**Carbon Pulse is attending the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco this week. As such, our daily newsletter may be sent out later than normal to ensure it contains all of the day’s news**
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EUAs plummeted by more than €4 or nearly 18% on Thursday in their biggest daily drop since 2006, wiping out September’s stellar gains as sellers unwound positions and placed bearish bets following the recent spike.
Poland’s energy minister on Thursday urged Brussels to step in to cool EU ETS prices, which this week spiked to a 10-year high near €26, Polish newswire PAP reported.
The recent spike in EU carbon prices has been tied to a massive loss booked by a major Nordic power market trader that has likely bankrupted him and cost energy exchange Nasdaq and its members over €100 million.
Canada Roundup: As submission deadline passes, provincial carbon pricing plans overshadowed by dissent
With Ottawa’s deadline for Canada’s provinces and territories to submit their carbon pricing plans having now passed, the federal government has a tough task ahead in reviewing and coordinating the programmes and addressing the obstinate gaps in what has emerged as a national patchwork of schemes.
Offset advocates are working to create pilot cases for wetland and grassland conservation offset protocols that could show California’s Air Resources Board their potential in the state’s cap-and-trade market.
California should examine ways to streamline its own suite of climate policies while taking on more ambitious emission reductions programmes, legislative and industry officials said Wednesday.
California and EU officials will increase collaboration to improve their existing carbon markets, while also examining potential avenues for aligning policies between the programmes, the parties announced at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco on Thursday.
RGGI carbon prices continued to increase after last week’s auction cleared above market participants’ expectations, while a months-long bull run in the WCI market appeared to peter out.
South Korean CO2 prices are likely to be volatile over the next three years as an early, large permit surplus is replaced by shortages later in the trading phase, analysts at trading firm Ecoeye said Thursday.
China this week finalised the structure of its new super ministry for the environment without a mention of the national emissions trading scheme and with the climate change division stripped of some of its responsibilities.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
A ‘no-deal’ no-show – A technical notice on the EU ETS was not part of the UK’s latest tranche of 28 papers published setting out advice in case Britain leaves the EU with no Brexit deal in Mar. 2019. The papers did set out plans for other environment and energy rules to remain aligned with the EU, including those surrounding CO2 emissions targets for cars and vans, and curbs on potent refrigerant gases. Observers say roughly two-thirds of these papers are now published, with the remainder expected by the end of the month. Read Carbon Pulse’s latest on the UK’s Brexit contingency plans.
Selling up – German regional municipality association Landschaftsverband Westfalen-Lippe (LWL) is mulling selling its 1% stake in utility RWE – the biggest EU ETS emitter – as “grave changes on the energy market” mean that “the time of big plant operators is over”. LWL director Matthias Loeb said the shareholding no longer gave the municipality any influence in the company’s activities. (Welt Online, Clean Energy Wire)
Another lawsuit – Civil rights leaders are suing California’s ARB for climate policies they say disproportionately harm its poorest residents, particularly Latinos and African Americans, Forbes reports. “California politicians are using anti-racist and environmentalist words to hide the regressive impact of their climate policies on the poor and people of color,” said John Gamboa, the co-founder of The Two Hundred, a coalition of prominent civil rights leaders that which filed the suit in Superior Court. It alleges that “the most staggering, unlawful, and racist components of the [state’s climate policies] target new housing” and are contributing to “resegregation.” It also claims the ARB is in violation of the Fair Employment and Housing Act, the California Global Warming and Solutions Act, the California Clean Air Act, and other federal and state laws. “California’s climate policies guarantee that housing, transportation and electricity prices will continue to rise,” the complaint notes, “while ‘gateway’ jobs to the middle class for those without college degrees, such as manufacturing and logistics, will continue to locate in other states.”
Free fallin’ – The emissions intensity of upstream Canadian oil sands production will continue to decline in coming years, falling to 30% below 2009 levels by 2030, according to a new report by IHS Markit. the analysis found that between 2009 and 2017, upstream oil sands GHG emissions intensity (GHG per barrel produced) fell 21% and could fall by an additional 16-23% over the coming decade.
Flight gumption – Airline fuel efficiency on transatlantic flights has improved by 1% a year since 2014 as carriers modernised their fleets, but the industry still lags its own climate goals, according to a study released by the International Council on Clean Transportation. But the study’s findings were challenged later by an aviation industry group ATAG, which argued that carriers are actually ahead of their targets with a 2.1% improvement. (Reuters)
Flight plan – Chicago-based United Airlines announced on Thursday that it would halve its emissions from 2005 levels by 2050. The third-largest US air carrier said that it will invest over $2 billion per year in more fuel-efficient aircraft, implement ways of conserving its fuel, and expand its use of low-carbon fuels in flight. That includes using 30% biofuel blend on a flight this Friday from San Francisco to Zurich, which United said will be the longest flight to date by a US airline powered by that much biofuel. However, the above ICCT study showed that United ranked third from the bottom of 20 transatlantic carriers for fuel efficiency (Reuters).
