CP Daily: Wednesday March 3, 2021

Published 23:02 on March 3, 2021  /  Last updated at 23:02 on March 3, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORIES

PREVIEW: Virginia, post-2020 changes add uncertainty to Q1 RGGI auction

Virginia’s inclusion and new post-2020 changes to the power sector RGGI carbon market could significantly alter the outcome of Wednesday’s quarterly auction, with some traders anticipating a clear at or slightly above the secondary market levels.

Carbon Pulse strengthens unrivalled voluntary markets coverage with expert ‘Net Zero’ hire

(Free read) – Carbon Pulse has significantly strengthened its unrivalled voluntary markets coverage by hiring one of the longest serving environmental journalists on the beat and a world renowned expert in the role of forestry and other land uses in combatting climate change.

EMEA

UK seeks to position London as global offset hub, maintains carbon price floor

A former stock exchange boss has been tasked with positioning London as the global centre for offset trading, the UK’s finance minister said Wednesday, in a mixed budget for climate action that included freezing the country’s carbon floor price for another year.

EU Market: EUAs sink further as weaker energy prices dim bullish hopes

EUAs slipped back towards €37 on Wednesday amid weaker energy prices, giving back the previous session’s gains that had renewed bulls’ hopes that prices might re-test their record, while data showed investor interest continues to hit record levels.

AMERICAS

Five RGGI generators fail to meet March full compliance deadline

Five RGGI facilities failed to comply at the Mar. 1 deadline for the three-year compliance period, according to preliminary CO2 Allowance Tracking System (COATS) data.

Environmental group urges Virginia commission to reject Dominion’s RGGI procurement strategy

A Virginia utility commission should not approve a Dominion subsidiary’s rate request to cover RGGI compliance costs under the power sector carbon market, or at least should eliminate the generator’s ability to recover carrying costs, according to pre-hearing testimony released Tuesday evening.

TransAlta emissions fall 20% in 2020 amid lower Alberta coal generation

Calgary-based power generator TransAlta saw its GHG emissions fall 20% last year partially due to lower thermal coal output and gas conversions that will result in lower compliance obligations under Alberta’s market-based large emitter programme, according to year-end earnings published Wednesday.

ASIA PACIFIC

Guangdong keeps lid on offset use, gets timetable back on track

China’s biggest pilot emissions trading scheme will keep offset limits for compliance purposes well below 0.5% of emissions for 2020, and also get the compliance cycle back on track after COVID-driven interruptions sparked major delays for all of the nation’s pilot markets last year.

COMMENT

New claims for a new era of private sector carbon finance

The voluntary carbon market can build a common understanding for a new financing claim beyond offsetting that represents the same commitment of taking responsibility for unabated emissions by mitigating carbon beyond boundaries, writes Sarah Leugers of Gold Standard.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

INTERNATIONAL

G7 deadline – UN chief Antonio Guterres has called for governments, companies, and local authorities around the world to cancel all global coal projects in the pipeline, he told the UK-hosted summit of the Powering Past Coal Alliance. Guterres called on wealthy nations to end coal use by 2030, urging G7 members to commit to that before or at a leaders’ summit in June, putting Japan, the US, and Germany on the spot, as the former two have no phase-out plans while Germany intends to continue burning coal until 2038.  (Climate Home)

AMERICAS

Gimme half – An enhanced US Paris Agreement net GHG reduction pledge of at least 50% below 2005 levels by 2030 is achievable through multiple policy pathways, according to a report from green group EDF published Wednesday. The report includes analysis from four modelling scenarios – including two from EDF – that call for a whole-of-government approach to fighting climate change, economy-wide limits on GHGs, a front-loaded emissions trajectory, and cleaning up the power sector. It also says President Joe Biden’s administration should put forward an explicit commitment to reduce methane emissions 40% below 2005 levels by 2030.

