CP Daily: Tuesday May 17, 2022

Published 02:48 on May 18, 2022  /  Last updated at 02:48 on May 18, 2022  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORIES

EU Parliament committee backs higher line on ETS ambition

The European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) has voted for a 67% emissions reduction target for 2030 for the EU ETS, supporting an earlier compromise deal that goes beyond the European Commission’s proposed 61%.

Brussels’ to consider selling MSR-held carbon units under RePowerEU plan -FT

The European Commission is considering selling 200-250 million EU carbon allowances currently held in the MSR as part of the bloc’s RePowerEU initiative, the FT reported on Tuesday, citing anonymous EU officials and diplomats.

EMEA

EU Parliament committee completes votes on first batch of climate legislation

The European Parliament’s Environment Committee (ENVI) has voted on the amendments of a first batch of the Fit for 55 climate policy package, on aviation ETS, the Effort Sharing Regulation (ESR) and land use LULUCF Regulation covering non-ETS sectors, as well as a draft opinion on the Renewable Energy Directive (RED).

Euro Markets: EUAs climb to three-month high as ENVI votes for steeper 2030 reduction target

EUAs climbed to their highest in nearly three months after lawmakers in the European Parliament’s environment committee (ENVI) voted for a steeper emissions reduction target for 2030 and a more responsive price control mechanism.

FEATURE: EU push to quit Russian fuels moves CCfDs up the queue in climate policy

A proposal for scaling up carbon contracts for difference (CCfD) is expected to feature in the European Commission’s RePowerEU strategy this week, strengthening support for a powerful tool to spur investment in industrial decarbonisation but with lessons to remember from the UK’s experience using the mechanism in the power sector.

Engie reaches agreement to pay for Russian gas, reports strong Q1 profits

French utility Engie will keep buying Russian gas from Gazprom in light of new guidelines from the European Commission on how to avoid direct payments in rubles, it said in first-quarter results on Tuesday that also announced soaring profits and raised 2022 earnings targets.

Insolvent Romanian district heating plant fined €14.5 mln for EU ETS non-compliance

An insolvent district heating plant in Romania has been fined for EU ETS non-compliance for a second straight year.

AMERICAS

PREVIEW: Bearish macroeconomic headwinds temper expectations for Q2 WCI auction

Traders believe a depressed macroeconomic environment and higher costs of capital will limit speculator bids at Wednesday’s California-Quebec carbon auction, which could lead to the current vintage auction settling more in line with the secondary market than the previous two WCI sales.

Washington state proposes lower cap-and-trade emissions baseline, same reserve prices as California

The Washington Department of Ecology (ECY) on Tuesday published its draft WCI-modelled cap-and-trade regulation, lowering the programme’s emissions baseline compared to the agency’s previous thinking and proposing the same allowance floor and ceiling prices as the California carbon market.

Virginia governor appoints perceived RGGI skeptics to air board ahead of planned de-linkage

Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) has nominated four members to Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board (APCB) in a move that sets the stage for plans to unravel the state’s RGGI linkage this summer.

RGGI compliance entities build allowance holdings in Q1 after March sale

Emitters in the RGGI cap-and-trade programme added carbon permits in between the Mar. 9 sale and the end of the month, as prices retreated on the secondary market, according to a report published Tuesday.

VOLUNTARY

More countries likely to follow Indonesia in temporarily halting VCM issuance, warns investment firm

More countries are likely to follow the move by the Indonesia government, which has halted the issuance of carbon credits from projects in the country until it has finalised its new carbon policy, a major carbon credit company said in a conference call Tuesday for its quarterly results.

5 million in a billion: Crypto group auctions off seats at the table

A crypto company that sells carbon removal tokens on Tuesday launched a three-day auction in which interested parties can buy the right to help govern the firm, but was quickly criticised for letting investors dump tokens once the auction began.

Gold Standard to launch broad digital carbon market working groups

Amid the rapid emergence in recent months of a crypto carbon market, the Gold Standard and partner organisations are now preparing to launch working groups to explore digital MRV, best practice principles for blockchain carbon assets, and technology infrastructure for the offset market.

US soil carbon startup raises $18 mln in Series A funding from investors including Bloomberg, Microsoft

A US-based soil carbon startup has raised $18 mln in Series A funding from investors including Bloomberg and Microsoft.

Offset ratings service to integrate with a second credit marketplace

A carbon credit marketplace and a global ratings agency for the voluntary carbon market (VCM) have teamed up with the aim of providing customers greater confidence in the quality of the units they buy.

ASIA PACIFIC

New Zealand forestry group warns targets at risk if exotic ban goes ahead

A New Zealand forestry group has argued that the country will be unable to meet net zero emissions by 2050 target if it removes exotic tree species from its ETS, based on figures in the government’s Emissions Reduction Plan.

