CP Daily: Monday December 14, 2020

Published 00:50 on December 15, 2020  /  Last updated at 00:50 on December 15, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Farewell EU ETS: UK confirms plans to establish post-Brexit carbon market from Jan. 2021

The UK will have its own “ambitious” ETS starting from January to replace its participation in the EU’s carbon market as the Brexit transition period comes to an end, the government announced Monday, confirming its preference for a trading solution rather than a new emissions tax.

Carbon Pulse has introduced a UK ETS news category. Check out our latest stories on this new carbon market!

INTERNATIONAL 

UN strikes compromise CDM deal in effort to avert shutout ahead of Paris decision

UN officials agreed on Monday “temporary measures” intended to maintain the CDM into 2021 and serve as a stopgap until countries can decide whether the offset mechanism can transition into the Paris Agreement era.

Climate Ambition Summit: World leaders strengthen pledges, celebrate Paris anniversary

Over 70 world leaders addressed the Climate Ambition Summit on Saturday, a one-day virtual forum aimed at building momentum for raising national pledges to the 2015 UN Paris Agreement ahead of the pact taking effect next year.

China announces modest rise in near-term climate ambitions, saves real work for later

President Xi Jinping announced new, tougher 2030 targets for China’s climate change policy, though the adjustments to its previous Paris Agreement pledge were modest and did not include an absolute cap on greenhouse gas emissions.

Indonesia, Costa Rica sign World Bank REDD deals as remaining deadlines extended

Indonesia and Costa Rica last week inked agreements with the World Bank Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF) to reduce deforestation-related emissions, while the other tropical forest nations with outstanding arrangements will receive additional time to sign the deals seen as a possible base of international carbon trading.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs hit new record as Dec-20 futures expire, auction drought begins

EUA ended near record highs on Monday as bullish sentiment persists at the onset of an auction drought, with carbon also supported by energy and higher climate ambition from politicians.

EU carbon market rules give negligible risk of ships evading obligations -report

There is little risk that ships would make port calls in non-EU ports to evade compliance under an extended EU cap-and-trade system, according to an NGO report released on Monday.

EU nations divided over role of gas and nuclear in making hydrogen

EU nations are divided over the role of gas and nuclear as ‘transition technologies’ in the production of hydrogen, Germany’s economy minister acknowledged on Monday following a ministerial meeting.

First Swiss aviation carbon allowance auction sells out

The first ever auction of Swiss aviation carbon allowances has sold out, the government announced Monday.

AMERICAS

US utility settles bankruptcy dispute over RGGI obligations

A RGGI compliance entity is expected to outline an agreement later this week to settle past CO2 obligations under the Northeast US power sector cap-and-trade scheme for two facilities in ongoing bankruptcy proceedings, a lawyer involved in the case said.

Alberta drops no-till carbon offset protocol after additionality review

Alberta Environment and Parks (AEP) withdrew the province’s conservation cropping protocol on Monday after a department review found the methodology no longer produces emissions reductions that are additional to business-as-usual practice.

ASIA PACIFIC

Queensland government carbon fund reveals auction winners

Two project developers have secured more than two-thirds of the funds from the Queensland government Land Restoration Fund’s first investment round.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

* FREE EVENT – IETA will hold its European Climate Summit on Tuesday, Dec. 15, with year’s event taking a ‘Virtual Deep Dive’. It takes place at an exciting time for market mechanisms. Not only are existing markets thriving and expanding, but new systems are being developed around the world that promise to help deliver greater ambition in order to meet the goals of the Paris Agreement. Experience with carbon markets in Europe runs deep, with 2020 and beyond heralding new territory for the market with new regulations and uncertainties, links to new markets and sectors, and funds to drive green recovery, innovation, and technology. The summit will take stock of how the climate issue is picking up steam over the coming year, as countries begin to unveil their next NDCs under Paris. More information and registration details available here. *

On the rebound – After experiencing its biggest decline in decades, global electricity demand is expected to rebound modestly next year, led by growth in China, India, and other emerging economies, according to a new report by the IEA. The historic shock of the COVID crisis is set to result in a 2% decline in global electricity demand in 2020, according to the IEA’s first ever Electricity Market Report. With the recovery of the world economy in 2021, electricity demand is forecast to grow by around 3%. That would be significantly weaker than the rebound in demand of over 7% in 2010, the year following the global financial crisis. China will be the only major economy to see higher electricity demand in 2020. However, its expected growth of around 2% is well below its recent average of 6.5%. Other big electricity consumers including the US, India, Europe, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia are all set to experience declines for the year as a whole. Electricity generation from renewable energy is forecast to grow by almost 7% in 2020, squeezing conventional power sources. Coal-fired generation is set to fall by around 5%, the largest decrease on record; nuclear power generation by around 4%; and gas-fired electricity generation by 2%. Overall, CO2 emissions from electricity generation are on course to fall by 5% in 2020.

Climate candidates, part 1 – President-elect Joe Biden is considering appointing Gina McCarthy, who headed the US EPA in President Obama’s administration, as domestic “climate czar” in charge of coordinating climate policies across federal agencies, two people familiar with the plan told Reuters. Biden is also considering Michael Regan, an African American who runs North Carolina’s environmental agency, to run the EPA, the sources said. If appointed, Regan would be a surprise choice over one-time front-runner Mary Nichols, who is retiring from California environmental regulator ARB, as environmental justice activists and civil rights leaders push for more diversity in the incoming administration. Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that New York University law professor Richard Revesz and New York Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Basil Seggos were also being considered for the role. Biden is expected to make a slate of announcements this week that will be heavily scrutinised by the nation’s environmental groups, the sources say, including his picks to run the EPA, act as domestic climate czar, and head the Interior Department.

