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Germany’s newly-formed coalition government has provisionally agreed a deal to introduce conditional national measures to ensure the carbon price applied to its emitters under the EU ETS will not fall below €60 in the long term, according to a document published on Wednesday.
EUA prices leaped by more than 5% to a new record on Wednesday after Germany’s incoming coalition government agreed a deal to take action to ensure the carbon price applied to its emitters under the EU ETS will not fall below €60 in the long term.
Members of the European Parliament put little pressure on the EU to raise its climate ambition further in a disjoined debate on Wednesday, with some lawmakers insisting China needs to do more to cut its emissions while others said the bloc must set a better example.
A group of technology companies have begun work on a large-scale direct air capture (DAC) facility that could capture and store as much as 1 MtCO2 annually off the coast of western Norway.
California carbon allowance prices tumbled by as much as 14% after the oversubscribed Q4 Western Climate Initiative (WCI) auction cleared at a record but well below the secondary market.
California doled out 1.7 mln compliance offsets this week while CCO prices receded from recent record highs.
The Paris Agreement’s newly-established carbon market mechanism could take as long as three years to take shape, according to experts assessing the UN’s pace after countries approved Article 6 rules governing future international carbon markets at the COP26 summit earlier this month.
The US-led release of millions of barrels of oil from strategic reserves by major consumer nations this week goes in the opposite direction to what climate experts say will help shift the world off fossil fuels.
A primary sector group has proposed two potential carbon pricing mechanisms for New Zealand’s agriculture sector that might keep farmers out of the nation’s emissions trading scheme, though both options would have almost no impact on emissions levels.
Only 10% of the world’s largest 140 energy companies have 2050 climate targets aligned with a 1.5C global warming pathway, according to the first assessment of energy transition plans since the COP26 Glasgow UN climate negotiations published on Wednesday.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Off the table – The British government has shelved plans to extend the UK ETS to buildings and transport after a backlash from senior government ministers fearing a cost of living crunch, the Telegraph reports, citing an anonymous government source. The plans will still seek to bring in shipping and waste and will leave the door open to including land use in future once an emissions auditing system is in place. A consultation on the proposal is due out in spring, having at one point been due out this summer. The Times reported in July that the annual cost of heating a home could rise by as much as £170 under the plans, and the cost of running a car could rise by more than £100. EU plans to introduce a new ETS for buildings and heating from 2026 face a similar backlash by lawmakers on the continent.
Polling peak – Public concern in the UK over climate change and pollution rose to be the leading cause for worry during the COP26 climate summit, according to an Ipsos MORI poll that reveals climate change and environmental issues surged to its highest level since 1988 this month. One in five people said environmental concerns are the single biggest issue for the country, with 40% choosing it as one of their top three issues of concern. The poll shows a fairly even distribution of climate concern across age groups, genders and political affiliation. (i newspaper)
Funding unrest – The European Commission’s proposed social climate fund to protect vulnerable people from changes brought by the energy transition – and in particular a new ETS for transport and buildings -is not fit for purpose, according to researchers and MEPs. Think-tank Jacques Delors Institute said the new ETS risks worsening the social challenges associated with the energy transition in return for only limited decarbonisation benefits and urged the EU to use additional revenues from the original ETS to fill it further. (EurActiv)
Glass gifting – Germany’s environment ministry is funding two projects researching alternatives to fossil fuel use in its EU ETS-covered glass industry. Glass manufacturer Schott, based in Mainz, will receive around €4.5 mln in total as part of the ministry’s Decarbonisation in Industry programme, which aims to reduce emissions in energy-intensive industries through the use of innovative technologies. (Clean Energy Wire)
Rock tax – The Gibraltar government is planning a carbon tax on households with three or more vehicles as part of wide-ranging plans to reduce emissions on the Rock over the next decade. The policy is set out in the recently published climate change strategy document, which also outlines measures to incentivise the use of electric and hybrid cars. ($, Gibraltar Chronicle)
Road to net zero – Vietnam is looking to reduce the share of fossil fuels, including natural gas and coal, in its future energy mix, while renewables will rise in line with its recent net zero pledge and as securing global funding for fossil fuel projects becomes harder, S&P Global Platts reports. The Vietnamese government on Nov. 19 held a conference to discuss possible changes to its draft power development plan over 2021-2030 with a vision to 2045, called PDP8, which provides the road map for its power sector including an exhaustive list of proposed projects.