Big oil, big target – US Rep. Katie Porter, who has earned a reputation for grilling bank and drug company executives during Congressional hearings, told Reuters she will focus on a new target in her new role as chair of the House Natural Resources Oversight Committee: Big Oil. Porter is one of several Democratic lawmakers that introduced a set of bills this week to reform federal oil and gas leasing regulations, including by raising royalty rates for the first time in a century – proposals that could impact existing leases even if new leases are eventually phased out. Porter’s legislation would boost the amount oil companies must pay on their federal onshore production to 18.75% from 12%, a rate that has not changed since 1920, and also increase minimum bids in lease auctions to $5 per acre from $2.

EMEA

Solar tripled – Poland’s installed capacity in solar power increased to 3.9 GW in January from 1.3 GW a year ago, data from the grid operator PSE showed on Tuesday. Poland’s solar energy capacity has surged in the past two years due to generous subsidies from the government, which have encouraged households to install solar panels on roofs as the coal-reliant country aims to cut carbon emissions. The nation plans to have 10-16 GW in installed capacity in solar power by 2040, on top of 7-10 GW and 8-11 GW in onshore and offshore wind, respectively. (Reuters)

Getting tough – The EU’s state aid probe into German lignite company compensations announced Tuesday means “tough negotiations”, researcher Felix Matthes of think-tank Oeko-Institut told Tagesspiegel. However, legal experts said the European Commission’s note should not be overestimated. “It is not an indication of the outcome,” said Thorsten Mueller, chairman of the Stiftung Umweltenergierecht, according to Clean Energy Wire. Whether or not, and by how much the compensation payments would have to be reduced would be a matter of political negotiations, he added. Read Carbon Pulse’s take on the Commission’s state aid investigation.

French fight – French lawmakers are heading for a political battle over the government’s climate bill after the country’s citizens’ assembly slammed the text as insufficient to meet France’s climate goals, Climate Home reports. On Wednesday, the day after the assembly’s final verdict, MPs submitted more than 4,000 amendments to the government’s proposed climate and resilience law. Read Carbon Pulse’s article on how over a third of the 149 panel proposals made it into the bill’s initial draft.

ASIA PACIFIC

Target met – China cut the emissions intensity of its economy 18.8% over the 2016-20 period, the government said, compared to a target in its 5-year plan for the period of 18%, according to Reuters. Most of the gains were achieved early in the period as the intensity drop in 2020 amounted to 1%. However, domestic and international data have showed that absolute emissions rose over the same period.

VOLUNTARY

Package plans – Package giant FedEx on Wednesday said it hopes to become carbon neutral across operations by 2040 and pledged $2 bln of “initial investments” toward the goal. It hopes to have its parcel pickup and delivery fleet fully electrified by 2040 – with interim goals like making 50% of new vehicle purchases electric by 2025 – and emphasising less polluting aviation fuels and more efficient planes. Additionally, FedEx gave Yale University $100 mln to launch the Yale Center for Natural Carbon Capture, which aims to “develop interventions that enhance the Earth’s abilities to store carbon and other methods that model natural processes”. (Axios)

Taking acciona – Spanish renewable energy company Acciona has signed an agreement with Banco Santander to help the bank offset 145,000 tonnes of CO2 with credits associated with a wind farm in Mexico. Acciona said that it will transfer CERs from its 306MW Oaxacas wind farm complex through the blockchain-based credit trading platform ClimateTrade. With this transaction, the Spanish bank will be able to offset around half of its overall CO2 emissions and meet its 2020 carbon neutrality target. (Renewables Now)

SCIENCE & TECH

Shipping sums – Leading shipping group Maersk Tankers has invested $19 mln in the past two years and has earmarked a further $12 mln in 2021 to boost ship performance and reduce emissions through the use of digital technology, its chief executive told Reuters. Last year Maersk Tankers launched standalone business ZeroNorth, which uses algorithms that factor in market rates, future weather conditions, and bunker prices to guide operators on the optimal route and speed for their vessel.

AND FINALLY…

China’s watch – The world’s first satellite actively sensing CO2 with the LiDAR (light detection and ranging) to monitor CO2 in the atmosphere will be ready for launch by China in July, said Zhang Xingying, a senior researcher with the National Satellite Meteorological Center.  China has put three satellites in orbit for CO2 monitoring and study since 2016, and they are all equipped with passive optical remote-sensing technology. (Xinhua)

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