CP Daily: Thursday September 27, 2018

Published 04:05 on September 28, 2018  /  Last updated at 23:15 on February 11, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Virginia slashes proposed RGGI emissions cap by over 15%

Virginia has floated adopting an initial emissions cap that is more than 15% below its previous proposals, as the state works toward linking with the northeast US Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI).

AMERICAS

California’s ARB unanimously approves LCFS amendments

California regulator Air Resources Board (ARB) unanimously approved a set of regulatory amendments to the Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) Thursday, strengthening the programme’s GHG targets through 2030 while making a plethora of other changes.

Alaska governor non-committal on carbon tax after panel recommendation

Alaska Governor Bill Walker (I) did not rule out implementing a carbon tax in the state during a press conference on Wednesday, which followed his appointed climate change committee calling for such a levy.

Critics urge US Court of Appeals to block California LCFS on eve of vote

Various energy and trade organisations have asked a US federal court to block California from advancing its Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) regulations on the eve of a final vote, claiming the revised proposal violates the Constitution’s dormant commerce clause.

NA Markets: RGGI extends highs as WCI continues to drop

Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) prices rose over course of the week to build on two-year highs reached earlier this month, while California Carbon Allowances (CCA) continued to decline on the secondary market.

ASIA PACIFIC

New Zealand PM hints at tougher GHG target, Pacific nations plan to do more

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern has signalled she is ready to increase the ambition of the nation’s emissions reduction target under the Paris Agreement, even as the country is preparing to meet a significant share of its existing goal through the international carbon market.

New NZ fund targets carbon credit revenue from planting 150 million trees

A newly-launched New Zealand carbon fund is aiming to plant 150 million trees on marginal land under a business model that would see the fund and land owners split revenue from carbon credit sales in the NZ ETS.

Carbon veteran leaves Sindicatum following offset portfolio sales

A veteran carbon expert has left project developer Sindicatum to pursue other opportunities, Carbon Pulse has learned, several months after the Singapore-based firm sold its US and Asian offset portfolios.

EMEA

ANALYSIS: Multiple factors coalesce to blow out EU carbon future spreads

The spreads between the main EU carbon allowance futures have exploded this week to levels not seen in years, though traders and analysts were at odds over the reasons behind the big moves.

EU Market: EUAs find support above €20 to halt heavy losses

EU carbon prices rose above €20 on Thursday, as a stronger auction helped to claw back some of the heavy losses of the previous two sessions.

Citi EU carbon and power trader joining London’s Freepoint

A senior carbon and power trader has left US investment bank Citi’s London office to join commodities trading house Freepoint, Carbon Pulse has learned.

INTERNATIONAL

Delaying GHG cuts means big increase in economic costs -researchers

Stronger efforts to cut GHG emissions including triple-digit carbon prices should be made to avoid global warming of more than 1.5C without relying on potentially more expensive or risky removal technologies, an analysis found Thursday.

COMMENT

Saskatchewan, Ontario and the constitutionality of a national carbon price

Having now each filed in court their arguments against the Canadian federal carbon price, Saskatchewan and Ontario have revealed their hands and their arguments are weak, writes Nathalie Chalifour, an associate professor at the Faculty of Law, University of Ottawa and a member of the Royal Society of Canada’s College of New Scholars.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

It’s possible – The EU must raise its 2030 emission reduction goal to 55-65% under 1990 levels, up from 40% currently, if it wants to achieve net zero emissions by mid-century, according to a report by philanthropic fund European Climate Foundation and consultancy Climact. It found net zero in 2050 to be technically and feasibly possible, breaking down each sector’s required effort without referencing the EU ETS, which currently covers just under half of the EU’s GHG output. The report comes ahead of the European Commission’s own revision of its 2050 low-carbon development strategy, due in November. Read Carbon Pulse’s article on that process.

Climate clause – Canada and the EU added language Wednesday to reference climate policy in their Comprehensive Economic and Trade (CETA) agreement. The clause would commit the jurisdictions to implementing the Paris Agreement and to taking joint action to address climate change. The agreement comes on the heels of French President Emmanuel Macron saying nations that reject Paris should not benefit from economy-wide commercial deals. Macron’s comment appeared targeted at the US after President Trump opted to withdraw from the agreement and has taken multiple steps to rollback US climate policies. (Climate Home)

Upping renewables target – China is in the process of lifting its renewable energy target to 35% of electricity consumption in 2035, Bloomberg reports, citing unpublished government documents. Previously, it has aimed to get 20% of electricity from “non-fossil fuels” by 2030, a target likely including nuclear generation. The documents also outlined a renewable portfolio standard with penalties for those failing to meet minimum consumption targets from renewables, as well as confirmation that China is going ahead with its planned mandatory REC scheme.

