CP Daily: Monday February 1, 2021

Published 00:59 on February 2, 2021  /  Last updated at 00:59 on February 2, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

New Zealand to revise NDC after commission calls for much bigger emissions cuts

Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern on Sunday announced New Zealand would revise its Paris target after advice from the independent Climate Change Commission said the country needs to do much more to help meet the global 1.5C goal, a move that could bump the country’s carbon credit needs over the next decade to 64-104 million.

ASIA PACIFIC

CN Markets: National carbon market launch divides China’s ETS pilots

China’s national emissions trading scheme formally entered into force on Monday, creating a sharp divide in outlook between those pilot carbon markets where power plants transition to the federal scheme immediately and those that will keep coal units in the local programmes for another year.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs soften as milder weather weakens energy prices

EUAs slipped slightly lower on Monday as weaker energy prices weighed, with observers expecting carbon to remain firm this week despite the resumption of auctions.

CORRELATIONS: EU carbon gets cosier with power, gas as temperatures drop

EU carbon’s correlation to European power and gas prices has strengthened in recent weeks as temperatures have dropped, analysis by Carbon Pulse shows, while EUAs’ relationship to coal has slackened as demand for the fuel has diminished.

UK opposition call for gas flaring ban as campaigners highlight extent of emissions

The UK’s main political opposition has urged the government to impose tougher regulations on offshore gas flaring following campaigners’ showcasing of the phenomenon’s climate impact.

VOLUNTARY

VCM Report: Offset prices hold firm as taskforce, Microsoft chart new course

Voluntary carbon market (VCM) credit prices largely stagnated over the week as an influential taskforce backed a drastic scaling up in offset use and Microsoft’s disclosure of its buying activities emphasised a shift towards removal-based projects.

AMERICAS

Massachusetts GWSA carbon market posts first annual deficit amid COVID-19 pandemic

Massachusetts electricity generators regulated under the state’s Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA) cap-and-trade programme posted their first annual deficit in 2020 as hotter weather and remote working pushed CO2 output above the scheme’s adjusted cap, data showed.

INTERNATIONAL

ART REDD standard seeks inclusion of emissions removals, new HFLD approach

The Architecture for REDD+ Transactions (ART) programme began a public consultation period on Monday for the new version of its deforestation reduction standard, which will now aim to also issue carbon credits from planting or restoring forests and change the method for rewarding high-forest, low-deforestation (HFLD) jurisdictions.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Yes and no – Australian PM Scott Morrison said Monday he hopes to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 and will work on the nation’s target this year ahead of the November COP, the Sydney Morning Herald reports. However, internally in the ruling Coalition that ambition remains highly controversial and there is no sign the government will make a formal net zero pledge any time soon. The comments, made at the National Press Club, came after a newly created Climate Targets Panel released a report earlier in the day, saying Australia must cut its GHG emissions 74% below 2005 levels by 2030 – compared to the current 26-28% goal – and hit net zero emissions by 2035, in order to fairly play its role in meeting the overall temperature goals of the Paris Agreement, as reported by The Age.

Raising the stakes – Singapore’s carbon tax is one of the most important policy tools the city-state has to combat climate change, and raising the price is the right approach, MPs said Monday.  There was broad agreement among 18 who spoke during a debate on a motion calling for bolder climate action in Singapore, with many seeking to bring forward the tax’s scheduled 2023 review. Some MPs said the current plan to raise the tax to SGD 10-15 ($7.50-11.25) by 2030, up from $5 currently, is not ambitious enough. One cited guidance from the IMF saying that the price needs to be no lower than SGD 99 by the end of this decade. Separately, Singapore officials have for some time indicated the island nation would like to establish itself as a global trading hub for carbon, and MPs on Monday backed a strategy to establish an international offset trading and services centre there, which would also allow the government easy access to forestry-based credits and in turn help the country meet its emissions targets. (Straits Times)

Sooner rather than later – Taiwan’s Legislative Yuan has passed a resolution to shutter 10 coal-fired subcritical steam generators at the Taichung Power Plant – one of the world’s biggest – in 2035, rather than in 2046 as previously planned, according to the Taipei Times. While the coal-fired boilers would be put in reserve rather than completely decommissioned, the move represents a significant step-up of Taiwan’s decarbonisation process. The plant annually emits around 40 MtCO2 – a level similar to all of Switzerland emissions.

