CP Daily: Friday April 16, 2021

Published 00:24 on April 17, 2021  /  Last updated at 00:26 on April 17, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

South Korea sets temporary ETS price floor

South Korea will from Monday introduce a temporary minimum price in its emissions trading scheme, to halt declining price levels that have seen KAUs drop to 5-year lows, the environment ministry announced Friday.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs hit new record near €45 as some see pullback ahead

EUAs reached new heights on Friday, extending the all-time peak of earlier in the week amid wider positive market sentiment, with some experts predicting that carbon could pull back from these levels.

EU carbon prices to surge to €75 this summer on rising oil, gas -analyst

EU carbon prices look set to rise to €75 in Q3 of this year on the back of higher oil and gas prices, an analyst said on Friday.

AMERICAS

Colombia proposes gradual incorporation of coal into national carbon tax  

The Colombian Ministry of Finance and Public Credit (Minhacienda) on Thursday put forth a long-awaited plan to include coal in the scope of the country’s roughly $5/tonne CO2 tax, though the full cost of the carbon fee on the fuel will not be fully phased in until the end of the decade.

Speculators set pandemic-era high for weekly California carbon build, as emitters slash holdings

Financial entities increased their California Carbon Allowance (CCA) position this week by the greatest amount since late 2019, while regulated entities maintained their recent trend by continuing to shed permits, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.

US Carbon Pricing and LCFS Roundup for week ending Apr. 16, 2021

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 in Washington, Oregon, and California.

NYISO continuing work with state officials after US FERC statement on carbon pricing

Grid operator New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) is working with state officials to support its carbon pricing proposal for the wholesale power market after the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) concluded the agency has jurisdiction over the matter.

British Columbia LCFS deficit doubles after 2019 shortfall

Deficits outpaced credit generation in the British Columbia Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) scheme for the third straight year in 2019, bringing the transportation sector programme’s aggregate short position to its steepest level yet, according to government data published Thursday.

ASIA PACIFIC

China environment ministry pitches carbon test for new projects

China’s ecology and environment ministry has proposed introducing a carbon impact assessment as part of the approval process for new energy intensive, high emitting projects as part of efforts to ensure the country meets its climate ambitions.

J-Power ditches coal plans, but long way to go for Japan on decarbonisation

Utility J-Power on Friday announced it had scrapped plans to build a 600 MW coal-fired power plant amid profitability concerns, but remaining projects in the country’s pipeline could still add over 50 MtCO2/year to Japan’s carbon emissions.

VOLUNTARY

AirCarbon Exchange launches nature-based offsets contract, as rival sees its own first trade

Singapore-based AirCarbon Exchange (ACX) on Friday announced it has introduced a new contract for carbon credits from nature-based projects, as rival bourse Xpansiv cleared the inaugural trade of its similar offset product.

INTERNATIONAL

Oil companies structurally incapable of achieving net zero emissions, researchers say

Fossil-fuel companies, long accused of using carbon offsets to avoid instead of accelerating the transition to a low-carbon future, may be structurally incapable of making that transition, according to a peer-reviewed paper published Thursday.

COMMENT

Climate action claims are the new frontier for robust carbon accounting

Instruments to reduce emissions need to be clearly ranked for their environmental integrity and associated with robust claims that provide an accurate representation of the impacts achieved, argues Marion Verles of SustainCERT, adding that having civil society formulate a consensus on what can and can’t be done with offsets would go a long way in reassuring corporates and citizens that the market is trustworthy.

“Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy night.”

The EU carbon market’s compliance season is almost over. A large proportion of industrials have by now completed their 2020 purchases, and the market seems to be on the verge of crossing €45/t at the same time. So we turn to the question of “what next?” Here are some of the factors that carbon reporter Alessandro Vitelli thinks are at play.

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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.

