CP Daily: Wednesday May 5, 2021

Published 00:24 on May 6, 2021  /  Last updated at 00:29 on May 6, 2021  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Germany to move net zero goal forward five years to 2045, upgrade 2030 target

The German government will next week propose legislation to move its domestic climate neutrality objective forward by five years to 2045 and set higher targets for 2030 and 2040, its finance minister announced Wednesday in response to a court ruling last week.

VOLUNTARY

Verra, Greenpeace square off over criticism of forest carbon credit methodologies

Standard-setting body Verra this week accused Greenpeace of misrepresenting its forest carbon offset methodologies and cherry-picking expert opinions to undermine the credibility of its REDD+ projects in two recent articles.

ClimateCare, Natural Capital Partners merge as voluntary market deals gather pace

ClimateCare and Natural Capital Partners have merged to help build global scale in the rapidly expanding voluntary carbon market.

EMEA

EU underlines support for green steel in new industrial roadmap

The European Commission on Wednesday presented an updated EU Industrial Strategy, underlining its support for European clean steel production and hinting at the creation of an EU-wide carbon contract-for-difference (CCfDs) scheme.

UK to publish free carbon allowance quota figures next week, with allocations to start “shortly after”

The British government will next week publish this year’s free carbon allowance allocation quotas under the new UK ETS, with distribution set to begin “shortly after” that following several months of delays.

EU Market: EUAs rebound as post-compliance sentiment holds

EUAs lifted back above €49 on Wednesday, clawing back all of the previous session’s losses that followed the market’s first-ever break above €50, while trading data showed investment funds pared back their net long positions amid a new all-time high in participants.

AMERICAS

Pennsylvania publishes draft final RGGI regulation with 2022 contingency plan

Pennsylvania released a draft final RGGI regulation on Tuesday that maintains its initial CO2 cap levels criticised as weak by academics, and publishing a 2022 contingency plan amid fervent opposition to the power sector cap-and-trade programme from Republican lawmakers.

US HFC rule could impact voluntary offset projects, narrow future compliance protocol expansion

The US EPA’s proposed regulation to reduce high-global warming potential HFCs could impact voluntary offset initiatives in the short term, as well as limit expansion options for California regulator ARB’s ozone-depleting substance (ODS) protocol, market participants said.

Weak benchmarks to limit Washington LCFS impact in early years, traders say

More lenient carbon intensity benchmarks at the outset of Washington state’s recently passed low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) will limit the impact of the programme until the latter half of this decade, traders said.

COMMENT

Assessing co-benefits in the voluntary carbon market

The private sector Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM) has collectively arrived at a solution for what ‘co-benefits’ should count as part of a carbon credit. It believes this will help maintain quality in the market, increase transparency and also create a mechanism to develop an appropriate pricing benchmark for these ‘co-benefits’, according to Chris Leeds of investment bank Standard Chartered.

VOLUNTARY

WITHDRAWN – Voluntary carbon market taskforce set to snub project co-benefits

This article published on Apr. 27 has been withdrawn due to a misinterpretation of remarks made by Standard Chartered’s Chris Leeds at City and Financial’s Future of Carbon Pricing conference. The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM) has since clarified to Carbon Pulse that it has not pre-defined which UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) should be included on its list of attributes designed to help standardise the voluntary carbon market. Rather, it proposes a system where all SDGs can be included, as long as they are certified through a credible standard.

