CP Daily: Monday February 21, 2022

Published 02:28 on February 22, 2022  /  Last updated at 02:28 on February 22, 2022  /  Newsletters  /  No Comments

A daily summary of our news plus bite-sized updates from around the world.

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TOP STORY

VCM Report: CORSIA-grade VERs hit four-month lows, nature-based credits extend slide

Voluntary emissions reduction (VER) prices on standardised, exchange-traded contracts plumbed multi-month lows this week, with traders citing a correction for last year’s bull run and adjusted vintage rules for a nature-based contract as reasons for the sell off.

EMEA

EU carbon border plans remain sticking point in relations with Africa, experts say

The EU’s proposed carbon border adjustment measure (CBAM) was kept on the sidelines of a summit between the EU and the African Union late last week, but experts believe the levy is likely to cast a shadow on trade relations between the two continents.

Euro Markets: EUAs return early gains as energy market weighs Ukraine crisis

EUAs gave up most of their early strong gains on Monday after the most bullish auction result of the year so far suggested demand remains robust, while energy markets were mixed as a growing body of experts believe Russia may be moving towards formally annexing part of Ukraine.

Ukraine emitters warn of ETS compliance risks

Ukrainian emitters have warned that a number of factors are impeding their ability to comply with measures intended to pave the way towards launching a national carbon market.

More firms open UK carbon market trading accounts

Companies have opened eight more trading accounts in the UK Emissions Trading Scheme so far this year, government data shows, bringing the total to 136.

ASIA PACIFIC

With national scheme on hold, more Chinese local authorities explore own offsetting options

A local government in southwestern China has become the latest to issue its own forestry carbon credits with a trading platform in the works, as the ongoing lack of a national offsetting mechanism pushes regional officials to explore other options.

INTERNATIONAL

World “very far” from 2C warming limit, fossil fuel demand seen rising further -analysts

The world is “very far away” from the required trajectory to limit global warming to 2C by 2050, analysts told a conference on Monday, flagging a significant disconnect between UN climate goals and the reality of the infrastructure and policies that countries are currently operating with.

ICYM

ANALYSIS: A good vintage? The voluntary carbon market’s longevity problem

The voluntary carbon market’s (VCM) effectiveness as a force in climate action is being called into question, with more than half of credits retired in 2021 representing emissions cuts made more than five years earlier.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Carbon Pulse has teamed up with CME Group to provide its clients with regular updates on the global carbon markets. Check out these briefs for the latest insights on pressing trends and events impacting markets, published every other week. Registration required

CONFERENCE

North American Carbon World (NACW) 2022 – Apr. 6-8 in Anaheim, California – presented by the Climate Action Reserve: Learn, collaborate, and network on carbon markets and climate policy at NACW, North America’s largest carbon event. NACW features comprehensive and up-to-date information, key thought leaders advancing innovative climate solutions, and the best networking opportunities with colleagues in the business, government, nonprofit, and academic sectors. NACW will dive into the status and future of North American carbon markets, climate policies, innovative solutions, natural climate solutions, net zero pledges and beyond, transportation and LCFS markets. www.nacwconference.com

INTERNATIONAL

Getting ready – The US and Egypt on Monday launched a joint working group to prepare for the next UN climate change summit, COP27, that will take place in Sharm el-Sheikh this November. Special US presidential envoy for climate John Kerry, who landed in Cairo Sunday, told a news briefing with Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukryother that other world tensions, including the ongoing Ukraine crisis, “will not change the reality of what is happening every day with respect to our climate,“ and called climate change an “international threat for all of us.” Kerry also spoke at a live-streamed event from the American University in Cairo on the future of international climate action in the lead up to COP27. (Reuters)

AIM and ignite – The US and UAE are seeking an additional $4 bln of global investment in an initiative launched last year to make agriculture resilient to climate change and reduce its emissions, a US official said on Sunday. The two countries launched the Agriculture Innovation Mission for Climate (AIM for Climate) at COP26 climate talks in November, aiming for $4 bln investment from governments and non-government innovation partners between 2021-25. AIM now wants $8 bln in climate-smart investment commitments by the November COP27 climate talks in Egypt, US Secretary of Agriculture Thomas Vilsack told Reuters ahead of AIM’s first ministerial meeting in Dubai on Monday.

EMEA

Russian recognition – Russian President Vladimir Putin recognised two breakaway regions in eastern Ukraine as independent late on Monday and ordered the Russian army to launch what Moscow called a peacekeeping operation into the area, upping the ante in a crisis the West fears could unleash a major war. It was not immediately clear whether the Russian military action was the start of an invasion of Ukraine that the US and its allies have warned about for weeks. There was no word on the size of the force Putin was dispatching, when they would cross the border and exactly what their mission would be. (Reuters)

Treaty takedown – Five energy groups are suing four European governments for almost €4 bln over the stymying of fossil energy projects as climate change concerns rise, using a secretive process based on the international Energy Charter Treaty. Energy and exploration companies including Germany’s RWE and Uniper and the UK’s Rockhopper have launched cases against the Netherlands, Italy, Poland, and Slovenia due to decisions to either mandate the closure of coal power plants, prevent the development of specific projects, or require an environmental impact assessment. (FT)

ESG fears – Companies are misleading investors about their green and sustainable investing products, the FT reported. It said there is a growing realisation among retail and other, larger investors in the UK, the US and across Europe that some of the vast sums of money they have poured into green and ethically-labelled investment products in recent years may not have been invested in quite the way they had imagined. A series of high-profile scandals has now raised fears that some of the bolder green claims made by asset managers could amount to mis-selling. Some industry insiders believe they are on the brink of a mis-selling scandal in the mould of payment protection insurance, mortgages or diesel cars.

