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A group of European Parliament lawmakers from across the political spectrum have proposed amendments to legislation that seek to curb the role of speculative investors in the bloc’s carbon market.
EUAs jumped to their third record in as many days on Friday, with industry seen buying some volume ahead of the annual compliance cycle, while energy markets advanced more sharply amid reports the US has approached more countries to provide gas to Europe in the event of a conflict in Ukraine.
Establishing steeper 2030 EU emission reduction targets for hard-to-abate sectors falling outside the bloc’s ETS is expected to make cross-border transfers an increasingly attractive option for high-income nations struggling to meet goals exclusively through domestic climate action.
Brussels should more aggressively target long-haul flight emissions under ETS reforms, an alliance of four short-haul airlines and a clean transport NGO said on Friday, noting how failing to do so would leave the bulk of the EU’s aviation-induced emissions unregulated.
UK clean power providers may need to scour their entire value chains for cost savings to secure a stable long-term income stream, the government said on Friday, launching a consultation on how its veteran Contracts for Difference (CfD) scheme can continue to bring down the cost of meeting climate goals.
Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) Secretary Patrick McDonnell on Thursday filed a lawsuit to have the state’s RGGI-aligned cap-and-trade regulation take effect, arguing a legislative bureau unjustly refused to publish the rulemaking.
A summary of legislative and regulatory action on carbon pricing, clean fuel standards, and clean energy at the US subnational and federal level this week, including Washington state cap-and-trade bills, New Mexico’s proposed low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) legislation, and a Louisiana net zero plan plan.
Compliance entities shed California Carbon Allowances (CCAs) this week amid the Jan-22 contract expiry, while financial players added to their holdings after significantly reducing their net length the previous week, according to US Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) data published Friday.
A huge forestry carbon deal in Malaysia’s Sabah state that could be worth $80 billion over the next century might be in jeopardy as some lawmakers push for the agreement to be called off after a media investigation published earlier this week.
After more than a year of strong growth, Australian offset prices have come off a little this week as some traders appeared to lock in profits, but lack of regulatory guidance and the upcoming election blur the path ahead for prices.
The Scope 1 emissions of state-owned enterprises (SOEs) are responsible for the generation of at least 7.5 billion tonnes of CO2e globally every year, with emissions from Chinese SOEs, largely in the coal power sector, accounting for 69% of this total, research from an energy and climate think tank has found.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Exhausted – The carbon emissions of new cars sold in the UK dropped to the lowest level ever in 2021 thanks to the unprecedented surge in electric vehicle sales, the Guardian reports. Industry data indicated that carbon emissions from the average new car fell by 11%, to 120g/km, according to a motor lobby group. Battery electric vehicles accounted for only 12% of UK sales during 2021, but have rapidly dragged down emissions figures as they produce zero exhaust emissions. Increased sales of hybrids, which include a battery alongside an internal combustion engine, also contributed to the fall, which was previously stymied in recent years by the rise of sales in higher-emission SUVs.
Didn’t you just host COP26? – Companies are defending Britain’s net zero plans as the best way to resolve the energy crisis in the long term, after a report that close advisers to the prime minister are warning that a rethink of the policy is needed. Chief executives of SSE and the UK arm of Siemens said that a faster pivot toward renewables is the best way to cut exposure to volatile natural gas markets. The Telegraph reported Friday that a number of ministers are advocating for a slowdown in the net zero plans as households face rising energy bills. (Bloomberg)
Not guten enough – The plans by large and small utilities to decarbonise their businesses are not enough for Germany to reach its climate targets, writes WirtschaftsWoche about a report published by consultancy Oliver Wyman and the Technical University of Munich (TUM). The good news: “Everyone now has a strategy for becoming climate-neutral in the long term,” said Thomas Fritz, energy market expert and COO at Wyman Germany, “that wasn’t the case, say, five years ago.” However, these plans are not yet enough to reach the targets laid out by the German government, he added. Above all, the expansion of the companies’ own green power generation capacities is lagging behind, and while making plans is one thing, implementing the transformation is another, harder, task, said Fritz. The report assesses 24 energy suppliers: five large ones, such as E.ON or RWE, are further ahead in their transformations than the eight regional suppliers and 11 local utilities. Decarbonising heating is of special importance, said Fritz, as around half of the energy suppliers’ CO2 emissions come from the sector. (Clean Energy Wire)
Smart hydrogen – Australia’s Smart Energy Council announced ActewAGL’s hydrogen refuelling station in Canberra has been certified with renewable green hydrogen produced from 100% renewable energy and with zero carbon emissions, the industry group states. “This is the first project to be certified under the Smart Energy Council’s world-leading Zero Carbon Certification Scheme,” said John Grimes, Chief Executive of the Smart Energy Council. The Australian Capital Territory (ACT) government, the local government for Australia’s capital, is a founding partner of the Zero Carbon Certification Scheme which now has 15 founding partners and international advisors. The ACT Minister for Energy and Emissions Reduction, Shane Rattenbury, said renewable hydrogen is the only hydrogen that should be produced in Australia.
