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EU heads of state and government early on Friday adopted the 27-nation bloc’s upgraded 2030 emissions reduction target of at least 55% below 1990 levels, after a whole night of negotiations at the European Council to persuade Poland.
Canada will hike the CO2 price under its ‘backstop’ carbon pricing regime by C$15/tonne annually between 2023 and 2030, hitting C$170 ($133) by the end of the decade as the country rolls out new measures to overachieve on its Paris Agreement target, the government announced Friday.
European carbon prices entered new territory on Friday, leaping above the €31.00 mark that had stood as the all-time high since 2006 as EU leaders agreed to tougher 2030 emissions targets.
The European Commission detailed its expected MSR auction withdrawals and aviation allowance volumes for 2021 late on Friday, confirming an expected drop in both once the UK exits the scheme at year-end.
Pennsylvania Democratic legislators and an environmental group lobbed support behind a proposed RGGI-modelled cap-and-trade regulation during the first of 10 virtual public hearings this week, while Republicans questioned the legality of the state’s actions, according to public comments.
Wisconsin should study the implementation of various carbon pricing and offset mechanisms, as well as a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and measures to expand renewable fuel usage, according to a state climate report published this week.
Compliance entities increased their California Carbon Allowance (CCA) holdings this week, as speculators kept their positions firm amid rising secondary market prices, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.
China’s Hubei province sold just over a third of the CO2 allowances on offer at its second auction this week, despite bidding being open to both emitters and financials.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week. All prices are in RMB, and volumes in tonnes of CO2e. Data sourced from local exchanges.
A group of 30 global investors with over $9 trillion worth of assets under management on Friday vowed to support a reduction of GHG emissions to net zero by 2050 or sooner through their portfolios.
(Free read) – With the Green Deal, the EU is producing a regulatory storm that will stretch far into the future, deep into today’s profit models, and way beyond Europe’s borders. Companies should bring the Green Deal into the heart of their business in order to secure the competitive advantage of regulatory pre-alignment, argues Christiaan Gevers Deynoot of South Pole.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Pandemic power – Global CO2 emissions dropped by a record 7% to around 34 bln tonnes in 2020 because of the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Global Carbon Project’s annual report. The drop is a little less than five times the reduction following the 2009 global economic recession. CO2 output is set to rebound next year as restrictions are lifted further and governments strive to return their economies to growth, China’s emissions may even be level or slightly increase this year. (Guardian)
Getting the band back together – In Japan, the environment ministry’s carbon pricing committee, comprising government officials, researchers, and business representatives, has not met for nearly a year and a half, partly due to the COVID-10 pandemic. But the ministry has decided to revive the forum, arranging a meeting early in the new year, according to NHK. The ministry has pushed for a carbon pricing mechanism for over a decade and is facing stiff opposition to push one through now – despite Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s net zero pledge – as a key environmental lawmaker with the ruling party recently said MPs would not back an ETS or carbon tax ahead of the Oct. 2021 election.
Fuel’s errand – British PM Boris Johnson will commit to end the UK’s overseas fossil fuel financing “as soon as possible” at Saturday’s Climate Ambition Summit. The phaseout of oil, gas, and coal financing applies to aid funding, trade promotion, and export finance provided by UK Export Finance (UKEF) – the institution that has come under scrutiny for its $1 bln investment in a controversial LNG project in Mozambique and for considering to finance the equally controversial East African Oil Pipeline (EACOP). According to Oil Change International, this is a significant change. In the last four years, the government supported £21 bln of UK oil and gas exports through trade promotion and export finance, which the campaign group says has undermined the UK’s efforts to fight climate change domestically and led to human rights abuses overseas. It also makes the UK the first major country to move its Export Credit Agency (ECA) out of fossil fuels.
Climate fury – Australia has been in a state of “will he, won’t he” over whether Prime Minister Scott Morrison would get a speaking slot at Saturday’s UN climate summit, after Morrison himself had told parliament he would use the occasion to correct some “mistruths” about Australia’s climate policy. But in the end Morrison was snubbed by the organisers, who wanted to include speakers from countries considered more ambitious. The kerfuffle has infuriated the Australians, who accused UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson – who initially promised Morrison a slot – of throwing them under the bus, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.
New flight route – British Airways parent IAG will outline its plan to lower emissions, including the use of carbon offsets, when the airline group’s new chief speaks at the summit this weekend. CEO Luis Gallego will provide a road map toward fulfilling IAG’s pledge of achieving net zero emissions by 2050, a spokeswoman for the carrier told Bloomberg. IAG was the first in its industry to make the pledge in 2019, though it has been criticized for relying too much on offsets, which it has pledged to use to compensate up to 43% of its annual emissions by 2050. IAG intends not to use offsets at all by that year, the spokeswoman added. The announcement would come days after US rival United Airlines said it 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.
A flare for the dramatic – The amount of gas flared and vented in the US hit a record high in 2019, according to the EIA. The record releases, which spew methane, CO2, and other pollution, were driven by drilling operations in North Dakota and Texas, which accounted for a combined 85% of US flaring and venting activity. American fracking operations are a major source of methane pollution, which itself is undercounted. (Climate Nexus)
Renewable reign – Amazon announced Thursday it added 26 off-site wind and solar projects to its portfolio, located across Australia, France, Germany, Italy, South Africa, Sweden, the UK, and the US. The company said it added 3.4 GW of electricity production capacity, bringing the tech giant’s total investment in renewables to 35 projects and more than 4 GW of capacity this year. In a statement, CEO Jeff Bezos said the company has a total of 127 solar and wind projects, making it “the biggest corporate buyer of renewable energy ever” – a claim that would put Amazon ahead of Google, which claimed the title of largest corporate buyer of renewables last year. (Politico)
Mitigation mythbusters – Carbon offsetting is founded on a number of myths, according to multinational group of 41 scientists, who set out to bust these myths. Many countries and companies are setting targets to reach “net zero” emissions or “carbon neutrality”. While these goals often sound ambitious, in practice the scientists say net zero targets several decades into the future shift our focus away from the immediate and unprecedented emissions reductions needed. (Climate Home)
And finally… Cool it! – Germany is supporting research into making the storage and distribution of a new coronavirus vaccine more climate-friendly. The economy ministry (BMWi) said it would provide nearly €150,000 for a project by company va-Q-tec to improve cooling technology needed for keeping vaccines at a temperature of -70C, a considerable challenge when it comes to the effective roll-out of billions of doses of the vaccine against COVID-19 developed by German company BioNTech and US pharmaceutical heavyweight Pfizer. “The project will be tested in practice in a few months and could halve the transport containers’ energy demand,” the ministry said. The cooling elements made of phase change material developed by va-Q-tec could replace the dry ice currently used for providing very low temperatures and are supposed to be reusable and fit for other cooling applications, the BMWi added. Several companies have successfully developed vaccines that could help end the pandemic. The product by BioNTech and Pfizer requires a constant temperature from production to injection in order to stay effective. The companies said they are planning to produce up to 1.3 billion doses by the end of 2021, meaning that adequate distribution and cooling systems will need to be set up in parallel to ensure the vaccine can be administered effectively to as many people as possible. (Clean Energy Wire)
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