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The much-anticipated launch of China’s national emissions trading scheme looks unlikely to take place during the UN talks in Bonn as the State Council has yet to approve the regulator’s proposed plans, China’s special representative on climate change said Tuesday.
South Korean CO2 permits shot up 5.1% on Tuesday to reach an eight-month high, even though the vast majority of allowances were traded at a lower level.
Australia’s current climate policy is likely to create a huge supply of carbon offsets available in the A$5-10/tonne ($3.80-7.60) range, with many of them from low-quality projects unlikely to be accepted in international markets, analysts Reputex said.
European carbon rose slightly on Tuesday to end a five-day losing streak, but not before the front-year contract plumbed a new November low.
Towards the end of summer, climate negotiators learned of three trademark applications that were filed in May of this year. One was for the logo “REDDPLUSX”, which is described as a carbon credit brokerage. Another was for the logo “RRU”, which are proposed carbon credits generated by saving or supporting forests under the Paris Agreement. But it was the third, for the logo REDD+, that raised eyebrows across the climate community.
A veteran carbon consultant is leaving Ecofys for a role in the road, water and waterways agency of the Dutch government.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Hey, it’s WEO day! – Global carbon emissions from energy are forecast to increase slightly between now and 2040 under the ‘New Policies’ scenario of the International Energy Agency’s ‘World Energy Outlook (WEO) 2017′ released today. It shows that absent more aggressive efforts to curb GHG, the world will fail badly to achieve the cuts needed to hit Paris’ 2C goal. The report also illustrates the shift in emissions sources, with power set to sink from overwhelming 1st place to 3rd behind transport and industry during 2016-2040. Coal emissions will also collapse from dominant leader now to 3rd place during the same period, behind gas (which rises slightly to become the top source) and oil (which falls from 3rd spot now to 2nd spot just above coal). The report also predicts that global oil demand continues to rise under the New Policies scenario, though growth slows from the mid-2020s to hit around 105 million barrels/day by 2040. Renewables is seen meeting 40% of all new energy demand, though that share rises at the expense of fossil fuels under the WEO’s ‘sustainable development’ scenario.
Blow hard – Wind is set to become the leading source of electricity in the EU soon after 2030, according to the WEO. The IEA attributes this to the rapidly falling costs of renewables. They predict continued strong growth in both onshore and offshore wind and see renewables as a whole accounting for 80% of new power generation capacity in Europe between now and 2040. The report added that China will account for a third of new wind and solar power installations and 40% of electric vehicle investments through 2040, while its coal use peaked four years ago and it will cede its role as the driver of global oil demand to India after 2025. (Bloomberg)
Rejected – Germany’s Green Party has rejected an offer tabled by its aspiring coalition partners to reduce the country’s coal power capacity by up to 5 GW, Reuters reports. Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservative CDU/CSU alliance and the pro-business FDP say that Germany’s coal capacity can be reduced by a maximum of 3-5 GW by 2020 without threatening power supply security, but the Greens want cuts of 8-10 GW to achieve a corresponding reduction in CO2 in line with national 2020 targets. “What has been tabled is not enough,” Green Party co-leader Simone Peter said. Germany is targeting a 40% cut in 1990-level emissions by 2020, and reducing coal power is supposed to contribute around half to meeting this goal, Reuters writes. (Clean Energy Wire)
Do no harm – Carbon offsets “consistently fail” to meet the majority of the eight criteria identified by the ICAO for its CORSIA scheme, according to a new report by environmental campaigners Fern. In particular, they say there’s a high risk that forest offsets won’t be additional, won’t be able to guarantee permanent emissions reductions, and may be based on double-counted CO2 cuts. Fern also raises concerns around the projects implementing realistic and credible baselines, their ability to assess and mitigate against potential emissions increases elsewhere, and the aim of the schemes “doing no net harm”. The authors detail two forest carbon offset projects that have been used by major international airlines to compensate for flight emissions – despite those initiatives failing to meet nearly all of the CORSIA criteria. “If ICAO is at all serious about ensuring its own criteria are met, it must exclude forest offsets from the CORSIA mechanism,” Fern added.