Existential crisis – Almost one quarter of German small- and medium-sized industrial companies say the high energy prices endanger their survival, according to a survey by the Federation of German Industries (BDI). The situation is already forcing companies to save on climate neutrality plans, the lobby group added. Of the survey’s 418 respondents, 34% said the current energy price development had led to a cut in climate neutrality investments; 23% see energy costs as a threat to their very existence; 87% want the government to accelerate the reduction of state burdens on the price of electricity; and 21% said they were considering moving operations abroad. The BDI warned that the rapid rise in prices could increasingly affect production in Germany and called for rapid political action. Energy cost increases are higher than they have been since the oil crisis of the 1970s, it said. The BDI welcomed the planned abolition of Germany’s Renewable Energy Act (EEG) surcharge, but said it was not enough to relieve industry in the long term. It also called for the government to reduce further taxes and surcharges, such as electricity taxes and grid fees. National CO2 pricing is already an existential threat for many small- and medium-sized companies, the BDI added. (Clean Energy Wire)

Sinn tax – Irish opposition party Sinn Fein will this week table a motion to scrap the increase in carbon tax scheduled for this spring in response to Ireland’s cost of living crisis. Lawmaker Pearse Doherty called for support on the measure, saying that the increase would further squeeze the finances of already struggling low and middle-income households. Ireland’s carbon tax is set to increase by €7.50 each year until 2029, with the rate set to climb to €41/tonne from the current €33.50.  The increase on fuels used for home heating will come into force on May 1, and the tax on transport fuels will rise on Oct. 12. Earlier this month, the government launched a package of measures to respond to Ireland’s soaring cost of living, including an increased fuel allowance and cuts in public transport fares. Opposition parties, however, have branded the measures “paltry”, arguing they fall short of what is needed to address the issue. Taoiseach Micheal Martin has ruled out abandoning the carbon tax increase, however, saying it was not significant enough in terms of overall inflation and warned that “short term” thinking should be avoided. (Euractiv)

ASIA PACIFIC

Give up your carbs – Australian billionaire and co-founder of software company Atlassian, Mike Cannon-Brookes, says he will continue to work with the board of the Australian energy giant AGL, ABC reports, to pursue what he argues will be one of the biggest decarbonisation projects globally, which could help Australia have the “lowest-priced energy in the world.” AGL Energy on Monday rejected an A$8 bln ($5.8 bln) takeover bid by Mr Cannon-Brookes and Canadian asset manager Brookfield to accelerate the closure of AGL’s major coal-fired power stations. Mr Cannon-Brookes joined forces with Brookfield to put the takeover bid forward to AGL on Saturday, arguing that, together, they could fast-track the closure of AGL’s remaining coal-fired generators, including the Loy Yang A brown coal generator. The AGL board on Monday said the unsolicited proposal it received on Saturday morning “materially undervalues” the company and “is not in the best interests of AGL Energy shareholders.”

Hydrogen hype – Australia’s grand hydrogen export ambition faces its first market test with Japan’s largest power generator, Jera, calling for competitive bids to supply the hydrogen product ammonia as it attempts to cut carbon emissions in its coal-fired power plants, WA Today reports. However, the terms of the bid exclude fuel from a showpiece A$1 bln ($720 mln) hydrogen plant Australian energy giant Woodside plans to build near Perth, as Woodside plans to offset emissions from the plant with vegetation planting (a Jera spokesman said it would not accept offsets such as tree planting). Jera announced it needed up to 500,000 tonnes of ammonia a year from 2027, into the 2040s.

Carbon cooperation – Japanese trading house Marubeni will work with Indonesian state-owned refiner Pertamina to cut carbon emissions in Indonesia, Argus Media reports. Marubeni said it has signed an agreement to develop decarbonisation projects together with Pertamina in Indonesia. These include developing bioenergy with carbon capture and storage (BECCS) at Marubeni’s pulp mill in Indonesia, producing biomass fuels, and participating in or developing projects to generate carbon credits.

AMERICAS

Unintended cost-equences – Permits to drill for oil and gas on US public land will be delayed after a federal judge ruled against President Joe Biden administration’s estimates of the social costs of GHG emissions, the Interior Department said Saturday. A Louisiana-based federal district judge last week blocked federal agencies from using the administration’s 2021 social cost of carbon plan, following a lawsuit by Louisiana and other states challenging the way it was imposed. The Biden administration could rely on a higher social cost of carbon to justify moves against fossil fuels and to counter climate change. But because the court ruling bars the federal government from adopting or relying on the metric, in the short term it upsets current work on federal drilling permits as well as new regulations. For instance, the Interior Department said the injunction is expected to lead to delays in permitting and leasing for federal oil and gas programmes. (Bloomberg)

AND FINALLY…

Had it all, took the fall – In the early 2010s, 350.org was the environmental movement’s driving force. Led by Bill McKibben, a famed environmentalist and best-selling author, its spectacle-worthy, guerrilla-style protests over causes, including blocking the Keystone XL pipeline, captured the public’s imagination. It brought younger, more diverse activists into the green tent. Starting out with eight founding members in 2008, it had grown to 165 full-time employees — not including its many contractors – when staff travelled to Ireland in Mar. 2019. It was at this Killarney retreat that May Boeve, the executive director and one of 350.org’s founders, announced that she’d hiked the organisation’s annual budget to $25 mln. But 350.org had never eclipsed $20 mln in revenue in a single year. When it quickly became clear it wouldn’t that year, Boeve said she initially kept the information largely to herself, according to an Oct. 2019 internal email to the staff. The fallout would lead to mass layoffs, departures, exhaustion, distrust, and a protracted labor battle that exists to this day, according to internal documents, third-party audits, and communications obtained by Politico. The organisation saw its US programme office fall from nearly 50 people in 2019 to nine entering this year.

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