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EU decision-makers sealed early on Wednesday an agreement on the European Climate Law to set the bloc’s 2050 net zero objective into legislation, while maintaining the 2030 ‘net’ emissions reduction target of at least 55% below 1990 levels.
EUAs continued their record-busting run on Wednesday, climbing above €46 amid what traders said was speculative buying and last-minute compliance demand and as negotiators agreed on the bloc’s overall 2030 emissions target.
The European Commission will wait until later this year to decide the fate of natural gas and nuclear energy in the EU’s sustainable finance taxonomy, a communication released Wednesday confirmed, as the bloc’s 27 capitals and MEPs are split over the role of gas in the energy transition.
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) is working with Turkey to develop a domestic carbon market in order to prepare the country – one of the EU’s largest trading partners – for the introduction of protective border measures by the neighbouring bloc.
UN climate envoy Mark Carney and a dozen government and financial leaders on Wednesday unveiled an alliance to coordinate standards and practices for net zero commitments worldwide in the lead-up this fall’s COP26 climate summit.
Further clarity this fall on the Paris Agreement’s rules for international emissions trade could incentivise additional financing in low-carbon initiatives to reach long-term GHG goals, while some sectors are seeing rising competition in the voluntary offset space, a panel heard Wednesday.
Some 226 of the world’s 500 biggest companies utilise internal carbon pricing, an 80% rise over the past five years, according to a survey published on Wednesday.
South Korean emissions allowances notched a fifth consecutive session of gains Wednesday, as the temporary price floor and fresh demand pushed prices to a two-week high.
Australia on Wednesday announced A$540 million ($417 mln) in new funding for CCS and hydrogen technology, a move observers say likely means the government will make no new GHG target commitments at this week’s global climate summit.
President Joe Biden’s clean energy-focused proposals should face the Senate’s 60-vote threshold instead of a simple majority through the budget reconciliation process, Senator Joe Manchin (D) said Wednesday, as the key swing vote also voiced his continued opposition to a carbon tax.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
America’s pledge – President Joe Biden this week will pledge to cut US GHG emissions to 50% of 2005 levels by 2030, according to multiple media reports. The nation’s enhanced Nationally Determined Contribution would nearly double the cuts targeted by the Obama administration in 2015. The White House said an official decision had not yet been made. Other groups, including Sunrise Movement, the Center for Biological Diversity, and Friends of the Earth are calling for US emissions reductions of 70% by 2030, which they say more accurately reflects America’s cumulative climate pollution. Meanwhile, the White House on Wednesday revealed the schedule and more details for the Apr. 22-23 virtual Leaders’ Climate Summit. The administration said all 40 heads of state invited would attend, including Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Jair Bolsonaro of Brazil. The summit also includes high-profile names, such as Pope Francis, Bill Gates, the heads of NATO and the World Bank, corporate executives, and more. (Climate Nexus, Axios)
Car call – The governors of a dozen US states called on President Biden on Wednesday to back ending sales of new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035. In a letter that was seen by Reuters, the governors of states including California, New York, and Massachusetts urged Biden to set standards “to ensure that all new passenger cars and light-duty trucks sold are zero-emission no later than 2035 with significant milestones along the way to monitor progress.” The governors also want Biden to set standards and adopt incentives aimed at ensuring 100% zero-emission sales of medium-duty and heavy-duty vehicles by 2045.
Dislodge the hodgepodge – Senate Finance Chairman Ron Wyden on Wednesday proposed ending existing tax breaks for fossil fuels and creating new incentives for low-and-no carbon energy sources that he said would prune the existing “hodgepodge” of energy tax benefits. Wyden’s plan would offer an alternative approach to Biden’s clean energy proposals by creating a new emissions-based tax credit for the production of clean electricity. All energy sources, including renewables and fossil fuels, qualify but they have to have zero or net negative carbon emissions. The plan would also create a production tax credit of up to 2.5 cents per kilowatt hour or an investment tax credit of up to 30% for those energy sources. (Bloomberg)
Setting a higher bar – California should aim to double its GHG reduction goal by 2030, invest in natural-based carbon projects, and target super pollutants, according to a new academic study published Wednesday. The report said a 2030 emissions reduction goal of 80% below 1990 levels is tough but achievable, noting that California’s current climate approach is “obsolete”. Without more stringent policies, the paper said California could face trillions of dollars in destructive climate impacts, and the state needs to take a more aggressive approach to maintain its environmental leadership.
