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US biofuel credits set an all-time high in the decade-old history of the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) on Tuesday, coming as refiners appealed a lower court’s decision to the Supreme Court regarding the curtailment of compliance waivers under the programme.
EU coal power could be largely eliminated this decade as the bloc’s carbon prices rise to triple digits to incentivise a cleaner energy, analysts said in a report on Tuesday, a shift in line with UN aims to limit global warming.
EU carbon prices recovered from earlier lows to hit a new all-time high on Tuesday as gas prices surged on concerns over Russian supply into Europe.
Sustainable development has been dropped from a private-sector taskforce’s list of attributes designed to help standardise the voluntary carbon market, a group member said Tuesday in remarks that may heighten observer fears about the process skewing towards cheaper offsets.
Efforts to bring more price transparency to the voluntary carbon market (VCM) have split some North American voluntary emissions reduction (VER) developers, though they agree higher prices are key to greatly enhancing supply and satisfying heightened corporate demand, a panel heard Tuesday.
The world’s largest food conglomerate Nestle has joined the growing number of companies mostly shunning offsets in their quest for net zero emissions, though the Swiss-headquartered firm said it will make exceptions for its brands that want “move faster” towards carbon neutrality.
Companies with net zero pledges set decades into the future should begin planning and implementing emissions removal strategies now, both to ensure long-term credit supplies for themselves and to generate demand signals for market benefit, a conference heard on Tuesday.
The structure of voluntary carbon markets (VCM) is expected to change dramatically as financial institutions become ever-larger participants in the space and corporate purchasing decisions shift from marketing departments to finance, a conference heard on Tuesday.
The US RGGI cap-and-trade programme should consider incorporating imported electricity into the scheme during its upcoming 2021 review, while also increasing overall stringency, panelists said at an industry event Tuesday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Helping hydrogen – Decarbonising energy and other industries globally using hydrogen will require investment of almost $15 trillion between now and 2050, the cross-stakeholder Energy Transitions Commission said in a report. It said hydrogen will play an important role in decarbonising industries such as steel and transport and is forecast to grow to 500-800 Mt a year by mid-century, accounting for 15-20% of total final energy demand, from 115 Mt currently. Producing green hydrogen will need zero-carbon electricity supply to increase by 30,000 TWh by 2050, on top of 90,000 TWh needed for decarbonisation generally. (Reuters)
British petroleum or power? – BP applied last week to sell power to customers in five US states in the latest sign of the oil and gas giant’s shift toward clean energy. The British company aims to sell electricity from wind, solar, and natural gas to customers in Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and California through a newly formed subsidiary, BP Energy Retail LLC, according to an Apr. 20 filing to the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. The move would follow BP’s ongoing expansion into renewable energy production, including investments in several wind and solar farms. (E&E News)
Bricking it – UK brick manufacturer Ibstock has chosen its Atlas facility as the location for what it claims will be the world’s net-zero carbon brick factory. The investment into the Atlas factory will deliver net-zero emissions across Scope 1 and 2, with Scope 3 addressed at a later date, by reducing embodied carbon, reducing energy use, procuring renewable energy, and offsetting the 50% unavoidable emissions. (edie)
Results-based farming – The European Commission on Tuesday published the final report of a two-year study on how to set up and implement carbon farming in the EU. Building on this study and on the input from EU-funded projects and events, the Commission plans to launch the carbon farming initiative by the end of this year. The study concluded that result-based carbon farming can contribute significantly in the EU’s efforts to tackle climate change, bringing benefits in terms of carbon sequestration and storage and other co-benefits, such as preservation of ecosystems.
