CP Daily: Tuesday March 23, 2021

Published 22:02 on March 23, 2021  /  Last updated at 22:02 on March 23, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

California offset investigations sat in limbo after ARB discovered violations, documents show

California regulator ARB spent months evaluating whether to open offset investigations after discovering potential regulatory violations at two livestock projects, according to documents obtained by Carbon Pulse.

EMEA

EU carbon border levy “can’t neglect least-developed countries”, says IPCC advisor

The EU cannot neglect the projected growth in emissions from least-developed countries (LDCs) when designing its carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), an IPCC senior advisor said on Tuesday.

“Carbon supercycle” to see continued rise of EUA prices, investor buying -analysts

Analysts have raised their short-term outlook for EU Allowances as new investors continue to stream into the market amid the start of a “carbon supercycle”.

EU Market: EUAs sink back below €42 as virus measures weigh on markets

EUAs fell 3.3% on Tuesday, giving back the previous session’s gains as wider markets weakened on fears about how renewed coronavirus restrictions will hit consumer demand and impede an economic recovery.

AMERICAS

Washington carbon market bill clears next committee with transportation package requirement

A Washington State Senate committee moved a WCI-aligned cap-and-trade bill closer to a full floor vote on Monday, though lawmakers inserted a provision that will tether the programme’s implementation to the enactment of a transportation funding package.

RFS Market: RIN prices execute V-shaped weekend before compliance deadlines extended

US biofuel credit (RIN) values surged on Tuesday on strong bean oil prices and the reopening of a gasoline arbitrage, though the US EPA’s late afternoon confirmation of delayed Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) deadlines erased some of these gains.

ASIA PACIFIC

Even quickly rising carbon prices not sufficient for China to meet climate goals, says investment bank

China needs rapidly rising prices in its emissions trading scheme and a modest carbon tax for non-covered sectors in order to stand a chance of meeting its climate ambitions, but even then it will have to rely on technological progress, one of the country’s top investment banks said Tuesday.

South Korea issues first internationally generated offsets for domestic use

South Korea has issued its first batch of Korean Offset Credits (KOCs) generated abroad and intended for use in its domestic emissions trading scheme.

ICYM

EXCLUSIVE: Discredited, ageing Kyoto offsets re-emerge to taint voluntary carbon market

Years after being widely discredited, decade-old Kyoto Protocol offsets from Russia and Eastern Europe are still in circulation in the voluntary carbon market, with nearly 2.6 million sold to companies in the EU and US by an established trading house that said some buyers are seeking the cheapest possible credits.

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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.

AMERICAS

Polluters for pricing – Top oil company executives in a meeting with White House officials Monday expressed support for putting a price on CO2 emissions, people familiar with the meeting told the Wall Street Journal. White House environmental officials hosted the video conference meeting with executives from 10 of the industry’s biggest companies, including giants like ExxonMobil and Shell. White House National Climate Advisor Gina McCarthy told executives the administration must focus on oil-and-gas companies – especially their methane emissions – in addressing climate change as a priority.

Sequestration support – The US government should be prepared to support prices farmers receive for carbon credits but avoid setting up a federally run carbon market that would compete with nascent private markets, a senior Agriculture Department official said Tuesday. Robert Bonnie, the department’s main climate advisor, said a key way the agency can work to reduce GHG emissions would be making purchases to bolster prices of the credits, which farmers can sell for switching to practices that reduce emissions or sequester CO2. But Bonnie brushed aside the possibility of a federally run carbon market in remarks to Agri-Pulse Communications’s Ag and Food Policy Summit, saying the focus should remain on carbon markets set up by private operators, such as Seattle-based Nori and Boston-based Indigo Ag. The USDA last week issued a request for public comment on President Joe Biden’s climate strategy for the rural sector, including how the department can support emerging carbon markets. (Bloomberg)

Re-Toole-ing – Despite the fact that his party’s members this weekend voted down a resolution to acknowledge that climate change is real, Canadian Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole says he’ll present a plan to cut emissions before the next election. Speaking to CBC on Monday, O’Toole would not say when that plan will be released, although he did indicate the strategy would focus on large emitters rather than taxing households. O’Toole also suggested that increasing the use of carbon offsets would be a part of his plan, but did not offer details. On Saturday, delegates to the Conservative Party convention voted against adding to the party’s policy book a declaration supporting the science behind manmade climate change and indicating that the party is ready to act on it. O’Toole attributed the resolution’s failure to its wording, saying “there were a lot of measures within that resolution that led for it not to be put forward.”

