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California’s Newsom projected to survive recall election, keeping carbon reduction programmes intact
Governor Gavin Newsom (D) is expected to survive a recall election that could have critical impacts on the state’s climate policy, as public polling shows him with a significant advantage going into Tuesday’s vote.
The California Senate failed to pass a bill on Friday that would have enshrined the state’s economy-wide CO2 neutrality goal into law and increased the jurisdiction’s direct GHG reduction goal.
The 11 RGGI states announced a preliminary programme review schedule on Monday for the Northeast US power sector carbon market, with the first workshop to occur next month and the process expected to stretch into 2022.
Utility Dominion Energy will need to provide additional comments later this month to support its RGGI procurement plan after an environmental group successfully petitioned the Virginia State Corporation Commission (SCC) to suspend a ruling on the case.
California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) values continued their bearish September stretch on Monday, falling to levels not seen since the initial outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic.
China will develop a carbon futures market in a bid to establish more funding channels for emissions cuts, said an official statement from the nation’s Cabinet, which also indicated a potential expansion in the types of projects that could be eligible to generate offsets for the national emissions trading scheme.
A new fund launched on Monday that aims to invest in forest planting on marginal land in New Zealand to profit from the nation’s rapidly rising carbon price.
Another carbon trader has left BP to join a recently established emissions desk in Singapore, operated by a major commodity trading house.
The UK pushed Monday for global shipping emissions to reach zero by 2050, a move that would significantly increase stringency from the current 50% goal under the UN’s International Maritime Organisation (IMO), which foresees revising its emissions strategy in 2023.
Carbon prices made a sharp recovery from Friday’s sell-off before giving up almost all of their gains on Monday afternoon amid profit-taking, sources reported.
EUA prices are not high enough to drive near term fuel-switching at power plants in Europe but are instead staying at levels that will support gas-fired power margins next year, according to bank research.
A London-based fund that focuses on compliance-grade carbon recorded a solid return in August, as it entered a fifth regional emissions market.
Indonesia has terminated its decade-long deforestation partnership with Norway after a lengthy delay in the first results-based payment, which the European country had pledged to make last year.
Agricultural commodities merchant Louis Dreyfus Company (LDC) is launching a ‘carbon solutions’ platform to facilitate its decarbonisation efforts, the Rotterdam-headquartered firm announced Monday.
Standardised CORSIA-eligible offset contracts on the voluntary carbon market (VCM) came down from record highs in recent days, while nature-based voluntary emissions reduction (VER) values rose to retest the long-standing premium that evaporated this month.
Job listings this week
- *Carbon Project Development Technician (Gold Standard/Verra/Other), Nexus for Development – Phnom Penh
- *Value Change Initiative Director, SustainCERT – Amsterdam
- *Operations Director, SustainCERT – Amsterdam
- *Finance Director, SustainCERT – Amsterdam
- *Quality and Compliance Manager, SustainCERT – Remote (Europe)
- *Value Change Business Development and Key Account Senior Manager, SustainCERT – New York/Boston/Amsterdam
- *Senior Data Engineer/Scientist, SustainCERT – Luxembourg
- *Intern/Junior Support, Value Change Initiative, SustainCERT – Amsterdam
- *GHG Project Manager, California Bioenergy LLC – Costa Mesa or Visalia, California
- Director, Cumberland Forest Project, The Nature Conservancy – Charlottesville, VA/Remote
- Senior Technical Advisor or Manager, Supply Chain Innovations, Verra – Washington DC/Remote
- Manager, Technologies for Natural Climate Solutions, Verra – Washington DC/Remote
- Manager, Market Development, American Forest Foundation – Washington DC/US Remote
- Portfolio & Partnerships Manager, Nature-Based Solutions Business Unit, EcoAct – Paris
- Banking Lawyer (Asia Focus), ClientEarth – Berlin/Brussels/London
- Carbon Offset Procurement Specialist, Abatable – London
- Head of Climate and Sustainability Solutions, NAB – Melbourne
- Senior Strategy and Policy Officer, Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank – Beijing
- Head of Carbon Neutrality, World Economic Forum – Beijing
- Forest Carbon Scientist, Carbon Direct – Remote
Or click here to see all our listings