Decarb roadmaps – Japan’s Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry has formulated a sectoral technology roadmap for the transition to decarbonization with the aim of promoting transition finance, with guidelines for the power, gas, and oil sectors, the ministry announced. (METI).
Two’s a trend – Toyobo, a major Japanese textile producer, on Friday announced it will introduce an internal carbon price of 10,000 yen ($87.06) per tonne of CO2 on future decisions on capital investment in facilities with fluctuating CO2 emissions. The measure will be introduced on Apr. 1, the start of Japan’s next financial year, and is part of plans to reduce its GHG output and achieve net zero emissions by 2050. That is the second Japanese company announcing it will implement an internal carbon price this week, following Sumitomo Osaka Cement on Wednesday.
Rare earth bullishness – The world’s reliance on China for rare earth elements has been gradually easing, but the country is expected to continue increasing production, exports, and pricing for the commodity group through 2022, driven by increasing global demand for clean energy, S&P Global Platts reports. China has long held a strong influence on the rare earths market, but its share of global output and reserves has decreased after years of extensive mining. The rare earth elements comprise the 15 lanthanides as well as scandium and yttrium, many of which are essential for electric vehicles, magnets and other clean energy technologies.
Me-thane and the gimme gimmes – A relatively small number of major methane emissions events are responsible for as much as 12% of global methane pollution from oil and gas operations, satellite data show. Methane is a far more potent, but less long-lasting, heat-trapping gas than CO2 and research published Thursday in Science shows staunching emissions from these “super” polluters represents a cost-effective way to mitigate global warming in the short term. According to the Washington Post, most of the major emissions releases documented in the study came from fossil fuel operations in Russia, Turkmenistan, and Iran, as well as the US and parts of the Middle East. (Climate Nexus)
Testification trepidation – Board members from four major oil companies are refusing to testify before the US Congress, the House Oversight and Reform Committee said Thursday. The representatives from Exxon, Chevron, BP, and Shell had been called to testify as part of the committee’s investigation of those firms’ role in spreading climate disinformation – an investigation that draws clear comparisons to investigations of the tobacco industry’s misdeeds. “The Big Oil companies should consider the March  hearing their last chance to cooperate,” Chair Carolyn Maloney (D) said in a statement. “If their board members refuse to appear, they should expect further action from this Committee.” (Climate Nexus)
Hangar help – Phillips 66 Aviation, a refiner and national top supplier of jet fuels and avgas to private, commercial, and military aviation, this week announced its carbon offset programme to its FBOs and flight operators. Done in partnership with 4AIR, the programme identifies and obtains carbon credits that fund specific projects to offset carbon emissions, including from jet fuels, avgas, and gasoline and diesel emissions generated by vehicles and operations equipment. (Hydrocarbon Engineering)
Crash fest dummies – The COVID-19 pandemic has seen two pernicious trends emerge as to how Americans are getting around their country: public transit is struggling with a reduced number of paying customers, while there has been a sharp increase in car crash deaths. The shuttering of businesses, the rise of working from home, and a fear of contracting the coronavirus saw public transport use plummet across the US – commuter rail alone reported a 79% decline in ridership in the year to Sep. 2020. Despite a slight resurgence in 2021, trips taken on all modes of public transit are still around half of what they were before the pandemic, federal government figures show. Meanwhile, transport officials have also been alarmed by a surging number of car-related deaths. The first half of 2021 saw more than 20,000 people die in car crashes, according to federal government data, up 18% on the previous year and the highest since 2006. Pete Buttigieg, the US transportation secretary, called the death toll, which is claiming the lives of about 3,000 people a month, “a national crisis” as he unveiled a new road safety strategy last week. Transport experts say that these trends, while complex and not necessarily linked, are slowing progress on road safety while also hampering efforts to improve the livability of cities and to reduce air pollution and GHG emissions from the US transportation system, which is the country’s largest contributor to dangerous climate change. (Guardian)
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