Climate candidates, part 2 – Britain’s opposition is demanding PM Boris Johnson boycott Australia’s campaign to have Mathias Cormann installed as the next head of the OECD, saying the former cabinet minister’s denialist climate change record makes him unfit for the job. Cormann announced in July that he was quitting as finance minister and is running to replace Angel Gurria as secretary-general of the Paris-based Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (SMH)

Stranded in ‘Straya – China’s National Development and Reform Commission met 10 major power companies on the weekend and granted approval for them to import coal without clearance restrictions, except for Australia, according to China’s state-owned Global Times. The report suggested China will prioritise imports from Mongolia, Indonesia, and Russia. Previous informal import restrictions have left hundreds of millions of tonnes of Australian coal anchored off the Chinese coast in a deepening trade and security dispute with Beijing. (Guardian)

Keep on truckin’ – Europe’s largest truckmakers have pledged to stop selling vehicles that produce emissions by 2040, a decade earlier than originally planned for the hard-to-abate sector, the FT reports. An ACEA alliance of Daimler, Scania, Man, Volvo, Daf, Iveco, and Ford is working with think-tank Potsdam Institute on the issue and has signed a pledge to phase out traditional combustion engines and focus on hydrogen, battery technology, and clean fuels, and expects to invest €50-100 bln on new technologies.

SDE++ approval – The European Commission approved on Monday a €30 bln Dutch scheme to support projects reducing GHGs emissions in the Netherlands until 2025, called the SDE++. The scheme will be open to projects based on renewable energy, the use of industrial waste heat and heat pumps, the electrification of industrial heat processes and electrification of hydrogen production, and CCS for industrial processes, including hydrogen production and waste incineration.

In sync – The power grid operators of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, and Poland on Monday signed a €720 mln grant agreement with the EU’s Innovation and Networks Executive Agency (INEA) for the Baltic Synchronisation project, aiming at integrating the Baltic states to the EU’s electricity market and decouple them from the Russian and Belarusian power grids. The grant will be mainly dedicated to the construction of Harmony Link – an electricity cable connecting Poland and Lithuania – that will allow for the Baltic states to import electricity generated from Poland’s planned offshore wind projects.

Donors welcome – After a disappointing lack of new climate finance pledges at Saturday’s Climate Ambition Summit, the UK is planning to bring donor countries and vulnerable nations together at a conference in March. On the fifth anniversary of the Paris Agreement, the UN, the UK and France had asked rich nations to announce post-2020 finance pledges, but beyond a handful of European nations, few stepped up. (Climate Home)

Biofuels before the ball drops – The US EPA is now aiming for Dec. 31 as the point by which it will propose 2021 biofuel quotas for the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), after missing a Nov. 30 statutory deadline to release the proposal. Under the adjusted timeline, the agency will aim to finalise the rule on the so-called Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs) in June 2021, according to the agency’s agenda on the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs’ website. This means the task of finalising the RVOs would fall to the Biden administration. (Reuters)

Click & order or brick & mortar? – The climate impact of a product is only modestly influenced by how it finds its way to the final customer, be it through online or in-store shopping, a study commissioned by Germany’s Federal Environment Agency (UBA) has found. The share of retailing and transport in the average product’s total emissions ranges between 1-10%, whereas up to three-quarters of GHGs occur during production, the UBA said. “Whether we shop online or on high street is not really decisive for our climate impact,” UBA head Dirk Messner commented, adding that the “biggest lever” consumers have regarding the CO2 balance of their shopping choices would be opting for ecologically produced goods. In the best of cases, customers then get to the shop with environmentally-friendly means of transportation, for example with a bicycle or on foot. Taking a private car to travel 5 km to the shop would produce up to 1,100 grams of CO2, while a delivery from an online shopping outlet typically produces up to 400g, as delivery vehicles generally use more optimised routes to cater for many customers at once and tend to be low-emissions models as opposed to private cars, the study found. However, online deliveries also usually come with more packaging waste and can sometimes inflate their transport emissions on the “last mile” of a delivery. The agency said more could be done to improve the climate balance of goods in both retailing options, for example by improving customer information regarding the products’ expected lifetime and reducing packaging waste through the use of less or at least reusable containers for delivery, which could bring waste volumes down by up to 45%. Alternatively, consumers could also try to purchase more second-hand goods instead of buying new products , the agency added. (Clean Energy Wire)

Green seas – France’s Barry Rogliano Salles (BRS) has become the first shipbroker to offer emissions consulting services and carbon credits brokerage. The new green offerings will become available early next year. In a note on social media, BRS claimed it also has some “creative solutions to bring about the energy revolution in shipping”, which it will reveal soon. Shipowners looking at carbon credits have jumped in recent months. Two famous Hong Kong shipping lines, Wah Kwong and Pacific Basin, have both debuted carbon credit schemes as have large containerlines such as MSC and CMA CGM. “As commodity producers, traders and end users become increasingly interested in mitigating the environmental footprint of their activities, they are also likely to become more interested in offsetting emissions from the transportation of their products,” commented Mats Berglund, CEO of Pacific Basin, earlier this month. (Splash247)

And finally… Ex(xon) marks the spot –US oil major Exxon on Monday unveiled new climate targets to cut the GHG intensity of its upstream operations by 15-20% and its methane emissions by 40-50% below 2016 levels by 2025. Exxon also pledged a steep drop in the practice of flaring natural gas at its operations by 2025 and an end to “routine flaring” by 2030, while it will begin reporting on its Scope 3 emissions from its products next year. However, the pledge featured no commitment to reduce its absolute emissions, with some calling the announcement “underwhelming” and “grossly inadequate” in combatting climate change. (Axios)

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