CP Daily: Thursday December 3, 2020

Published 23:43 on December 3, 2020  /  Last updated at 00:19 on December 4, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

UK to submit Paris NDC to cut emissions at least 68% by 2030 without offsets

The UK government will next week submit a Paris Agreement pledge to cut emissions 68% under 1990 levels by 2030, up from the current 61% goal and without the use of international credits, it announced late Thursday.

EMEA

Key takeaways from EU ETS expert workshop on MSR review

The EU’s Market Stability Reserve is an invaluable tool to help protect the ETS from demand shocks, an expert workshop heard Thursday, but the mechanism needs to be reassessed in light of a changing landscape, while ensuring it doesn’t double as a driver of carbon prices or climate ambition.

EU Market: EUAs slip as weaker energy, late oil moves help stall rally past €30

EUAs dipped back below €29 on Thursday as a late oil drop, weaker energy complex, and wider uncertainties over Brexit helped stall carbon’s month-long rally.

Carbon market extension, border tax are preferred options for border measure on EU imports -official

The European Commission is considering two main options for the design of its carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), either the implementation of a tax at the border, or to force exporting countries to buy carbon allowances, a senior EU official said Thursday.

Utility Fortum comes under fire after changing little about its climate effort

Finland’s largest utility Fortum came under fire from environmental campaigners on Thursday when its long-awaited investment plans featured no major raising of its climate ambition.

Hartree Partners hires former Deutsche Bank carbon boss

Hartree Partners has hired two emissions trading experts, including a former head of global carbon at Deutsche Bank, as the commodities trading firm ramps up its environmental product offerings.

ASIA PACIFIC

Participants bullish on Australian offset market despite policy inertia

Growing interest from large corporations and an increase in voluntary emissions targets are making sure Australia’s carbon offset market is seeing rapid growth, despite the federal government’s reluctance to impose climate obligations on big emitters, a conference heard Thursday.

Business group touts Australian government fund for nature-based offsets

Australia should consider setting up a public-private fund to boost the nature-based carbon offset market and pilot projects under the Paris Agreement’s Article 6 in the Pacific region, a business group said.

Carbon developer expands Australia operations with two hires

A major international carbon project developer has beefed up its Australian operations by hiring two senior staff members.

India sets up special committee for Paris target, carbon markets

India has established a new taskforce to coordinate policies to help meet its emissions target under the Paris Agreement, as well as handle international and domestic carbon market activities for the world’s third biggest GHG emitter.

China’s failure on steel regulations leads to massive excess emissions -report

China’s failure to implement announced capacity regulations for the steel sector will result in additional CO2 emissions of some 200 million tonnes this year, researchers said Thursday, a case likely to raise fresh concerns on CO2 reporting in the country’s ETS.

China’s Hubei to auction 3 mln CO2 permits

Hubei province will auction off 3 million carbon allowances over two sales on Dec. 9 and 11, with the biggest restricted to ETS-regulated entities that have emitted more than their annual free allocation.

AMERICAS

NA Markets: California prices return to pre-auction levels, RGGI allowances slip before Q4 sale

California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices rose to near pre-Q4 auction levels this week as sellers exited the secondary market, while RGGI Allowance (RGA) values declined in front of the Northeast US cap-and-trade scheme’s own quarterly sale.

LCFS Market: California prices inch down amid new COVID-19 restrictions

California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credit values receded towards the $200 level this week as new coronavirus restrictions in the Golden State were announced and fuel consumption falls off.

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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 ** 

Fickle efficiency – Countries are expected to post slow progress on energy efficiency across the globe this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, according to the IEA’s latest report on the subject published Thursday. “As a result of the crisis and continuing low energy prices, energy intensity is expected to improve by only 0.8% in 2020, roughly half the rates, corrected for weather, for 2019 (1.6%) and 2018 (1.5%),” the report said – well below the level needed to achieve global climate and sustainability goals. Investments in new energy-efficient buildings, equipment, and vehicles are also expected to fall this year, mostly because of declines in economic growth and income uncertainty among consumers and businesses. Sales of new cars are expected to drop more than 10% from 2019, in turn keeping the overall vehicle fleet older and less efficient, the report said, although the share of electric vehicles in new car sales is expected to grow to 3.2%, up from 2.5% last year. (Politico)

Electric avenues – The European Commission seeks to have at least 30 mln electric vehicles on the EU’s roads by the end of the decade under a plan that would require the auto industry to massively accelerate its transformation. The target for zero-emission cars is included in a draft strategy document obtained by Bloomberg that is scheduled to be published next week. The goal is ambitious considering some 1.4 mln EVs are being driven in Europe now, according to BloombergNEF. The researcher is forecasting there will be 28 mln plug-in hybrid and battery-electric vehicles on the road by 2028. The plan maps out targets for the broader transport sector, calling for high-speed rail traffic to double by 2030 and for scheduled travel between cities of under 300 km (186 miles) to become carbon-neutral. Zero-emission large aircraft and vessels should be “ready for market” by 2035, it says. Looking further ahead, the goals include doubling rail-freight traffic and tripling high-speed train traffic by the middle of the century. The road map is expected to lead to draft legislation in the coming months.

