CP Daily: Wednesday February 1, 2017

Published 23:27 on February 1, 2017  /  Last updated at 23:50 on February 13, 2017  / Ben Garside /  Newsletters  /  No Comments

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

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Private firm to run REDD project covering a quarter of Malaysia’s Kelantan state

A Kuala Lumpur-based sustainable energy firm has signed an agreement with the Kelantan state government to administer a REDD project spanning nearly 400,000 hectares, and will primarily market the resulting carbon credits to European buyers.

First Ontario Carbon Allowances trade on ICE

Exchange operator ICE saw its first Ontario Carbon Allowance (OCA) trades on Wednesday, it told Carbon Pulse, with six deals done on the day.

EU cement industry putting quick profits ahead of emission cuts, argues former executive

The EU cement industry is putting short-term profits ahead of low-carbon investments by opposing plans to end its free allocation of carbon permits, according to a former industry executive.

Hawaii approves first forest carbon offset project

The Hawaii State Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR) has approved the state’s first forest carbon offset project and is targeting the voluntary carbon market as a means of funding forest restoration on the island state.

EU Market: EUAs hold on to recent gains as experts diverge on next moves

European carbon slipped slightly on Wednesday despite a pause in new allowance supply coming to market, but prices consolidated recent gains on low volume while holding above a number of technical supports.

German broker Advantag sees further decline in CO2 trading after dismal H2 2016

German broker Advantag AG saw its carbon volumes dwindle further in the second half of 2016, resulting in another year-on-year fall in trading turnover and leading it to consider other business avenues.

NZ Market: NZUs recover slightly but market remains subdued

New Zealand carbon allowances crawled back to the NZ$17 ($12.35) mark on Wednesday but demand remained muted as some observers pointed to political uncertainties surrounding the scheme.

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G20 showdown? – This year’s G20 summit in Germany will be “a test for governments, civil society, and companies to stick to” the goals of the Paris Agreement, France’s former climate change ambassador Laurence Tubiana said. While US President Trump’s sceptical stance towards climate protection troubled many environmentalists, Angela Merkel’s presumed advocacy for curbing global greenhouse gas emissions at the G20 “offers some relief”. The question is how far Merkel wants to push it, both at the G20 and in other forums.  Meanwhile, sources in the EU signalled that Germany and China recently discussed taking over the Major Economies Forum, a group of 17 nations founded by the US in 2009 to talk climate. (Climate Home)

Who is Neil Gorsuch? – The Colorado judge, who was on Tuesday nominated by President Trump to replace late justice Antonin Scalia on the Supreme Court, has a light record on energy and environmental issues, but experts have described him as well-qualified and traditionally conservative. “With Trump torching the Constitution and the climate, now isn’t the time to approve an extreme Supreme Court nominee,” said 350.org Executive Director May Boeve. “Gorsuch is a friend of fossil fuel companies and a foe of workers, the disabled, and the environment. Millions of people are marching in the streets to resist Trump’s radical agenda and our counting on their Senators to join them. This couldn’t be a clearer test of whose side politicians are really on.” Read EnergyWire’s profile of the nominee.

Zinke, Perry & Pruitt – The Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee on Tuesday approved two of President Trump’s energy and environment nominees on bipartisan votes, The Hill reports.  Senators approved Ryan Zinke’s nomination to be secretary of Interior and Rick Perry’s nomination to lead the Department of Energy. A handful of Democratic senators voted for both, and no Republican objected to either, indicating Zinke and Perry should have little problem winning confirmation when they go to the Senate floor for a vote. Meanwhile, Senate Republicans will likely advance Scott Pruitt’s nomination as EPA head despite Democrats stalling the process by boycotting today’s Environment & Public Works Committee vote following their allegations that Pruitt failed to adequately answer their questions.  InsideEPA reports ($) that without any Democrats present, Republicans on the committee were unable to proceed because the rules require a quorum of members from both parties.  Democrats are using similar tactics to block other Trump nominees, though in some cases committee rules requiring a quorum are being suspended by Republicans in order to push through candidates.

A different toneBuzzfeed News has obtained former Exxon CEO Rex Tillerson’s unpublished written answers to questions posed by two senators in which the Trump’s nominee for secretary of state questions the consensus among climate scientists about humanity’s role in warming the planet. “I agree with the consensus view that combustion of fossil fuels is a leading cause for increased concentrations of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere,” he wrote to Senator Ben Cardin of Maryland. “I understand these gases to be a factor in rising temperature, but I do not believe the scientific consensus supports their characterization as the ‘key’ factor.” Tillerson also appeared to give himself more wiggle room on the Paris Agreement compared to his confirmation hearing last month. “If confirmed,” Tillerson wrote, “I will support US membership in only those international agreements that advance our national interest and do not cause harm to the American people or our economic competitiveness.” (Carbon Brief)

Deutsche’s done – Deutsche Bank has said it will stop financing coal projects as part of its commitments under the Paris Agreement. “Deutsche Bank and its subsidiaries will not grant new financing for greenfield thermal coal mining and new coal-fired power plant construction,” it said in a statement. The lender said the decision was in line with the pledges it made at the 2015 Paris climate conference, along with 400 other public and private companies.

Same old surplus – The European Commission today published its annual report on the functioning of the EU ETS, consolidating previously available market information since the 2015 compliance period to note again that the market’s massive surplus had declined for the first time, by some 300 million EUAs to 1.78 billion. It was released as part of the EU executive’s State of the Energy Union report, the annual stock-take on the bloc’s climate and energy objectivesEurope’s climate commissioner Miguel Arias Canete said the bloc was forging ahead with its clean energy transition despite geopolitical uncertainties. Green group coalition CAN Europe said the EU’s post-2020 budget must prioritise the funding of energy efficiency and renewables and withdraw any from promoting fossil fuel consumption and production.

And finally… Coming in from the cold – Europeans can expect some relief this month after the most ferocious cold blast in a decade, provided polar air masses stay at bay. February should be warmer than average in western Europe as warm Atlantic air spills into the region, according to all five meteorologists surveyed by Bloomberg. While snow is set to melt across the continent and cracks form in frozen lakes and rivers, eastern Europe will likely see normal frosty weather for the time of year. That could halt a bull run in gas and power markets that started at the end of last year as an unexpected cold snap that pushed some contracts to records. But the winter may still have a sting in its tail, as an area of cold air swirling around the north pole could expand by the end of the month, bringing a second freezing blast.

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