Picking their brains – Michael Regan, President Joe Biden’s (D) pick to head the US EPA, will appear before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee for his nomination hearing Wednesday afternoon, the body announced. Biden’s pick to lead the Agriculture Department, Tom Vilsack, will also appear for his nomination hearing Tuesday before the Senate Agriculture Committee. And his pick to lead the Labor Department, Marty Walsh – who will likely play a critical role in Biden’s climate plans that hinge on the labour movement’s support for clean energy – appears before the Senate HELP Committee on Thursday. (Politico)

Backslider – Environmental and renewable energy groups have warned California officials that efforts to stabilise the power grid could lead to more natural gas-fired generation and threaten the state’s long-term climate goals. The California Utility Public Commission (CPUC) ordered investor-owned utilities (IOUs) to add additional capacity for peak and net peak demands over the summer months after a heatwave in 2020 caused rolling blackouts. However, the Sierra Club and California Environmental Justice Alliance said IOUs could merely satisfy these capacity requirements from existing natural gas-fired units with added efficiency upgrades, potentially minimising CO2 reductions in low-income communities. The groups warned the “loophole” would run counter to the state’s climate goals. The CPUC can make a decision on the issue as early as Feb. 11. (Utility Dive)

Merger murmurs – The CEOs of Exxon Mobil and Chevron discussed a merger in early 2020 as the novel coronavirus pandemic cratered oil and gas demand, the Wall Street Journal reported, a deal that would have created a global oil company second only to Saudi Aramco in size and production. The talks between the two largest corporate descendants of the Standard Oil monopoly were described as preliminary and are not ongoing, but could be restarted in the future, according to the Journal. However, they were sufficiently serious that legal documents were drafted over aspects of the merger, Reuters reported. (Climate Nexus)

Can, meet road – The Czech government on Monday postponed a decision on a 2038 target date to phase out coal after the junior ruling party Social Democrats sought an earlier exit than a state commission recommended. Interior Minister Jan Hamacek, head of the Social Democrats, said the phaseout will be put to a debate among the ministries and other organisations, including non-governmental ones, before the government makes a decision. The Social Democrats have sought a target exit date of 2033, while a broad state commission, after months of work, had recommended in December the exit date of 2038 – one of the latest deadlines in Europe but on par with neighbouring Germany. The commission had debated three target dates during its work process, with the latest being 2043. Czechia uses coal for just under half its electricity production and aims to rely more on nuclear than renewable sources in the future. (Reuters)

Choking on coking – The UK government’s decision to allow a new coking coal mine will increase global emissions and compromise the UK’s legally binding carbon budgets, according to Lord Deben, chair of the Climate Change Committee advisory panel. He warned the decision could undermine UK leadership of November’s COP26 climate summit in Glasgow. Some 85% of the steelmaking raw material is planned for export to Europe because there may be no domestic use after 2035 due to the country’s climate targets. (BBC)

All in the family – British PM Boris Johnson’s father Stanley has been appointed international ambassador of the Conservative Environment Network – a group of 100 MPs and peers. In the role, he will attend COP26 in Glasgow this November to ‘constructively’ call for policies including carbon pricing. Johnson senior told the Daily Mail he would be keeping the pressure up on the UK government and other countries, particularly the EU, to ensure that the world meets the tough goal of curbing global warming to 2C and ideally no more than 1.5C, and for governments to commit to carbon neutrality by 2050.

And finally… Where we’re going, we don’t need roads – British-based start-up Urban-Air Port has partnered with car giant Hyundai Motor to develop the infrastructure required for when flying cars take to the skies to ferry around people and goods. By November, visitors to the UK city of Coventry will be able to see what a flying car airport looks like and see a passenger-carrying drone and an operational electric vertical take-off and landing (eVTOL) vehicle on the landing pad. (Reuters)

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