Green plans – France and Germany on Tuesday unveiled their recovery plans from the coronavirus crisis, with a substantial amount of the total funding expected to support the two EU nations’ climate goals. France plans to invest €100 bln through ‘France Relance’, and half of 50% of the budget allocated to economic recovery should be directed towards ecological transition. Germany, for its part, has announced that 40% of the budget allocated to the recovery, worth €11 bln, will be allocated for climate purposes. (Euractiv)
Busted – Swiss prosecutors announced a criminal indictment Monday against a former official with the federal roads office and two co-conspirators over an alleged scheme to avert fees on CO2 emissions that stripped the government of 9 mln Swiss francs ($10 mln) of potential revenue. The attorney general’s office alleges two board members of a vehicle import company paid the official at the Federal Roads Office to tinker with data used to calculate CO2 emissions to make it look like the cars didn’t spew as much as they really did. As a result of the alleged plot, the company avoided three years’ worth of carbon taxes, the attorney general’s office said, adding that the indictment also includes charges of forgery, bribery and tax fraud. (Tribune)
Janet joins – The US Senate voted Tuesday to confirm Janet McCabe as deputy EPA administrator, with two Republicans approving her and West Virginia Senator Joe Manchin the lone Democrat to vote against. McCabe served as acting assistant administrator of the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation during the Obama administration, where she worked on the Clean Power Plan. The Senate Environment and Public Works Committee advanced McCabe’s nomination on a largely party-line vote in March, with GOP members citing her work on the Clean Power Plan in explaining their opposition. (The Hill)
Prairie approval – Canadian Conservative Party Leader Erin O’Toole said his government would respect Saskatchewan’s provincial emissions plan so long as it meets overall reduction targets. The federal Conservative leader confirmed that in response to a Leader-Post question about whether he would impose his own carbon pricing framework if Saskatchewan continued to resist a broad-based carbon price, particularly on consumer fuels. Saskatchewan Premier Scott Moe has signalled he still opposes that policy, though he prefers O’Toole’s scheme to the current Liberal government’s backstop. O’Toole unveiled the climate policy for Canada’s official opposition party this month, with observers expecting an election to occur later this year.
Revised reductions – Dominion Energy subsidiary Virginia Electric & Power Company revised its Q1 emissions in a regulatory filing on Tuesday, as the utility began a rate base hearing to recover costs associated with the RGGI cap-and-trade scheme. According to filings, the company emitted 5.2 mln short tons through March, a reduction of roughly 320,000 tons from its initial filing. The reduction was also removed from the company’s anticipated 2021 total emissions. Dominion is seeking to recover $167.4 mln for RGGI compliance obligations through increases in power rates to end consumers.
REC sale – Brokerage Evolution Markets on Tuesday announced it will conduct a Renewable Energy Certificates (REC) auction on May 6 on behalf of the Massachusetts Clean Energy Center. MassCEC plans to offer 4,700 Vintage 2020 Massachusetts Class I and 127 Vintage 2020 Massachusetts SREC II Renewable Certificates generated in calendar year 2020, coming across five projects in total.
Fuel cell funds – Japan’s MUFG Bank has signed a $50 mln loan agreement with FirstElement Fuel, a Californian developer of hydrogen fuel stations, to finance expansion of its network. FirstElement operates more than half of California’s hydrogen stations and has 57 more under various phases of development in the state. This is MUFG’s first hydrogen-linked loan agreement, and comes as California has emerged as the the world’s largest market for hydrogen fuel cell electric vehicles. (Argus)
Master Bruce – Ontario’s Bruce Power nuclear plant is issuing a request for proposals on local projects that can help it reach net zero emissions by 2027. Whether it’s carbon capture technologies, or carbon sinks, Bruce Power is interested in joining forces to not only reach its own 2027 net zero goal, but to start or expand projects that will both remove and offset carbon emissions for the entire region. Bruce Power is accepting ideas until September, with funding to begin next year. (CTV News)
Hasta la VistaJet – Global business aviation company VistaJet committed to carbon neutrality by 2025 and said it will spearhead the airline industry to go further than the current goal of a 50% reduction of emissions by 2050 set by civil aviation industry bodies, trade association IATA, and the global business aviation community. VistaJet said over 80% of its members last year offset CO2 emissions relative to their flights’ fuel consumption in partnership with project developer South Pole. Additionally, the company partnered with SkyNRG to be the first to provide global access to sustainable aviation fuel for business air travel.
Having a cow – Republican members of Congress, Fox News personalities, and other prominent right-wing figures are falsely claiming that US President Biden is trying to force Americans to eat far less red meat. The false claim about Biden trying to restrict people to four pounds of red meat per year appears to have originated with a deceptive Thursday article by the British tabloid The Daily Mail. The article baselessly connected Biden’s climate proposals to an academic paper from 2020 that is not about Biden and says nothing about the government imposing dietary limits. The paper was published before Biden had won the Democratic presidential nomination, and the paper does not even mention Biden’s name. Biden has also never publicly mentioned the paper, though that didn’t stop the Daily Mail from citing the study in a story about the enhanced US Paris Agreement commitment on Thursday, where it then spread to Fox News hosts and Republican governors and other conservative politicians. (CNN)
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