy Wire)
Eastern emergency – Japan’s parliament on Thursday announced a climate emergency, following a string of previous similar statements by governments in Europe and North America. The declaration is non-binding, but was backed by MPs who wanted to show the world that Japan is ready to play its role in the fight against climate change, according to Reuters.
More net zero – Australia’s QBE Insurance Group on Thursday announced it has joined the UN-led Net-Zero Asset Owner Alliance, committing to transition its investment portfolio to net zero GHGs by 2050. QBE, active in most major global markets and the biggest insurance company listed on the domestic securities exchange, becomes the first Australian-headquartered insurer to join the initiative.
Coal committee – Wyoming Senator John Barrasso announced his intent Wednesday to become the top Republican on the Energy and Natural Resources Committee, leaving behind his post as the chair of the Environment and Public Works Committee. Provided Republicans maintain their majority, Barrasso will chair the committee in the next Congress, replacing Lisa Murkowski (R), who is term-limited. The move will put lawmakers from the two leading coal-producing states atop the powerful Energy panel, presenting a potential barrier for any aggressive legislation to enact President-elect Joe Biden’s climate change policies. Ranking Democratic Senator Joe Manchin’s state of West Virginia is second only to Barrasso’s in coal production, and both lawmakers have defended the fuel that has seen its demand slump sharply over the past decade as the power sector moved to cleaner, cheaper energy sources. (Politico)
Refiner requests – US refiners added five requests for exemptions of 2020 blending requirements and one to exempt 2019 requirements under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), according to EPA data updated Thursday. In total, the EPA reported nine pending small refinery exemption (SRE) applications to waive requirements for 2020 and 32 pending applications to waive 2019 requirements. The agency took no action on any pending requests. (Argus)
Equal opportunity – An amendment to New Brunswick’s Climate Change Act introduced this week will ensure that facilities that opted in to the federal ‘backstop’ output-based pricing system (OBPS) can have the same opportunity when the Canadian province implements its own large emitter programme. The federal environment ministry in September approved New Brunswick’s proposed OBPS to operate in lieu of the federal backstop at a yet to be determined time, despite criticism that the provincial programme is environmentally weaker than Ottawa’s version.
More trees please – Many companies bent on zeroing out carbon emissions by mid-century or sooner are seeing their ambitions run up against the same big obstacle: there aren’t enough trees. In response to this growing need, the UN and environmental firm Emergent are stepping in to help with the Green Gigaton Challenge. The idea is to link the corporate demand for offsets with a supply of trustworthy credits from forest-rich countries. They hope to guarantee enough credits to offset a billion tonnes of CO₂ each year from 2025 to 2030. That means a minimum of 5 bln tonnes of carbon sucked out of the atmosphere – a solid chunk of the 32 bln tonnes of emissions reductions needed worldwide by then, the organisers said. The UN’s climate forestry programme UN-REDD aims to have financing and commitments in hand for its first gigaton of supply by Nov. 2021, when negotiators will converge on Glasgow for the COP26 climate summit. (Bloomberg)
Tag, you’re it – An independent, non-profit initiative launched Thursday will enable energy consumers to track the source of their energy and understand their carbon emissions in a totally new way. EnergyTag, which brings together over 60 of some of the biggest names in tech and energy, is developing an industry standard to deliver hourly certificates that show consumers exactly where their energy is coming from, allowing them to monitor their carbon emissions in real time. EnergyTag is supported by major firms including Accenture, Microsoft, Google, Eneco, Engie, Iberdrola, Orsted, and PwC. EnergyTag’s Council and Advisory Board are working together to define a set of guidelines that will form the basis of a market for energy certificates with a timestamp of one hour or less. In parallel, the initiative will stimulate the first voluntary markets for the certificates by coordinating a series of demonstrator projects around the world showcasing real-time energy tracking technologies. EnergyTag works with and within existing electricity certification schemes (such as GOs and RECs) as a voluntary ‘add-on’ and will not replace these schemes, the company said.
Record setter – Spot commodity exchange CBL recorded a new monthly volume record within the first two weeks of November, it said Thursday, with the activity boosted by the recent launch of its CORSIA-compliant Global Emissions Offset (GEO) contract. As of Nov. 17, the online bourse had handled 20,609 lots across all of its markets, which include carbon offsets, RECs, and water allowances. This exceeds the previous high of 20,263 CBL reported in March, and was well above both last month’s 10,829 lots and the 2,895 transacted in Nov. 2019. This month’s volume includes 3.6 mln carbon credits, while the bourse also reported that it has now traded more than 25 million spot VERs year-to-date – more than doubling its 2019 volume – thanks in large part to its GEO contract. CBL said around 500,000 tonnes of GEOs have changed hands since launch, with activity well supported with good market depth on both the buy- and sell-sides, pricing between $0.70 and $0.85 per tonne.
New offering – The European Energy Exchange (EEX) is expanding its product range on the derivatives market with new futures-style margin options for power, gas, and emissions futures. The bourse will introduce the new options on Dec. 7 on its emissions market, and will support the offering with a fee holiday. The options on power and natural gas futures will be available as of Feb. 15, 2021, it added. “Futures-style margin options are a more liquidity-preserving options product as the up-front premium payment will be broken down into daily margin payments, similar to futures products, and the remaining premium will be finally paid at expiration. This makes it easier for portfolio and risk managers to evaluate their daily exposure.” Clearing for the products will be provided by European Commodity Clearing, EEX’s clearing house.
And finally… Rotten tomatoes – A novel material made from rotting fruit and vegetables that absorbs stray UV light from the sun and converts it into renewable energy has landed its designer the first sustainability gong in this year’s James Dyson awards. From a record 1,800 entries – despite the challenges of Covid-19 – the award was given to 27-year-old Carvey Ehren Maigue, a student at Mapua University in the Philippines, for his Aureus system, which uses the natural scientific principles behind the northern lights. Aureus is made from crop waste and can be attached in panels to windows and walls. It allows high energy photons to be absorbed by luminescent particles derived from fruit and vegetables, which re-emit them as visible light. Unlike solar panels, the system is effective even when not directly facing the sun because it can pick up UV through clouds and bouncing from walls, pavements, and other buildings. (Guardian)
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