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European Council eyes stronger carbon market to win over EU leaders on 2030 climate target -draft text
The European Council has suggested strengthening the EU ETS as a way of convincing poorer member states to raise the bloc’s 2030 emissions reduction target to at least 55%, according to draft conclusions circulated ahead of a key summit next week.
The UK is considering announcing a major hike in its near-term climate ambition when it hosts world leaders next week, a move that could strengthen the country’s post-Brexit carbon pricing plans due to be rolled out in January.
European carbon prices bounced back on Wednesday, closing at a 2.5-month high and resuming their uptrend as data showed investors continued to build long positions.
Two major UK land-based domestic offsetting standards have merged as voluntary market demand for their carbon credits soars.
Russia’s Novatek opens first European carbon-neutral LNG fuelling station, offsetting with VCS credits
Russian gas producer Novatek has opened its first carbon-neutral LNG fuelling station in Europe, offsetting the related emissions using voluntary credits.
New York finalised its post-2020 RGGI regulation on Tuesday, cementing the programmatic changes that are largely seen as bullish by market participants for the soon-to-be 11-state power sector carbon market.
US biofuel credit (RIN) values rose this week as the EPA missed a statutory cut-off date to finalise next year’s Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) quotas, while a lack of sellers also pushed biodiesel-based credit prices to a three-year high.
A Georgia man pleaded guilty in US federal court on Tuesday to defrauding seven individuals in a million-dollar carbon credit scandal, having told the victims their investments in non-existent offsets would be realised through California carbon allowance auctions.
Japan is considering a carbon pricing mechanism, but will not propose one ahead of the general election next October, a ruling party lawmaker said Wednesday.
New Zealand carbon allowances rose to a fresh record high on Wednesday after a two-week pause as the market remains bullish on long-term trends.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
** Join Carbon Pulse’s Anna Gumbau at 1430 CET on Dec. 8 as she moderates a panel discussion hosted by Swedish mining company LKAB. Iron and steel ready for the Green Deal will examine how EU heavy industry frontrunners are aligning their climate objectives with the bloc’s massive decarbonisation initiative. Speakers include LKAB’s President and CEO Jan Mostrom, the European Commission’s Diederik Samsom, Eva Svedling from Sweden’s Ministry of Climate, Swedish MEP Jytte Guteland, and Carbon Market Watch’s Sam van den Plas. Register here **
Mind the gap – World governments need to reduce fossil fuel production by 6% every year over the next decade to reach a 1.5C pathway and limit catastrophic warming, according to new research. Global fossil fuel production is projected to be over 120% more than what is required for alignment with Paris’ temperature target, according to the report by UNEP and other major research groups. The Production Gap Report, first launched in 2019, measures the gap between the Paris goals and countries’ planned production of fossil fuels. This year’s report also looks at the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and how recovery measures could promote a green transition. To be aligned with the Paris objectives, production of coal, oil, and gas would need to decrease by 11%, 4%, and 3% respectively, but the report estimates production for each of these will grow by 2% instead until 2030. (Euractiv)
Not good – A report by the WMO has revealed how fast the world is heating up, leading ice sheets to melt, fish to die through ocean acidification and floods, storms, and wildfires to worsen. The ‘state of the global climate’ report notes that GHG levels in the air continued to grow despite the economic slowdown brought by the pandemic. Growth slowed but only slightly and temporarily and this slowing “will be practically indistinguishable” from normal year-to-year fluctuations, the report said, driving the “relentless march” of climate change. The report reveals 2020 has so far been the second hottest year on record after 2016, around 1.2C hotter than the average year in the late 19th century. (Climate Home)
Carbon cooperation – The European Commission on Wednesday adopted a new EU-US agenda for global cooperation, with climate change as one of the building blocks for cooperation with President-elect Joe Biden. According to the Commission paper, Brussels and Washington should “work closely together on emissions trading, carbon pricing, and taxation”. The EU executive added that the bloc’s plans to introduce a carbon border adjustment mechanism “can be an opportunity to work together to set a global template for such measures”.
Green for green – Germany’s government on Wednesday lifted a charge levied on power prices to support renewable energy for producers of so-called green hydrogen, part of a bid to encourage the nascent technology for low-carbon fuels. The cabinet decided to waive the renewable energy fee under the EEG feed-in tariff law for electricity derived from wind and solar sources following an economy ministry initiative, government sources told Reuters. Green hydrogen, which is produced via electrolysis while conventional hydrogen is produced using fossil fuels, is meant to help decarbonise energy used in industry, transport, and for heating buildings. Germany hopes to close the cost gap between the two products within 10-15 years, helped by a €9 bln national strategy it passed earlier this year to meet long-term climate goals and transform its industries.
