CP Daily: Monday March 15, 2021

Published 23:23 on March 15, 2021  /  Last updated at 23:45 on March 15, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORIES

Brussels eases rules on free allocation for some EU ETS industries

Some 31 out of 52 EU ETS-covered industries will face the maximum possible tightening of their free allocation benchmarks over the next five years, according to EU rules adopted late Friday, with green groups and even some industry players flagging concerns that the system does not align with the goals set by the European Green Deal.

RGGI states to cut 19 mln allowances from annual CO2 budgets in surplus bank adjustment

RGGI will cut nearly 16% of this year’s CO2 budget under the power sector cap-and-trade scheme as it accounts for the pre-2021 allowances surplus, with the adjustment leading to slightly smaller upcoming auctions, data released Monday showed.

ASIA PACIFIC

PREVIEW: NZ ETS participants brace for higher prices as auctions begin

Participants in New Zealand’s carbon market are expecting prices to trend higher this year, with this week’s start of allowance auctions heralding a new phase for the 13-year-old ETS.

Woodside, Trafigura announce first carbon neutral condensate shipment

Australia’s Woodside Energy and Singapore-headquartered traders Trafigura on Monday announced their first involvements in fossil fuel shipments voluntarily backed by carbon credits.

South Pole’s Australian climate strategy head joins rival offset developer

South Pole’s head of climate strategy for the Oceania region has left the company to take up a position as director for commercial development at one of Australia’s other major offset developers.

VOLUNTARY

VCM Report: VER prices tick up as market players question future increases

Voluntary carbon market (VCM) prices gained this week on continued strong demand in the spot market, though traders and retailers think more substantial price increases for voluntary emission reductions (VERs) may be a ways off.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs fade after setting another record above €43

European carbon prices hit a record high for the fifth day in a row on Monday, but then lost ground amid a less supportive energy complex.

Final Swiss Phase 2 carbon permit auction clears at record high

Switzerland has successfully auctioned its remaining stock of Phase 2 carbon allowances, the government announced Monday, with the price clearing at a record high.

AMERICAS

Houston-based environmental firm adds former RGGI programme manager

A Houston-based environmental commodity firm has hired a former official for the Northeast US RGGI cap-and-trade programme as a market analyst, Carbon Pulse has learned.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Carbon Pulse has teamed up with CME Group to provide its clients with regular updates on the global carbon markets. Check out these briefs for the latest insights on pressing trends and events impacting markets, published every other week. Registration required.

EMEA

Green wave rising – The German Green Party on Sunday celebrated its record win in the Baden-Wurttemberg state election, where governing state premier Winfried Kretschmann managed to turn the party into the unchallenged political mainstream leader. As the German federal election is coming up in September, the win has given wings to the party’s hopes to join the next government either as a junior partner of the conservatives or even as the strongest group in a centre-left coalition, which could bring the country its first Green chancellor. (Clean Energy Wire)

Certification non plus – The €2 bln of financial aid to boost energy renovation in France’s COVID-19 recovery plan may not be enough to compensate for the national energy-saving certificates that will be abolished in July, experts told Euractiv. Building renovation is a key aspect of Europe’s green recovery from the pandemic. According to the European Commission, which launched a ‘renovation wave’ across the EU in October, renovation is a win-win-win for the economy, the climate, and homeowners who can reduce their energy bills.

AMERICAS

Tax season – One of the Senate’s top Democrats is keeping focused on carbon pricing legislation even as President Biden and many other Democratic lawmakers are coalescing around a clean electricity standard as their preferred climate policy. Illinois Senator Dick Durbin unveiled legislation Mar. 10 that would set a $25 per tonne fee on CO emissions beginning in 2023 that would increase $10 each year. The fee would apply first to emissions from fossil fuel production, expanding to cover non-fossil fuel, high-emitting entities in 2025, according to a summary of the bill. The bill is largely similar to a version Durbin introduced in August of last year, with slight updates to direct at least 40% of the funding for clean energy and climate projects to benefit the minority and low-income regions most-affected by polluting facilities. (Washington Examiner)

Vehicle values – Automakers are proposing a US vehicle emissions standard lower than both President Barack Obama administration’s rates and the deal that California set with five companies from the industry, the AP reports. The standards would be above the Trump administration’s 1.5% annual improvement requirement, but would fall short of the 3.7% increase under the California deal or the 5% set by Obama. Automakers are also seeking the reinstatement of a “multiplier” that gives them extra credit for selling more electric vehicles. This may be only the industry’s opening bid, but President Biden is going to have a tough time claiming he lived up to his campaign promise of aggressive fuel economy standards if he can’t even get the industry to agree to the 3.7% level in the California deal. Environmentalists argue Biden needs to go beyond Obama’s target, so anything less than California’s level is going to leave them screaming. Greens also are not thrilled about flexibilities like the multiplier since they tend to make the programme ultimately less effective, though it’s the kind of thing that easily could end up in a final agreement. (Politico)

ASIA PACIFIC

Getting on with it – Australian iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group will go carbon neutral by 2030 through the use of green electricity, hydrogen, and ammonia, the company announced Monday, according to Boiling Cold. The statement comes just nine months after the company set a 2040 carbon neutral for itself. The pledge covers Scope 1 and 2 emissions, but not Scope 3.

Working – The companies participating in Shanghai’s municipal pilot emissions trading scheme cut their CO2 emissions 7% over 2013-19, the head of the local environment bureau told state-owned newspaper Global Times. The reductions were biggest in the steel sector (14%), followed by petrochemicals (12.6%), and power generation (8.7%). It was not immediately clear whether the cuts were in absolute terms or intensity. Shanghai, like the other Chinese pilots, does not publish annual emissions results and other data related to the scheme, making it difficult to gauge their impact.

AND FINALLY…

Coal-fired backfire – The US Congress is investigating a multibillion-dollar subsidy for chemically treated coal that is meant to reduce smokestack pollution, after evidence emerged that power plants using the fuel produced more smog, not less. The Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, is examining the refined coal tax credit programme that generates at least $1 bln a year for US corporations, according to GAO analysts that contacted Reuters requesting information. Three US Democratic senators called for the investigation after a Reuters Special Report series in Dec. 2018 revealed that many power plants burning the fuel, which supporters call “clean coal”, pumped out more pollution than they did previously. Just last year, some 150 Mt of refined coal was burned in the US, according to the Energy Information Administration. Producers get a tax credit of $7.30 for each short ton burned.

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