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Japan and South Korea have voiced concerns over EU plans to extend the scope of its ETS to include emissions from all voyages using the 27-nation bloc’s ports, which the European Commission is considering as part of its carbon market reform plans.
EU carbon prices climbed to a new two-month high Thursday, boosted by a strong auction and as the wider energy complex lifted due to several bullish factors, while several traders said the market was still not accurately pricing in a looming supply drought.
A proposal to introduce a transport passenger carbon tax in Portugal’s budget for next year was adopted in the national parliament on Wednesday.
The municipal government of Shenyang has released draft regulations for what will become China’s ninth regional carbon market, with an eye to linking to other regions over time.
South Korea will close a number of coal-fired power plants during the winter months to reduce air pollution, the government announced Thursday, a move that will also mute demand for CO2 allowances in the nation’s emissions trading scheme.
Rules for international emissions trade under the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 are more likely to emerge from bilateral deals rather than via climate negotiations, according to New Zealand’s Climate Change Minster James Shaw.
The international carbon market under the Paris Agreement could be saddled with as many as 1.5 billion or as few as 46 million pre-2020 credits from the Clean Development Mechanism (CDM), depending on restriction details, according to a report released Thursday.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices slid this week after the release of the Q4 WCI auction results, as RGGI Allowances (RGAs) found continued support on the secondary market ahead of the Northeast US cap-and-trade programme’s own quarterly auction.
How the credibility of sustainable development impact claims can strengthen – or compromise – the voluntary carbon market
The success of sustainable development taking root in the voluntary carbon market has presented both tremendous opportunity and an important risk: SDG washing, writes Owen Hewlett of Gold Standard.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
First hundred days – Joe Biden will use his first 100 days in the White House to roll back Donald Trump’s environmental orders, he said in an interview with NBC News. “I will also be moving to do away with some of the very damaging executive orders that have significantly impacted on making the climate worse and making us less healthy,” Biden said. Read Carbon Pulse’s analysis on the opportunities and challenges for US climate policy under Biden. (The Times)
Burying opposition – Consensus is building in a previously-reluctant Germany on the need for CCS to reach climate goals, with experts and politicians increasingly saying the technology will be needed to deal with unavoidable emissions from agriculture and industrial processes. The German government envisions offshore projects, which would require cooperation with the Netherlands, Norway, and the UK. (Handelsblatt, Clean Energy Wire)
Net zero Snam – Italy’s grid operator Snam said it is targeting net zero emissions by 2040 as it refocuses its efforts on renewable energy, particularly hydrogen. The company said it planned to invest almost €7.4 bln over the next four years – almost twice the amount invested during the past four. The €720 mln sum to be invested in the energy transition includes €220 mln on biomethane infrastructure and €150 mln on hydrogen projects to convert railway systems and install fuel cells within the company’s network. (Financial Times)
Down in Spain – Emissions from Spanish installations under the EU ETS looked poised to dive 18% year on year in 2020 due to the impact of the coronavirus, Iker Larrea, head of markets at Factor CO2, told Montel. “Emissions are going to drop by 18% in Spain and a little bit less in Europe as a whole. But emissions are going to drop dramatically,” he said. Spanish ETS emissions would end the year “below the 100 mln tonnes mark for the first time”, he added, noting the power sector would be “barely emitting 35 mln tonnes this year”.
Down in Holland – Coal-to-gas fuel switching cut coal-fired generation in the Netherlands by more than 50% year-on-year in January-August, despite power generation increasing. According to Argus, Dutch coal-fired generation totalled 5.2 TWh in January-August, down from 12.8 TWh a year earlier. This was despite the country’s overall power generation increasing by 2% on the year to 77.8 TWh — an atypical trend in Europe, where power demand has been severely affected by the pandemic. Coal was partly displaced by competitive gas-fired generation, which increased to 47.8 TWh in the first eight months of the year, from 44.9 TWh a year earlier. Generation from other sources has also increased and pressured Dutch coal burn in 2020, with wind power increasing by 1.8 TWh YoY to 8.9 TWh in January-August and solar generation rising by 2 TWh to 6.3 TWh.
No mergers – Poland should scrap a plan to merge state-run energy groups after they have shifted coal assets into a separate entity because the move won’t deliver on EU climate targets, a report by environmentalist group ClientEarth and think-tank Instrat said. The CEO of state-run utility PGE said last month that a merger with peers Tauron and Enea into a separate state entity would boost the companies’ investment potential, and Poland’s ministry of state assets has given its approval. PGE has said it has no other choice in discarding coal to be able to attract financing but the report authors said coal assets should be part of a listed company to guarantee transparency. (Reuters)
And finally… Build tougher – Amazon and Apple have been accused of “dodging their environmental responsibility” for electrical products they sell and should have to ensure that they can be recycled or repaired easily, The Times reports. MPs on the UK’s environmental audit committee said that the two were big contributors to “a waste tsunami” involving 155,000 tonnes of phones, tablets, laptops, and other items sent to landfill or incinerators in the country every year. Separately, Clean Energy Wire reports that purchase decisions for durable products and their long-term use contribute significantly to the reduction of GHGs, according to a study conducted by the Oeko-Institut on behalf of the Federation of German Consumer Organisations (VZBV). The VZBV calls on the German government to take measures at the national and European level to ensure consumers can choose durable products. “Now is the opportunity for the German government to initiate a product policy that is consumer-friendly and at the same time necessary to overcome the climate crisis”, said Klaus Mueller, chairman of the VZBV. Although consumers want products to last longer, they often lack reliable information about the durability and lifespan of products, Mueller said. In light of the Green Deal and the Circular Economy Action Plan, the EU envisages the promotion of sustainable, durable and reparable products. Mueller argues the European Commission should introduce minimum criteria for durability in EU eco-design law, as well as improve consumer information, for example by means of a repair index and mandatory information on durability. The current statutory warranty period of two years should be significantly increased, preferably to the expected ‘service life’ of the product, he argues.
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