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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

Brazil heat – A 40-strong group of European supermarkets has repeated a threat to boycott products from Brazil if its national congress votes this week in favour of a bill that could lead to faster destruction of the Amazon rainforest. The new law would allow land that has been illegally occupied after 2014 to be put up for sale. This would potentially allow illegal occupants to buy it. (BBC)

Mineral worry – High commodity prices could delay the clean energy transition owing to the amount of metals needed for batteries, solar panels, and wind turbines, according to an IEA report. It said a lack of investment in new mines risks substantially raising the costs of clean energy technologies. It points out that a typical electric car requires six times the amount of critical minerals as a petrol car. (FT)

Caucasus calling – Georgia and Armenia are the two latest countries to submit updated NDCs under the Paris Agreement. Both nations have agreed to increase their 2030 objectives, with Georgia setting an unconditional 35% target below 1990 levels (up from 15%), and a conditional target of 50-57% (up from 25%). Meanwhile, Armenia has set a 40% emissions reduction objective below 1990 levels by 2030 – whereas its previous NDC said emissions shouldn’t exceed 663 MtCO2. Check Carbon Pulse’s NDC Tracker for an overview of the previously-submitted and updated NDCs.

AMERICAS

Nuclear necessity – The White House has signalled privately to lawmakers and stakeholders in recent weeks that it supports taxpayer subsidies to keep existing nuclear facilities from closing, bending to the reality that it needs these plants to meet US climate goals, three sources familiar with the discussions told Reuters. The new subsidies, in the form of “production tax credits,” would likely be swept into President Joe Biden’s multi-trillion-dollar legislative effort to invest in the nation’s infrastructure and jobs, the sources said. Wind and solar power producers already get these tax rebates based on levels of energy they generate.

WAKA FACA – The Food and Agriculture Climate Alliance (FACA), comprised of 70 environmental and agricultural organisations, this week shared recommendations for how the US Department of Agriculture should approach a potential carbon bank. FACA recommended that USDA lay the foundation for a potential carbon bank by first developing a series of pilot projects that would focus on scaling climate solutions, removing barriers to adoption, improving carbon accounting standards, and ensuring equitable opportunities.

NewFrontier – HollyFrontier will pay $350 mln for Shell’s 145,000 bpd Puget Sound refinery in Washington state, acquiring its first US West Coast refinery, the company announced Tuesday. Subject to normal regulatory procedures, the deal is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021. The move will likely cause HollyFrontier to accrue obligations under Washington’s recently passed low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) and cap-and-trade programmes, which will both go into effect Jan. 2023 if lawmakers can pass a transportation funding package in the next 1.5 years. (S&P Global Platts)

GAO on – In response to a request by the Government Accountability Office (GAO), the US EPA will disclose information to the office related to the agency’s past issuance of compliance waivers under the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS), according to a notice posted in the Federal Register on Wednesday. The information to be disclosed includes all documents, information, and data related to all small refinery exemption (SRE) petitions received by EPA from the start of the RFS programme through the present. The GAO in Jan. 2020 announced it would review the EPA’s SRE programme after the urging of members of Congress, who were concerned the the Trump administration was giving RFS relief to facilities that didn’t qualify. (The Progressive Farmer)

CCU+H2 – Carbon Clean, a provider of CO2 capture and separation technology, announced Wednesday that it has signed an MOU with BayoTech, an innovative on-site hydrogen production company, to explore commercial opportunities targeted at hydrogen and CCU deployment. As a first step, Carbon Clean and BayoTech will work together on a demonstration facility to evaluate, design, and operate a carbon capture plant at a BayoTech site in North America, which is expected to be operational by the end of 2022. The two companies have agreed on a roadmap for the technology integration of a carbon capture process on their hydrogen generating units.

EMEA

Not so fast – Many EU member states are rejecting calls to expand emissions trading to the heating and transport sectors as a way of more efficiently meeting the bloc’s tougher climate targets, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung reports. Economists who support the plan argue that reducing the EU’s myriad climate targets and replacing them with an expanded ETS would more efficiently and in a market-oriented fashion accomplish the bloc’s goals. But some governments have expressed concerns about the idea to regulate the two sectors via a separate market with links to the EU ETS, with 11 countries said to be opposed including France, Italy, Poland, Hungary, Czechia, and Slovakia. The social consequences of emissions charges related to living and driving is a main reason behind the opposition, with France’s ‘yellow vest’ protests being cited as an example. Member states that do support an expansion of carbon pricing include Germany, Austria, the Netherlands, and Denmark. (Clean Energy Wire)

