CP Daily: Monday April 19, 2021

Published 02:03 on April 20, 2021  /  Last updated at 02:03 on April 20, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Canada eyes CBAM consultation as budget sets out more stringent climate target

The Canadian government will soon launch a consultation process on a carbon border adjustment mechanism (CBAM), while it also looks to CCUS tax credits and other climate funding strategies to hit a more ambitious GHG reduction goal, according to the proposed federal budget published Monday.

INTERNATIONAL

Analysts cautious over US-China climate message, mood more upbeat in Japan

Analysts have welcomed the joint US-China statement on climate change released over the weekend but warned against lifting expectations too high, whereas the outlook in Japan is brighter after a bilateral announcement made on Friday.

VOLUNTARY

South Pole eyes acquisitions, expansion after Liechtenstein fund acquires 10% stake

Offset developer and consultancy South Pole is targeting rapid expansion this year after an impact fund owned by the Liechtenstein royal family acquired a 10% stake in the business.

VCM Report: Nature-based offset trades rev up amid wider VER stagnation

Voluntary emissions reduction (VER) prices dithered this week evenas spot commodities exchange and market data firm Xpansiv announced the inaugural trades in its nature-based offset product, while a new report highlighted the expansion of voluntary carbon market (VCM) interest in forestry-based credits over the past five years.

Offset developers, registries must bring higher-integrity protocols to market -report

Voluntary carbon market (VCM) participants and registries need to quickly scale-up high integrity offset protocols amid rising corporate demand, while also making tweaks to existing protocols to account for inadequacies, according to a white paper published Monday.

INTERVIEW: Carpetmaker Interface, a carbon-neutral pioneer, looks back on two decades of market evolution

After seeking to offset its emissions in the days before GHG protocols and carbon standards, US-based flooring manufacturer Interface is now receiving international acclaim for its work that has helped expand the voluntary emissions reductions (VER) market over the past 20 years.

EMEA

Countries with EU ETS “deficits” should be exempted from MSR, Poland proposes

Poland has proposed modifying the EU carbon market’s MSR to exempt countries that are cutting emissions but continue to face an allowance “deficit”.

Higher EU renewables targets by 2030 risks depressing carbon price, say analysts

The EU will need to carefully calibrate its 2030 renewables targets with the bloc’s carbon market to avoid depressing EUA prices due to reduced power sector demand, analysts said in a report last week.

EU Market: EUAs slip back after hitting another new record near €45

EUAs extended their record high again on Monday, but later slipped back as experts were mixed as to carbon’s next move.

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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

Antonio’s ask – UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres wants the US to commit this week to at least halving its GHG gas emissions by 2030 –  a move he said could unlock similar action from the world’s other large emitters. “My expectation is that the United States will be able to present a reduction of emissions for 2030, in relation to 2010 levels, above 50%,” Guterres told Reuters in an interview. “If it happens, I have no doubt that it will have very important consequences in relation to Japan, in relation to China, in relation to Russia – in relation to other areas of the world that have not yet entirely defined these levels,” he said.

Oiler spoilers – Fossil fuel companies have used advertising to “greenwash” their ongoing contribution to the climate crisis, according to files published by the environmental lawyers ClientEarth. The files compare the adverts produced by ExxonMobil, Aramco, Chevron, Shell, Equinor, and others with the companies’ operations and products, overall climate impact and progress toward climate-safe business models. ClientEarth is calling on policymakers to ban all fossil fuel company ads unless they come with tobacco-style health warnings about the risks of global heating to people and the planet. (Guardian)

EMEA

Stiff upper limit – The UK government has agreed to front-load its efforts towards its 2050 net zero goal by setting a 2035 emissions reduction target of 78% under 1990 levels, including international aviation and shipping emissions, the BBC reported. The move means the government has effectively followed the advice of independent expert Committee on Climate Change, which in December gave the recommendation for Britain’s binding sixth carbon budget (2033-37). At the time the Committee said its advice is aligned with the UK’s newly formed NDC to the Paris Agreement of a 68% cut by 2030.

Green team – Annalena Baerbock, co-leader of Germany’s Greens, will run as the party’s candidate to succeed Angela Merkel as chancellor in September’s general election, Politico reports. Baerbock, who is 40 and has served as a member of the Bundestag since 2013, becomes the Greens’ candidate under an agreement with her fellow party leader, Robert Habeck. The Greens are in second place in national opinion polls around 21% – some seven points behind Merkel’s centre-right CDU/CSU alliance, which is embroiled in a bitter battle over who should be its candidate for chancellor. Analysts say the Greens have a strong chance of being part of the next government — as a partner to the CDU/CSU, at the head of a coalition with the Social Democrats and the leftist Die Linke party, or in an alliance with the Social Democrats and liberal Free Democrats.

