CP Daily: Monday January 4, 2021

Published 02:07 on January 5, 2021  /  Last updated at 02:07 on January 5, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

China releases final 2019-20 carbon market allocation plan

China has released the final allocation plan for participants in its national emissions trading scheme, clearing one of the last hurdles left before the market can open.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs set new record above €34 as cold snap bites

(Jan. 4) EUAs hit a new all-time high on Monday as cold weather prospects lifted the energy complex and allowance supply curbs continue to drive bullish sentiment, while data showed a significant 10-20% drop in investors and other financial market participants.

BRIEFING: Portugal vows to conclude EU Climate Law in its six-month presidency

The European Climate Law, industrial policy, and green shipping are three priorities of the six-month Portuguese EU Council presidency that took over on Jan. 1, putting the bloc’s climate files high on the agenda.

Germany releases preliminary ‘ranking’ of coal plants at risk of forced closure

Germany’s federal regulator Bundesnetzagentur (BNetzA) on Wednesday published a list of 25 GW worth of hard coal and lignite plants that will serve as a final ranking of plants at risk of forced shutdown if upcoming closure tenders are undersubscribed.

EU carbon prices hit new record of €33.50 after Brexit trade deal clinched

(Dec. 28) EUAs rose to a new all-time high after the EU and UK reached a post-Brexit trade deal the previous week, and as colder weather and limited allowance supply provided support.

AMERICAS

US DOJ files appeal brief in California-Quebec carbon market linkage lawsuit

The US Department of Justice (DOJ) has asked an appeals court to overturn rulings earlier this year that concluded California’s linkage with Quebec does not violate the Constitution, according to a brief filed by the agency.

Five new speculators among 18 WCI accounts registered in Q4

Eighteen entities opened California-based Compliance Instrument Tracking System Service (CITSS) accounts during the final quarter of 2020, as 10 others closed their accounts in the WCI-linked programme, data from state regulator ARB showed Wednesday.

Massachusetts to pursue 100% zero-emissions vehicle mandate and regional LCFS

Massachusetts will follow California’s lead in phasing out sales of new gas-powered light-duty vehicles by 2035, as well as implementing a regional low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to operate alongside the Transportation & Climate Initiative (TCI) carbon market, Governor Charlie Baker’s (R) administration announced last week.

New York sets $125/tonne social cost of carbon

The New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) on Wednesday announced a $125/tonne social cost of carbon (SCC) for use in agency planning, vastly exceeding rate the US federal government has used to account for the economic costs of GHG emissions.

ASIA PACIFIC 

South Korea sets out plans to cut coal consumption, energy sector CO2 emissions

South Korea wants the share of coal in the nation’s energy mix to fall by a quarter over the next 14 years, but an increase in LNG consumption means the power sector’s 2030 emissions reduction target is less ambitious than its goal for the overall economy.

South Korea releases 2021 carbon auction schedule

South Korea will auction more than 18 million CO2 allowances in 2021, with monthly volumes rising in the second half of the year as tighter regulations for the third phase of the emissions trading scheme kick in, the annual auctioning schedule shows.

INTERNATIONAL

ART programme approves five Central and South American jurisdictional REDD concepts

The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) on Thursday announced it has approved the first five submissions for jurisdictional deforestation reduction programmes that may generate carbon credits for use in international emissions trade.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Last-minute.com – Roughly 20 countries over the past two weeks submitted updated Paris Agreement NDCs prior to the start of the global climate pact on Jan. 1, beating a year-end deadline under the UNFCCC. Among the major emitters that made online submissions, Australia and Mexico merely restated their existing pledges to respectively reduce emissions 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030 and 22% below business-as-usual levels by 2030 in the absence of international financial support. As previously announced, South Korea raised its 2030 target to a 24.4% cut below 2017 levels – up from 37% below a BAU baseline previously, while the United Arab Emirates committed to a 23.5% reduction beneath BAU by 2030. In South America, Argentina set a maximum 2030 emissions level of 359 Mt – a 25.7% reduction from its previous NDC – while Colombia reaffirmed its previous announcement of a 51% reduction compared to BAU in 2030, equating to a maximum limit of 169.4 Mt. In addition, smaller emitters that submitted updated NDCs included Ethiopia, Cambodia, Panama, Senegal, and Bangladesh. With these entries, 70 countries representing 28% of global emissions have submitted a new or updated NDC, according to the Climate Watch tracker. Stay tuned for a wider Carbon Pulse article on Paris pledge deadline, as well as an update to our NDC tracker.

