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EU delegations have begun work on the conclusions of a key EU summit on Dec. 10-11 where the 27-nation bloc’s leaders could agree a higher 2030 GHG reductions target, although some hurdles remain.
The British government is consulting the oil and gas industry about penalties under a post-Brexit UK emissions trading scheme, in what observers said was another potential sign the country will opt to implement a domestic cap-and-trade system instead of a tax when it leaves the EU ETS at the end of this year.
The UK has levied more than £130 million in fines on three grounded airlines for not complying with their obligations under the EU carbon market.
EUAs neared €28 on Wednesday to continue this week’s upward move as wider financial markets rose on prospects for a smooth US presidential transition and COVID-19 vaccine progress, while data showed investors continued to pile into the EU ETS ahead of the looming supply drought.
Russia became the 13th nation to submit a new NDC to the Paris Agreement on Wednesday, with the world’s fourth largest emitter confirming a decree signed earlier this month.
Switzerland’s Federal Council on Wednesday adopted a revised CO2 ordinance, which enters into force on Jan. 1, 2021 and acts as an emergency measure to extend several of the country’s climate action instruments.
WCI compliance entities shifted their Q4 auction bidding strategies on future emissions outlooks for the linked cap-and-trade programme, internal allowance limits, and available capital, leading the group to procure fewer carbon permits than the previous sale, traders said.
California regulator ARB this week divvied out 158,700 compliance offsets, breaking a six-week streak of issuances over 1 million and marking its smallest issuance since July.
Canadian Clean Fuel Standard (CFS) credit values will not come close to reaching the proposed programme’s maximum price over the next decade, even under a scenario that requires significant biofuels uptake, according to an analysis published Tuesday.
A Colorado-based company announced a new service this week for consumers to buy voluntary carbon credits to offset their own emissions or those of others, with the initial product offerings coming from a handful of forestry projects.
Averna acquisition of ClimateCare puts offset firm on “professional investment footing” ahead of market boom, says founder
The recent acquisition by private equity firm Averna Capital of a majority stake in ClimateCare will help prepare the low-carbon project developer for massive growth in the global offset market, the company’s founder told Carbon Pulse.
Aircraft operators’ association IATA on Wednesday launched its Aviation Carbon Exchange (ACE) to facilitate trade in both CORSIA-eligible and voluntary offsets, also announcing the inaugural transaction on the platform.
Voluntary cancellations of Australian carbon credits in Q3 were 63% higher year-on-year, though numbers remain modest amid competition from international units and renewable energy credits.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Rebound effect – China’s GHG emissions will increase in 2020 compared to 2019 as they have rebounded after the COVID-19 outbreak, according to IEA chief Fatih Birol. He expected the biggest emitting nation’s oil demand to be “slightly higher” with no structural declines and gas demand to be “much higher” in 2020 compared to 2019. (Reuters)
Big trouble in little CBAM – One of the key tenets of the EU’s Green Deal — to introduce a carbon border adjustment mechanism that would charge import taxes on carbon-rich products made outside the bloc — carries a “big risk” of international trade wars, according to the head of renewables at the IEA. Paolo Frankl told Recharge that the IEA had discussed the matter internally last week while discussing the new China-led free-trade coalition in the Asia-Pacific region. “We feel if in the West, there was a push to establish this border mechanism without a proper, incredible effort in negotiations, there would be a big pushback from Asia,” he said. “And then you enter into a new territory in which the cost [of the mechanism] would be high.” He pointed out that the issue would not just be higher costs for companies exporting to the EU, but that there might be a “perception of a big injustice” from those outside Europe Frankl explained that the Yellow Vest protest movement in France, which was triggered in 2018 by carbon taxes on fuel, was not only about higher prices for consumers, but also a keenly felt sense of injustice against lower-income individuals and families. “I fear [that there would be] the same narrative in a carbon tax at the border. The poor who profit from trade will be hit by that,” said the Italian.