Diringer direction – Elliot Diringer, a well-known figure in climate diplomacy circles, has joined the US State Department as President Joe Biden’s administration looks to step up global collaboration. The communications director of Washington DC-based think-tank C2ES confirmed to Axios that Diringer, their executive VP, has left to join State in a climate-focused role, though the precise parameters of the new gig are unknown. Meanwhile, C2ES is bringing on Kaveh Guilanpour as its VP for international strategies. Guilanpour has served as lead climate negotiator for the European Union and the Alliance of Small Island States, and recently as a senior member of the UN Secretary General’s Climate Action Team.

INTERNATIONAL

Mine the (emissions) gap – Methane emissions from proposed coal mines could heat the planet more than the CO2 output from all current US coal plants, E&E reports. The Global Energy Monitor report, published last week, says going ahead with 432 proposed coal mines worldwide – including 13 in the US – would yield a 30% increase in coal mine methane emissions equivalent to 1,135 mln tonnes of CO2 annually, based on a 20-year horizon. Multiple proposed mines in the US, including in West Virginia, Alabama, and Colorado, could emit so much methane it would account for close to half their total GHG pollution, according to the report. (Climate Nexus)

We’re talking about (best) practiceA CDP analysis of the anti-deforestation work of 553 of the world’s largest businesses has found that just 1% are taking ‘best practice’ action, despite the multi-billion-dollar risks associated with inaction. The analysis covers the corporates currently disclosing information on forestry through CDP’s environmental disclosure platform, with participating companies located in the timber products, palm oil, soy, cattle products, rubber, cocoa, and/or coffee sectors. While 93% of the 553 firms are taking at least one of the 15 industry-accepted measure to protect forests, one action is where it stopped for most businesses. Just 1% of the firms analysed were taking all, or almost all, actions relevant to their operations and supply chains – namely Essity, Tetra Pak, L’Oreal and Mars. (edie)

EMEA

Forest roubles – Russia is creating a digital platform to collect satellite and drone data about the CO2 absorption capacity of the region’s forests. The aim ostensibly is to monetise an area of Russia’s Far East nearly twice the size of India by one day turning it into a marketplace for companies to offset their carbon footprint. Companies would be able to lease sections of forest to invest in planting new trees and protecting what’s already there. The resulting carbon credits could be traded on a digital platform. Big emitting firms Gazprom, Sibur, and Sinara have reportedly expressed interest in investing in future pilot projects. (Bloomberg)

Green-labelled gas – The EU plans to label some gas power plants as sustainable investments, after an initial proposal to deny them a green label faced a backlash from a group of 10 member states. The European Commission’s new proposal would class gas-fuelled plants that generate power plus heating or cooling as a green investment if strict conditions on emissions are met. Under the draft plan, gas units can be classed as a green investment if they replace a high-emitting fossil fuel-based facility and result in a cut in GHGs of at least 50% per kWh. Moreover, they must be operating by 2025, have the potential to use low-carbon fuels in future, and emit no more than 270 gCO2e/kWh. (Euractiv)

The ‘CBAM nine’ – 20 ministers from nine EU member states on Tuesday co-signed an op-ed on Politico stressing the need for an “effective, legitimate, and fair” proposal for a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), which “could mirror the European carbon market”. The nine EU nations said “it is the responsibility of EU leaders to take swift action to address [carbon leakage] in order to preserve and strengthen the integrity of our climate policies”.

Verdict pending – In 2018, families from Europe, Kenya, and Fiji, and a youth association from Sweden, whose livelihoods are hit by impacts of climate change, took the EU to court for its lack of climate action to protect citizens and their fundamental rights. In 2019, the first instance court – European General Court – acknowledged that the families and youth who filed the case are affected by climate change, but it ordered the dismissal of the case on procedural grounds. The plaintiffs appealed to the European Court of Justice, which will announce its final decision on the admissibility of the case on Mar. 25.  If found admissible, the case will be heard on merits by the ECJ.

ASIA PACIFIC

New in Vanuatu – The Pacific island nation of Vanuatu on Monday submitted its updated Paris Agreement NDC. As in the country’s first NDC, Vanuatu pledged to source close to 100% of its electricity from renewable sources by 2030. However, the island state included a new interim target of achieving 50% renewables by 2025. Vanuatu also said it “will explore opportunities for climate resilient socio-economic development with international cooperation and support, including carbon markets under Paris’ Article 6.

AND FINALLY…

Bad sports – Major climate polluters are spending hundreds of millions of dollars on sports sponsorship to obfuscate their role in perpetrating the climate crisis, The Guardian reports. According to a new report published by the New Weather Institute, polluters from oil and gas companies to airlines are attempting to “sports-wash” across multiple sports. Those companies, NWI co-director and co-author of the report Andrew Simms told the Guardian, are seeking “to appear as friends of healthy activity, when in fact they’re pumping lethal pollution into the very air that athletes have to breathe.” Auto and airline companies are the most prolific sponsors, followed by oil and gas companies, including Ineos, the sponsor of one of professional cycling’s highest-profile teams. (Climate Nexus)

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