Logging off – EU forests could absorb twice as much CO2 every year if logging – much of which is for energy production – was reduced by a third, according to research by Naturwald Akademie commissioned by environmental campaigners Greenpeace Germany. That would result in CO2 savings higher than France’s annual emissions while simultaneously benefitting biodiversity. (Greenpeace)

Five green stars – Four Italian MEPs are about to leave the Five Star Movement (M5S) delegation in the European Parliament and plan to join the Green parliamentary group at a later stage, Euractiv reports. After the tension of recent weeks due to the controversial approval of the Common Agricultural Policy, lawmakers Ignazio Corrao, Eleonora Evi, Piernicola Pedicini, and Rosa D’Amato have decided to leave the Italian anti-establishment party’s parliamentary delegation for good. The four are initially planning to form an informal ‘ecologist’ fraction as non-attached members, with a view to joining the Greens at a later stage. Some of the splinter lawmakers, like Eleonora Evi – who coordinated her political group’s work for the revision of the EU ETS in 2017 – are already close to Greens’ arguments and are quite often co-signing parliamentary questions with them, as well as attending their events.

Last-minute approval – The US EPA sent a finalised rule to regulate GHG output from commercial aircraft to the Office of Management and Budget on Wednesday, putting the emissions standard one step close to approval. The standards, which were released in July, would be applicable to new-type designs as of Jan. 2020 and to in-production airplanes or those with amended type certificates starting in 2028, but it would not apply to planes currently in use. The final rule aligns with the standards set by UN aviation body ICAO. It is unclear whether President Donald Trump’s administration may approve the final rule before President-elect Joe Biden takes office in January. The EPA had initially been expected to finalise the rule next spring.

Redemption song – The World Bank has this week made a $14 mln bond payment to 21 projects worldwide that cut GHGs from methane and N2O, the bank said Thursday. The funds were committed through three auctions of the bank’s Pilot Auction Facility (PAF) funded by Germany, Sweden, Switzerland and the US, in return for over 5 mln verified carbon credits. The payment marks the final maturity of the bonds issued from the first three reverse auctions held between 2015 and 2017, with the winners receiving a price guarantee via tradable put options, with all exercising their right to sell to the facility for a price of around $2/tonneCO2e. The PAF will make a final payment in 2021 as part of the maturity of bonds issued after the fourth PAF auction held in March 2020 for emission cuts through 2020.

Nestle zero – Nestle plans to invest CHF 3.2 bln ($3.58 bln) over the next five years to progress towards its goal of net zero emissions by 2050, the world’s biggest food group said on Thursday. Nestle, which produced 92 Mt of GHGs in 2018, vowed to halve its emissions by 2030 and use 100% renewable electricity at its 800 global sites by 2025. The company said it would work with farmers and suppliers to promote regenerative agriculture practices – such as restoring soil health – saying it expects to source 50% of its key ingredients from farmers using these techniques by 2030, and will scale up its reforestation programme. (Reuters)

Tumble in the tundra – In a last-minute push, President Trump’s administration announced Thursday that it will auction off drilling rights in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) in just over a month, setting up a final showdown with opponents before Biden takes office. The sale, which is now set for Jan. 6, could cap a bitter, decades-long battle over whether to drill in the coastal plain, a pristine expanse that’s home to migrating caribou, polar bears, and other wildlife. After finishing its environmental review in August, the Trump administration then launched a “call for nominations” on Nov. 17. That’s a 30-day window for oil companies to confidentiality tell the government which pieces of land they’d like included in a lease sale. But the BLM did not wait 30 days before going ahead and scheduling a sale date, which will take place just two weeks before Trump leaves office. Already, conservation and tribal groups, as well as a coalition of 15 states, have filed lawsuits challenging the Trump administration’s environmental reviews. (NPR)

And finally… Pass the cheese – UK Business Secretary Alok Sharma lacks the “bandwidth” to head a climate conference alongside his cabinet job, MPs and climate experts have warned. Sharma was appointed president of next year’s COP26 summit after the sacking of former climate minister Claire O’Neill. But one senior Tory MP said a bigger profile “grand fromage” was required. Former Conservative PM David Cameron turned down the chance to head the conference, which is due to take place in Glasgow in November next year. Ex-foreign secretary Lord Hague was also involved in discussions, but will not be taking on the presidency either.  Former PM Theresa May was also rumoured to have considered the role. A government spokesperson said Sharma had been engaging with over 40 countries ahead of the event. Separately, O’Neill hit back at PM Boris Johnson’s administration, slamming the government’s “cavalier attitude” and in-fighting over COP26, and citing “extraordinary ineptitude and amateurishness of those who should have been doing a better job”. (BBC)

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