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Voluntary offset taskforce loosens plans for governance board membership, raising conflict of interest concerns
The private sector Taskforce on Scaling Voluntary Carbon Markets (TSVCM) largely kept intact its plan to ramp up offset trade in final recommendations released Thursday, although the proposed governance body will now see the inclusion of active market participants in making key recommendations and decisions on core carbon principles (CCPs).
The voluntary carbon market should have an important, if marginal, role in corporate climate action, UN climate finance envoy Mark Carney said Thursday while setting out credible offsetting buying strategies.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices stormed higher this week with rising demand from financial firms in the WCI market, and RGGI Allowances (RGAs) also ticked up to a 6-month high as compliance entities and speculators sought out new positions.
New Zealand’s environment ministry on Thursday proposed a number of adjustments to the emissions trading scheme designed to ensure industrials don’t receive too many carbon allowances, a move that might see some manufacturers lose their right to receive free permits.
New Zealand carbon allowances rose another NZ$1.50 in Thursday trade as buyers continued to pick up all available supply.
The city of Yueqing in China’s Zhejiang province has announced the launch of a small-scale local carbon market for small enterprises and households that provincial governments in the Yangtze River Delta region want to develop into a network of interconnected so-called “inclusive” markets across the region.
The “inefficient”, illiquid, and relatively small UK carbon market has yet to attract much investment in the six weeks since trading launched, experts said this week.
EU carbon prices rebounded after dropping by as much as 3.3% on Thursday to a three-week low, while UK Allowance prices slumped to a new nadir on more carbon market profit-taking and supply-related concerns.
The Netherlands has handed out 38.3 million EUAs to its industries, the government said on Thursday, confirming distribution of 2021 units following a delayed allocation process.
The European Commission will launch its second call for large-scale projects under the EU ETS-funded Innovation Fund in October, the EU’s executive announced Thursday.
Global carbon emissions from energy use dropped by the most in a single year since World War 2, as the Covid pandemic hit economic activity and fossil energy demand dropped, oil major BP said in its annual survey of the global energy sector.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
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Putting over in October – IATA will put forward proposals updating long-term airline industry targets to tackle emissions at its annual general meeting in October, officials from the carriers’ lobby said. During the briefing officials pressed the case for the importance of carbon offsetting – notably through the established global CORSIA scheme – and said the strategy is a more effective tool than taxes. The comments come amid more pressures for aviation to address its environment footprint, especially within Europe where imminent proposals on energy taxation could see an end to the current tax exemption on aviation fuel. (FlightGlobal)
Green thinking – The European Central Bank said Thursday that it would further incorporate climate change considerations into its monetary policy, including on disclosure, risk assessment, and decisions on collateral and corporate sector asset purchases. “Looking ahead, the ECB will adjust the framework guiding the allocation of corporate bond purchases to incorporate climate change criteria, in line with its mandate,” it said, as it announced the results of a long-awaited strategic review. “These will include the alignment of issuers with, at a minimum, EU legislation implementing the Paris Agreement through climate change-related metrics or commitments of the issuers to such goals,” the statement added. The move is the latest in a series of steps by the world’s top central banks to acknowledge their policy must take account of climate change, although some like the US Federal Reserve insist that actually tackling it is the preserve of governments. The ECB already buys green bonds and holds around a fifth of the green assets that meet its eligibility criteria, which has already prompted a surge in issuance. (Reuters/Euractiv)
Getting going – The UK government must swiftly publish proposals on how it plans to meet a 2050 net-zero emissions target and do more to engage the public on the lifestyle changes needed to meet the goal, according to the cross-party BEIS parliamentary committee. The MPs said the government should publish its net zero strategy as soon as possible and launch an engagement strategy and use the COP26 UN climate talks to be held in Glasgow in November to motivate Britons in the fight against climate change. (Reuters)
Cross-border compo – German companies subjected to the nEHS national carbon price on transport and heating fuels will receive financial compensation if the price leads to disadvantages in cross-border trade and competition, Clean Energy Wire reported following a cabinet decision in the wake of the federal parliament linking its required approval to various conditions. The companies will be required to invest the majority of these funds in climate measures, firms with low energy consumption will be granted better support, and adjustments will be made more quickly upon unintended consequences. Read Carbon Pulse’s report on the framework of the nEHS compensation scheme.
