CP Daily: Wednesday January 20, 2021

Published 00:26 on January 21, 2021  /  Last updated at 00:26 on January 21, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Biden recommits US to Paris Agreement as part of inaugural climate orders

President Joe Biden (D) announced he will immediately seek to re-enter the US into the Paris Agreement after taking office on Wednesday, as he laid out several other climate-oriented executive orders that included cancelling the Keystone XL oil pipeline expansion and reversing the environmental rollbacks undertaken by outgoing President Donald Trump (R).

INTERNATIONAL

Offset developers assess options following CDM suspension

Offset developers face a limited impact should the suspension of issuances under the UN’s CDM offset mechanism be resolved later this year, though some are seeking alternatives given the risk of further complications.

UAE’s Etihad Airways boosts carbon offset programme

UAE-owned Etihad Airways is expanding its offset purchasing programme beyond a single African project after striking a deal with oil major Shell.

EMEA

After Brexit ‘divorce’, UK-EU carbon market linkage will take time -academic

Linking the UK’s recently established carbon market with the EU ETS will take time, with post-Brexit politics rather than technical or design issues likely to stand in the way, an environmental economics professor has told Carbon Pulse.

EU Market: EUAs dip back below €33 as gas rebound stalls

EUAs dipped back below €33 on Wednesday as resurgent gas prices took a breather following the previous session’s 7% hike and exchange data showed a decrease in speculative long positions.

AMERICAS

US business group open to carbon pricing in change to climate stance

The US Chamber of Commerce supports economy-wide market-based approaches as part of tougher climate action, the country’s biggest business group said Tuesday in a major shift to its position.

Virginia says court should dismiss industry’s RGGI lawsuit

A Virginia court should dismiss an industry lawsuit challenging the state’s RGGI-linked cap-and-trade programme, according to a brief filed by the Attorney General’s office ahead of a hearing on Wednesday.

RFS Market: RIN prices jump after outgoing Trump EPA foregoes waiver dump

US biofuel credit (RIN) prices rose on Wednesday morning after former President Donald Trump’s EPA only granted several compliance waivers to facilities under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), allaying traders’ fears the outgoing administration would issue a raft of exemptions during its final hours in power.

US biofuel commodity trader files for bankruptcy after flurry of lawsuits

A Texas-based commodity shop filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on Wednesday after a growing number of lawsuits alleged it failed to deliver biofuel credits (RINs) in fulfilment of its contractual obligations.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Lofty promises – Baowu Steel, the world’s biggest steel-producing company, has become the latest major Chinese corporation to announce a net zero emissions target after President Xi’s carbon neutral pledge last September. The company on Wednesday said it would release a low-carbon roadmap later this year, but that it’s targets were to peak its emissions by 2023, and then reduce GHG output 30% by 2035, before hitting zero by mid-century. Details of how Baowu intends to get there are sketchy at the moment, but include technological innovation, energy efficiency, and encouraging employees to live a low-carbon lifestyle. The statement is available in Chinese here.

Bauhaus is back –  The European Commission launched this week the design phase of its New European Bauhaus initiative, a creative initiative aiming to combine design, sustainability, accessibility, affordability, and investment in order to help deliver the European Green Deal. The project wants to bring science and technology, arts, and social inclusion together to deliver sustainable solutions in Europe. This design phase will lead to an open call in autumn for projects in at least five places in the 27-nation bloc, through the use of EU funds at national and regional level.

CBAM on the farm – Germany’s agriculture ministry is pushing for a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) for agriculture to ensure that climate action in the bloc’s farming sector doesn’t endanger farmers’ livelihoods and cause carbon leakage, federal state secretary for Food and Agriculture Beate Kasch said Tuesday at a virtual agriculture trade fair. Germany’s agriculture ministry has invested billions of euros to run pilot schemes on CO2 storage in humus layers and by re-wetting moorlands, “but this has to go hand-in-hand with a carbon border adjustment,” Kasch added. The Commission’s Christian Holzleitner told the same event that the EU is currently running pilot projects to see if and how the farming sector could be included in a CO2 pricing scheme as of 2030. (Clean Energy Wire)

The trouble with sludge – Spanish utility Endesa has decided to close its 1.4GW As Pontes coal-fired power plant following a report highlighting the environmental, technical and economic infeasibility mixing biofuels with coal for thermal fuel. Spain’s environment ministry confirmed that tests revealed “serious environmental problems” with the process. “The combustion of the mixture of coal and sludge causes the emission of mercury in values ​​close to the legal limit allowed”, a supervisory committee said. Another “insurmountable” difficulty lies in the high increase in ash generation, “between 187 and 276%, which means producing one ton for every three or four of CO2 avoided”. (La Voz de Galicia)

Views welcome! – Finland’s Ministry of the Environment is inviting views and opinions on how emissions can be reduced effectively and fairly. An online survey is open from Jan. 19 to Feb. 19, and the responses will help to prepare a new medium-term climate change policy plan. “Finland’s aim is to be carbon neutral by 2035. Achieving this goal requires action and change from every one of us. That’s why it’s important to hear what kind of emission reduction measures Finns consider to be effective and fair. It pays to complete the survey, this is a real opportunity to have an impact,” said Krista Mikkonen, Minister of the Environment and Climate. The themes of the survey include transport, food, and housing, which combined account for the majority of the country’s carbon footprint.

Stinkin’ leaks – Methane leaking out of the more than 4 mln abandoned oil and gas wells in the US and Canada is a far greater contributor to climate change than government estimates suggest, researchers from McGill University said on Wednesday. Canada has underestimated methane emissions from its abandoned wells by as much as 150%, while official US estimates are about 20% below actual levels, the study, published in Environmental Science and Technology, found. (Reuters)

Shell outShell has pulled its support for the Velocys/British Airways Altalto project, which plans to produce sustainable aviation fuel (SAF) from municipal waste in a new plant due to be constructed at Immingham in north-east England. The oil major, which was supplying commercial and technical expertise to the project, did not reveal reasons for the withdrawal but said it would be focusing elsewhere to leverage its own technology on other low-carbon initiatives. Under a joint development agreement, from which it has now withdrawn, Shell had an option to take a one-third share in the equity capital of Altalto. Velocys, a specialist in compact reactors used to produce sustainable fuels from wastes and residues and the lead in the project, said the move was by mutual consent and would have no impact on the existing development plan or funding for the plant. (GreenAir Online)

And finally… Wiser fertiliser – Two of the world’s biggest fertiliser producers – CF Industries and Yara – are seeking to reconfigure ammonia plants from 2023 in the US and Norway to produce clean energy to power ships. By altering the production process for ammonia normally used for fertiliser, the companies say they can produce hydrogen for fuel or a form of carbon-free ammonia used either as a carrier for hydrogen or as a marine fuel. (Reuters)

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