CP Daily: Wednesday August 23, 2017

Published 23:12 on August 23, 2017  /  Last updated at 23:12 on August 23, 2017  / Carbon Pulse /  Newsletters

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

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RGGI states agree post-2020 bank adjustment, supply-curbing mechanism amid compromise on cap cuts

RGGI states have provisionally backed a 3% annual cut to the scheme’s CO2 cap over the 2020s, they announced Wednesday, one of the less ambitious rates being considered but coupled with complementary measures including the introduction of a bank adjustment and a supply-curbing mechanism aimed at supporting prices.


Hanergy’s carbon arm takes 13% hit in revenue in H1

The carbon arm of China’s Hanergy, the world’s biggest solar cell manufacturer, reported a 13% drop in revenue in the first half of the year due to a difficult offset market and slow developments in the national ETS.

China’s climate ambassador wins $2.6m prize for part in Paris deal

Xie Zhenhua, a long-serving top negotiator for China at international climate talks, has been awarded a HK$20 million ($2.6 million) prize for his efforts to combat climate change.

NZ Market: NZUs extend gains amid healthy demand

New Zealand carbon permits edged up another 5 cents on Wednesday to reach a fresh six-month high as demand remained steady amid a bullish outlook.


EU Market: EUAs climb to fresh 6-month high near €6 amid rising power prices

EU carbon prices hit a new 6-month high on Wednesday, rising 2.9% on heavy volume to extend last week’s peak as power prices notched further gains.


California issues 695k offsets as jumbo 4.5m batch become CCO-0s

California’s Air Resources Board (ARB) handed out 695,000 carbon offsets to an array of project types this week, as a bumper 4.5 million credits shed their invalidation risk.


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Solar’s eclipse – Worldwide solar panel capacity is set to overtake nuclear for the first time within the next few months, according to GTM Research. The Independent reports that the total capacity of nuclear power is currently about 391.5 GW, and the total capacity of photovoltaic cells is expected to hit 390 GW by the end of this year, with demand growing at up to 8% per year. Stephen Lacy, writing on GTM’s website, said: “The 81 GW expected this year are more than double the amount of solar capacity installed in 2014. And it’s 32 times more solar deployed a decade ago.” The International Energy Agency says this could rise to 27% of global electricity generation by 2050 – from 1.8% today – under a “high-growth scenario”. (Carbon Brief)

A presidential promise – President Trump made promises to coal industry executives to take drastic action to save certain power plants and keep coal companies out of bankruptcy, according to reports. In a letter sent earlier this month to the president’s personal aide, Murray Energy CEO Robert Murray claims that Trump agreed during two meetings with Murray and other coal executives to order the Department of Energy to declare a state of emergency on the electric grid. This rare order would protect certain coal-fired power plants from retirement and, according to Murray’s letter, stave off Murray Energy’s impending bankruptcy. But in statements, both the DOE and the White House denied the company’s request to invoke the little-used authority, though they said they would continue to support for other policies to help the industry. (Climate Nexus)

Did they or didn’t they? – ExxonMobil misled the public on what it knew about climate change and its link to fossil fuels, according to a new analysis of the company’s internal and external communications. In a study published Tuesday in the journal Environmental Research Letters, Harvard post-doctoral fellow Geoffrey Supran and professor Naomi Oreskes review nearly 200 communications on climate change from the oil giant, including scientific research, internal company memos, and paid editorial features in the New York Times. The analysis shows a “quantifiable discrepancy” between internal and external communications, with 81% of external advertisements casting doubt on the link between human activity and climate change despite 80% of internal communications acknowledging climate science. (Climate Nexus)

ND CCS – North Dakota’s Industrial Commission has committed more than $5 million toward research aimed at storing CO2 from coal-fired power plants, the AP reports. The University of North Dakota’s Energy and Environmental Research Center will lead the 14-month study that also will look at cleaner technology to make electricity from the state’s lignite. It also will study whether CO2 could be used to boost oil output in some fields. State money approved Tuesday from the commission headed by Governor Doug Burgum comes from North Dakota’s lignite research fund, which is financed by a tax on the abundant but low-grade coal. The federal government is expected to provide most of the money for the $12.7 million study, with industry contributing about $1 million.

You owe us – Poland is calling on Brussels to withdraw its lawsuit  over the country’s increased logging in the old-growth Bialowieza Forest, or else pay €750 million, according to a draft response seen by Oko Press. The European Commission claims the logging is in breach of EU law and is seeking interim measures to stop the wood extraction until the court’s judgement, preventing further destruction.  Poland has promoted the CO2-absorbing ability of its vast swathes of forests as one of its key solutions in its climate action plans.

Saved by eBay and Costco – A power plant located just north of New York City that was “left for dead” after being flooded during 2012’s Hurricane Sandy has received a new lease on life in part thanks to cheap replacement parts found on eBay and at a nearby Costco.  The 60-year-old Danskammer generation station, which is Dutch for “the devil’s dance chamber”, was bought by Mercuria after the disaster.  And instead of dismantling it and selling it for scrap, Mercuria took a gamble and spent $25 million to renovate the facility.  The plant was brought back online in 2014, with Mercuria also switching it to burning gas after being fuelled by coal for decades.  Read the fascinating story by Bloomberg.

And finally… Cyborg bacteria – Scientists have created bacteria covered in tiny semiconductors that generate a potential fuel source from sunlight, CO2 and water, the BBC reports. The so-called “cyborg” bugs produce acetic acid, a chemical that can then be turned into fuel and plastic. In lab experiments, the bacteria proved much more efficient at harvesting sunlight than plants. The work was presented at the American Chemical Society meeting in Washington.

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