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The 27-nation EU’s heads of state and government on Tuesday failed to reach an agreement over the fate of national emissions reduction targets for sectors outside the bloc’s carbon market in a debate meant to provide guidance to the European Commission’s upcoming climate package.
Government revenue from global carbon pricing instruments swelled by almost a fifth last year as programmes largely withstood the impact of the coronavirus crisis, according to an annual report released Tuesday by the World Bank.
Russia is rolling out new domestic voluntary carbon offset rules and is considering extending its embryonic emissions trading scheme nationally in order to have its climate efforts recognised internationally, a high-level official said Tuesday, which should thereby spare the country from “unfriendly” protectionist actions such as EU border measures.
Companies regulated by the EU ETS used almost 1.6 billion Kyoto Protocol offsets against their surrender obligations over the past 13 years, data published by the European Commission late Tuesday showed, as the window finally closed on this cheaper compliance option.
EU carbon prices gained as much as a euro early Tuesday but fell back towards €52 following one of the weakest auctions of the year, while UK Allowance prices tested their recently record highs.
North Carolina’s Air Quality Committee (AQC) will consider a petition next month to join the RGGI cap-and-trade programme via regulatory channels, with green groups arguing the proposed rulemaking would help the state reach long-term climate goals.
An industry group claimed Virginia’s revised RGGI regulation failed to adhere to enacting legislation in shifting to state-run auctions, while the finalised cap-and-trade rule should be stuck down as an illegal tax, according to a brief filed this week.
Voluntary emissions reduction (VER) prices are currently significantly undervalued, and must rise by several orders of magnitude in order to guarantee financial returns and ramp up climate ambition, the CEO of a private jet charter broker said Tuesday.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
BECCS bill – UK utility Drax’s proposed wood-burning BECCS power plant could cost British energy bill payers £31.7 bln over 25 years, or £500 a household, according to a report from environmental think-tank Ember. It adds that Drax plans to use the technology to become carbon negative, despite dozens of green groups warning government ministers and Drax shareholders against supporting the company’s plans over fears that burning biomass will not deliver ‘negative emissions’ and could prove to be an expensive misstep in the UK’s path to a carbon-neutral economy. (Guardian)
He said, she said – The Polish government claims that Czechia has agreed to withdraw a lawsuit which last week resulted in the Court of Justice of the EU ordering Poland to immediately close the Turow coal mine on its side of the border between the two countries. However, Czech PM Andrej Babis has denied that any deal has been reached and says that the court case is still pending. The lawsuit was filed after Warsaw granted a permit for the mine to continue operating until 2044. The open-cast mine in question, which is also near the border with Germany, has long been considered by authorities from neighbouring countries to be a threat to local groundwater supplies. (Notes from Poland)
Global London – If the UK’s biggest banks and investors were a country, they’d rank ninth in the world for the carbon emissions they’re responsible for, according to analysis led by carbon consultancy firm South Pole and environmental campaigners Greenpeace and WWF. The study assessed the emissions associated with the global investments of 15 British banks and 10 asset managers. A spokesman for UK financial institutions said they were committed to being net zero by 2050. (BBC)
Plan please – The German government’s goal of achieving climate neutrality by 2045 has put companies from energy-intensive industries under massive pressure. The sector is now calling for a concrete strategy and financial commitments from political leaders, Handelsblatt reported, citing executives from some of Germany’s biggest firms. The government has promised aid and drafted a programme, but hardly any money has flowed so far. (Clean Energy Wire)
FEMA funds – President Joe Biden’s administration announced Monday it will double the budget of the FEMA programme that helps states and municipalities prepare for the impacts of climate change. The $1 billion boost – though less than the amount some disaster experts say will be necessary as climate change worsens storms, flooding, and wildfires – was described as a “good start” by Obama-era FEMA director Craig Fugate, who said cities and states might struggle to effectively spend the infusion of what he described as “a huge number for pre-disaster mitigation.” The US experienced 22 billion-dollar disasters last year, and experts expect bad hurricane and wildfire seasons again this year. Biden has directed federal agencies to produce climate adaptation plans and is seeking $50 bln in climate resilience funding as part of his infrastructure plan. (Climate Nexus)
CATCH me if you can – US Rep. Tim Ryan on Tuesday led a bipartisan coalition of House members in introducing the Coordinated Action to Capture Harmful (CATCH) Emissions Act to boost CCS tax credits for industrial facilities and power plants under section 45Q of the federal tax code. The CATCH Act establishes a crediting level of $85/tonne for industrial and power generation facilities seeking to securely store captured CO2 in saline geologic formations, and $60 for storage in oil and gas fields and for the beneficial utilisation of captured carbon to manufacture low and zero-carbon fuels, chemicals, building products, advanced materials, and other products of economic value.
SRE predictability – Nebraska Sen. Deb Fischer and Sen. Tammy Duckworth of Illinois have introduced bipartisan legislation that would bring transparency and predictability to the EPA’s small refinery exemption (SRE) process. The bipartisan RFS Integrity Act of 2021 would require small refineries to petition for Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) hardship exemptions by June 1 of each year. The change would ensure EPA properly accounts for exempted gallons in the Renewable Volume Obligations (RVO) it sets each November under the RFS. (Brownfield)
Electric snide – Over 75 environmental groups wrote to EPA Administrator Michael Regan on Wednesday urging him not to include electricity generated from burning wood biomass, factory farm gas, and landfill gas in Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) credits for electric vehicles. The groups argued the fuels contribute to acute pollution around frontline communities and would go against the agency’s commitment to environmental justice. Friends of the Earth, Sierra Club, and the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future were among the signatories. The White House directed the EPA to look into incorporating electricity for EVs obtained through biofuels in RFS credits, Reuters reported last month. (Politico)
“By that look on your face, it’s a cover up” – The Brazilian Supreme Court has ordered police to investigate whether environment minister Ricardo Salles covered up for criminals cutting down the Amazon. The court said it had suspicion of the existence of a “serious scheme” to facilitate the export of illegal forest products. Brazil’s president Jair Bolsonaro is under pressure to sack his ideological ally as he trails in the polls ahead of next year’s election. (Climate Home)
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