Survey says – Christine Lagarde is expected to make the European Central Bank a pioneer in fighting climate change by slashing its purchases of bonds issued by fossil fuel companies and other heavy carbon emitters, according to a Financial Times poll of economists. The ECB president has pledged to make tackling climate change a major part of the central bank’s strategic review of its remit and tools, which is due to be completed by the second half of 2021. Two-thirds of the 33 economists polled by the FT believe the review will result in the ECB deciding to break with its long-held principle of “market neutrality”, which requires it to buy bonds in proportion to the overall market. Environmental campaigners have criticised the ECB’s €248 bln corporate bond purchases for reinforcing the market’s bias in favour of heavy carbon emitters such as oil and gas companies, utilities and airlines because these sectors issue more bonds than most others.

It’s a first – Wind, solar PV, and other renewable sources overtook fossil fuels in German power production last year, according to preliminary data by the federal network agency BNetzA and think-tank Agora Energiewende. Together with record-low energy consumption due to the pandemic, higher EUA and lower gas prices, plus a mild winter, the surge of renewables led to a significant decrease of Germany’s GHGs in 2020. Overall, renewables produced 45% of Germany’s electricity as the pandemic-driven decrease in consumption and cheaper gas power “heralded the end of coal”, the think-tank stated. However, Agora Energiewende says this would not have happened without the pandemic and that it expects emissions to rise in 2021. (Clean Energy Wire)

Playing down fears – Joe Biden’s victory in the US presidential election will not derail Washington’s cooperation with Poland on plans to develop its own nuclear energy sector, Polish Climate Minister Michal Kurtyka told the Financial Times. Warsaw plans to build six nuclear power plants with a capacity of 6-9 GW between 2033-43, and the Trump administration pushed for companies like nuclear reactor maker Westinghouse and engineering group Bechtel to be involved. Kurtyka is convinced that Washington’s deal will remain valid, even if Biden sparked consternation in Poland by referring to the country in the same breath as Belarus regarding “the rise of totalitarian regimes”.

Decree decision – A consent decree published Monday in the Federal Register gives the US EPA until Feb. 19 to decide whether to exempt a refinery owned by United Refining Co. in Pennsylvania from the 2019 Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending requirements. The EPA hasn’t made a decision on any of the 32 pending RFS small refinery exemption (SRE) requests for 2019 or 2020, and by this agreement current Administrator Andrew Wheeler won’t have to. Whoever is running the EPA for Biden will have to make a decision less than a month from Inauguration Day on Jan. 20. (Politico)

No pipe dream – Croatia’s LNG terminal on the northern Adriatic island of Krk began operations on Friday amid the first delivery of gas, said LNG Hrvatska, the company which runs the unit. The first LNG tanker anchored in the terminal delivered 143,000 cubic metres of gas sourced from the US. The Krk floating LNG terminal has a capacity of 2.6 bcm/year, and all its capacities in the next three years are sold out despite opposition of local residents and environmentalists to the project. The Krk terminal diversifies supply for Croatia, which has so far relied on Russian gas and its own production, but also for some other countries in central Europe including Hungary. (Euractiv)

Chinese shift – China’s engagement in the Greek energy sector is shifting following Greece’s setting of a coal phaseout date by 2028. Before Sep. 2019, when Greek PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis unexpectedly announced the upcoming end of coal in Greece, China had been eyeing investments in coal plants, including a new coal power plant in Western Macedonia in 2016 and the participation to many tenders to build coal units in 2019. One prominent example of the radical shift in China’s investments in Greece is an agreement signed by Greek and Chinese energy companies during President Xi Jinping’s visit to construct a concentrated solar power project on the island of Crete. (Clean Energy Wire, China Dialogue)

Doublespeak – Japan has approved a plan to help finance a long-planned coal power plant in Vietnam, despite the government’s pledge to curb overseas investments in dirtier technology and cut emissions at home. The Japan Bank for International Cooperation agreed to provide $636 mln worth of project financing for the Vung Ang 2 plant in central Vietnam, it said Tuesday in a statement. The loan is co-financed with private banks, as well as the Export-Import Bank of Korea. The move has garnered criticism from environmental activists for contradicting Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga’s pledge for net zero emissions by 2050 and stricter conditions for investing in coal projects abroad. Companies from Japan and South Korea, which has a similar climate target, have faced backlash from investors for working on the controversial project. (Bloomberg)

And finally… On track – South Korea aims to cut some 30% of CO2 emissions from railway travel by replacing all diesel passenger locomotives with a new bullet train by 2029, President Moon Jae-in said on Monday. The train, built by Hyundai, only emits some 70% of the output produced by diesel-powered trains, which generated 235,000 tonnes of emissions in 2019. Moon said that the move “will cut 70,000 tonnes of GHGs which is equivalent to planting 10 million pine trees, and advance to a carbon neutral society.” Separately, A consortium of engineering and technology firms is building Scotland’s first hydrogen powered train, which is set to be ready for Glasgow’s COP26 climate conference in November. (Reuters, The Engineer)

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