Forests are complicated – Forest carbon is a difficult business even for experts. Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator has developed interim guidance to help participants and auditors using the human-induced regeneration and native forest from managed regrowth methods understand the rules for carbon estimation areas that must be met to earn offsets under these methods and how the regulator will verify claims.
Own it – China is continuing its power market reforms, and the NEA and NDRC announced this week they would set up pilot power trading exchanges for distributed power generation sources smaller than 50 MW. Host governments were asked to submit draft market regulations by January ahead of a February launch of the exchanges. But the central government agencies said that under these new pilots, ownership would be attached to any CO2 reductions associated to the power traded. The same would be the case for energy savings. It was unclear however what form this ownership would take and if it at one stage would be tied to the ETS.
Fund it – The US-China Green Fund and the China Environment and Energy Exchange has launched a 10 billion yuan ($1.5 billion) carbon fund, they announced this week. The fund plans to invest in Xiong’an, the new city China is building near Beijing to offload population pressure on the capital with intentions of making it a green city. It would also invest in various industrial developments as well as develop initiatives connected with China’s emerging carbon markets, although no details were available yet as to what those might be.
Battery blocking – India’s power distributors are balking at traditional 25-year thermal-power purchase contracts, avoiding lengthy entanglements so they can benefit as costs for batteries and renewable energy slide. Now in vogue: agreements that last 10 years or even less. Read more from Bloomberg.
Paging Mr. Shannon – US State Department diplomat Tom Shannon, who was to head the climate talks for the US in Bonn, is not attending the conference, Bloomberg Environment reports. Ordinarily, that job of top US negotiator at the United Nations summit would then fall to Trigg Talley, a longtime State Department climate negotiator. But Talley departed the Germany city early Nov. 14 for a family emergency, according to several members of the US delegation. It was unclear why Shannon would not attend the talks, according to members of the delegation. Shannon will be replaced by Judith Garber, acting State Department assistant secretary for oceans, environment, and science, the State Department said. The announcement came amid… well, read the next bit.
Bonn Schism – US negotiators at COP23 have not centered on fossil fuels in their meetings with other delegations, including bilateral talks earlier Nov. 13 with China and Fiji, several delegates told Bloomberg Environment. Some of President Trump’s political appointees – who flew here in part to keep a watchful eye on those career diplomats and ensure fossil fuels get a proper hearing – said they haven’t had an easy time getting their message heard. The State Department reflects the US position that fossil fuels are an important part of an emissions-reduction effort in relevant discussions, though many parts of the agenda deal with procedural issues, and negotiators are pushing many of the same Paris Agreement policy positions that were seen under Obama, sources said. The political appointees are reportedly being housed in a hotel an hour away from the venue, rather than downtown with the rest of the delegation, and have been frozen out of bilateral meetings with countries including China and Fiji.
Rejected 2.0 – A German government proposal to COP23 in Bonn will deny Turkey access to cash from the Green Climate Fund (GCF), Climate Home reports. In July, Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he was unlikely to ratify the Paris Agreement, citing Donald Trump’s announcement he was planning to leave the deal. This was interpreted by observers as a demand for access to GCF money, for which Turkey is not eligible due to its “special” UNFCCC status. The Fijian presidency of this year’s UN climate talks asked the German government to consult with countries on a way to move forward. According to a leaked proposal, Germany is calling on member states and intergovernmental bodies to “work with Turkey to identify opportunities for mobilising resources to complement Turkey’s national efforts, including through multi-country programmes funded from a variety of sources including the Green Climate Fund”. That means Turkey should be allowed to apply for money from development banks, even on projects where they are partnered with the GCF. But it adds the share of the cash coming from the climate fund should only go to eligible countries, which excludes Turkey.