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Sideline show – Britain, host of the COP26 climate talks, is planning to hold a high-level meeting on the sidelines of the UN general assembly in New York on Sep. 20, with the aim of breaking the global impasse on climate action before the November summit in Glasgow. Around 30 nations will be invited, including top emitter China, though experts warned that the UK’s move to slash its foreign aid budget and failure to convince others to raise their climate finance had stripped it of much of its power to influence Beijing. (Guardian)
Organisation for Environmental Compromise and De-escalation – The OECD is seeking a new global plan for carbon prices that it hopes will prevent trade wars from erupting between countries with different green policies. According to the FT, the Paris-based club of nations aims to follow its success in forging an initial agreement between countries on corporate taxes with a similar approach to carbon prices. This would allow economies such as the EU to move fast on limiting emissions while imposing reasonable carbon border taxes on imports from heavier polluting countries. Mathias Cormann, the secretary-general of the OECD, called on the EU to back the plan at last weekend’s meeting of EU finance ministers, according to people present. OECD officials are privately critical of the EU approach of high internal prices and a CBAM imposed on its trading partners, fearing it could lead to border carbon taxes being too high if they only take into account explicit carbon prices imposed by other economies. Instead, the OECD wants the EU’s approach to include implicit carbon taxes used by other countries that have different carbon-reducing measures, such as banning coal-fired power stations. Countries and economists would use a voluntary framework to agree on how to best price both carbon taxes and other forms of environmental regulation. That, in turn, could help drive consent for an international framework for carbon border taxes, and so avoid potential trade battles. But critics argue that implicit carbon prices don’t offer emitters and investors the same level of clarity and certainty as explicit ones.
Migration situation – The World Bank’s updated Groundswell report released today finds that climate change, an increasingly potent driver of migration, could force 216 mln people across six world regions to move within their countries by 2050. Hotspots of internal climate migration could emerge as early as 2030 and continue to spread and intensify by 2050. The report also finds that immediate and concerted action to reduce global emissions, and support green, inclusive, and resilient development, could reduce the scale of climate migration by as much as 80%. Climate change is a powerful driver of internal migration because of its impacts on people’s livelihoods and loss of livability in highly exposed locations. By 2050, Sub-Saharan Africa could see as many as 86 mln internal climate migrants; East Asia and the Pacific, 49 mln; South Asia, 40 mln; North Africa, 19 mln; Latin America, 17 mln; and Eastern Europe and Central Asia, 5 mln.
Unrest raised – Spain’s finance minister Nadia Calvino told her EU counterparts this weekend that the EU needed to avoid situations such as the one we are living right now with a very strong increase of carbon prices and also gas prices. She said this was “obviously creating unrest in our populations” and pushing governments to undertake price-shielding measures. Spaniards have taken to the streets in recent weeks to protest high power prices, which have kept rising despite the government temporarily suspending taxes on electricity. (Politico)
Emergency assistance – Greek electricity bills are to be subsidised with the sum of €30/MWh for the first 300 KWh of consumption each month, under a plan to protect consumers set in motion by PM Kyriakos Mitsotakis, Environment and Energy Minister Kostas Skrekas said Monday. In an announcement outlining the government’s decisions to deal with an anticipated rise in electricity rates due to higher natural gas and EU carbon prices, Skrekas said the subsidy will be given to all low-voltage power grid consumers, regardless of their provider, while the Public Power Corporation will expand its existing discount policy to fully cover the price rise for the average household with a consumption of up to 600 kWh/month. According to the ministry, these measures will offset almost all the prices rises for the average household up to the end of the year. Skrekas has also called an emergency meeting on Tuesday to further clarify the support measures, to be attended by the Regulatory Authority for Energy (RAE) and all power providers, at which he will ask for their assistance to offset the impact of rising energy costs on consumers by absorbing a part of this increase. The support for consumers will be financed by the Special Support Fund for the Energy Transition, to which the sum of at least €150 mln will be diverted from the increased revenue for Greece in 2021 from auctioning EUAs. (National Herald)
