CP Daily: Thursday February 25, 2021

Published 01:14 on February 26, 2021  /  Last updated at 01:14 on February 26, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Brussels launches research project on certification system for carbon removals

The European Commission has launched a year-long project assessing options to introduce an EU system for certifying carbon removals, inspired by existing carbon standards.

EMEA

EU “can’t afford to backslide” on bloc’s aviation carbon market reform -senior official

The EU cannot backslide on ambition when reforming the bloc’s carbon market rules for intra-EU aviation as a result of a weakened global aviation offsetting system, a senior official said Thursday.

EU Market: EUAs sink back to near €38 as bullish momentum wavers

EUAs slipped 2.3% on Thursday after an early drive higher floundered and wider markets fell, halting this week’s run of late upward moves towards EU carbon’s all-time high above €40.

UK utility Drax sees last-gasp surge in coal power as its clears stockpiles

UK utility Drax reported a 26% rise in its ETS-covered emissions for 2020, as the company drew down its coal stockpiles and prepares to withdraw from burning fossil fuels, the company said in its results on Thursday.

Exchange ICE to relocate EU carbon trading to Netherlands’ Endex on June 7

Exchange operator ICE will relocate its EU carbon allowance trading from its London-based hub to the Netherlands on June 7 due to Brexit-related limitations, it announced Thursday.

AMERICAS

Washington cap-and-trade bill passes first committee, though transportation ties loom

A WCI-modelled carbon market bill passed its first committee in the Washington state legislature on Thursday, but a key senator signalled that he will tether the act’s ultimate implementation to lawmakers also enacting a transportation funding package this session.

California offset task force hits back at conflict of interest claims from former members

The California Compliance Offset Protocol Task Force (OPTF) pushed back Wednesday against criticism from two environmental and environmental justice (EJ) members who resigned this month, arguing the former appointees misrepresented the group’s charter and provided little input on behalf of their stakeholder constituencies in shaping the body’s final report.

NA Markets: CCA prices rise on Q1 auction sell out, RGGI drops ahead of quarterly sale

California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices rose on the secondary market this week on the heels of the second consecutive WCI auction selling out, as RGGI allowance (RGA) values slipped ahead of the programme’s own quarterly sale next week.

RFS Market: RIN rally settles down, while future-year D3 credits transact

US biofuel credit (RINs) values rose during the first half of the week as the widening bean oil-heating oil spread propelled prices higher under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), while next-year D3 credits traded on Thursday as entities potentially looked to hedge renewable natural gas project development.

OFFICIAL CORRECTION: Colombia to propose carbon tax on coal in March -report

*Corrects the rate of the proposed carbon tax on coal to 47,000 pesos, as reported by Argus* 

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.

ASIA PACIFIC

Australia’s biggest emitters see slight drop in GHG output

Facilities covered by Australia’s National Greenhouse and Energy Reporting (NGER) scheme saw a 3% year-on-year drop in their GHG output for FY2019-20, with utility AGL remaining the nation’s biggest emitter by far at more than twice the amount than the next on the list.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

INTERNATIONAL

Carney’s barney – Mark Carney, the former head of the Banks of England and Canada and a leading figure behind this year’s global climate talks, has sparked concern among green advocates with recent remarks claiming the $600 bln asset manager where he works zeroed out pollution across its portfolio. Carney is a vice chair at Brookfield Asset Management, Canada’s largest alternative asset manager. In a Feb. 10 interview with Bloomberg Live, Carney said Brookfield had fully neutralised emissions from its holdings thanks to an “enormous renewables business”, noting “all the avoided emissions that come with that” had compensated for the planet-warming toll of other investments. Brookfield’s operations have a small carbon footprint, measured at about 5,200 tonnes of CO2e in 2019, but inside its portfolio are investments in coal and other fossil fuels. Carney’s comments drew criticism from experts who say his position relies mainly on avoided emissions and misrepresents what’s required to cut an investor’s climate impact. Brookfield stood behind the claim it has reached net zero, despite critics calling Carney’s statement greenwashing and warning that such comments could undermine the success of COP26, for which Carney is advising the hosting UK government. Brookfield is rated “F” by non-profit climate-disclosure platform CDP, despite the firm’s renewables holdings.

Watch out, weaklings – Canada and the US are working on joint environment plans that could include singling out countries with weaker climate laws, PM Justin Trudeau said. In an interview with Bloomberg, he said his country’s plans to deepen climate cooperation with the US will include complementary policies that take “into account the emissions profiles of industrial competitors around the world.” Some countries “are producing without having the same kinds of leadership on climate change that the US is bringing into place and that we already have,” he added, speaking a day after a bilateral meeting with President Joe Biden and key officials. Trudeau didn’t mention specifically the idea of a carbon border levy in the interview, other than to say more details will be unveiled in the coming months, ahead of an April climate summit the White House is planning. British PM Boris Johnson is expected to use his country’s G7 presidency this year to win support for CBAMs, while the EU is also considering the measure, with MEPs backing a resolution earlier this month urging the European Commission to put a price on emissions from imported products by 2023.

