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Negotiations to ramp up EU climate action are set to take on an increasingly social dimension amid warnings that the plans risk worsening the bloc’s treatment of women and widening its rich-poor divide.
EUAs wiped out early losses on Wednesday and rose to a new five-week high as energy markets posted new records. Carbon is now within sight of its record high of €58.64.
Germany-based utility Uniper reported a major rebound in its ETS-covered emissions for H1 amid an easing of pandemic restrictions and as more of its facilities came online.
South Korea’s monthly CO2 auction cleared on Wednesday at a price 20% above July’s sale, but still failed to keep up with the secondary market, where traders expect prices to rise over the next few months as the ETS this week entered its third phase.
Next year’s California’s WCI-linked cap-and-trade floor price expectations narrowed in July as inflation tempered after seeing significant year-on-year gains in prior months.
California doled out more than 260,000 new compliance-grade offsets to a pair of mine methane capture (MMC) projects, as total issuances slowed from recent levels ahead of the November 2021 carbon market true-up deadline, according to state data published Wednesday.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Coal support – Brazil is offering a lifeline to its coal industry even as the world’s scientists make it crystal clear that fossil fuel use must stop to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Brazil’s Mines and Energy Ministry has this week published details of a new programme that would support the coal sector through 2050 in the country’s southern states, where mines are major employers and thermal power plants provide substantial generation capacity. (Bloomberg)
Coal comeback – GHG output from the US energy industry are on track to surge the most in three decades as utilities increasingly turn to coal to power the economic recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic. CO2 emissions will swell 7% this year to 4.89 billion tonnes, according to government data released Tuesday, the biggest increase since 1990. Coal’s share of the US power mix will increase to 23%, up from 20% last year, as high natural gas prices prompt utilities to burn more of the dirtiest fuel. (Bloomberg)
Flight flutter – US President Joe Biden’s administration is quietly discussing a target date of 2050 for weaning aircraft off fossil fuels as part of the White House’s broader push to fight climate change, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. The administration is looking at a 2050 target for airlines to fly on 100% jet fuel from renewable sources, said two sources, who spoke anonymously to be candid about the discussion. In a subsequent interview with Axios, White House climate advisor Gina McCarthy confirmed that conversations are ongoing with the airline industry, and she cast a possible deal as a potential part of what the US might be able to bring to the table at the COP26 UN climate summit in Glasgow in November.
All’s well that ends in the Well – Renewable fuels company Strategic Biofuels on Wednesday announced that its CCS Test Well Program was successfully completed at the firm’s Louisiana Green Fuels Project, with a schedule to achieve full commercial operation in late 2025. The LGF plant will convert forestry waste feedstock into cleaner-burning renewable diesel and is projected to produce 127.6 mln L of renewable fuel per year once in operation. LGF has secured a 20-year agreement with an established, bankable feedstock supplier for delivery of compliant feedstock to the plant, and will ship the fuels by rail to California through a 20-year offtake agreement, which includes purchase of all the site’s Renewable Fuel Standard and California Low Carbon Fuel Standard credits.
Hydrogen buddies – Saudi Arabia’s Cabinet of ministers have approved an MoU between the Saudi and German energy ministries for cooperation in the hydrogen field, Reuters reports, citing state news agency SPA. The CEO of Aramco, Amin Nasser, said on Monday the Saudi Arabian state oil producer is looking for offtake agreements for hydrogen in its key markets to expand its output and sees strong potential for growth.
Coal rehab – Germany’s federal government has released the structural aid to six coal mining states, progressing its coal phaseout programme by signing administrative agreements to allow the start of €1.09 bln in payments through 2038 into projects for sustainable structural change and improving economic infrastructure. (Clean Energy Wire)
Sunshine nation – Japan is considering mandating the installation of solar panels on newly built homes as part of efforts to reach net zero by 2050, according to the Mainichi newspaper. The government is considering a 60% solar coverage target by 2030.
Everyone’s doing it – Australia’s Origin Energy and Japanese shipping firm Mitsui OSK Lines (MOL) have been the latest major companies to strike up a partnership to explore developing a green ammonia supply chain. The two will cooperate in working towards producing renewables-based ammonia in Australia at a scale that would allow it to export for use in shipping fuel.
Neutrality bites – Bloomberg profiles the burgeoning trade in selling fossil fuels bundled with carbon offsets, examining oil major Total’s deal last year to sell LNG to Chinese firm CNOOC. That trade included REDD offsets from Carbon Green Africa’s Zimbabwean project sold via intermediary South Pole. Total said such offsetting cannot be considered as a substitute for direct emissions reductions by corporates, but as a complement. South Pole boss Renat Heuberger stands by the sale to support the work in Zimbabwe but said it troubles him Total is using offsets to make carbon neutral claims and said his company instead advises clients to use such offsets to take responsibility for their emissions. Total said South Pole never raised objections over using the term carbon neutral. Read Carbon Pulse’s reporting of the deal from October last year.
Air Brussels – EU institutions will soon be able to spend millions more on private jet flights for their top officials. Politico reports that even as the bloc pledges to slash emissions to meet its climate targets, Brussels has increased the amount it anticipates spending on ‘air taxi’ flights for officials to €13.5 million, according to a document on the EU’s tender database. The new four-year contract — which will cover flights for the European Commission, the Parliament, the Council and the External Action Service — replaces the existing five-year arrangement that set €10.71 million as the maximum value that could be spent on private jets between 2016 and 2021.
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