Hurry up – Governments in the EU should quickly approve a package of reforms aimed at deepening emissions reductions in order to help the region avert future spikes in energy prices, according to think-tank Bruegel. Gas, power, and carbon prices are hitting fresh records in the 27-nation bloc as supply is tight and the economy is rebounding. At the same time, an EU proposal to toughen climate policies this decade boosted investors’ appetite for emissions permits. To avoid future disruptions, Bruegel says policy makers should promptly approve and implement a set of draft laws proposed in July to boost the EU carbon-cut goal to at least 55% by 2030 from 1990 levels. “Clearer commitments from governments to introduce low-carbon energy sources, for example by financing the necessary infrastructure and committing to substantial carbon prices in all sectors, could help move away from this precarious balance.” To alleviate the impact on the most vulnerable in the short term, EU governments could return extra revenues from sales of carbon permits and value-added tax on energy to citizens in the form of per-capita lump sums, the think-tank added. “Member states should also take action to avoid a supply crisis in the coming winter.” (Bloomberg)
Gambia gambit – The African nation of Gambia has submitted an updated NDC to the UN, setting a target to cut emissions 47.2% under BAU levels by 2030, up slightly from its original pledge of 45.4%. All but 2.6% of that effort comes as a conditional target dependent on international support to the Least Developed Nation, with the government hoping this could be financed under Article 6 international emissions trade deals. But the nation massively upped its projected BAU level to 6.6 MtCO2, from 3.9 Mt in the original pledge as it included the entire AFOLU sector and waste this time around. Gambia said this means its targeted emission cuts would result in emissions of 3.3 Mt in 2030. See Carbon Pulse’s NDC Tracker for more details.
Airline vow – Association of Asia Pacific Airlines (AAPA) members have joined the growing list of global carriers committed to net zero carbon emissions by 2050, with the target to be met through fuel efficiency improvements, operations and infrastructure initiatives, carbon offsets, and promoting sustainable aviation fuels. Some AAPA members including Singapore Airlines, Cathay Pacific, Japan Airlines, and ANA Holdings had already announced 2050 net zero plans. (Reuters)
New business – The Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) is among those shortlisted by the Clean Energy Regulator to participate in the next phase of the development of the Australian Carbon Exchange, it announced Monday. The regulator said last week 13 of 27 initial applicants had been invited to submit a request for proposal. The final partner or partners will be chosen next year, while the platform is expected to go live at some stage in 2023.
Pumped storage – The World Bank has approved a $380 mln loan to develop Indonesia’s first pumped storage hydropower plant, aiming to improve power generation capacity during peak demand, while supporting the country’s energy transition and decarbonisation goals, Mirage News reports. The financing will support the construction of the Upper Cisokan pumped storage hydropower plant, with an expected capacity of 1,040 MW. The facility will have significant power generation capacity to meet peak demand, provide significant storage capacity to enable a larger penetration of renewables, and alleviate the pressure of increasing transmission loads on the grid.
Carbon neutral LNG – Japanese energy company Inpex announced that it has made carbon neutral arrangements for a shipment from the Ichthys LNG project in Australia’s Northern Territory to be supplied to Japan’s Toho Gas. The shipment of carbon-neutral LNG is expected to arrive at the Chita LNG Terminal on Sep. 18. According to Inpex, the carbon footprint of the shipment has been offset using carbon credits applied to GHGs across the entire natural gas supply chain, including upstream production, liquefaction, transportation, regasification, marketing, and combustion by customers in Japan.
JERA invests in hydrogen – JERA, Japan’s largest power generation company, has entered into an investment agreement and shareholders’ agreement with Hydrogenious LOHC Technologies through its subsidiary, JERA Americas, to invest in Hydrogenious LOHC, the company says. The agreement is a joint investment with Temasek, Chevron Technology Ventures, and Pavilion Capital, and JERA Americas is a lead investor with an investment of approximately €15 mln. Hydrogenious LOHC, which is headquartered in Germany, develops hydrogen storage and transportation technology.