Southeast Asia needs sharp investment ramp-up to achieve big cut in emissions by 2050, IEA says

Southeast Asia’s reliance on fossil fuels to meet its rapidly growing energy needs is a significant vulnerability given today’s energy crisis, but regional efforts to meet climate and energy security goals will need a sharp increase in investment, the International Energy Agency (IEA) warned in a report released Tuesday.

Australian veteran carbon project developer dies

The CEO of Australian offset project development firm Climate Positive has died.

INTERNATIONAL

Egypt to unveil green hydrogen plan with investment wave to continue ahead of COP event

Huge inflows of foreign investment will flood into green hydrogen projects in Egypt, noted analysts Tuesday, after the government announced it would unveil a national hydrogen plan in the coming months ahead of hosting COP27 in November.

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CONFERENCES

IETA European Climate Summit 2022 – May 24-25 in Barcelona: Join us for the 4th edition of this IETA-led European summit, bringing together leading private sector experts and policymakers from both the carbon and energy world, to analyse and discuss the current state of play, and what’s next for compliance and voluntary markets.  Why attend?  1. gain a comprehensive understanding of current and forecast carbon market drivers and developments; 2. how are we implementing our transition to a net zero economy, both on the ground and through policy; 3. understand the pricing evolution, risk profile, and investment opportunities across the compliance and voluntary carbon markets; 4. what/how/why of digital climate assets. www.europeanclimatesummit.com

Reuters Events: Global Energy Transition 2022 – June 14-15 in New York City: The conference unites CEOs and changemakers from the energy, industrial, and government ecosystems to shed light on the defining issue of our time, and help companies meet a uniquely difficult challenge. Over two days and five critical themes, we will define the future of energy, inspire a decade of action, and prepare the sector for challenges still to come, with diverse voices from around the world bringing passion and expertise to deliver a new path forward. Find out more by visiting the website today: https://bit.ly/35H7cgb

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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

EMEA

Banning boilers – The Dutch government intends to ban new fossil fuel-centric heating system installations as of 2026, while introducing the mandatory use of heat pumps or connections to heat networks. Few countries are as reliant on gas to heat homes as the Netherlands. In 2018, fossil gas covered 71% of residential demand, while the liberal use of greenhouses in agriculture further adds to emissions. Citizens have been hit hard by record gas prices as a result. The Netherlands will now become the next country in the EU to mandate heat pumps. The trigger point for the mandate will be the replacement of a house’s heating installation, like a boiler. Much like plans in neighbouring Germany to mandate at least hybrid heat pumps as early as 2024, the Dutch government is betting on the efficacy of so-called hybrid heat pumps, which run on electricity for most of the year. Using a hybrid heat pump leads to an average 60% saving on natural gas consumption, the government said. (EurActiv)

Defying gravity – British power generator Drax has applied to build a new £500 mln underground pumped storage hydro power station at its existing Cruachan hydro plant in Scotland, the company said. Pumped hydro plants work by pumping water uphill to an upper reservoir and then releasing it to enable the water to flow downhill through turbines to produce electricity when it is needed. Developers of the technology say it can help to balance out a growing amount of renewable electricity on the power grid, using their surplus renewable power when demand is low to pump the water and storing it so it is ready to be released when demand is high. The firm expects the planning approval to take around one year, with construction of the 600 MW plant beginning in 2024 and taking around six years to complete. Drax would need market support from the government to enable it to go forward with the investment needed to build the project. (Reuters)

Scotland calling – Forestry and Land Scotland (FLS) is calling for corporate investors to help progress woodland creation and peatland restoration projects on land that it manages – and capture 1 Mt of CO2. The opportunities are spread across Scotland and are in various stages of development in anticipation of there being keen interest from the private sector. This pipeline of projects can only be fully developed through funding from partners, that in return will receive independently verified Woodland Carbon Units that may be used to offset their future unavoidable emissions from UK operations. Scotland recently strengthened its Woodland Carbon Code, which it manages on behalf of the Forestry Commission for the rest of the UK, to ensure environmental integrity in verifying credits associated with woodland planting. The domestic crediting scheme is relatively small at just over 6 million pending units compared to global voluntary carbon market issuances of some 365 mln last year. However, alongside its sister peatland restoration programme the Code is being closely watched worldwide as a model for funding nature-based climate initiatives in the developed world, having seen indicative prices of upwards of £17/tCO2e ($21). The new additionality tests, due to come into force on Oct. 1, are intended to weed out woodland creation schemes that would be financially viable without carbon credits, and cool land prices.