Viva net zero – Australia’s Viva Energy said on Wednesday it aims to achieve net zero carbon emissions from all its non-refining operations by 2030 and committed to a 10% reduction in emissions intensity from its Geelong refinery by the end of the decade, Reuters reports. Viva operates the Geelong refinery in Victoria, one of two remaining oil refineries in Australia, and is the biggest branded retail fuel supplier through its Shell Coles Express petrol stations. The fuel supplier said in a strategy briefing that it was targeting net zero on all direct and indirect emissions, otherwise called scope 1 and 2, across its non-refining businesses by 2030, and at all its operations by 2050.
Step by step – China’s State Grid Corp. has announced another step forward in the nation’s ongoing power market reform, as it will allow companies to trade all types of spot power across provincial borders, something which had previously only been possible for renewable energy. However, five southern provinces serviced by China Southern Power Grid will not be given access to the new opportunity, according to China Securities Journal.
Bring in the profs – The White House announced a new energy division on Wednesday under its Office of Science and Technology Policy. Sally Benson, a professor and energy expert at Stanford University, was appointed as deputy director for energy and chief strategist for the energy transition. Benson, along with Costa Samaras – an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Carnergie Mellon University, will support President Biden’s science adviser, Eric Lander, in clean energy policy. In an interview with the Washington Post, Benson said that one of her top priorities is ensuring that a swift transition to a clean energy economy is fair and equitable to all Americans, rather than leaving behind some workers in the oil and gas industry and other polluting sectors.
Woody wonder – British utility Drax is considering building a biomass plant in the US whose power generation it says will absorb more emissions than it creates, in addition to its BECCS facility planned to open in the UK in 2027. “It’s very early stages, but we might go ahead and build another project in the US … already we see there are corporates who are interested in buying negative emissions,” said CEO Will Gardiner. (Reuters)
Removing doubts – The Bank of Montreal has pre-purchased 1,000 tonnes of carbon removals through DAC technology for an undisclosed price. The purchase was facilitated via London-based consultancy and carbon credit rating service BeZero Carbon, and the carbon removal is planned to be delivered by a large-scale facility utilising Carbon Engineering’s DAC technology. Carbon Engineering’s DAC technology is the only solution to qualify for BeZero’s highest AAA+ rating.
Offsetting Marine – Opus Marine, a German-based marine services company, has signed an agreement with Geneva-based Project Net Zero to purchase carbon offsets to compensate for its fleet’s CO2 emissions starting in Jan. 2022. The carbon offsets will come from projects such as renewable energy and reforestation and offset emissions from the eight offshore vessels owned by the company. “Being deeply involved in the offshore wind energy, we are proud to be the first ship owner compensating the entire fuel emissions of our fleet,” Bernhard Messer, managing director of Opus, said in a statement. (Bunkerspot)
SCIENCE & TECH
Higher than the sun – Space launch costs are dropping rapidly. Solar panels are cheaper than ever. Could space-based solar power soon be price-competitive with nuclear? Promoted as a zero-carbon solution, classified military space planes have also been conducting experiments into wireless power transmission. The FT looks at whether space-based solar power can move beyond science fiction.
Believe the hype – COP26 in Glasgow – billed as the world’s last, best chance to limit global warming below potentially devastating levels – generated far more online attention than other recent milestone climate news events, Axios reports. However, this was largely due to the volume of coverage, as individual stories saw a decline in interactions on social media as the summit went on. The trend speaks to the current state of climate news coverage: The issue is getting much more widespread policy and media attention, but it’s becoming harder to get the public to pay close attention. Stories published about COP26 over a three-week period generated 6.5 mln interactions on social media (likes, comments, shares), according to exclusive data from NewsWhip. That compares to 2.7 mln for the landmark 2018 IPCC 1.5C report and 1.9 mln for 2019’s COP25 in Madrid. On a per-story basis, interaction for COP26 was much lower – 37 per story versus 247 for COP25 and 1,070 for the 2018 IPCC report. The lack of engagement per story may have been at least partly due to the sheer volume of COP26 content, Axios said. Interest in this year’s conference peaked in its first few days (Nov. 1-2) when more than 100 world leaders gathered in Glasgow, according to data from Keyhole and Google Trends, but it tumbled during the remainder of the summit as topics got more technical. Not even the final, historic agreement to move away from fossil fuels pushed numbers up on the summit’s last day – the 161,000 interactions were the lowest of the entire event.
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