Blockchain bucks – Canadian bank RBC on Tuesday announced its 2021 partnerships for its Tech for Nature initiative, which has earmarked tech-based community investments totalling over C$27 mln to protect natural ecosystems. New partners for 20201 include Ecotrust Canada, an organisation working to realise Canada’s community-led and nature-based carbon mitigation potential. RBC Tech for Nature is supporting the use of blockchain technology to enable the issuance and exchange of Canadian governmental forest carbon credits – and the international trading of Blockchain Internationally Transferred Mitigation Outcomes (BITMOs) under the yet-to-be-determined Article 6 of the Paris Agreement. Built on the Ethereum blockchain, RBC said this platform will establish a critical piece of carbon market infrastructure for the operationalisation of the Paris Agreement, helping Canada to advance towards its own targets.
The new normal – The European Commissioner for energy Kadri Simson on Tuesday underlined the importance of the ‘Renovation Wave’ strategy in combating energy poverty in the EU, saying that sustainable, energy-efficient buildings should be “the new normal”, Euractiv reports. Speaking at the European Economic and Social Committee, Simson said that the protection of citizens’ right to affordable energy housing is one of the basic principles of the ‘Renovation Wave’ strategy which aims to accelerate the renovation rate of the bloc’s buildings to make them more energy efficient. In parallel, the Commission is looking into options to bring the EU’s building stock into its ETS.
Ek on deck – The London-based hedge fund Northlander Commodity Advisors is looking to raise as much as $100 mln for a new carbon market investment fund in the next 12 months, with plans to grow that to $500 mln within two years, Bloomberg reported, citing CIO Ulf Ek. His main fund took positions in the EU ETS when prices rose from double digits in 2017-18. He plans to raise the cash mainly from family offices initially. The new fund will mostly invest in the EU scheme, though Ek hopes to add exposure to other carbon markets as they develop.
High-wan – Amid rumours that Taiwan’s EPA is planning to propose a $4/t carbon tax, Greenpeace this week staged a protest outside the agency’s headquarters, demanding that a fee on emissions would have to be at least $35/t to have an effect, Focus Taiwan reports. The EPA has been working on a draft reform of the island’s climate change legislation since last year, and in December a report it had commissioned from UK consultants Vivid Economic recommended Taiwan start with a modest tax at around $10/t, which could over time be transitioned to an emissions trading scheme.
Tu good to be true? – Car share company Turo on Wednesday that it will begin offsetting 100% of its estimated CO2 emissions starting on Earth Day in a partnership with US offset developer Bluesource. In a press release, Turo said it will focus its offset investments on a transportation efficiency project and two sustainable forestry projects, one in British Columbia and another in Alaska.
What about (Ship)Bob? – Global cloud-based logistics platform for small and medium-sized businesses ShipBob on Wednesday it is going 100% carbon neutral as part of a partnership and integration with data-driven forest offset marketplace Pachama. In a press release, ShipBob said it is offsetting its own carbon footprint, even retroactively, for its Chicago headquarters and across its entire global fulfilment centre network. In addition, ShipBob customers can now harness the power of AI to easily offset carbon emissions from deliveries fulfilled from ShipBob’s fulfilment centres, while Pachama calculates monthly shipping emissions, enables quick purchase of carbon credits, and provides brands with tools to share their commitment to sustainability.
Give me a break – Nestle-owned candy brand KitKat on Wednesday announced it will become carbon neutral by 2025. A spokesperson told Food Navigator that KitKat will focus on both insetting within the value chain and investing in carbon offsets from both new and existing projects through the Gold Standard. KitKat is currently measuring its CO2 footprint with climate and sustainability consultancy Carbon Trust, and the process, which includes Scope 1-3 emissions, will be completed later this year.
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