PPC spree – Greece’s biggest power utility Public Power Corp. (PPC) will spend €3.4 bln to expand its footprint in renewables and modernise the country’s distribution grid, it said on Wednesday. The coal-reliant utility, which is 51% state-owned, has pledged to shut down all but one of its coal-fired plants by 2023 to help Greece reduce emissions in line with EU climate targets. In a presentation to investors released on Wednesday, PPC said that about 42% of the spending will be siphoned into upgrading power distribution via its 242 km grid, which it fully owns now but plans to partially privatise next year. PPC will also use a big chunk of that sum to build solar and wind plants and boost its capacity from green energy to 1.5 GW by 2023 from just 0.17 GW now. PPC said that coal-fired plants with 3.4 GW in capacity will be decommissioned and repurposed to include co-generation, energy storage, biomass, and hydrogen. (Reuters)
Where no one is looking – China has won international praise for its pledge to go carbon neutral by 2060, but that does not automatically mean it is stopping is fossil fuel investments abroad, according to Pakistan’s The Independent, Beijing will sign a deal next month with Pakistan for the 300MW Gwadar coal-fired power plant. The Chinese government has long received criticism for continuing coal- investments abroad unabated despite stricter domestic policies on carbon emissions.
Congressional call – A broad cross section of big US corporations including Amazon, Citigroup, and Ford are calling on Congress to work closely with President-elect Joe Biden to address the threat of climate change. In a letter sent to Congress and the Biden transition team on Wednesday, more than 40 companies say they support the US rejoining the Paris climate accord, and urge “President-elect Biden and the new Congress to work together to enact ambitious, durable, bipartisan climate solutions.” However, the letter doesn’t detail any specific action plan or policy proposal. (WSJ)
Can’t wait, won’t wait – Maine Governor Janet Mills (D) on Tuesday said she will seek to use a series of law changes proposals to help the state reach carbon neutrality by 2045. Mills made the statement as the state released its four-year climate plan, entitled “Maine Won’t Wait”, a product of the 39-member Maine Climate Council created in June 2019. On the carbon pricing front, the plan recommended to monitor the possible development of a regional fuel sector cap-and-trade programme as part of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI). (AP)
Can’t wait, won’t wait, part II – Nevada released its “State Climate Strategy” on Tuesday as part of the Silver State’s goal to reduce emission 45% below 2005 levels by 2030 and reach net zero by mid-century. The document aims to provide a framework for reducing Nevada’s emission across all economic sectors, though it does not lay out any specific recommendations. The strategy said market-based mechanisms “need further evaluation” to see if they are appropriate for Nevada’s emissions profile, while the document identified a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) as a policy to consider. (KLAS)
The tour of North America – The American Carbon Registry (ACR) on Wednesday released for public comment its offset protocol for Improved Forest Management (IFM) on Canadian Forestlands. The methodology, designed for use on privately owned land or areas not managed under a provincial Crown forestland license, was modified by ACR and several project developers and experts from the registry’s existing IFM protocol for the US. Stakeholders are invited to review the methodology and submit comments by Dec. 31. Separately, fellow registry Climate Action Reserve (CAR) announced it is launching a revision of its Mexico Ozone Depleting Substances (ODS) protocol to include new eligible HFCs for offset issuance. Given that HFCs are not ozone depleting substances, the protocol will become the draft Mexico Halocarbon Protocol. The revision process will include the formation of and input from a stakeholder workgroup, and stakeholders can submit a statement of interest form by Dec. 4.
Breaking the habit – Insurance companies have accelerated their withdrawal from coal this year, making it costlier to secure insurance for new projects. Momentum is growing behind calls for the financial sector to withdraw from fossil fuels, according to the Insure Our Future campaign’s fourth annual scorecard, published on Wednesday. “Insurers’ continuing shift away from fossil fuels is positive, but in the face of a worsening climate crisis it needs to accelerate,” said Peter Bosshard, coordinator of Insure Our Future, which scrutinises insurers’ climate policies. At least 23 companies have ended or limited their cover for coal projects since 2017, representing 12.9% of the primary insurance market and almost half of the reinsurance market, the report found. More than 65 insurers with combined investments worth $12 trillion have either adopted a divestment policy or committed to making no new coal investments, it said. (Euractiv)
And finally… Nugget news – Cultured meat, produced in bioreactors without the slaughter of an animal, has been approved for sale by a regulatory authority for the first time. The development has been hailed as a landmark moment across the meat industry. The “chicken bites”, produced by the US company Eat Just, have passed a safety review by the Singapore Food Agency and the approval could open the door to a future when all meat is produced without the killing of livestock, the company said. (The Guardian)
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