How’s this for an ice breaker? – Finland’s Minister of Transport and Communications Timo Harakka has sent a letter to European Commission Executive Vice-President Frans Timmermans to stress that the special circumstances related to winter navigation should be taken into account in the Commission’s proposal to include shipping in the EU ETS, while the bloc’s executive should also perform an assessment on the policy’s impact on the relative competitiveness of member states. The Commission is on July 14 expected to propose extending the ETS to cover maritime emissions, including those from ships arriving and berthing at the bloc’s ports. Finland has made efforts to influence the upcoming proposal in light of the greater energy consumed and CO2 emitted from ships navigating arctic routes, but it seems that the Commission will not take Finland’s perspectives into account, The Helsinki Times reports. “If the special characteristics of winter navigation are not taken into account in emissions trading for maritime transport, the costs for Finland will be huge, and the competitiveness of our export sectors will also be seriously weakened,” Harakka said. By ignoring winter navigation and ice-classed ships, he said the EU would deviate from international regulation. “The safety aspects of winter navigation and equitable operating conditions relative to other maritime transport have been taken into account, for example, in the energy efficiency rules of the IMO.” Finland is worried that the move will prompt shipping companies to use weaker vessels because they are more energy-efficient and emit less. However, they are not intended for harsh icy conditions and they need more icebreaker assistance. This will not decrease emissions on a sector-wide level, and the likelihood of oil and chemical spills in wintertime would increase. About 70-80% of visits of ships to Finland from foreign ports are made by vessels in the best ice classes.
Protection – Australia’s federal court has formally declared the nation’s environment minister has a “duty to take reasonable care” that young people won’t be harmed or killed by carbon dioxide emissions if she approves a coalmine expansion, in a judgment that could have wider implications for fossil fuel projects. (Guardian)
Bother to the ‘Bride – Environmental groups Sierra Club, Oil Change International, Future Coalition, and Friends of the Earth US joined progressive organisations Revolving Door Project and others in a letter urging President Joe Biden to withdraw Neil MacBride as his nominee for Treasury Department general counsel. The groups raised concerns about MacBride’s past representation of Exxon Mobil and auto company officials that the groups said were involved in emissions cheating scandals. They called his work for Exxon “particularly worrisome,” saying MacBride represented the oil giant when it sued the Treasury Department over fines for sanctions violations against Russia for its annexation of Crimea from Ukraine. (Politico)
(RN)G, thanks – Brokerage firm Evolution Markets on Thursday announced the launch of structured transaction services for US renewable natural gas (RNG) markets. The team, will specialise in structured products, including term offtake agreements for new facilities, volumetric and price hedging transactions for operating RNG facilities, as well as facilitating contract origination and negotiation. The desk will also assist clients in taking advantage of the intersection of RNG market and emerging markets for their corresponding environmental credits, such as low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) credits and renewable identification numbers (RINs).
SCIENCE & TECH
Attribution alarm – The brutal heat wave that killed hundreds of people last week in the Pacific Northwest and Canada would have been “virtually impossible” without climate change, a study released on Wednesday said, offering the latest evidence that global warming is making extreme heat more common and more dangerous. In a preliminary analysis, called a rapid attribution study, an international team of 27 scientists examined the links between human-induced climate change and the heat wave, finding that the blistering temperatures were made at least 150 times more likely to occur because of climate change. Earlier this week, Oregon’s Multnomah County, home to Portland, declared the recent heat wave “a mass casualty event,” after health officials identified 67 possible deaths linked to heat stress, or hyperthermia. Upward of 107 people total are suspected to have died due to heat across Oregon, on top of about 57 possible deaths in Washington state and more than 500 deaths in Canada. Local officials have warned that a full accounting of the heat wave’s death toll could take months. (Buzzfeed)
Mussel fatigue – Additionally, More than 1 bln marine animals along Canada’s Pacific coast are likely to have died from last week’s record heatwave, experts warn, highlighting the vulnerability of ecosystems unaccustomed to extreme temperatures. During a walk along a Vancouver-area beach, Christopher Harley, a marine biologist at the University of British Columbia, was struck by the smell of rotting mussels, many of which were in effect cooked by the abnormally warm water. Snails, sea stars, and clams were decaying in the shallow water. “It was an overpowering, visceral experience,” he said. Mussels are hardy shellfish, tolerating temperatures into the high 30s. Barnacles are even sturdier, surviving the mid-40s for at least a few hours. “But when the temperatures get above that, those are just unsurvivable conditions,” he said. (Guardian)
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