No resistance – The German environment ministry will not resist a European Commission proposal on CO2 emissions limits for cars and vans because blocking it risks there being no limits at all. The statement follows Chancellor Angela Merkel’s remarks that European carmakers could be made uncompetitive if the targets were set above 30% by 2030. (Reuters)

Clean cash – UK Prime Minister Theresa May told the UN General Assembly her country would provide £60 million of technical assistance for developing countries on energy market reform, transition to clean growth, green finance and climate legislation. The government is due to reveal more details on the funding during the week of Oct. 15, when it will launch its first Green GB week promoting climate action.

BlackRock unlock – The governments of France and Germany have entered into an unusual alliance with BlackRock, the world’s biggest investment fund, to achieve progress in unlocking private capital for investments in climate action, according to Handelsblatt. At this week’s One Planet Summit in New York, Germany and France officially announced the partnership with BlackRock and several foundations. According to the article, the funds could be used for investments in sustainable energy generation and mobility in the fast-growing developing and industrialising countries in Asia, Africa, and South America. (Clean Energy Wire)

Goodnight lignite – On Oct. 1, three more German lignite power station blocks in Niederaussem and Janschwalde will be mothballed and moved into the so-called security standby reserve, dpa news agency reports. After four years in the reserve, the units will be retired for good. According to the Federal Network Agency, none of the blocks in the reserve have been used so far to back up capacity. The government introduced the security reserve, which is to consist of eight units by 2019, in 2015 to reduce emissions from lignite plants. The plant owners will receive around €230 million in 2017 and 2018 as compensation. (Clean Energy Wire)

Lost their appetite – Despite political support from the White House, US coal consumption continues to fall, Reuters reports, as power producers shutter coal-fired units in favour of cheaper and more flexible natural gas as well as solar and wind. Electric power producers’ coal consumption fell to 298 mln short tons in the first half of 2018, down from 312 mln in the same period in 2017, marginally below 2016, and the lowest since 1983. US power producers generated almost 6% less electricity from coal in the first half of the year even as total generation rose almost 5% and gas-fired generation was up 17%.

Renewed nuke – The owners of the Vogtle nuclear plant in Georgia reached an agreement this week to continue building the lone nuclear facility under construction in the US. Lead owner Southern Co. agreed to shoulder an increasing share of cost overruns at the plant, which is more than five years behind schedule and forecast to cost a total $27 billion – almost double its original price tag. Minority owner Oglethorpe Power had said that Southern should have borne the full amount of future cost overruns, which the latter company balked at before a compromise was reached. (Utility Dive)

Map change – Carbon Brief has produced a new map showing both how the climate has changed up to the present day and how it might change in the future for every different part of the world. The map combines observed temperature changes with future climate model projections, and it also breaks up the world into “grid cells” representing every degree latitude and every degree longitude.

Facing trial – A New Zealand man will face a two-week trial next May after allegedly having NZ$934,270 transferred to various bank accounts, including personal ones, while serving as trustee for a Maori trust dedicated to helping underprivileged people. The money included over NZ$50,000 that the trust had obtained by selling carbon credits. (NZ Herald)

Kigali update – The EU on Thursday ratified the Kigali Amendment to the Montreal Protocol, which will bring about a global phasedown of potent HFCs gases. In response to the rapid growth of HFC emissions, the 197 parties to the Montreal Protocol adopted the Kigali Amendment in 2016 to gradually reduce their global production and consumption. The EU has been phasing down HFCs since 2015. EU Member States are in the process of ratifying the Kigali Amendment individually.

And finally… Bird is the word – Birds may have an edge on weather forecasters in being able to predict the severity of an upcoming hurricane season months in advance, according to new research. Christopher Heckscher of Delaware State University studied the nesting patterns of veeries, a type of thresh, outside of the state’s largest city Wilmington, finding that the birds cut their breeding season short and laid more eggs in years with more severe hurricane seasons. The research also concluded that the birds, which nest in forests across the northern US and southern Canada and migrate over the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean en route to South America, were at least as good and maybe a little better than meteorological forecasts in predicting how intense the year’s hurricane season would be. However, the more difficult task still remains of figuring out how the birds are making these predictions. (Nature)

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