ASIA PACIFIC

More oil and gas – Fossil fuel representatives have joined Australia’s Morrison government in rejecting scientific warnings that no new oil and gas fields should be opened if the world is to deal with the climate crisis, with an industry national conference hearing Australia should be “smart enough” to back continued expansion, The Guardian reports. Increased gas and oil supply was “absolutely part of the solution” to decarbonising the economy, the annual conference of oil and gas industry group the Australian Petroleum Production and Exploration Association was told. Australia has national polls on May 21, with the opposition Labor Party ahead in polling in the final week of campaigning.

Shipping MoU – Pacific Basin Shipping, one of the world’s leading dry bulk shipping companies, has signed a memorandum of understanding with Nihon Shipyard and Mitsui to cooperate in the investigation and development of zero-emission vessels and investment in related bunkering infrastructure, GreenCarCongress reports.

Bilateral ties – Australia’s New South Wales (NSW) state government and Denmark have signed an initial agreement to share research on strategies to transition their respective economies to net zero GHG emissions by 2050, Argus Media reports. The agreement, announced on May 16, will support collaboration between the governments of NSW and Denmark on innovation, policy and programme design and trade, investment and technology transfer, said NSW energy minister Matt Kean.

Germany H2 in WA – German green hydrogen technology company, Thyssenkrupp Nucera, has set up shop in Perth, Western Australia, to take advantage of the country’s emerging hydrogen sector, RenewEconomy reports. The company has 10GW of electrolyser capacity installed globally and specialises in the chlor-alkali process – or electrolysis using salt water, with sodium hydroxide and chlorine as by-products. The company says its plan to set up in WA is the result of a “logical business decision”, based on the state’s enormous renewable energy potential and well established resources and energy export sectors. WA sits at the centre of some of the biggest green hydrogen and renewable energy projects being proposed in Australia, including the 26GW Asian Renewable Energy Hub and Fortescue Metals Group’s 5.4GW Uaroo hub.

AMERICAS

Release and capture – The latest offshore Texas Gulf Coast carbon capture project is a 15 million tonne facility, proposed in a joint venture between oil giant BP and gas supplier Linde. The two petroleum players hope to start operations at the facility in 2026. Chevron has already announced its intention to team up with Talos Energy to build a 250 million tonne carbon capture project southeast of Houston and Exxon Mobil says it wants to capture 100 million tonnes of CO2 with its planed facility. BP is looking into building carbon sequestration facilities in other parts of the US and already has one operation in the UK in delivery. (Reuters)

VOLUNTARY

Going for it Hong Kong-listed China Carbon Neutral Development Group has signed an MoU with UK-based The Blockhouse Technology Limited (TBTL) to work together on setting up a blockchain-based carbon asset exchange in Singapore, the company announced on HKEX. The platform will offer carbon asset trading, supporting services, and other related business, though no further information is available at this stage. Last month, CCND listed its first carbon credit NFTs for sale on the OpenSea marketplace.

SCIENCE & TECH

Zero carbon glass – In a world first, France’s Saint-Gobain said it produced carbon-neutral flat glass by using recycled materials and green energy, Financial Post reports. The production is the latest sign that manufacturers of building materials are joining other industries in investing in slashing emissions. The zero-carbon flat glass, made for one week at a plant in Aniche, northern France, is part of Saint-Gobain’s strategy to reach carbon neutrality by 2050. Saint-Gobain “succeeded in adjusting all of the furnace’s technical parameters to this dual challenge of operating with 100% recycled material and 100% biogas, while ensuring the right optical quality of the glass,” the manufacturer said in a statement. It used about 25% recycled-glass content in its output last year. Last week’s test resulted in about 2,000 tonnes of carbon-neutral glass, enough to make about 100,000 windows and saving 1,000 tonnes of carbon emissions, Maud Thuaudet, head of the company’s French glass business, said at a press conference.

AND FINALLY…

Talking tough to Tokyo – Several European countries are pushing for the EU to exit the Energy Charter Treaty (ECT) as Japan blocks green reforms, according to leaked diplomatic cables reported by Climate Change News. Coal, oil and gas companies have used the treaty to sue governments over the impact of climate policies. For over two years, member states – which are mostly in Europe and central Asia – have been holding modernisation talks. The European Commission has called for fossil fuel protections to be phased out, and to allow a rapid transition to clean energy in line with climate goals. Since the beginning of these negotiations, Japan has opposed any reforms. A final decision is due at an Energy Charter Conference on Jun. 24. The European Commission told an energy committee meeting of the European Council in April that Japan had taken steps backwards in the definition of investment and sustainable development. Under the treaty, states must uphold fair and equitable treatment of investors – or they can be sued. The Commission sought to limit the grounds for legal challenges to a closed list. Japan said it had been surprised at the proposal and emphasised it would not accept a closed list, according to the minutes of the April meeting. That ambiguity would allow investors to claim any number of government interventions are unfair. The European Commission reported it was unclear why Japan was so difficult to convince, also in view of the small number of Japanese investments that would be affected.

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