Ship cash – Germany and the Marshall Islands have announced a new joint project aimed at developing low-carbon maritime transport, with the former putting up funding of €9.5 million. The initiative will first examine alternative low-carbon propulsion technologies for ships in the region, then equip a ship with the selected technology to observe the results. “The project is therefore also important as support in the IMO negotiations for the development of a roadmap for the reduction of GHGs in shipping,” the pair said in a press release. The Marshall Islands is a major international shipping hub and relies on the industry for much of its GDP, while it is also threatened by rising sea levels. The results of the project will also feed into the work of the Micronesian Sustainable Shipping Centre (MSSC), which the Marshall Islands co-founded with the University of South Pacific. Germany has suggested that this centre be renamed after the islands’ late Secretary of State Tony de Brum.
Behold, our new target (that we’ve already hit) – Microsoft on Tuesday said it is targeting a 75% cut in its emissions below 2013 levels by 2030, though it admitted that it had pretty much hit that goal already, having cut its footprint to 230,000 tonnes from 900,000 four years ago, the AP reported. “We estimate this will help avoid more than 10 million metric tons of carbon emissions by 2030,” it said. The company made the announcement on the sidelines of COP23, effectively saying that its rising power requirements stemming from corporate growth and the expansion of cloud computing would be carbon neutral through an increase in sourced renewable energy. Microsoft in 2012 became one of the first companies to put an internal global carbon price in place, which it said enables it to achieve 100% carbon neutrality.
Resilient funding – Norway and Unilever have committed $400 million to stimulate resilient social development, and will investment in business models that combine investments in high-productivity agriculture, smallholder inclusion and forest protection. “This should be only one of many new public and private investments in more resilient socioeconomic development,” they announced at an event at COP23. “Taking action now to build social and economic resilience against climate change is essential to successfully meet the objectives of three inextricably linked international agreements – the Paris Climate Change Agreement, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction.”
Below50 – The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) today launched below50 initiative hubs in North America, South America and Australia to create much bigger demand and markets for sustainable transportation fuels. The below50 initiative is a global collaboration that brings together the entire value-chain for sustainable fuels – that is, fuels that produce at least 50% less CO2 emissions than conventional fossil fuels. The goal is to create the demand and market for these fuels to scale up deployment. The hubs allow companies to engage with the below50 global campaign at the local level, and work on solutions tailored for their regions – including local policy, awareness raising and financing. “Meeting the Paris goal is also inextricably linked to the success of the 2030 Agenda’s 17 Sustainable Development Goals, in this case particularly Goal 9 – to build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation,” WBCSD said.
Bog standard – Norway has launched seven research projects with funding of NOK 6.5 million (€677,000) to try to understand how to further reduce emissions from agriculture. Among the projects are initiatives to study the use of live yeast in animal feed, the reforestation of bogs, and how to better use fertilisers.
This is war – A war has been declared in the Amazon. That is how Luciano Evaristo, director of Brazilian environmental law enforcement agency Ibama, described the latest developments in the fight against deforestation. The last major incident took place on Oct. 27, when a mob torched Ibama’s office and four pickup trucks in Humaita, in the state of Amazonas, after a crackdown on illegal mining operations in Madeira river. Another environmental agency, Chico Mendes Institute of Conservation of Biodiversity (ICMBio), also had its office destroyed. In response, the federal government sent army troops to patrol the city. Read more from Climate Home. Meanwhile, an initiative to plant 73 million new trees in the Amazon has begun. The programme, sponsored by Conservation International, the Brazilian Ministry of Environment, and a number of other NGOs and corporations, is the largest tropical reforestation effort ever attempted.
And finally… The ongoing plight of the Peruvian farmer – A German court on Monday moved forward a case brought by a Peruvian farmer against German utility RWE alleging climate-related damages, Deutsche Welle reports. Saul Luciano Lliuya claims in his suit that emissions from RWE have endangered his hometown of Huaraz by melting glaciers and swelling a mountain lake that threatens to flood the region. While RWE has no operations in Peru, the suit uses a 2013 study to estimate that the company is responsible for .05% of global emissions, and using that calculation seeks over $20,000 towards the $4 million cost of building flood protections for Huaraz. (Climate Nexus)
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