No from Joe – US Congressional Democrats will need to start bridging major differences over climate policy and spending this week if they want to make headway toward their goal of passing a sweeping budget reconciliation bill by the end of the month. On multiple talk shows Sunday, Senate Energy and Natural Resources Chair Joe Manchin (D) said he would not vote for the $3.5 trillion plan and suggested it should be scaled back to no more than $1.5 trillion. Manchin also dismissed Democrats’ chief proposal to combat climate change, an effort focused on clean energy payments to utilities, saying it “makes no sense at all”. Manchin’s opposition is not only significant as the Energy chair, but also because Democrats cannot afford to lose a single vote in the 50-50 Senate if they plan to pass the filibuster-proof reconciliation plan. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema, also a conservative Democrat, has signalled some concern with the proposed spending levels. (E&E News)
West Coast wind – The California legislature last week passed a bill that would direct state regulators to lay the groundwork for developing wind energy resources off the West Coast. AB-525, which is now headed to the governor’s desk, instructs regulators to create 2030 and 2045 goals for offshore wind, as well as a broader strategic plan for developing the resource. Experts say the bill will help organise the moving pieces needed to set up the state’s offshore wind sector. (Utility Dive)
SCIENCE & TECH
Hot topic – A new report by BloombergNEF – Hot Spots for Renewable Industrial Heat Across the G-20 – written in partnership with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), identifies and ranks the leading markets within the G-20 for low-carbon heat deployment. China, France, Italy, Germany, South Korea & the UK were identified as the best G-20 nations in which to pursue renewable heat today. The US and India – which are big markets for low/medium temperature industrial heat – ranked much lower. Overall, more needs to be done to improve the policy and economic environment for renewable heat around the world, BNEF said, adding “industrial heat is an essential part of industrial processes, yet little-to-no progress has been made to decarbonise this area. What’s more, it must be addressed to achieve net-zero targets. As large companies with strong emission reduction targets complete their transition to low-carbon electricity, heat is going to be their next big area of focus.”
Electric dreams – Electric vehicle drivers in the UK could save £351 a year on their energy bills by switching to a dedicated EV energy tariff, according to new research from Love my EV, an EV price comparison site. This amounts to £92 mln a year in total savings across all EV owners who are offered a lower price for the electricity used at night when EV charging takes place. Drivers told the researchers that the reason that they have not signed up is because they either didn’t know enough about these tariffs (24%) or how to compare them to find their best options (20%). A third of EV drivers haven’t changed energy provider or tariff since purchasing their vehicle, which could see them paying far more than they need to for their power, the report says. (ECN)
Been told by Gold – A controversial new coal mine planned in Britain’s Cumbria has been condemned by the carbon offsetting organisation it had hoped would give it the veneer of green credibilty. West Cumbria Mining (WCM) was planning to win acceptance as the world’s first net zero mine as it offset any residual emissions with carbon credits certified by the Gold Standard. But the Geneva-based foundation has written to Friends of the Earth saying it is “strongly against the further extraction of fossil fuels”, including any from the mine to provide coking coal for local steel production.
MooLoo training – A toilet-training programme designed to help treat cow urine in a more sustainable way could help minimise the environmental impact of toxic substances produced by the waste, Bloomberg reports. While discussion of the climate effects from the meat and dairy industries has largely focused on methane emissions from cattle, cow urine is another area of concern for both air and land health, according to scientists from the University of Auckland and the Leibniz Institute for Farm Animal Biology in Germany. Cow urine has a high concentration of nitrate, a substance that, as it breaks down in contact with soil, leads to land contamination and pollution of nearby waterways if not managed properly. It also produces nitrous oxide, a GHG 300 times more potent than CO2. Combined with feces, the mixture creates ammonia, another contributor to toxic emissions. The programme for calves is not dissimilar to how young children are potty-trained, according to the scientists. In a trial of 16 cows, researchers rewarded them with food when they successfully urinated in a specific latrine pen, called a “MooLoo.” However, if the cattle let go too early, they were squirted with cold water. “If we could collect 10% or 20% of urinations, it would be sufficient to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and nitrate leaching significantly,” said Douglas Elliffe, a professor of psychology at the University of Auckland who helped design the program. “We’ve shown proof of concept that we can train cows and train them easily.”
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