CP Daily: Thursday March 17, 2016

Published 18:12 on March 17, 2016  /  Last updated at 18:12 on March 17, 2016  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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German energy bourse EEX to launch China carbon offset futures contract

German energy bourse EEX plans to launch a futures contract for Chinese carbon offsets, Carbon Pulse has learned, a move that would allow foreign traders to take positions on price moves in what is soon to be the world’s biggest carbon market.

EU govts hand out a further 17.6m free EUAs to industry for 2016, no progress from Spain, Italy

EU member states have handed out a further 17.6 million free carbon allowances to industry over the past fortnight, with Italy, Spain and Finland as the only governments to have not yet started the annual process, updated data published Thursday by the European Commission showed.

Queensland govt moves to halt land-clearing emissions boom

The minority Labor government in Australia’s Queensland on Thursday evening introduced legislation that observers say would reverse the land use-related carbon emissions growth in the state, which threatens to throw Australia off course towards meeting its international climate obligations.

Cement maker LafargeHolcim posts big drop in carbon unit revenues

Cement giant LafargeHolcim said it earned CHF 70 million (€63.8 million) less from global carbon unit sales last year compared to 2014, contributing to an 11% drop in full-year adjusted operating earnings.

EU Market: EUAs surge late after falling on poor auction results

European carbon jumped by as much as 2% in the final 90 minutes of Thursday’s trading, clawing back lost ground following the weakest auction results recorded in several weeks.

Climate reappears on EU leaders’ meeting agenda -Reuters

European leaders will discuss the bloc’s climate efforts at this week’s Council summit following a late addition to the meeting’s agenda, Reuters reported, after officials had previously indicated that the issue of migration would dominate and leave little room for talks regarding the Paris Agreement.

Bite-sized updates from around the world

China’s 13th five-year plan could indicate the world’s largest emitter will ramp up its climate targets over the next five years, Greenpeace East Asia said, just weeks after a study showed that the country’s emissions may already have peaked.  The green group has identified language in the climate change section of the plan which indicates that China will “implement and enhance its INDC to tackle climate change” in the context of the five-year plan’s period (2016-2020).  The Paris Agreement saw countries agree in general to increase their ambition over time, but so far no major emitter has explicitly mentioned that it will enhance its ambition. “The word ‘enhance’ is particularly strong in this instance, and as with much of the government’s communication, is carefully chosen,” said Li Shuo, senior climate policy adviser at Greenpeace East Asia.

Better benchmarking would lessen need for EUA haircut – Ahead of the European Commission’s expert meeting on the EU ETS Cross Sectoral Correction Factor (date as yet unknown), consultancy Ecofys has published a study commissioned by the Netherlands government on how likely the CSCF would apply under various scenarios. The findings show the importance of updated industry benchmarks but also show how difficult it would be in practice to update them. (Ecofys)

Only the two Czech companies – Czech-Coal and EPH – have made offers to buy Vattenfall’s German lignite assets, the Suddeutsche Zeitung reports. Czech utility CEZ, which had expressed interest in the assets, did not submit an offer, saying the recent drop in wholesale power prices made it difficult to turn profits with coal-fired power stations. German utility Steag didn’t make an offer, but wrote to Vattenfall proposing it could run a private foundation that would take over the brown coal operations in eastern Germany. (H/T Clean Energy Wire)

The Obama administration released $65.8 million on Thursday to help US communities that are struggling from the decline of the coal industry and bankruptcies of major producers of the fuel. (Reuters)

A dozen moderate Republican members of the US House of Representatives have formed a coalition to work towards measures to promote renewable energy and fight climate change, Politico reports ($). The group hasn’t developed specific policy proposals yet, but it wants to find market-based solutions to environmental problems, and it will call itself the House Republican Energy, Innovation, and Environmental Working Group. Staff for the members in the working group have already met twice and lawmakers are planning to meet in the coming weeks.

RGGI will on Apr. 29 hold another stakeholder meeting to gather input on the 2016 Programme Review.  The review solicits stakeholder input on the RGGI programme’s design elements, including considerations for compliance under the EPA’s Clean Power Plan.  The next meeting will be held in Boston, MA.

US bank BNY Mellon has become carbon neutral for scope 1 and scope 2, as well as scope 3 business travel emissions for 2015, and it will extend this strategy into 2016.  BNY Mellon used a combination of emissions reductions and carbon offsets it bought from Natural Capital Partners, it said.  The news comes weeks after British rival Barclays made a similar announcement.

And finally… The right-leaning AfD party that recently won seats in three German state parliaments is full of climate sceptics, said the Frankfurter Rundschau. An AfD “expert committee” in 2013 found that human influence on the climate was not possible and that there was no CO2-related global warming. In their more recent state election programmes, the party said the climate was always changing naturally and could not be protected, adding that more CO2 was good for plant growth. (H/T Clean Energy Wire)

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