Falling short – While Germany is aiming to have renewable energy sources account for a total of 65% of its gross electricity consumption by 2030, the country is unlikely to reach this target, according to the Institute of Energy Economics (EWI) at the University of Cologne. In its new analysis, the EWI found that the actual figure that can be achieved with the measures and expansion pathways set in the government’s 2021 Renewable Energy Act (EEG) could be as low as 55%. The possible difference results from an estimated electricity demand of 685 TWh per year and the planned electricity generation from renewable energy sources of 377 TWh per year. In order for Germany to achieve the 65% target, the country will have to meet higher electricity demand and significantly higher renewable energy generation than foreseen in the current law. In related news, the German Renewable Energy Federation (BEE), updating its 2030 scenario, calculates that a 77% renewables share of total gross electricity demand of 745 TWh is required in 2030 in order to achieve climate targets and a significant decrease in fossil fuel generation from 329 TWh in 2019 to 169 TWh by the end of the decade. (Clean Energy Wire)

Money from trees – The parliamentary groups of German government coalition partners CDU/CSU and SPD are calling for forest owners to be financially rewarded for their contribution to climate action, writes the Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. The official request calls for the Bundestag to develop a model that rewards the diverse ecosystem services provided by forests, such as CO2 sequestration, biodiversity, and soil protection. The federal forest climate premium is intended to create a long-term perspective for sustainable forest management and maintenance. Alois Gerig, forest policy spokesman for the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, expects an annual premium to start at around €100 per hectare. The Bundestag is expected to approve the request on Apr. 22. (Clean Energy Wire)

Priceless ambition – Israel’s Environmental Protection Minister Gila Gamliel on Monday unveiled a draft climate bill that gives the ministry sweeping new powers, but it appeared to compromise on emission targets, the Times of Israel reported. The new bill specifies that Israel will reduce GHGs by at least 27% by 2030 and by at least 85% by 2050, compared with 2015 levels. The draft – to be made available for comments by the public and other cabinet ministries in the coming days – aims to bring Israel into line with the 18 OECD countries that already have climate laws. But one issue that is absent from the bill is carbon pricing, due to a failure to reach an agreement with the Finance Ministry. Israel is one of just three OECD countries with neither a carbon tax nor a cap-and-trade programme. The Environment Ministry said more work has to be done with the Finance Ministry.

Update on the “crime of the century” – Convicted French-Israeli carbon trading fraudster Arnaud Mimran, who is currently serving an eight-year prison sentence in France, was indicted last week in two separate murder cases, according to the Times of Israel and French media reports. Mimran, who was convicted in 2016 for VAT fraud linked to the EU ETS, in what was dubbed “the crime of the century”, was indicted on Thursday on two new, more serious charges. French prosecutors accused Mimran of murdering his accomplice, French-Israeli fraudster Samy Souied, in 2010, as well as his former father-in-law, billionaire Claude Dray, a year later. Souied was shot six times in Sep. 2010 in central Paris by an assassin on a scooter. Dray was shot three times in Oct. 2011 in his mansion in the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine. The two murders had for a long time remained unsolved, but in recent weeks investigators made a breakthrough in the case, Mediapart reported. Read Carbon Pulse’s feature from 2016 – The case of the skull ring: Poker pro, Polish broker on trial for French carbon “crime of the century”

Cash pollutes everything around me – Seven UK-based financial institutions are seeking to reduce damage to the environment caused by cash, pledging to lighten the impact from factors including moving notes and coins around the country and electricity-powered cash machines. The move is an attempt to address the generally under-looked environmental damage from the armoured security vans that transport cash and the large amount of plastic used to package it. The companies have created a Cash Industry Environment Charter with pledges including eliminating single-use non-recyclable plastic in note centres by 2030, and also by that year targeting net zero emissions by their own institutions. They also will switch to 100% renewable electricity in their own institutions. (The Times)

AMERICAS

Public priorities – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) have introduced a “Green New Deal for Public Housing” that would provide $172 bln to retrofit existing housing. The legislation would create two new grant programmes to achieve carbon neutrality in US public housing through workforce development and construction. It would also provide grants to retrofit all 950,000 of the country’s public housing units and upgrade building electrification and water quality, according to a fact sheet released by the legislators’ offices. (The Hill)

Methane Markey – Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey (D) encouraged President Joe Biden to include a methane emissions reduction goal into a broader Paris NDC proposal at the Leaders Climate Summit this week. Biden is expected to announce a revised NDC at the virtual event, with Markey saying a more ambitious proposal could be achieved with clear goals for methane emissions, which could occur with existing technology and regulatory powers. Former President Donald Trump rolled back Obama-era regulations meant to cut methane emissions from the oil and gas sector.

