CP Daily: Monday November 23, 2020

Published 01:13 on November 24, 2020  /  Last updated at 01:13 on November 24, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

President-elect Biden taps Kerry as US climate ‘czar’

US President-elect Joe Biden (D) named former Secretary of State John Kerry (D) to a chief climate position in his administration on Monday, selecting a Paris Agreement veteran as the Democratic nominee seeks to immediately rejoin the pact next year.

ASIA PACIFIC

Trading in China’s carbon market now tipped to begin early 2021

The first trades in China’s national emissions trading scheme are likely to take place early next year, an advisor to the government said over the weekend, meaning the country is likely to miss its 2020 target start date for the market, though compliance obligations are still set to be backdated to 2019.

EMEA

EU’s post-2020 Modernisation Fund stocked with 643 mln allowances -Commission

The EU’s post-2020 Modernisation Fund will monetise 643.2 million carbon allowances over the next decade to help 10 lower-income member states decarbonise their economies, the European Commission announced Monday.

As some eye Chancellor’s review for UK carbon pricing plan clues, legal experts foretell an ETS

While stakeholders will be closely watching this week’s UK spending review for any sign of a decision on the government’s post-Brexit carbon pricing plans, some legal experts appear convinced that an ETS will be the chosen outcome and that the first allowance auction could be held in Q2 2021.

Brussels to consider EU carbon market price floor as part of consultation

The European Commission is considering the introduction of a minimum carbon price as part of a wider consultation on the revision of the ETS, a senior official said Monday, although he added that the EU’s executive is “hesitant” about the policy.

EU Market: EUAs shoot above €27 on vaccine progress, supply drought fears

EUA prices shot above €27 on Monday as wider markets lifted on virus vaccine news, with observers eyeing a looming carbon allowance auction drought as a trigger for further gains.

Net zero mining: Sweden’s LKAB maps emissions free future

Swedish state-owned miner LKAB on Monday set out a $46.5 billion plan to shift to emissions-free production of iron ore for steelmaking, aiming to secure its future well beyond the country’s 2045 net zero target.

Lithuania should impose a carbon tax, slash fossil fuel subsidies -OECD

The OECD urged has urged Lithuania to introduce a carbon tax and slash its fossil fuel subsidies in order to achieve its national climate objectives.

AMERICAS

California gasoline sales dip in September as YoY trend rebounds at a slower pace

California gasoline consumption dropped in September from the prior month, but the year-on-year trend inched closer to 2019 levels, according to federal data released this week.

New York claims post-2020 RGGI caps consistent with carbon neutrality law

New York’s draft RGGI regulation to install post-2020 CO2 allowance budgets aligns with climate goals established under the Climate Leadership and Community Protection Act (CLCPA), state officials said, rebuking comments from legislators and environmental groups who criticised the proposed cap levels.

INTERNATIONAL

Agriculture carbon offsets can lead to adverse climate effects, NGO report warns

The EU should be wary of introducing carbon offsets for agricultural and land-use projects as this could lead to an increase in global emissions in the long term, a NGO report released on Tuesday found.

ICYM

Two CORSIA programmes approved as first REDD standards in a compliance carbon market

UN body ICAO’s Council this week fully approved a new jurisdictional REDD programme to supply carbon credits under the pilot phase of the CORSIA global aviation offset scheme, that alongside an update to a previously-recognised standard will see a compliance-based carbon market accept international deforestation reduction units for the first time.

ANALYSIS: EU budget delay imperils year-end deal to increase 2030 climate goal

The EU’s failure to conclude negotiations on a budget and stimulus package this week could derail efforts to agree an increase the bloc’s 2030 emissions target by year-end, though experts say that lawmakers increasingly linking the two issues could smoothen their passage.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Concentration continuation – GHG concentrations climbed to a new record in 2019 and rose again this year despite an expected drop in emissions due to COVID-19 lockdowns, the WMO said Monday. The concentration of CO2 touched a new all-time high of 410.5 ppm in 2019, an annual increase larger than the previous year and above the average over the last decade. Global data is not yet available for 2020 but the trend of rising concentrations appears to be intact, the WMO said, citing initial readings from its Tasmania and Hawaii stations. (Reuters)

Riyadh roundup – G20 leaders said in a final communique following a two-day Saudi-hosted virtual meeting issued on Sunday they are determined to tackle climate change and the coronavirus crisis, though the paper offered little in terms of any breakthrough announcements beyond general appeals for more global cooperation. In closing remarks, US President Donald Trump reiterated his opposition to the Paris Agreement, claiming it was “not designed to save the environment” but “to kill the American economy”. Separately, EU leaders endorsed Riyadh’s contentious “circular carbon economy” vision at the G20 summit, in exchange for a renewed commitment to phasing out fossil fuel subsidies. (New York Times, Climate Home)

Leak pluggin’ – Some 62 oil and gas companies representing 30% of global output have agreed to a new voluntary framework for reporting methane emissions, Euractiv reports. The move is part of a revision to the 2014 Oil and Gas Methane Partnership that environmental campaigners EDF believe will form the basis for robust standards in Europe. The EU and UN are part of the partnership introducing the framework. Read Carbon Pulse’s take on EU plans to propose methane reporting regulations next year.