Forest floor – Top donor Norway is doubling the price it guarantees developing nations to keep their tropical forests standing to $10/tCO2 from $5, which until now was the international standard. To qualify, nations will have to adopt the country’s ART accounting and monitoring system for forests, as first done by Gabon in 2019. The hope is that compliance tracked by satellites and on-the-ground inspections will make big companies confident enough to invest $10 per tonne or more, allowing Norway to stand aside and act mostly as a back-up. Norway also has helped set up non-profit Emergent to act as a broker, which expects a first round of big corporate buyers by next November’s COP26 UN climate talks. (Reuters)
Yes and maybe not – The EU has cleared German plans to hold seven tenders to compensate for the early phaseout of hard coal-fired and small lignite plants over 2020-23, judging the process to be within state aid rules as an effective tool for minimising risk of distorting competition. But the European Commission said it may open a formal investigation procedure over Germany’s lignite plant shutdown compensation, which is not based on a tender mechanism.
Expert ruling – The EU’s watchdog has given the European Commission a slap on the wrist for failing to weigh up possible conflicts of interest when it hired asset manager Blackrock to produce part of its green taxonomy proposals designed to guide investors on sustainability. Ombudsman Emily O’Reilly asked the Commission to consider toughening up its provisions after finding EU rules on public procurement fell short. (City AM)
Cementing plans – The German cement industry (VDZ) has presented plans for the decarbonisation of cement and concrete in a study outlining its effort to become climate neutral by 2050. “We have to build more resource-efficiently, get away completely from fossil fuels and, above all, get by with less clinker,” said Christian Knell, President of the VDZ and German head of one of Europe’s largest building materials groups, Heidelberg-Cement, in an interview with Handelsblatt. In addition to improving efficiency and moving away from fossil fuels, the company says it will rely on CCUS techniques. “Without CCU and CCS, it will not work. We are dependent on these measures,” VDZ Managing Director Martin Schneider said. However, CCUS is a sensitive issue in Germany, with critics saying it will serve as an excuse for industries not to reduce emissions. (Clean Energy Wire)
Bad report card – Quebec’s Green Fund has failed to provide adequate information that has stifled independent assessment of GHG reductions stemming from the investments, according to a new government analysis. The Sustainable Development Commissioner found the Green Fund had not released financial statements since 2017, marking a violation of current law. The report also found the fund had incomplete beneficiary information, missing or difficult to access information on administration costs, inconsistencies between the documents relating to the GHG reductions, and information scattered in more than a hundred documents. Additionally, the analysis said that no project funded through the investment vehicle had a quantified target for GHG cuts. The Green Fund primarily receives its monies through the province’s WCI-linked carbon market. (Canadian Press)
Ain’t no thang – New research in Europe and the US shows that large portions of the public still do not accept the urgency of the climate crisis, and only a minority believe it will impact them and their families severely over the next 15 years. The survey, which was commissioned by d|part and the Open Society European Policy Institute, forms part of a major new study of climate awareness. The report finds that, though a clear majority of European and American respondents are aware that the climate is warming, and that it is likely to have negative impacts for humankind, there is a distorted public understanding of the scientific consensus. Just 47% of those surveyed believe they, as individuals, have very high responsibility for tackling climate change. Only in the UK (66%), Germany (55%), the US (53%), Sweden, (52%), and Spain (50%) is there a majority who feel a high sense of responsibility themselves. In every country surveyed, people are more likely to think that their national government has a high responsibility for tackling climate change. The polling also finds that people prefer to be offered incentives to act on climate change rather than face bans or carbon taxes.
And finally… Blargh, humbug – Former California Governor Jerry Brown (D) said that President-elect Joe Biden (D) will need to rebuild US credibility on climate policy, but advised that the former vice president not pay too much attention to the “folks that have a banner” or “some great environmental writer who writes columns and gets in all the important publications.” Brown, who served his second term as California governor from 2011-19, said during an interview with KQED that some environmentalists will “have their slogans and their framing”, but that Biden should ignore them and tackle the issue “carefully, engaging different stakeholders”, unfolding policies in a logical sequence rather than all at once. Brown also voiced his displeasure with activists that call for an immediate end to domestic oil production and other more sweeping climate policies. “This is complicated stuff,” Brown said. “What do we do and in what order? The advocates will be marching around for whatever they want, but the leader has to set in motion a process that can be managed sequentially, not all at once. You don’t just spill your guts out,” he added, followed by the sound of “Blargh.”
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