Exxon’s idea – Exxon Mobil on Monday floated a proposal for a public-private carbon storage project that would collect planet-warming CO2 from US petrochemical plants and bury them in reservoirs under the Gulf of Mexico. The plan would require $100 bln or more from companies and government agencies to store 50 Mt of CO2 by 2030 with capacity potentially doubling by 2040, Joe Blommaert, president of Exxon’s Low Carbon Solutions business said in an interview with Reuters. He outlined the plan in a blog post on Monday, about two months after the largest US oil producer formed a Low Carbon Solutions business unit to profit from selling carbon-reduction technology and services. The project proposed for the Houston Ship Channel, home to dozens of refineries and chemical plants, faces enormous hurdles, including financing and support from federal, state and local government agencies. The plan also introducing a carbon price or tax in order to incentivise firms to pay Exxon to store their CO2, an idea that has failed to attract enough support in Congress in the past. It comes as Exxon faces shareholder opposition to its goal of increasing fossil fuel production in coming years that would greatly expand its emissions.

RNGevo – Renewable chemicals and advanced biofuels company Gevo on Friday announced it has closed a $68.2 mln “Green Bond” offering to finance a renewable natural gas (RNG) project in Northwest Iowa. Gevo said it is working with a “major RNG dispenser” to finalise an agreement to sell the RNG into the California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) market, with other monetary streams to come from the Renewable Fuel Standard. The company said construction of the RNG Project is expected to begin by the end of April and start up is expected in early 2022. Gevo will submit an LCFS pathway application to California regulator ARB and expects to realize full cash flows from LCFS credits and RINs in the second half of 2022.

For whom the bell (Vi)tols – Commodity trading firm Vitol acquired the 240-MW Big Sky wind farm in Illinois from money management firm BlackRock, the companies announced on Monday. No financial information was disclosed in the announcement, but Vitol said it would pump more than $250 mln additional funds to ensure the project benefits from market-leading technology. Vitol said the wind farm would be able to supply power to commercial clients and to grid operator PJM. With the acquisition, Vitol will own more than 700 MW of wind and solar projects in the US.

SCIENCE & TECH

And the winners are – Nova Scotia-based CarbonCure Technologies and LA-headquartered CarbonBuilt have won the $20 mln NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, in a contest that set out to convert CO2 emissions into valuable products. Selected by a panel of independent judges, both winning teams developed solutions to cut CO2 associated with traditional concrete, which is currently the world’s most abundant human-made material and accounts for 7% of all global CO2 emissions. Launched in 2015, the Carbon XPRIZE was a five-year global competition challenging innovators around the world to develop breakthrough technologies that convert the most CO2 into products with the highest net value. The competition included two tracks: the Wyoming track that focused on the conversion of emissions from a nearby coal-fired power plant, and the Alberta track that used emissions from an adjacent natural gas-fired plant. The winning teams, one from each track, converted the most CO2 into products with the highest value, while minimising their overall CO2 footprint, land use, water use, and energy use. CarbonCure demonstrated a technology that enabled the production of concrete with a reduced water and carbon footprint without sacrifice to the material’s reliability. UCLA’s CarbonBuilt developed technology that reduces the carbon footprint of concrete by more than 50% while reducing raw material costs and increasing profitability.

AND FINALLY…

Netflix and Chill Hunters – The BBC profiles Tradewater, a US-based firm that says its has so far prevented 4-5 MtCO2e from reaching the atmosphere from its offsetting projects worldwide to destroy potent HFC warming gases by safe disposal of fridges and other appliances. Tradewater teams are jokingly referred to as “chill hunters” or “ghostbusters” because of the way their cinematic counterparts gathered up troublesome phantoms and stored them together in large containment units. They doggedly track, trap, and destroy rogue gases before they can escape and cause climate havoc.

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