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The European Commission is due to publish its long-awaited ‘Fit for 55’ climate legislative package on Wednesday, seeking to recalibrate the bloc’s climate policies towards a tougher 2030 emissions target.
Pennsylvania’s Environmental Quality Board (EQB) approved the final RGGI-modelled cap-and-trade regulation on Tuesday morning as Republican members and industry groups claimed the state agency violated the law by promulgating the rule.
The North Carolina Environmental Management Commission (EMC) on Tuesday agreed to commence a rulemaking for implementing a RGGI-aligned cap-and-trade programme, though some observers believe the process could face headwinds from the Republican-controlled legislature.
The Northeast US RGGI cap-and-trade programme will offer nearly 23 million allowances for the second consecutive auction, but unlike the previous quarterly sales all of the permits will come from the current auction budget, according to an auction notice posted Tuesday.
California’s WCI-linked cap-and-trade floor price expectations for 2022 edged out further this month as June inflation rose year-on-year, but allowance prices remain significantly above these levels amid a wave of speculative interest in recent months.
Oil major Shell announced a proposed project at its Alberta refinery on Tuesday that could capture more than 10 million tonnes of CO2 per year, adding to the spate of carbon capture and storage (CCS) and hydrogen initiatives planned for Canada’s fossil fuel-heavy province in recent months.
China’s national emissions trading scheme is said to launch on Friday, according to sources with knowledge of the issue.
The municipal government of Beijing released instructions for corporates, institutions and event organisers to qualify for carbon naturality, including listing rules of eligible offset projects, which set up examples for other Chinese cities to follow.
The UK confirmed the country’s sixth carbon budget (2033-37) on Tuesday, agreeing with its independent advisors on the front-loading of its effort towards hitting net zero.
EU carbon rallied on Tuesday amid a mixed energy complex, as traders eyed Wednesday’s scheduled unveiling of the Fit for 55 reform package.
The first draft of a post-2020 UN-led global biodiversity framework targets annual carbon reductions from natural ecosystems of 10 billion tonnes of CO2e by 2030, though observers doubted the number would survive upcoming negotiations.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
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Warming relations – The US and Russia have agreed to forge ‘close co-operation’ on climate change, in the first positive sign of a potential easing of tensions between the two countries since a high-stakes presidential summit last month, the FT reports. John Kerry, the White House’s special climate envoy, held talks in Moscow on Monday and pledged to ‘move together’ with the Kremlin ahead of crunch COP26 climate meetings in Glasgow this November. Climate change is one of the few areas where there is hope of enhanced collaboration between Moscow and Washington.
Blue rinse – Australia, Indonesia, and Cuba contribute the largest blue carbon net “wealth” to the rest of the world, according to a paper published in the journal Nature Climate Change that maps the global distribution of blue carbon. However, only a handful of countries have enough blue carbon potential to offset their entire GHG footprint. (Carbon Brief)
Whitetail tale – Plans for the first power station in the UK with net zero emissions were announced Tuesday, as the natural gas plant at Wilton International on Teesside will capture and store CO2 emissions offshore. Middlesbrough’s Sembcorp Energy UK and US clean energy firm 8 Rivers Capital, who are behind the project, said the Whitetail Clean Energy project will use a process which combusts natural gas with oxygen, rather than air, and uses CO2 in a fluid state, instead of steam, to drive turbines. A spokesperson for the project said if given regulatory approval, the facility could produce about 300 MW of electricity per hour and be in operation by 2025. (BBC)
Keep your distance – Volkswagen is peeling off from some of its carmaking peers when it comes to handling the EU’s Fit for 55 package of climate change-busting legislation — and that’s shaking the powerful auto industry lobby ACEA. While VW, along with Volvo, Stellantis, and Renault, are going in hard on electric cars as an alternative to petrol and diesel, others, including the large automotive component industry, are keen to eke out a future for the internal combustion engine by backing synthetic fuels and hydrogen as alternatives ahead of Brussels’ proposals that could include a de facto ICE ban by 2035. (Politico)
Paris pact – France’s centrist government and rightwing upper house of parliament have reached agreement on the wording of the country’s climate and resilience bill following nine hours of talks, paving the way for the measure to be adopted next week. The government managed to retain plans for extended low-pollution city zones and mandatory weekly vegetarian menus in school canteens, while the senators succeeded in including interest-free EV vehicle loans for city centre residents, hydroelectricity, and biogas support, and a ban on the use of nitrogenous fertilisers in non-agricultural areas. (RFI)
Bearing down on BCA – With the European Commission set to announce a new EU border carbon adjustment (BCA) regime on Wednesday, now is the time for Canada to figure out how to reconcile its climate ambition with the need to protect the competitiveness of domestic industry and prevent carbon leakage, argues a new report from think-tanks International Institute for Sustainable Development and Clean Prosperity. The organisations said the new report is the first to examine in detail the kinds of questions that Canada will have to answer as it designs a BCA regime. In particular, it looks at how Canada might harmonise its border carbon charges with top trading partners that are also ambitious about tackling climate change, such as the US and EU.
