Presenting CP Daily, Carbon Pulse’s free newsletter. It’s a daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world. Subscribe here
EU lawmakers adopted a non-binding report on the prospective carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) by a broad majority on Wednesday, but only after striking out text about removing industry’s free allocation of EU Allowances.
EUAs extended their record high for a second straight day on Wednesday, rising to near €42 amid supportive energy prices, as trading data showed some types of firms had amassed record-sized positions while more financials were following investors into the market.
Fourteen national and regional environmental advisory bodies have backed a European Parliament call for the EU to have its own expert Climate Change Council, a show of support that could help seal a compromise in negotiations to finalise the bloc’s Climate Law.
EU carbon has a new cheerleader. A major investor and one of the biggest names on ‘financial Twitter’ (or FinTwit as its followers call it) has said EU Allowances are the “greatest macro trade no one is involved in”.
Registration for the UK’s new emissions trading registry will open on Apr. 6, the government announced late Wednesday, as it outlined the onboarding process.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices could rise toward the end of the decade due to the WCI cap-and-trade programme’s tightening CO2 caps, although state and federal climate action could reduce permit demand and potentially undermine the effectiveness of the scheme, analysts said Wednesday.
California regulator ARB doled out nearly 1.2 million offsets this week, as Quebec issued credits across two projects after announcing plans to explore additional protocols to boost future supply, according to data released on Wednesday.
Tax credits, cheaper renewables, and clear government guidance will be key to accelerating US Secretary of Energy Jennifer Granholm’s vow to scale long-neglected efforts to promote decarbonised hydrogen, an expert panel heard this week.
At least three Empire State-based RGGI facilities could face some penalties for failing to comply with the cap-and-trade programme’s triennial compliance deadline last week, potentially forcing the utilities to surrender additional allowances, New York officials confirmed to Carbon Pulse.
The California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) price ceiling will increase nearly 2% this spring, according to federal data published Wednesday, but current credit values on the secondary market remain well below this level.
Issuance of Australian carbon credits is expected to increase by more than 6% this year, while emitters are set to retire over 1 million domestic offsets for voluntary purposes for the first time, though that number remains well below their use of international units, the Clean Energy Regulator said Wednesday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Regan ready – The US Senate voted 66-34 on Wednesday to confirm Michael Regan, North Carolina’s top environmental regulator, as head of the EPA. Regan is the first Black man to lead the agency, and he’ll be tasked with carrying out key elements of President Joe Biden’s aggressive climate change agenda, after former President Donald Trump rolled back more than 100 environmental regulations during his term. Regan previously held several senior roles with green group Environmental Defense Fund and served at the EPA for a decade prior to that, with a focus on air quality and radiation under Presidents Bill Clinton and George W. Bush. (Axios)
Put your money where your methane is – Three Democratic US senators on Tuesday floated a bill that would put a price on methane emissions from oil and gas production. Senators Sheldon Whitehouse, Cory Booker, and Brian Schatz introduced the Methane Emissions Reduction Act, which directs the Department of Treasury to assess a fee on the potent GHG beginning in 2023 – a move they say could end those emissions, help achieve climate change targets, and improve air quality in communities near oil and gas facilities. The bill also calls on Treasury to work with the EPA and NOAA to develop a programme to monitor and measure methane emissions from each major oil producing basin. (Reuters)
Proposal pair – The US EPA is considering issuing proposals for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) blending obligations for both 2021 and 2022 at the same time, two sources familiar with the matter told Reuters, after the coronavirus pandemic delayed rulemaking. An EPA spokesperson said the agency was still looking at options for the forthcoming Renewable Volume Obligations (RVOs), but did not comment on whether it was considering combining the proposals. The agency has previously combined RVOs proposals for multiple years of requirements after missing deadlines, most recently in 2015, when it dealt with 2014, 2015, and 2016 at the same time.
The dirty ends in ’30 – Nova Scotia will phase out coal by 2030, 10 years earlier than previously planned, new Premier Iain Rankin announced in his throne speech on Tuesday. The move comes after Rankin last month announced the Canadian province would double its renewable energy target to 80% by 2030. The new Liberal premier also predicted Nova Scotia would become the first province in the country to attain carbon neutrality. (CBC)
Saving Sembrando – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Wednesday his government would investigate how to improve his flagship environmental programme, after a Bloomberg News report showed it had encouraged widespread deforestation. The $3.4 bln Sembrando Vida programme, or Sowing Life, pays people in rural areas to plant trees in deforested zones, but may have caused 73,000 hectares of forest coverage loss in 2019, according to a study by the World Resources Institute. Farmers in southeastern Mexico showed Bloomberg News during a recent trip to the region how they had chopped down and burned trees to be able to receive government payments to plant saplings in degraded land.
Border battle – The EU’s planned carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM) is broadly perceived as a protectionist and unilateral move, according to a Konrad Adenauer Foundation survey of decision-makers in China, India, Japan, and other Asia-Pacific countries. However, those surveyed also expressed ideas for how the scheme could be implemented in practice, some even said the benefits could be greater than the cost. (EurActiv)
Flight of fancy – The UK intends to authorise a cut in air passenger duty on domestic flights to help with the post-pandemic recovery. The proposal forms part of a wider review of national transport links including funding for rail and roads. Critics say the air duty cut further undermines ministers’ commitment to their net zero 2050 emissions target, contrasting with efforts by France and Germany to ensure rail is prioritised. Unlike international flights, domestic aviation emissions are included in the UK’s carbon budgets, with the government vowing to continue to decarbonise domestic aviation, including through mandating the use of sustainable aviation fuels. (Guardian)
Atomic argument – The European Commission disagrees with a French government plan to restructure EDF and sees a break-up of the massive nuclear utility into several units as the only solution, the state-owned firm’s chief executive Jean-Bernard Levy told French magazine L’Express. France wants to separate EDF’s capital-intensive nuclear power arm from other parts of its business and needs EU clearance with talks continuing. (EurActiv)
Car closure – The EU must set a date of around 2030 to phase out the sale of new petrol and diesel cars so that the region meets its aim of becoming climate-neutral, according to a document sent to EU climate and transport chiefs by nine mainly western member states, Bloomberg reports. The signatories notably don’t include major carmarking nations France, Germany, Spain, and Italy.
Speed it up – EnergyAustralia, the country’s second-biggest carbon emitter, has moved forward plans to shut its 1,450MW Yallourn coal-fired power plant by four years to mid-2028 instead of 2032, the ABC reports. The company emitted 17.9 MtCO2e in FY 2019-20, and said shutting down Yallourn would eliminate 60% of those emissions. As part of efforts to replace the plant, EnergyAustralia will build a 350MW utility-scale battery in the Latrobe Valley by the end of 2026.
All aboard the hydrogen express – Six countries – the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, Denmark, Spain, and Morocco – have reportedly shown interest in a new generation of hydrogen-powered trains produced by French rolling stock maker Alstom, the Morocco World News reports. The trains produce their own electricity on-board, but can also connect to electrified railway lines. Alstom is one of two companies Morgan Stanley has identified as probable winners in the race to embrace clean hydrogen.
Greener gables? – Prince Edward Island’s carbon tax programme paid back C$5 mln more to islanders than it collected, according to an analysis by the provincial auditor general. The Canadian province collected about C$13 mln and paid out C$18 mln in rebates or other initiatives. These initiatives included a reduction in gas taxes, free drivers’ licences, reductions in motor vehicle registration costs, and a reduction in transit fees. (CBC)
Got a tip? How about some feedback? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org