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Environmental commodities trading firm STX Group has reached an agreement to buy a majority stake in Budapest-based rival carbon brokers Vertis, the companies announced late Tuesday.
EU carbon prices are set to climb to new record heights in Q2 as European lawmakers unveil a suite of bullish market reforms, but softening fundamentals could see a speculator-fuelled pullback before that, two teams of analysts warn.
EUAs rose late for the second straight session on Tuesday, supported by a resurgent energy complex as prices get nearer to their record levels reached earlier this month.
The premium for California Carbon Offsets financially backed against invalidation is rising amid increasing supply and lower demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, while participants continue to question whether an influx of buying will occur this year.
California risks missing its 2030 climate goal unless it can drive faster emissions reductions from the transportation sector, while regulator ARB may be overstating carbon abatement resulting from incentive-based programmes and its economy-wide cap-and-trade scheme, a government audit found.
The Colombian government next month will introduce legislation to impose a CO2 tax on coal-fired power, expanding the reach of the country’s existing $5/tonne carbon fee, a media outlet reported Tuesday.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has issued over 180,000 carbon credits in its latest round, as secondary market offset prices remain stable after earlier this month hitting their highest since the dismantling of the carbon pricing mechanism.
Ecosystem restoration organisation Viridis Terra International launched a sustainable impact investment fund on Tuesday, targeting a 7% average annualised return on its initial batch of Peruvian forestry projects that will generate carbon credits and sustainable commodities.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Not on the same page – President Biden’s climate envoy, John Kerry, has publicly acknowledged “differences” between the US and Australia in tackling the climate crisis, while calling for a faster exit from coal-fired power. Kerry’s comments highlighted the increased pressure on Australia to commit to do more before this year’s Glasgow COP26 climate conference, even though the Morrison government maintains it is “playing its part”. With the Coalition currently wrestling with internal divisions on whether to formally commit to net zero by 2050, a spokesperson for the minister for emissions reduction, Angus Taylor, said the US agreed with Australia on the need for “practical solutions”. Taylor’s spokesperson declined to specifically address Kerry’s view that “coal has got to phase down faster”. (Guardian)
Border buds – President Biden and PM Justin Trudeau on Tuesday were set to reveal the “US-Canada Partnership Roadmap” to work on areas of mutual concern, including climate change. Through the roadmap, the leaders will launch a High Level Climate Ministerial to align their policies and goals to increase ambition to tackle climate change. This will also include working jointly and with others to increase the scale and speed of action necessary to strengthen the implementation of the Paris Agreement and reach net zero emissions by 2050.
Third time’s a charm – The US District Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit has cleared the way for the Biden administration to work on a third iteration of a CO2 rule for power plants. The panel that struck down the Trump EPA’s Affordable Clean Energy rule on Monday granted the Biden administration’s request to hold off on a procedural step that would formally undo the repeal of the Obama-era Clean Power Plan. The practical effect is that there will be no climate rule for power plants on the books, providing certainty to states that they did not have to act in the meantime. The judges instructed the EPA to provide updates every 90 days, and while the agency cheered the order, it declined to reveal a timeline for issuing a replacement rule. (Politico)
A Diamondback in the rough – Texas-based oil and gas company Diamondback Energy on Monday announced its “Net Zero Now” initiative to zero out its Scope 1 emissions starting this year. While the company is committing to reducing its Scope 1 carbon intensity by 50% below 2019 levels by 2024 and methane intensity by 70%, it will purchase offsets for the outstanding emissions. In an earnings call, Diamondback said it is in the process of negotiating a carbon offset contract in the “mid seven-figure” range which is focused on CCS. The company added it has previously procured voluntary emissions reductions (VERs) from two projects in Texas and one in Wyoming.
A Flock of GHGgulls – California-based logistics provider Flock Freight on Tuesday announced its partnership with Carbonfund.org to offset 100% of carbon emissions of its FlockDirect shipping mode in 2021. All emissions produced by FlockDirect truck shipments, expected to be 20,000 tonnes in 2021, will be offset through the Truck Stop Electrification Project, which reduces truck idle time while providing truck drivers with an in-cab module to heat, cool, and power radio via an efficient external unit.
Mo’ Money – The European Commission proposed Tuesday to set up 10 new ‘European Partnerships’ – including partnerships on clean hydrogen and clean aviation – between the EU, member states, and the industry. Brussels will provide nearly €10 bln of funding, which the partners will match with at least an equivalent amount of investment. The goal is to speed up the transition towards a green, climate neutral, and digital Europe, and to make EU industry more resilient and competitive.
Border blues – Czechia said it will sue Poland in the EU Court of Justice over the expansion of its Turow lignite mine, which Prague says damages water supplies for local communities on the Czech side of the border. It will be the first legal case for the court in which one country is suing another over environmental issues. (Politico)
Build back better? – EU member states will rally behind the Renovation Wave, the bloc’s plan to massively expand building renovations to cut GHG emissions, according to a draft document seen by Reuters, but did not explicitly endorse using legally-binding energy performance standards to do it. If the EU wants to raise its renovation rate, there is “no alternative” to using mandatory minimum energy performance standards, said Brook Riley, head of EU affairs at insulation manufacturer Rockwool Group.
A very human cost – The EU’s climate adaptation strategy, due to be unveiled on Wednesday, will aim to tackle the human cost of climate change, both within Europe and around the world, amid calls from trade unions to reinforce protection for the most exposed workers. Climate change has a very human cost, and outdoor professions such as agriculture and the construction sector are expected to be the most heavily impacted. In addition to protection measures for workers, trade unions want the EU’s adaptation strategy to push for inclusive governance and the inclusion of trade unions in national adaptation strategies. (Euractiv)
COP a fist – Former Australian prime minister Kevin Rudd has denied and dismissed as an “urban myth” claims by his former British counterpart Gordon Brown that he was physically restrained from punching the Chinese negotiator during UN climate talks in Copenhagen in 2009. “The bottom line is that I was vigorously prosecuting Australia’s climate interests at a time when China was aggressively resisting. I make no apologies for doing so,” Rudd said. His contribution to the Copenhagen summit has been well documented, including the allegation he said “those Chinese f—ers are trying to ratf–k us”, in a private briefing to journalists following a breakdown in the talks. (Sydney Morning Herald)
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