CP Daily: Wednesday July 19, 2017

Published 23:58 on July 19, 2017  /  Last updated at 23:58 on July 19, 2017  /  Newsletters  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

EU chemicals industry outlines paths to 2050 carbon neutrality amid €200/tonne carbon prices

European chemical industry lobby Cefic on Wednesday published a roadmap of what the sector may require to reach carbon neutrality by mid-century, when its modelling predicts carbon prices could reach nearly €200/tonne.

EMEA

UK’s Drax stutters in its shift from coal as biomass testing extended

UK utility Drax’s coal output flatlined in H1 2017 as it shelved testing on a fourth coal-to-biomass conversion until next summer, a move that will likely maintain its demand for EUAs.

EU Market: EUAs drift lower in Phase 4 contracts’ busiest trading day yet

European carbon drooped on Wednesday in a quiet session, but continued to consolidate in its new €5.30-60 trading range.

VOLUNTARY

BP’s offset unit expands voluntary offering with SDG focus

Oil giant BP’s offsetting initiative BP Target Neutral has expanded its portfolio for 2017 by using the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals as a framework for assessment to investing in four carbon-cutting projects.

REDD project developer launches marketing firm to help sell offsets

REDD project developer Wildlife Works has launched a specialised marketing company to sell offsets from a portfolio of forest conservation initiatives in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.

AMERICAS

US-based Climate Trust Capital makes first forest carbon offset project investment

U.S.-based private investment fund Climate Trust Capital (CTC), an independent entity of Oregon-based non-profit The Climate Trust, has inked a deal on its inaugural forestry carbon investment.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

March of the scientists – Hundreds of climate scientists, including many from the US, have applied to work in France under a €60-million Make our Planet Great Again scheme set up by President Emmanuel Macron after Donald Trump rejected the Paris Agreement. Germany has announced that it will set up a similar programme to lure researchers. (Nature News)

Brexit blocking – The UK lobbied hard against the EU Council’s decision last month to favour a 30% 2030 EU energy efficiency target, despite it potentially never applying to Britain due to Brexit. The government opposed because it said the increased goal fails to balance sufficient flexibility. (Politico)

Coal’s return? – Natural gas prices have risen significantly since last year, leading the US Energy Information Administration to conclude that generation from coal will likely exceed gas’ share of the US energy mix for full-year 2017. Coal generation had topped natural gas every year until 2016, and the agency says it expects natural gas and coal to generate roughly equal amounts of energy in 2018. Non-hydro renewable sources are forecast to supply nearly 10% of US generation in 2018, up from about 8% in 2016. Meanwhile, US coal exports rose sharply in early 2017 amid increased demand in Asia and Europe, the AP reports. The US Department of Energy said Tuesday that exports are up by 8 million tonnes to 22.3 million through March – a 58% jump over the 14.1 million tonnes exported during the same period in 2016. The increase comes after five years of declines. The top destinations for US coal were the Netherlands, South Korea and India. (Utility Dive)

Suck it, and suck it now – Humans must start removing CO2 from the atmosphere as soon as possible to avoid saddling future generations with a choice between extreme climate change or spending hundreds of trillions of dollars to avoid it, according to new research. An international team of researchers – led by former NASA climate science chief Jim Hansen – said their conclusion that the world had already overshot targets to limit global warming to within acceptable levels was “sufficiently grim” to force them to urge “rapid emission reductions”. The scientists say this could be mostly achieved by agricultural measures such as planting trees and improving soil fertility, a relatively low-cost way to remove carbon from the air. But the world might also need to turn to more expensive “negative emissions technologies” such as BECCS. The study, published in the journal Earth System Dynamics, estimates such industrial processes could cost up to $535 trillion this century. (Carbon Brief)

Hey, man… it’s Heyman – British Columbia’s new NDP-Green coalition government has named a former union boss and Sierra Club director as its new environment and climate change minister. Environmentalists and union supporters alike praised the appointment of George Heyman, who served as president of the BC Government Employees and Service Employees’ Union from 1999 to 2008, and as executive director of the Sierra Club BC from 2009 to 2013. Observers said Heyman will be able to convincingly communicate the message that the transition to a low-carbon economy doesn’t mean lost jobs.  The agency he will oversee was also renamed the Ministry of Environment and Climate Change Strategy.

Cool it! – The UN’s Sustainable Energy for All initiative announced a new drive to identify the challenges and opportunities of providing access to affordable, sustainable cooling solutions for all. The Cooling for All initiative will focus on how we embed growing cooling demands that can reach everyone within a clean energy transition, and in turn, support faster progress to achieve the goals of the Montreal Protocol’s Kigali Amendment for the phasing out of potent HFCs. The initiative will convene its first panel meeting this September in New York on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly and Climate Week NYC, where co-chairs and panel members will be announced. The panel’s report will be launched in 2018.

And finally… The sun shines at night – Solar plants that supply electricity at competitive prices after the sun goes down are about to become a reality in the Middle East, according to one of the region’s biggest developers of power plants. ACWA Power International CEO Paddy Padmanathan confirmed to Bloomberg his company is the low bidder on a $1 billion project that will feed electricity to the grid for the Dubai Water & Electricity Authority between 4 pm and 10 am. More such plants are likely to follow because Chinese companies will start driving down the cost of equipment, he said. The 200-megawatt Dubai contract, which runs for 25 years, will harness a two-decade old technology called concentrated-solar, or solar thermal. Unlike photovoltaics, which generate a charge directly from the sun’s power, thermal plants use mirrors to concentrate heat on water, turning it to steam to drive a turbine. The heat can be stored in molten salt to be used later. The technology to date has slipped behind PV on cost but is quickly becoming more competitive, Padmanathan said. Since it can retain heat, the plant can keep working after dark, with the sun’s energy in some cases heating molten salt to 490 degrees Celsius (914 degrees Fahrenheit), which allows operators to predict when electricity will flow.

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