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Global compliance-based carbon markets increased in value by nearly a fifth in 2020 to €229 billion ($279 bln), according to analysts at Refinitiv, flagging a fourth consecutive annual rise and a fivefold jump within three years as the programmes shrugged off the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Russia has approved a pilot carbon trading scheme for its gas-rich Sakhalin island, a rare sign of climate action for the world’s fourth biggest emitter amid looming pressure from proposed EU border measures.
Alberta compliance offset values are climbing for future deliveries as market participants seek narrow discounts to the rising CO2 price under the Technology Innovation and Emissions Reduction (TIER) regime, but some market participants fear the province’s shifting electricity profile could lessen demand in the coming years.
A court has rejected the Virginia Attorney General’s motion to dismiss an industry lawsuit challenging the state’s RGGI-linked cap-and-trade programme, a government spokesperson confirmed to Carbon Pulse on Tuesday.
A law firm is working with the Utah state legislature on whether to allocate nearly $1.7 million for a legal challenge this year against California’s cap-and-trade programme and emissions performance standard (EPS), a partner at the company told Carbon Pulse.
Japan’s cabinet on Tuesday cleared the way for a working group to set out a carbon pricing path for the country, but put the business-friendly Ministry of Energy, Trade, and Industry (METI) in charge of the process, relegating the environment ministry to observer status.
EU carbon prices may have already peaked for the quarter, analysts said, with January marking one of the months of 2021 with the largest year-on-year drop in new supply.
EUAs held above €33 on Tuesday in a choppy session that saw carbon weighed down by weaker gas before mounting a recovery on technical signals.
US-based exchange operator CME Group has partnered with commodities trading and data firm Xpansiv and will launch a futures contract for offsets eligible under the CORSIA international aviation carbon credit programme, the companies announced Tuesday.
Offset prices in the voluntary carbon market (VCM) receded last week despite a positive outlook going forward after new US President Joe Biden (D) issued several climate-related executive orders.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Banking on green finance – The European Central Bank will create a ‘climate team’ to set up the bank’s agenda on environment-related topics and lead its efforts to help transition to a greener economy in the eurozone, ECB President Christine Lagarde said Monday. The Frankfurt-based central bank added that it will invest some of its own funds, which total €20.8 bln and include capital paid by eurozone nations, reserves, and provisions, in a green bond fund run by the Bank for International Settlement. More significantly, ECB policymakers are also debating what role climate considerations should play in the institution’s multi-trillion euro bond-buying programme. (Euractiv)
Powering up – The European Commission on Tuesday approved a €2.9 bln public support scheme from 12 EU nations – Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Spain, and Sweden – to create a ‘European Battery Innovation’ project and support innovation for battery production. The project will involve 42 companies and is expected to unlock additional €9 bln in private investments. The European Battery Innovation initiative has also been granted status of Important Project of Common European Interest (IPCEI) by the Commission.
Corporate wins – The 338 companies that have set emissions goals under the Science Based Targets Initiative (SBTi) are on course to exceed the goals and have reduced their combined emissions by 25% since 2015, according to SBTi’s annual progress report, contrasting with a 3.4% rise in energy and industry emissions worldwide over the same period. SBTi said the typical company cut their Scope 1 emissions 6.4%, exceeding the 4.2% targeted rate for alignment with 1.5C of warming. (BusinessGreen)
Charging on – Oil major Shell has agreed to buy Ubitricity, a leading European electric vehicle charging company, part of the firm’s move into the electric sector. Shell has already developed about 100 charging points in the UK. Ubitricity has more than 2,700 across the country, and can integrate charging points into existing infrastructure such as lamp posts. (Guardian)
Package provisions – The Democrat-controlled US Congress intends to include major climate change provisions as part of an infrastructure package in the coming months, House Energy and Commerce Committee Chair Frank Pallone (D) said Monday. Pallone said his committee’s sweeping climate change legislative framework from the last Congress would serve as the “blueprint” for additional action this year, though he cautioned the scope of any legislation could be more limited if Democrats decide to advance their priorities through budget reconciliation. He also doubted a clean energy standard that mandates the share of energy that is derived from different sources could be structured in a way to be included in legislation considered under reconciliation. (Politico)