For the kids – British billionaire Chris Hohn, founder of the TCI hedge fund, wants to force hundreds of companies to cut emissions by enlisting global investors to demand an annual non-binding vote on their climate plans at shareholder meetings. Hohn’s Say on Climate campaign set a precedent last month when Spanish airports operator Aena was pushed into action, with his Children’s Investment Fund Foundation saying the funds taking part represent more than $3 trillion in assets. (Reuters)

Business battles – The EU’s largest employer’s association, BusinessEurope, has questioned “the value and credibility” of the European Commission’s impact assessment underpinning the bloc’s proposed climate target plan for 2030, triggering an immediate backlash from pro-climate corporate groups. A BusinessEurope paper released last week questioned the Commission’s assertion that tougher climate policies are the bloc’s new “growth strategy”, saying there are too many uncertainties in the impact assessment to make such a claim. The European Corporate Leaders Group, a pro-climate business lobby managed by the University of Cambridge, led the charge against BusinessEurope, highlighting divisions in the business community about the urgency to act on climate change. (Euractiv)

Jumpin’ on the bandwagon – SK, a large South Korean conglomerate whose products range from oil to electronics and batteries, has made a commitment to cut its GHG emissions by two-thirds and end its foreign investments in oil and gas projects, its chairman told the Financial Times. Within the next three years the company plans to offload carbon intensive subsidiaries and increase investments in renewables and electric vehicles, he said.

Fickle opinion – Automaker GM announced on Monday that it will abandon the Trump administration’s lawsuit challenging California’s Clean Air Act waiver to set more stringent fuel economy standards than the federal government. With Toyota and Fiat Chrysler, the company had initially supported Trump’s efforts to revoke the California waiver that aligned with Obama-era Corporate Average Fuel Economy (CAFE) standards and set a less stringent emissions target. But in a new statement, GM CEO Mary Barra said President-elect Joe Biden’s electric vehicle goals aligned with the company’s efforts to address climate change by reducing automobile emissions. Biden is widely expected to drop the federal lawsuit against California once he assumes office in January. (New York Times)

West Coast domination – California produced the most electricity from renewable sources in 2019 of any state in the country, with two other West Coast states among the top producers, according to US Energy Information Administration (EIA) data. The federal agency showed California produced more than 100 MWh of renewable power last year, with the bulk coming from hydroelectric or solar resources. California is looking to ramp up its renewable energy generation to achieve a carbon neutral grid by 2045. Texas came in as the second largest renewables producer, as wind resources accounted for most of its generation. Pacific Northwest states Washington and Oregon were among the top five producers, with New York ranking fourth as it seeks to reach a 70% renewable energy goal by 2030.

Consol-ation prize – It has been seven years since the last major new coal-fired power plant started generating electricity in the US, but Consol Energy is working to design a CCS-outfitted facility in southwestern Pennsylvania to begin operation by 2027. Consol intends to outfit the plant with a system to remove about 97% of the CO2 from the exhaust that goes up the smoke stack, compress it, and pipe it to wells that would inject the gas into deep underground rock layers for permanent storage. Consol expects the plant to capture 2.4 Mt of CO2 per year. (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Get low – America’s biggest biofuel companies plan to ask the Biden administration to impose a nationwide low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to reduce emissions from transport fuels, and hope to preserve a role for products like ethanol amid the fight against climate change, five sources familiar with the matter tell Reuters. Officials from biofuel companies and trade groups like POET, Pacific Ethanol, and the Renewable Fuels Association teamed up with representatives from the agriculture, auto, and electricity industries to draft a letter to Biden urging a nationwide “clean fuel standard,” the sources said, though it was not clear which groups had signed the final letter. The working group has discussed whether a national low-carbon fuel programme would be applied on top of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) after 2022 or would simply replace it, though no consensus has been reached.

And finally… Cutting FTIes – Ratings provider MSCI, non-profit CDP, and fund manager First Sentier have cut ties with PR firm FTI Consulting while several global asset managers are reviewing their relationship with the company. This follows a New York Times report revealing that the company ran industry-backed pro-fossil fuel campaigns and created a fake Facebook profile to monitor activists. (FT)

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