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Quebec’s environment ministry released a draft forestry protocol for private lands on Wednesday that allows for aggregation of several sites, enables early action projects to earn compliance-grade credits, and omits WCI partner California’s 100-year permanence requirement.
A leading carbon analyst has raised his forecast for EUA prices over the three years to 2024 by an average of 40%, amid a “high chance” that the EU will enact its ambitious EU ETS reform package.
EUAs rose to their highest in four weeks on Wednesday, testing key technical resistance levels after a strong auction result, as energy markets erased the previous day’s losses.
An increasing number of Eastern EU nations are accelerating their plans to shut down coal-fired power plants, amid rising costs of burning the fuel and financial support to recover from the coronavirus crisis.
Utility Uniper is to close one of the four units at its Ratcliffe UK coal power plant at the end of September 2022, the company said on Wednesday, two years ahead of the site’s full shutdown.
The Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) approved Dominion Energy’s request to recover nearly $168 million in RGGI-related compliance costs on Wednesday, but the state agency will require future requests to include analysis to support the utility’s rationale for banked allowances and total compliance needs.
The top holder of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) credits reduced its share of the bank once again during the six-month period ending in Q1 2021, continuing a persistent trend over the past several years, recent data showed.
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has terminated a contract with a project meant to deliver 2.4 MtCO2e worth of carbon cuts to the government’s Emissions Reduction Fund, pushing the delivery failure of the fund back up towards 10%.
New Zealand’s beef and lamb lobby on Wednesday called on the government to place a limit on the amount of carbon allowances from forestry can be used in the emissions trading scheme, as a report showed almost 100,000 hectares of farm land had been converted to forests since 2017.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Slow steel – Steelmakers need to take urgent climate action to meet the Paris Agreement, according to the IIGCC investors’ group managing $55 trillion in assets. Steel emissions account for 9% of the global total and must fall 29% by 2030 and 91% by 2050 to meet the IEA’s net zero 2050 scenario. The group said that while the goal was technically feasible, the steel industry was being too slow to act and needed to set short, mid, and long-term targets in line with the IEA report, and align their capital expenditure plans with net zero, including not investing in new, unabated production capacity. (Reuters)
Wider, deeper – Liberia has become the 114th party to submit a revised NDC to the Paris Agreement, pledging to reducing its economy-wide GHGs 64% below BAU by 2030. This is split into a an unconditional GHG cut of 10%, resulting in an absolute emissions level of 12.4 MtCO2e in 2030, with an additional 54% reduction conditional upon international support that would result in an absolute emissions level of 4.5 MtCO2e in 2030. This compares to the original NDC, which only covered limited sectors for a 15% cut below BAU levels of 5.3 MtCO2e by 2030. The country considers that some of the conditional element could be financed in full or in part, through the transfer of international carbon credits/assets or results-based financing.
*** Carbon Pulse’s NDC Tracker outlines the originally-submitted NDCs and the updated versions, featuring main mitigation elements including proposed percentage cuts, baselines and target years, and whether the pledges intend to include international carbon markets ***
Fire fatigue – As the record-breaking wildfire season in the western US continues, another blaze may be threatening a project registered under California’s WCI-linked cap-and-trade programme. As of Wednesday afternoon, the Harris Mountain fire in Montana had burned an estimated 2% of the Sieben Live Stock Improved Forest Management project, registered under the California carbon market as CAFR5397, according to project and fire boundaries analysed by research firm CarbonPlan. California regulator ARB issued the project 300,000 compliance offsets in 2019 for its first reporting period. The possible reversal at the project comes after at least three other fires have encroached on California-registered forestry offset initiatives in the Pacific Northwest this summer.
Rules ready – President Joe Biden’s administration is planning to unveil new emissions rules for cars on Thursday during an event at the White House featuring industry officials and electric vehicles, three anonymous sources told E&E News. Biden’s draft plan, details of which were first reported by the AP, would incrementally ratchet up fuel efficiency requirements through model year 2026. After that, tougher standards are expected under a separate rulemaking, sources said. President Barack Obama’s car rules, which were the strongest ever established, required the average fuel economy of new passenger cars and trucks to increase 5% each year, until they reached 51 miles per gallon by 2025. Then, President Donald Trump scaled back that rate to 1.5% annual increases, putting the auto industry on track to hit 40.5 mpg by model year 2026. A former top federal official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, previously confirmed to E&E News that Biden’s forthcoming rule would initially require 3.7% annual reductions in GHGs from new vehicles, then ramp up to 5% in 2025.
Review ready – The US Interior Department launched its official review of oil and gas leasing in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR), the agency announced Tuesday. The Biden administration found “multiple legal deficiencies” in a prior review of the program’s implementation under the Trump administration, and suspended lease sales in the ANWR in June. A public process will be used to determine the scope of the review. The Trump administration pushed through an ultimately lacklustre sale of oil and gas leases in the immense, environmentally, and culturally sensitive refuge in the final days before President Biden took office. (Climate Nexus)
Not so gas(t) – A federal court on Tuesday ordered FERC to review its approvals of two planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) export projects in South Texas, saying the agency had not adequately explained its approach in evaluating the potential impacts on climate change and environmental justice communities. The decision handed down from the US Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit remands the US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission’s authorisations, clearing the facilities for construction and operation, but it does not vacate them. That leaves the authorisations in place, allowing the developers to continue work on the facilities while the review proceeds. (Natural Gas Intelligence)
Energy rising – Germany’s H1 2021 energy use exceeded H1 2020 levels but remained 7% below pre-pandemic levels in the first half of 2019 when adjusted for temperature, according to research group AGEB. It found that energy-related CO2 emissions rose by 6.3% year-on-year. Natural gas was the most important energy source for the first time, with a share of more than 30%. While EU ETS-covered fossil power production rose considerably compared to last year, it remained below 2019 levels for all sources except natural gas, additional figures from energy industry association BDEW show. Renewables output decreased due to calm and cloudier conditions. (Clean Energy Wire)
Faster steel – UAE utility TAQA and Emirates Steel have announced a partnership to develop a large-scale green hydrogen project, enabling the first green steel produced in the MENA region.Under an MOU signed on Tuesday, TAQA and Emirates Steel will consider utilising green hydrogen to optimise clean steel production level. The MoU also opens the door for the project design to be expanded to meet the anticipated growth in international demand for low-carbon steel.
Sun and the sea – Indonesia will begin work on a 145MW floating solar power project, the largest in Southeast Asia, after state power utility Perusahaan Listrik Negara (PLN) and UAE’s Masdar agreed financing for the project on Tuesday. Indonesia aims to have 23% of its energy from renewable sources by 2025 and the government has said the country will try to reach net zero emissions by 2060 by moving away from coal. (Malaysia Now/Reuters)
FMC on GHGs – Chemical manufacturing company FMC Corporation on Wednesday announced its science-based target to reach net zero emissions by 2035. This includes reaching carbon neutrality for the Philadelphia-based company’s Scope 1-3 operations.
A walk in the park – Bloomberg profiles carbon market hedge fund executive Ulf Ek of Northlander Commodity Advisors, strolling through his local London park to reflect on the handsome rewards made for betting in late 2017 that EU carbon prices would rise sharply, having lost €12 mln shortly after the market launched in 2005. Downplaying the importance of stable prices for big-emitting industries, he said “the quicker the price goes up, the sooner they’ll invest” and noted how “greed can be a wonderful thing when it works for the benefit of the environment”. Ek has launched a new fund this year exclusively focuses on carbon markets in the EU and beyond.
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