In step – A district court didn’t overstep when it scrapped a key permit for the Dakota Access pipeline and concluded it was approved unlawfully, the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit ruled Tuesday – the latest in a series of defeats for the project. The court argued the Army Corps of Engineers fell short of meeting National Environmental Policy Act requirements when it allowed Dakota Access to cross a federal reservoir in North Dakota, and that the violation warranted scrapping the easement. However, the court reiterated its previous ruling that the lower court went a step too far in ordering the pipeline to shut down. Tribes are urging the lower court to issue a fresh shutdown order under a different legal standard. (Bloomberg Law)
Renewables record – US companies secured a record 23.7 GW of new renewables capacity last year despite the pandemic, according to new data published Tuesday by BloombergNEF. Most of the deals led to development of new renewables capacity that would not have otherwise been built, the research firm noted. Amazon was the most active company, announcing 35 deals totalling 5.1 GW of capacity, with semiconductor giant TSMC, oil major Total, communications provider Verizon, and Facebook rounding out the top five. The US was again the largest market, with 11.9 GW worth of power purchase deals, though that was down from 14.1 GW a year earlier. (Axios)
Pension play – Three of New York City’s largest employee pension funds representing civil servants, teachers, and school administrators on Monday moved to divest $4 bln from securities tied to fossil fuel companies. With a combined value of $239 bln, representing 70% of the city’s pension assets, the move is one of the largest fossil fuel divestments in the world. Under the resolution, the pensions would phase out fossil fuel investments over five years. (Climate Nexus)
100% SAF – In order to meet the aviation industry’s long-term carbon reduction goals, Boeing believes it will be necessary to raise the limit on what percentage sustainable aviation fuels (SAF) can be blended with conventional jet kerosene. The US aircraft manufacturer has therefore set a goal that commits its commercial airplanes to being capable and certified to fly on 100% SAF by 2030. At present, blends are permitted up to a maximum of 50%, with fuels from some technology pathways less than that, under ASTM standards agreed by regulatory, fuel and aviation industry experts. Boeing said it will determine what changes are required to its current and future airplanes to enable them to fly on 100% sustainable fuels, and to work with regulators, engine companies and other stakeholders to ensure commercial aircraft operators can fly entirely on sustainable jet fuels. (GreenAir Online)
Locus of control – Start-up Locus Agricultural Solutions has entered into a partnership with North American project developer and retailer Bluesource to give farmers another chance to market and sell voluntary offsets. Already, CarbonNow is the start-up’s programme for farmland owners that takes them through the process of sequestering and measuring carbon captured in their soil in line with a desired methodology, through to having that carbon capture verified by third parties and then marketed and sold by a retailer such as Bluesource. Previously, Locus partnered with blockchain-based carbon removal marketplace Nori in Jan. 2020, selling its first credits at $15/tonne to e-commerce outfit Shopify in October. (Agri Investor)
REC rumble – Carbon offset specialist South Pole has partnered with fund manager Positive.Capital Partners and others, including several philanthropic foundations, to set up a not-for-profit platform aiming to help corporates meet UN Sustainable Development Goal 7 on clean energy access by purchasing distributed renewable energy certificates (D-RECs) geared at financing clean energy projects in off-grid communities in emerging economies. The first limited issuance of D-RECs is anticipated to be available from Q4, with the units operating in a similar way to standard renewable energy certificates. (BusinessGreen)
And finally… Polar panic – Earth’s ice is melting 57% faster than in the 1990s and the world has lost more than 28 trillion tons of ice since 1994, research published yesterday in The Cryosphere shows. The findings revealed that of all the regions of the world, Arctic ice is disappearing the fastest, with 7.6 trillion tons melting between 1994 to 2017. The report also found land ice melt alone contributed to a global average sea level rise of 3.5 cm. However, land ice is only a small portion of the world’s ice, as sea ice shelves, which float on water, are disappearing quickly. If they collapse, the glaciers some sea ice shelves hold in place would be released and could accelerate sea level rise for centuries. (Climate Nexus)
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