INTERNATIONAL

Knock knock knockin’ on locked doors – Russia claims that it has made several proposals on climate to the EU and that it is ready to boost cooperation in this sphere. However, it will not “knock on locked doors,” said Artem Bulatov, deputy director of the Department of European Cooperation of the Russian Foreign Ministry, during a seminar of the Russian International Affairs Council on the prospects of cooperation between Russia and the EU in the environmental sphere. “We are ready for widest possible cooperation. All our offers are on the table. But we won’t be knocking on locked doors. The ball is in EU’s court,” he said, according to Russian news agency TASS, taking particular issue with the EU’s plan to implement a carbon border adjustment mechanism as part of its European Green Deal. “It is absolutely natural that given the current conditions, countries are looking for new sources of economic growth. But it seems that some of our partners cannot resist implementing the climate agenda as a means for benefiting their economy,” the diplomat stressed. Bulatov said he hoped the EU’s CBAM “won’t contradict WTO rules and won’t lead to trade protectionism on climate issues.” “We would like to avoid implementing response measures. We believe that this is not a time for trade wars even under the current geopolitical conditions,” he added.

Shared responsibility – Separately, Chinese President Xi Jinping slammed the EU’s plan for a CBAM on Friday, in a call with the leaders of France and Germany, state media reported. “Tackling climate change is a shared responsibility … and should not become a geopolitical bargaining chip or used to attack other countries (or impose) trade barriers,” Xi told France’s Emmanuel Macron and Germany’s Angela Merkel on the sidelines of a virtual climate summit, according to state broadcaster CCTV.  Xi also urged developed countries to “set an example in reducing emissions” and help poorer nations to deal with the fallout from the climate crisis by sharing technology and increasing funding for green projects. China last year announced bold plans to peak its emissions before 2030 and to become carbon neutral by 2060. The Chinese leader’s comments come as US climate envoy John Kerry is in Shanghai to discuss climate change with his Chinese counterparts. Elsewhere, China’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Le Yucheng told AP on Friday that China is unlikely to pursue climate proposals beyond its current arsenal, calling it “not very realistic” for a country of 1.4 bln people. (AFP, Axios)

AMERICAS

Deb a dozen – US Interior Secretary Deb Haaland revoked a dozen secretarial orders from President Donald Trump’s tenure that promoted fossil fuel development on public lands and waters and imposed a new directive that prioritises climate change in agency decisions. The directives include rescinding Trump-era orders that boosted coal leasing on federal lands, expedited permitting for coal, oil, gas, and nuclear energy projects, and suspended rules around fracking. She also scrapped an order designed to increase energy production in Alaska through new resource assessments of the National Petroleum Reserve there. A separate secretarial order that was to be issued Friday would establish a climate task force to coordinate work to promote renewable energy across the agency. It also makes analysing the impacts on climate change a central part of all of the agency’s decisions. (NYT)

Foreign focus, finance focus – Senate Foreign Relations Chair Bob Menendez and nine of his Democratic peers want to make climate change a focal point for US foreign policy, and unveiled a bill Thursday that codifies President Joe Biden’s efforts to be a global leader in combating climate change, just a week before the start of his Leaders’ Climate Summit. The bill focuses on climate change’s impacts on global stability and national security, US engagement with international climate efforts, and a spate of other priorities. The bill introduction came as Biden’s top trade negotiator is pledging to employ trade policy levers to fight climate change and ecological degradation, warning of a “closing window to prevent a catastrophic environmental chain reaction.” US Trade Representative Katherine Tai on Thursday made climate change the focus of her first speech in the role, pledging robust enforcement of environmental provisions — including anti-deforestation measures — in the existing US-Mexico-Canada Agreement (USMCA) and other trade pacts too. She also acknowledged key barriers, calling the USMCA’s lack of explicit climate provisions a “glaring omission” and saying WTO rules create headwinds, arguing “the multilateral trading system has no rules to address the corporate incentive to participate in the race to the bottom.” Additionally Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) and Rep. Sean Casten (D-IL) reintroduced legislation Thursday that would require companies to document their financial exposure to climate risks. The Biden administration is making similar pushes, and Warren has been working with the administration this week on the bill text. (Politico, Axios)

Frown on the farm – A coalition of environmental, agriculture, and justice groups is attempting to drum up opposition to federal legislation that aims to help farmers store carbon and generate voluntary emissions reduction (VER) credits. In a letter sent to members of Congress this week, the nearly 200 groups urged lawmakers to vote against the bipartisan Growing Climate Solutions Act, a bill first introduced last year that would create a certification programme at the US Department of Agriculture (USDA) to help solve entry barriers to rural stakeholders participating in voluntary carbon markets. But the signatories in the letter point out their broader opposition to carbon markets, saying it allows emitters to continue business-as-usual practice without lowering GHGs at the source. They also said it would “pave the way” for a national cap-and-trade system, something they oppose because the carbon pollution that is offset with these types of programmes often ends up in poorer and minority communities. (Inside Climate News)