Nowhere to dump it – Five Swedish nuclear reactors may need to close between 2024 and 2028 because a temporary site for storing spent fuel will soon be full and the government has yet to approve a final waste repository, their operating companies said on Wednesday. The Forsmark 4 reactor risks closure in 2024, followed in 2025 by Forsmark 3, Ringhals 3 and 4 and finally Forsmark 1 in 2028, the operators said in urgent market messages posted via power exchange Nord Pool. Ringhals is owned by a consortium comprising Vattenfall and Uniper, while Forsmark is owned by the same two companies in addition to Fortum and Skelleftea Kraft. A Swedish government decision on used nuclear fuel storage must be made no later than Aug. 31 this year to avoid exceeding the permit for the interim storage site a Oskarshamn, the firms added. (Reuters)

Renewables support renewed – The European Commission on Tuesday approved a €400 mln Danish state aid scheme to support production of electricity from renewables. The measure follows a previous Danish aid scheme for electricity from renewable energy approved by the Commission in Aug. 2018, which expired in end-2019. The scheme is open until 2024 and aid can be paid out for a maximum of 20 years after the renewable electricity is connected to the grid.

ASIA PACIFIC

Doing the hydrogen – The Australian Renewable Energy Agency (ARENA) has conditionally approved A$103 mln in funding for three commercial-scale renewable hydrogen projects, it announced Wednesday. Engie, ATCO, and Australian Gas Networks will be the recipients’ project owners, each targeting 10 MW electrolysers, which will make each of them among the biggest hydrogen facilities in the world.

Strings attached – Australia’s Port of Newcastle has signed a A$515 mln ($398 mln) loan with National Australia Bank (NAB) that links interest payments to non-mandatory social and environmental targets, the companies said. The world’s largest coal port will pay less if certain targets are met, including reducing its direct and indirect GHG emissions and screening all customers for modern slavery risks, they said in a joint statement. The loan also contains metrics focused on mental health first aid, diversity, and inclusion.

VOLUNTARY

Do Less – Less Emissions, the sister company of Canadian green energy retailer Bullfrog Power, announced a partnership with Ontario-based, sole-source logistics service company Freightzy. For clients who participate in Freightzy’s Carbon Neutral Program, Freightzy will purchase Gold Standard offsets from Less Emissions on less than truckload (LTL) shipments booked directly through their shipping portal. For all other modes of transit shipped with Freightzy, they will calculate the emissions and offer their clients the opportunity to purchase offsets through Less’s portfolio of Gold Standard projects.

SCIENCE & TECH

New normal – Describing hotter temperatures and altered weather as the “new normal” under climate change has become cliche, and updated data from the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) makes it official. The US is now hotter than it was just a decade ago, wetter in the central and eastern parts of the country, and drier in the West, according to NOAA data released Tuesday. “Almost every place in the US has warmed from the 1981 to 2010 normal to the 1991 to 2020 normal,” said Michael Palecki, NOAA’s normals project manager. Extracting and burning fossil fuels is driving up temperatures globally, and in the U.S. by 1.7F (0.9C) since the first “normals” were calculated for 1901-1930. Updating “normal” temperatures every 10 years worries some scientists, however, because it minimises the drastic changes apparent in the long-term record. (Climate Nexus)

AND FINALLY…

Don’t feed the pizzlies – What do you get when you cross a polar bear and a grizzly bear? A fluffy reminder of how climate change is transforming our planet at an alarming rate. These hybrids, sometimes called pizzly bears or grolar bears, have been spotted in the wild as far back as 2006. But with global temperatures rising, the two species’ habitats are overlapping more often. While the heat pushes grizzly bears north, polar bears have been travelling south in search of food as arctic sea ice continues to shrink to historic levels. And odds are the two aren’t just bumping elbows – they seem to be increasingly engaging in “opportunistic mating”, with one study in 2017 documenting at least eight pizzlies that were traced back to a single female polar bear and two separate grizzly bears. (Gizmodo)

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