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RGGI’s first auction of 2021 set an all-time high this week, according to results published Friday, but the quarterly sale still shocked traders by clearing far below the secondary market pricing level.
Former Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has created some great things, including the Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM), but he still managed to flub the basics of net zero accounting – a flub that serves to highlight the complex challenges of overhauling the global economy.
The Canadian environment ministry on Friday published draft regulations to implement its federal GHG offset system, with an aim to finalise the programme and publish the first protocols by the end of the year.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) holdings for regulated entities declined last week as the February ICE contract expired, while speculators kept positions relatively stable following the first WCI auction of the year, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.
A summary of legislative and regulatory action on carbon pricing, clean fuel standards, and clean energy at the US subnational and federal level this week, including developments around a national clean electricity standard, a Washington state low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS), and an Hawaiian carbon tax study.
EUAs climbed above €39 on Friday as better-than-expected US jobs data lifted energy markets, swinging carbon to a weekly gain of almost 5% and again within sight of its record levels.
Australia Market Roundup: Veolia earns large ACCU batch, as govt moves to pilot farmers’ nature scheme
Environmental firm Veolia took the lion’s share of this week’s carbon credit issuances in Australia, while the government is piloting a scheme that will offer farmers additional revenue for biodiversity gains achieved through carbon offset projects.
Green hydrogen costs are approaching a level where hydrogen-fuelled rail transport can be viable under existing post-pandemic recovery schemes with carbon pricing and other support given current price trends in the sector, bank analysts said in a report this week.
(Updated) – China announced key economic targets for the next five years on Friday, avoiding an absolute cap on greenhouse gas output and instead setting intensity goals that if met would see annual emissions continue to rise.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Tax-force – The WTO is launching a Trade and Environmental Sustainability joint initiative group which was expected to be a forum for the discussion of carbon border taxes. Some 53 WTO member countries are slated to take part in the group’s inaugural meeting on Mar. 5, which will identify goals and objectives related to trade and sustainable development, a WTO official told S&P Global Platts. Canada and Costa Rica will coordinate the initial meeting, whose attendees will include the EU, Australia, Canada, Chile, Japan, Mexico, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan and the UK, the official said. Neither China nor the US are slated to take part but could join later, he added. A WTO release last November on the aims of the new group indicated that its work programme could contribute to eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers in environmental goods and services, reforming inefficient fossil fuel subsidies, and promoting a global circular economy by facilitating trade along supply chains. The EU’s plan for a Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism was likely to be discussed at the meeting, although may not be included in the formal agenda.
No plan – The UK government has been hit by a double whammy of reports from cross-party MP bodies criticising its performance on climate change. The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) says ministers have “no plan” to meet its 2050 net zero emissions target, two years after setting it in law. And the business committee says the COP26 UN climate conference scheduled for Glasgow in November will fail unless its goals are made clear. The latter says the government has provided no details so far about how success at the conference will be measured, and stresses that “more focus needs to be given to the overriding necessity to agree deliverable policies that keep global temperature rises to as close to 1.5C as possible. (BBC)
Reshaping Shell – Shell is changing the senior leadership of its operations in Britain as part of a global overhaul to cut costs and shift away from oil and gas to renewables and power, Reuters reports. Under the changes, which have been announced internally, country chair Sinead Lynch will become Shell’s global head of low-carbon fuels, a company spokeswoman said. The changes will take effect in August when Shell rolls out project Reshape, its biggest restructuring in decades as part of plans to reduce carbon emissions to net zero by mid-century and build a large low-carbon and power business. Under the overhaul, Shell will cut 9,000 jobs, or more than 10% of its workforce.
California CCS – US oil major Chevron is partnering with tech giant Microsoft, oilfield services firm Schlumberger NV, and privately held Clean Energy Systems to build a CCS plant in California capable of removing 300,000 tons of CO2 annually. Chevron said on Thursday the plant, located in the city of Mendota, will convert agricultural biomass to electricity, and almost all the carbon captured in the conversion of agricultural waste would be stored underground. The companies expect to start engineering and design work on the plant immediately, with a final investment decision next year, Chevron said in a statement. (Reuters)
Lobbyist letters – Lobbyists for coal and gas interests crafted letters and resolutions for elected officials in Pennsylvania as part of the industry’s efforts to oppose a proposal to add the state to the RGGI cap-and-trade programme. The officials, which include state lawmakers, signed off on the industry documents and filed them as their own with two state government agencies, according to records obtained by the Energy and Policy Institute (EPI). Lobbyist Peter Gleason of the firm K&L Gates shared a draft letter opposing RGGI with four Pennsylvania state representatives on January 11, 2021. Three days later, after a total of 74 representatives signed the letter, Representative Jim Struzzi’s legislative assistant informed Gleason that she submitted it to the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection and Independent Regulatory Review Commission. According to EPI, Gleason is a veteran Harrisburg-based lobbyist whose clients include coal-fired generator Olympus Power and gas producing companies Cabot Oil & Gas and Chesapeake Appalachia.
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