Trillion twins – Banking giants JPMorgan Chase and Citigroup on Thursday vowed to steer trillions of dollars into sustainability efforts that include a focus on clean energy and climate. JPMorgan, the largest US bank, said that over 10 years it would “finance and facilitate” more than $2.5 trillion for areas like renewables, sustainable agriculture, development finance, and more. Citi, meanwhile, said it would provide $1 trillion in “sustainable finance” by 2030, a tally that folds in but expands existing commitments under that broad umbrella. (Axios)

EMEA

NABE in Poland – Poland plans to create a special energy agency that would take over coal- and lignite-fueled power plants from state utilities so that they can focus on green energy investment, the state assets ministry said Friday. The companies had previously announced they were planning to spin off their coal assets. Under the plan, which some have compared to a series of complicated asset swaps between Germany’s energy giants RWE and EON in the past, the process of separating coal assets from the utilities and creating the agency, to be known as NABE, will be completed in 2022. It will be based on a PGE unit called PGE GiEK, which directly controls PGE assets. Poland generates most of its electricity from polluting coal, but under rising pressure from the EU and with emission costs surging, it has encouraged more investment in low-carbon sources. “The concept of separating coal assets will speed up Poland’s energy transition,” State Assets Minister Jacek Sasin said in a statement. Coal use has also hit the financial results of state-run energy groups. Officials have said a new model for the industry was needed that would help it raise funds for green projects as banks have shied away from backing coal-dependant companies. But Greenpeace has slammed the proposal, saying it does not solve the coal problem in Poland and is “creative accounting at the expense of taxpayers”.

VOLUNTARY

Methodology month, part I – Offset standard developer and manager Verra on Thursday released updates to its Jurisdictional and Nested REDD + (JNR) Framework. As outlined by the organisation last month, Version 4 of the JNR Framework revises the methods for setting reference levels under its VCS project-level and JNR programmes, aiming to streamline emissions accounting and incorporate scientific best practices. Verra is also launching a 60-day public consultation on a draft JNR Risk Mapping Tool as a part of the updated JNR Framework, and will hold two webinars on the changes over Apr. 27-28.

Methodology month, part II – Meanwhile, the American Carbon Registry (ACR) on Friday announced its methodology consultation for improved forest management (IFM) projects on small, non-industrial, private forest lands. The methodology, developed in partnership with offset developer Finite Carbon, is designed to quantify GHG emissions reductions and removals resulting from IFM activities on aggregated ownerships of non-industrial, private forestlands ranging from 40–5,000 forested acres (16-2,020 hectares). Stakeholders are invited to review the methodology and submit comments by May 17.

Methodology month, part III – What’s more, offset registry Climate Action Reserve (CAR) on Thursday released its draft Mexico Halocarbon Protocol for public review and comment. The protocol provides guidance to account for, report, and verify GHG emissions reductions associated with projects that destroy halocarbons that would have otherwise been vented to the atmosphere. Comments are due by May 14, and CAR will hold a Spanish-language webinar on the protocol May 4.

Back to their (Grass)roots – US companies Soil Value Exchange and PastureMap merged on Friday to create Grassroots Carbon Public Benefit, an entity that instantly provides scalable, measured, and certified soil carbon storage solutions. In a press release, Grassroots Carbon said it combines access to regenerative landowners, value generating rotational grazing software, and a soil carbon mapping data solution, with the delivery of proven and independently certified carbon credits. The announcement said companies like Shopify and Marathon have already used Soil Value Exchange to reach their CO2 reduction goals.

AND FINALLY…

Climate whitewash – A new white paint has been created that reflects 98% of sunlight and infrared heat, well above the 80-90% levels achieved by rival paints. In tests, the paint cooled surfaces by 4.5C below the ambient temperature even in strong sunlight and the aim is to use it to cool buildings and reduce reliance on air conditioning. (Guardian)

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