Anglo and out – Mining major Anglo American plans to exit thermal coal production by 2024, slightly later than the mid-2023 timeline previously planned. It plans to exit its 33.3% shareholding in Colombia’s Cerrejon mine “in a responsible way and within three years”. BHP also plans to ditch its stake over the coming years. Glencore is the other main shareholder. (Montel)

AMERICAS

Granholm green light –  Former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm won Senate confirmation Thursday to be energy secretary and will be a key Cabinet member trying to fulfil President Joe Biden’s commitment for a green economy. The vote was 64-35, with 14 Republicans, including GOP leader Mitch McConnell, voting yes. Granholm served two terms as governor in a state dominated by the auto industry and devastated by the 2008 recession. She has promoted emerging clean energy technologies, such as electric vehicles and battery manufacturing as an answer for jobs that will be lost as the US transitions away from oil, coal, and other fossil fuels. (AP)

Haa-landing zone – Backers of New Mexico Representative Deb Haaland for Interior secretary got a big boost Wednesday after conservative Democratic Senator Joe Manchin said he’d support the nominee. Following Day Two of Haaland’s confirmation hearings before the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, Manchin – the panel’s chair and a key vote in the Senate as Democrats hold a razor-thin majority – released a statement promising to vote in favour of the nominee. Several other moderate senators, notably Democrat Kyrsten Sinema and Republican Lisa Murkowski have yet to state their position on Haaland’s nomination. Two more of Biden’s environmental picks – Brenda Mallory for chair of the White House Council on Environmental Quality and Janet McCabe for deputy EPA administrator – are scheduled to appear Mar. 3 for their confirmation hearing before the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. (Politico)

Republican retreat – House Republicans held a summit this past weekend in Utah, to discuss how to position themselves to address climate change in the new Congress, the Washington Examiner reports. Representative John Curtis organised the summit attended by 25 House Republicans, who invited outside conservative groups to speak to members, including the American Conservation Coalition, Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions, and the Alliance for Market Solutions. An agenda obtained by the news agency also shows the event featured presentations by officials from the Chamber of Commerce, the conservative Heritage Foundation, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Closer to disclosure – The US Securities and Exchange Commission is planning to push companies to disclose more info about risks that climate change poses to their business – and signalled that tougher policies could be in the offing. Allison Herren Lee, the regulator’s acting chair, said Wednesday that the SEC would bolster its focus on how companies are responding to its 2010 guidance on the topic. She said it’s important to provide investors with “access to material information when planning for their financial future.” (Axios)

Colorado cuts – Xcel Energy-Colorado, the first electric utility in the country to set a goal of being carbon-free, said Wednesday that it will up the ante by pledging to cut its greenhouse-gas emissions 85% by 2030. The new clean energy plan, to be filed with state regulators by the end of March, revises the company’s original goal of cutting the emissions by 80% by 2030. In meeting the target to address climate change, Xcel Energy is proposing to retire its remaining coal plants by 2040, though one environmental organisation said that will still leave it as the only utility in Colorado planning to burn coal beyond 2030. (Denver Post)

Pathways people – Canadian Environment Minister Jonathan Wilkinson on Thursday launched the Net-Zero Advisory Body, an independent group of 14 experts from across the country who will provide the government with advice on the best pathways to achieving net zero emissions by 2050. The group was established by the Canadian Net-Zero Emissions Accountability Act introduced last fall, which would enshrine Canada’s goal of net zero emissions by mid-century into law.

EMEA

Gas going sooner – The UK’s biggest energy retailer Centrica set a 2045 full-scope net zero emissions target on Thursday, five years earlier than its previous goal. It said it aimed to trial hybrid home heat pumps and install 23,000 EV charging points this year, while bringing forward by five years to 2025 its commitment to electrifying its 12,000-strong vehicle fleet. Centrica said it would only unveil its detailed climate plans later this year as part of a major strategy revamp, with its full-year results revealing sharp losses, Reuters reported.

Internalised – Luxembourg-based steel pipe manufacturer Tenaris will set itself an internal carbon price at a minimum of $80/tonne across the group’s operations, the company announced Thursday. Tenaris has also set itself a target to reduce the carbon intensity rate of its operations by 30% by 2030 below 2018 levels, considering Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions.

ASIA PACIFIC

Doing the hydrogen – Japan’s Itochu and France’s Air Liquide are teaming up to build what will become Japan’s biggest liquid hydrogen plant, according to Nikkei. When it comes online around midway through this decade it will have the capacity to produce around 30 tonnes of hydrogen per day, around two-thirds of Japan’s total current capacity. Story in Japanese here.

A very special office – China’s ecology and environment ministry has set up a special office for climate change affairs, led at vice minister level, China News reported Thursday. Among its duties will be supporting Xie Zhenhua, China’s brought-out-of-retirement climate envoy. The ministry has only been in charge for climate change issues for around three years, and has previously not had much infrastructure for international issues. The new office will receive support from the foreign affairs ministry and the National Development and Reform Commission.

Dhaka rethink – Bangladesh plans to scrap nine new coal power projects with a combined power capacity of 7.4 GW, as the cost of imported coal rises amid Chinese demand, overcapacity issues, and overseas investors slash finance for polluting fossil fuels. The government is due to give clearer details of its coal transition in a power sector plan due this summer. (Climate Home)

AND FINALLY…

Mailing it in – The US Postal Service on Tuesday announced it has awarded Oshkosh Defense a 10-year contract to deliver up to 165,000 “next generation delivery vehicle” mail trucks that will “be equipped with either fuel-efficient internal combustion engines (ICE) or battery electric powertrains.” The news disappointed some electric vehicle (EV) advocates, who said a decision by USPS to go all-electric would have sent important growth signals to the automotive market and supply chain. The postal service responded that the procurement allows for flexibility as vehicle technology advances. (Utility Dive)

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