CP Daily: Thursday December 10, 2020

Published 06:09 on December 11, 2020  /  Last updated at 06:09 on December 11, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORIES

Bullish factors vault EU carbon prices to €31, matching all-time high

European carbon prices jumped on Thursday on the back of rising energy prices, a looming supply shortage, and optimism surrounding efforts to adopt stronger EU climate targets, with EUAs matching their all-time high hit back in 2006.

EU leaders struggle to adopt higher 2030 climate target on first day of summit

The EU’s heads of state and government struggled to agree on an increase of the 27-nation bloc’s 2030 emissions reduction target during the first day of their December summit, with negotiators finally taking a break early Friday morning as latest draft conclusions made some concessions to Central and Eastern member states but differences remain.

AMERICAS

California’s IEMAC says allowance adjustment would boost impact from carbon market

A California watchdog group reiterated calls for state regulator ARB to address the WCI allowance surplus to encourage future emissions reductions, saying low prices could minimise the linked cap-and-trade scheme’s contribution to hitting the Golden State’s 2030 GHG goal.

NA Markets: California allowances trend towards 2021 floor, as RGGI sees post-auction bump

A California watchdog group reiterated calls for state regulator ARB to address the WCI allowance surplus to encourage future emissions reductions, saying low prices could minimise the linked cap-and-trade scheme’s contribution to hitting the Golden State’s 2030 GHG goal.

US carrier United Airlines snubs carbon offsets in 2050 net zero pledge

United Airlines will eschew the use of traditional carbon credits in favour of direct air capture technology and sustainable aviation fuel in reaching CO2 neutrality by mid-century, the Chicago-based company announced Thursday.

RFS Market: RIN prices edge down from recent highs, while biofuel groups sue over waivers

US biofuel credit (RIN) prices mostly trended down this week from multi-year highs, while a coalition of agriculture and biofuel groups challenged the EPA’s granting of several dozen Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) compliance waivers for 2018.

ASIA PACIFIC

Australia revises down GHG projections, set to overachieve on Paris target

Australia has published annual emissions projections that reveal the government expects to emit 300 MtCO2e less than previously thought over the next decade, meaning it is set to easily meet its Paris Agreement obligations even without the controversial use of Kyoto carryover credits.

First of Hubei’s two last-ditch CO2 auctions fails to sell out

Hubei’s Wednesday auction for ETS participants sold just over half of the 2 million allowances on offer, with the remainder transferred to Friday’s open-for-all sale.

EMEA

Switzerland’s Paris pledge curbs offset reliance, targets imports

Switzerland’s updated climate plan is set to curb the country’s reliance on international credits, but intends to use flight ticket tax revenues to help compensate for emissions linked to imported goods.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Scott snub – Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison will not be one of around 70 world leaders speaking at this Saturday’s virtual Climate Ambition Summit, according to a UN list updated as of Thursday afternoon. The British hosts did not invite him because he had not come up with an ambitious enough pledge, Bloomberg reported, citing two anonymous sources. Last week, Morrison said addressing the summit was “a great opportunity to correct the mistruths” about Australia’s climate record, but asked in parliament Thursday about whether he had been invited he replied: “Climate and energy policy will be set here in Australia in Australia’s national interests – not to get to a speaking slot at some international summit.” Read Carbon Pulse’s article on how Australia is set to overachieve on its current Paris target.

Tech rush – The “Paris effect” has led to an unexpectedly rapid shift towards a low-carbon economy, according to a report from consultancy Systemiq. The plummeting price of renewables has made low-carbon power cost-competitive when compared to fossil fuels – at a greater speed than once thought possible. This means zero-carbon solutions are now competitive in a sector representing around 25% of global emissions. Zero-carbon solutions could become cost competitive in sectors representing more than 70% of global emissions by 2030, with electric cars set to hit a market tipping point in 2024. (Independent)

Scoping out – Clean energy investment in developing countries has been disrupted by the pandemic after reaching record levels in 2019, according to BloombergNEF’s annual ClimateScope report. The survey reveals that total foreign direct clean energy investment in developing countries hit $32 bln last year as solar and wind power became increasingly cost competitive when compared to fossil fuel generation projects. For the first time, renewables accounted for the majority of new energy capacity in all emerging markets except India and China. (BusinessGreen)

Gas TEN-sions – The EU is planning to restrict its funding for gas projects because of the risk they pose to the bloc’s climate goals in the draft rules of the revised TEN-E, which define the EU’s cross-border energy Projects of Common Interest (PCI), according to Reuters. Under the draft rules, oil and gas infrastructure will not be allowed to receive funding but “smart gas grids” could be allowed if they support “the integration of renewable and low-carbon gases” into the gas network. Pipelines to transport hydrogen are also eligible. Renewable energy groups and campaigners said this was a loophole that could support pipelines that carry mostly natural gas.

Batteries charged – Electric cars and industrial batteries sold in Europe will soon face legally-binding environmental standards, the European Commission said Thursday, as it seeks to give local producers an edge in a rapidly growing global market. Under the proposals, EVs and industrial batteries sold in Europe must disclose their carbon footprint from 2024 and comply with an emissions limit from 2027. From that year, there will be an obligation to disclose the content of recycled raw materials in those batteries, followed by requirements to use a minimum share of recycled cobalt, lithium, nickel, and lead from 2030. (Euractiv)

Plugging in – Project developer 3Degrees has announced it will sell VERs from Electrify America, tapping into revenue from its voluntary carbon customers to help fund upkeep of Electrify America’s expansive, ultra-fast electric vehicle (EV) charging infrastructure across the US. 3Degrees said it is the exclusive offtaker of the first VERs from Electrify America’s national fast charging network, with the project being verified under by the VCS. 3Degrees will market and sell these VERs to prospective buyers, with the first transaction expected in Q2 2021. The Electrify America project was launched as the world’s first validated carbon offset project for electric vehicle chargers earlier this year, 3Degrees said. Electrify America has more than 500 EV charging stations with over 2,200 DC fast chargers operational today across the US, and plans to have approximately 800 stations with about 3,500 DC fast chargers by Dec. 2021. The 3Degrees project currently incorporates charging sites deployed up through the end of 2020, and will include additional chargers in future verifications.

Rock solid – BlackRock vowed Thursday to vote against board members who fail to hold executives accountable on sustainability and governance. As part of BlackRock’s annual update of its stewardship principles, the US-based investment giant said it wants more corporate disclosure on political activities, including membership in trade groups that push policy agendas counter to promises companies have made to shareholders. With $7.4 trillion in assets under management, the company has tried to leverage its heft to push for corporations to cut emissions, diversify the workforce, and adopt other sustainable practices. (Politico)

And finally… Snack attack – Agriculture start-up Planet FWD has raised $2.5 mln in additional seed funding and is debuting its first product: a snack cracker that the company says boasts a fully carbon-neutral manufacturing process. Moonshot, the company’s fancy cracker, will be sold directly online and via Zero Grocery for $5.99 a box. Planet FWD has partnered with environmental consulting firm NativeEnergy to offset whatever carbon it couldn’t eliminate from its production process, which focuses on regenerative agriculture to drive CO2 abatement. (Axios)

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