Local letter – Over 140 mayors from cities across the US called on congressional leadership Tuesday to push for aggressive climate measures in their infrastructure legislation that they say will benefit localities. The group, which ranges from the heads of country’s 10 most populous cities to the leaders of small rural towns, wrote to the lawmakers to press them to address climate change through the lens of equity as the country emerges from the pandemic. The signatories are members of Climate Mayors, a bipartisan group that formed in 2014 and ballooned following the US withdrawal from the Paris Agreement. (Politico)
Bigger than you – The world’s biggest renewable energy hub – comprising 50 GW of wind and solar capacity – has been proposed for the southern coast of Western Australia to create millions of tonnes of green hydrogen for use in Australia and for export, RenewEconomy reports. The scale of the $100 bln project – to be known as the Western Green Energy Hub – is unprecedented. It would rank as one of Australia’s biggest ever projects of any kind, and not far short of the size of the country’s main grid.
Soil man – Australia has added a member to the Emissions Reduction Assurance Committee (ERAC), the body in charge of assessing the quality and environmental integrity of domestic carbon offset projects. The government has appointed Alex McBratney to the role, the director of the Sydney Institute of Agriculture. McBratney is a professor of soil science, his appointment reflecting the rapidly rising share of soil carbon projects in Australia’s offset project portfolio.
Credit consortium – Startup electric vertical takeoff and landing (eVTOL) aircraft developer Joby Aviation is joining forces with US-based low cost carrier JetBlue and fixed-based operation and distribution network Signature Flight Support to establish carbon credits for flights using green electric and hydrogen propulsion. The companies announced Tuesday that they will “work to define the creation, validation, and eventual use of these new credits on aviation carbon markets, including identifying a third party to oversee and validate transactions.” The companies expect to confirm further details of the structure later this year. (AINonline)
Two for JetBlue – In a separate announcement, JetBlue on Monday announced it has entered into an agreement with World Fuel Services and World Energy for the supply of Sustainable Aviation Fuel (SAF) at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX). World Energy will supply the fuel from its facility in Paramount, CA, and the delivery of SAF into LAX will be managed by World Fuel Services. The carrier’s usage of SAF includes 5.7 mln litres of blended SAF a year for at least three years, which is about 5% of JetBlue’s LAX fuel. (Nasdaq)
There’s something burning in an electric sky – Chicago-based United Airlines and the regional carrier Mesa Air Group on Tuesday morning announced conditional plans to buy 100 planes each — and an option for more — from the electric plane startup Heart Aerospace. The two airlines are also investors in a $35 mln Series A funding round for the Swedish startup that hopes to bring a 19-seat electric plane into service by 2026. Other investors include Breakthrough Energy Ventures and Lowercarbon Capital. (Axios)
Space race – Billionaire aviation magnate Richard Branson on Sunday blasted off in the Virgin Galactic Space Ship. He beat other billionaire, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos, who had scheduled his space journey on the Blue Origin spaceship for July 20. Branson had defended the Galactic SpaceShipTwo flight by suggesting that its carbon footprint was comparable to the flight between London and Singapore. But the accurate climate metric is emissions per passenger, according to two University of Washington scholars writing in Forbes. They argue that one needs to compare six passengers in the spaceship with about two or three hundred on a commercial plane. Climate consequences of space travel have another dimension. A paper published in Geophysical Research Letters suggests that black carbon or soot deposited in the stratosphere from the launch of 1,000 private rockets could increase polar surface temperatures by 1C.
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