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The 27-nation EU’s leaders will meet next week to discuss national emissions reduction targets for sectors not covered by the bloc’s carbon market, with the closed-door debate set to highlight divisions among member states ahead of major policy proposals coming in July.
The Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM) released its next consultation for dramatically increasing voluntary emissions reduction (VER) trading on Friday, setting out the first five additional attributes to differentiate between credits and establishing the structure of a governance body to further define ‘core carbon principles’.
Europe’s top court has ruled that lignite mining at an open-pit site near the Polish-Czech border must cease immediately, which the operator says could lead to the closure of a major power plant in Poland.
EU carbon prices on Friday failed to extend their rebound from Wednesday’s two-week low, with sellers re-emerging as UKA prices went in the opposite direction to hit a new record high.
Speculators’ California Carbon Allowance (CCA) length surged to near record levels over the past week as prices jumped on the secondary market, while emitters cut their carbon permit holdings just before the Q2 WCI sale, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.
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 Oregon, Rhode Island, Northeast hydroelectricity lines, and the US Department of Agriculture.
Australian petroleum company Ampol will pilot carbon neutral offerings and build carbon trading capability as well as spend a minimum A$100 million ($78 mln) on “future energy” projects over the next five years.
Indonesia is considering a tax on carbon emissions from energy-intensive sectors, according to news reports Friday, even as the government is piloting an emissions trading scheme for coal-fired power plants.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Done deal – The G7 group of rich countries has agreed to stop international funding for the construction of coal-fired power stations, a document summarising a G7 environment ministers’ meeting showed on Friday. “We stress that international investments in unabated coal must stop now and commit to take concrete steps towards an absolute end to new direct government support for unabated international thermal coal power generation by the end of 2021,” said the communique. The agreement comes in the context of aligning international financing with the goals under the Paris Agreement, by reaching net zero emissions no later than 2050, including deep reductions this decade. The document said the G7 countries will review and phase out new direct government support for carbon-intensive fossil energy, except in limited circumstances at the discretion of each country. (Reuters)
Carbon accounting – EPBiH, Bosnia and Herzegovina’s dominant coal-plant operator, intends to include an internal CO2 price in its financial reports from next year at the initiative of the Energy Community Secretariat, the state-owned utility’s General Manager Admir Andelija said. EPBiH recently estimated potential CO2 expenses at €200 mln per year. Western Balkan countries have taken on the obligation to start their own ETSs, so coal power plant operators like EPBiH will face huge pressure. Andelija said that these nations do not possess the same decarbonisation possibilities as EU member states, and expressed hope the EU and the Energy Community would provide assistance. (Balkan Green Energy News)
Renewable guidance – The German Bundestag has adopted new guidelines for the promotion of climate-friendly fuels, Germany’s federal environment ministry said in a statement Friday. The new act aims to increase the share of renewables in Germany’s transport sector to at least 25% by 2030 from the 6% share in 2020 – in line with the EU’s renewable energy directive’s objective to achieve at least 14% of the bloc’s vehicles to be powered by renewables. This means that oil companies will have to use significantly more renewable energy in the future in order to reduce their CO2 emissions. With the decision, Germany will also ban biofuels based on palm oil from the tank from 2023.
Account management – US Federal Energy Regulatory Commissioners on Thursday re-sparked the debate about whether federal regulators should take climate change into account when considering the environmental impacts of a gas pipeline project. Commissioners voted 3-2 to approve two pipeline projects proposed by the Northern Natural Gas Company in Minnesota and the Tuscarora Gas Transmission Company in Nevada, after reviewing their respective climate impacts. The projects were poised to be rejected by FERC before Commissioner James Danly, who briefly chaired the commission under President Donald Trump, proposed a last-minute amendment to avoid setting a precedent on examining climate impacts — and to secure his own vote. FERC for the first time in March considered how a proposed pipeline project’s downstream emissions would impact the climate, ultimately determining they were not significant enough to deny certification. But the two projects put in front of the commission on Thursday had “significantly higher” emissions impacts, according to Chairman Richard Glick, leading him and fellow Democratic Commissioner Allison Clements to oppose, in part, the certifications. (Utility Dive)
Maintaining access – A federal district court won’t force the Dakota Access pipeline to shut down while federal regulators conduct a new environmental analysis. The oil project may remain in service even though it lacks a valid federal easement for a water crossing in North Dakota, the US District Court for the District of Columbia said Friday. The pipeline’s easement was scrapped in an earlier court ruling for inadequate environmental review. The Army Corps of Engineers has said it expects to finish a court-ordered environmental impact statement for the project in spring 2022. (Bloomberg Law)
Cathay heyday – Hong Kong-based airliner Cathay Pacific this week set a 2050 net zero target and unveiled a three-pronged delivery strategy, based on energy efficiency, sustainable aviation fuel (SAF), and offsetting. The airline has been offsetting all the emissions from our employee business travel for more than a decade and will now extend the commitment to all residual emissions. It works with The Gold Standard to purchase verified credits. On SAF, Cathay Pacific is aiming to ensure that SAF covers at least 2% of total annual fuel requirements from 2023 onwards. It estimates that it will purchase 1.1 Mt of SAF within the next ten years. SAF will be sourced through partners including Fulcrum BioEnergy, which operates a household-waste-to-fuel plant in Nevada. (edie)
Gas-lighting renewables – The chair of the Texas Public Utilities Commission and other top officials were already worried about gas shortages days before the widespread blackouts that lead to the deaths of at least 151 people, E&E News reports. During the blackouts, many leaders in the state blamed renewables and pushed climate denial talking points. But the phone records and documents obtained by E&E show state legislators were already concerned the state’s gas system was not sufficiently weatherised to withstand the February winter storm, despite warnings after a similar event a decade earlier. They also show then-PUC chair DeAnn Walker warned Gov. Greg Abbott’s office about failures at gas facilities forcing the shutdown of gas-fired power plants on Feb. 15, the day before Abbott told Fox News the outages showed the dangers of the not-enacted Green New Deal. Gas plants accounted for the majority of power generation that failed during the freeze, which deprived millions across the state of heating, electricity, and water, with those outages disproportionately harming people of colour and people with disabilities. (Climate Nexus)
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