Rate resistance – Two public utility districts (PUDs) in southeast Washington that rely on hydropower approved resolutions to oppose the state’s November ballot initiative to implement a $15/tonne carbon tax in 2020. Benton PUD declared its opposition to I-1631 on Tuesday, arguing that the CO2 fee would raise retail rates by 1-2% despite having a 92% carbon-free portfolio. That follows Franklin PUD having stated in August that it would not support the carbon tax measure, citing a 1% yearly increase in retail rates. In addition, The Journal Times said that five oil companies including BP and Chevron have raised more than $10 million so far to defeat I-1631. (Utility Dive)
Greenback campaign – Financial returns were cited as the biggest reason to have a corporate strategy focused on the environment, social issues and governance (ESG) according to a survey of 868 institutional investors by the HSBC bank. Nearly three quarters of companies with this focus said that this was their number one driver, followed by tax incentives. (Bloomberg)
New members day – Today at the Global Climate Action Summit (GCAS) in San Francisco, more jurisdictions announced they are joining the Powering Past Coal Alliance. They include Wales, the Australian Capital Territory, Spain’s Balearic Islands, Wales, the US states of Connecticut, Hawaii, Minnesota, and New York, and the US cities of Honolulu and LA, and the Dutch city of Rotterdam. Launched by the Canadian and UK governments at COP23 in 2017, the Alliance is a coalition working to advance the transition from coal power generation to clean energy. With these additional members, the Alliance now counts 74 members including 29 national governments, 17 subnational governments, and 28 businesses. Separately, former NYC mayor and UN Special Envoy for Climate Action Michael Bloomberg and EU climate chief Action Miguel Arias Canete pledged to join efforts to manage the global transition away from coal, announcing a new partnership to step up Europe’s clean energy ambitions. Together, Bloomberg Philanthropies and the European Commission will convene leaders from the financial and business sectors to further develop financially actionable strategies for a low-carbon transition and aim to highlight the economic opportunities of the clean energy transition in creating sustainable jobs and growth.
Peak city – Also at GCAS on Thursday, new analysis revealed that 27 of the world’s biggest cities, home to 54 million citizens and $6 trillion in GDP, have peaked their GHG emissions. The findings show that cities have seen their emissions fall over a five-year period and are now at least 10% lower than their peak. They continued to decrease emissions by an average of 2% per year since their peak, while populations grew by 1.4% per year and their economies by 3% per year on average. The cities are: Barcelona, Basel, Berlin, Boston, Chicago, Copenhagen, Heidelberg, London, Los Angeles, Madrid, Melbourne, Milan, Montreal, New Orleans, New York City, Oslo, Paris, Philadelphia, Portland, Rome, San Francisco, Stockholm, Sydney, Toronto, Vancouver, Warsaw, Washington DC.
That’s a lot of dosh – Meanwhile, nearly 400 investors boasting a collective $32 trillion in assets under management today signed up to a new global investment initiative aimed at accelerating action on climate change, as the transition away from high carbon industries gains momentum across the financial sector. The Investor Agenda, which was officially launched this week at GCAS, is designed to support investors as they scale up investments critical to tackling climate change, while highlighting the green actions some investors are already taking to improve their climate-related decision making and risk reporting. The initiative aims to encourage investors to directly report the actions they are taking to mobilise low carbon investment. It also calls for increased ambition across four key areas – investment, corporate engagement, investor disclosure, and policy advocacy – to better ensure investors provide the finance required to deliver on the goals of the Paris Agreement. (BusinessGreen)
Help us technology! – A report published at GCAS on Thursday shows the potential for all sectors of global economy – energy, food and agriculture, industry, buildings and transport – to halve GHG emissions by around 2030. It says that stronger policies, the digital revolution, and greater climate leadership are necessary to accelerate the economic transformation, while the energy transformation in the next decade could occur much faster than many forecasts as the price of renewables drops low enough to out-compete fossil fuels. But keeping up the pace will require sharper policies to push out fossil fuels. As well, other sectors remain off track, but the digital revolution remains a wildcard in this arena, as technology can directly influence 30% of the emissions cuts needed by about 2030, and indirectly affect the rest through influencing consumer habits, scaling up a sharing economy and supporting business transformation to a circular economy.
Space gas – Innovators around the world are developing new satellite technologies to map and measure methane. Green group EDF is developing MethaneSAT, a compact, purpose-built satellite designed specifically to map and measure methane emissions virtually anywhere on the planet. Data will be available publicly, giving investors, advocates, and the general public a crucial tool to keep industry and regulators focused on reducing emissions. The news comes as the Trump administration moves to roll back Obama-era curbs on the gas.
And finally… Remember that guy? – Former US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt is reportedly in talks with the head of coal company Alliance Resource Partners to take up a consulting position, according to The New York Times. Pruitt, who faced a plethora of ethics-related scandals and imbroglios during his abbreviated tenure as head of the country’s environment agency before resigning in July, met with Alliance CEO Joseph Craft III multiple times while he was still in charge of the EPA. In a statement, Alliance said that any talks between Pruitt and the company were preliminary, and would not involve him becoming an employee of the company. Alliance is the second-largest coal producer in the eastern US, according to the company’s website, and gave $3,500 to Pruitt’s campaign to become Oklahoma’s attorney general in 2013. Separately, a House Democrat wants to “honor” Pruitt’s legacy as EPA boss by increasing penalties for personal use of public resources. California Rep. Ted Lieu’s bill, the E. Scott Pruitt Accountability for Government Officials Act of 2018, would subject senior government officials to up to five years in prison if they use their public office for private gain. (Politico, The Hill)
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