CP Daily: Monday November 26, 2018

Published 23:13 on November 26, 2018  /  Last updated at 23:13 on November 26, 2018  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

China flaunts climate achievements, coy on toughening Paris target

China has already met two of its three climate commitments for 2020 and is in a good position to hit its 2030 goal under the Paris Agreement, officials said Monday, without committing to strengthening those targets.

AMERICAS

So far, wildfires spare California offset projects

No California-based forestry projects are believed to have been impacted by the numerous wildfires that have hit the state over the past several months, several registry officials and offset developers said, though the final assessment could still take time.

LCFS Market: California prices tick back up as traders foresee activity increasing

California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) prices rose back toward the $190 mark over the past several days, and traders believe more gains could be possible over the last month of 2018.

ICE loses US carbon trading director to rival IncubEx

The Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) has lost its US director of environmental and coal markets to competitor IncubEx, sources told Carbon Pulse.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs sink below €20 but technical buying defends against further downside

EU carbon prices slipped below €20 on Monday, continuing their slide from late last week but clawing back from a €1 intraday drop.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Suspended – The EU’s emissions trading registry will be suspended for technical maintenance and a software update on Wednesday Dec. 5 from 1800-2100 CET (1700-2000 GMT) and on Thursday Dec. 6 at the same time.

See you in February – The German government has postponed until February a decision on how fast it should phase out coal. According to Reuters, after another round of talks in Berlin on Monday, the heads of Germany’s coal commission said in a statement that further negotiations were needed, and the group now aimed to wrap up its work on Feb. 1. Economy Minister Peter Altmaier said the postponement of the decision could increase the chances for a broader acceptance of the plan, though Finance Minister Olaf Scholz was reported to be showing little sympathy for paying compensation to operators of brown coal-fired power plants that could be forced to shut down early. The delay may not be surprising, considering that participating NGOs say no real debate has taken place on key issues, and thus the positions of the other stakeholders represented in the task force often remained unclear. Greenpeace Germany’s managing director Martin Kaiser added crucial questions had not yet been discussed, such as which power plants should be switched off and at what time. (Clean Energy Wire)

Thanks but no thanks – German utility RWE has rejected an offer from environmental campaigners Greenpeace to buy its big-emitting lignite assets for €384 million in a bid to close all 9.6 GW of them over 2019-2025. RWE said the offer couldn’t be taken seriously and that it was detrimental to its interests, as well as those of the government, which would be asked to finance part of the deal. Greenpeace had the offer priced by analysts Energy Brainpool and it was based on remaining profits before rising CO2 prices would turn the lignite plants unviable. RWE’s rejection came after its CEO said the commission would be able to conclude its work if Germany’s finance minister put more money on the table. (Montel, Clean Energy Wire)

Not great – The destruction of Brazil’s Amazon rainforest reached its highest level in a decade this year, government data released on Friday showed, driven by illegal logging and the encroachment of agriculture on the jungle. Satellite images for the 12 months through the end of July 2018 showed that 7,900 square km of forest were cleared in the Amazon, equivalent to more than half the territory of Jamaica. That was a 13.7% increase from the same period in the prior year. And there are concerns deforestation could continue to rise under president-elect Jair Bolsonaro, who is due to take office in January and who has criticised the rainforest protections amid support from the country’s agriculture sector. (Reuters)

Dire projections – Using the latest science from the Met Office and around the world, the UK government has launched its UK Climate Projections 2018 to illustrate a range of future climate scenarios until 2100, which shows increasing summer temperatures, more extreme weather, and rising sea levels are all on the horizon. To help homes and businesses plan for the future, the results set out a range of possible outcomes over the next century based on different rates of GHGs into the atmosphere. The high emission scenario shows:

  • Summer temperatures could be up to 5.4C hotter by 2070, while winters could be up to 4.2C warmer
  • The chance of a summer as hot as 2018 is around 50% by 2050
  • Sea levels in London could rise by up to 1.15 metres by 2100
  • Average summer rainfall could decrease by up to 47% by 2070, while there could be up to 35% more precipitation in winter.

Big win – Saturday’s election in Australia’s Victoria state produced a landslide win for the ruling Labor party, as it turned several seats held by the conservative Coalition for decades. Labor had campaigned promising to extend the state’s 40% renewable target in 2025 to 50% by 2030. The Coalition, meanwhile, had promised to ditch the renewables target entirely and commission a new coal- or gas-fired power plant for the state. Analysts produced a number of varying explanations for the huge win, but at least some Coalition politicians ascribed it to the federal party organisation’s tough anti-climate science stance, according to the Guardian.

Pushing back – Germany is pushing back against EU countries that want more ambitious emission limits for trucks, saying CO2 cuts should not go beyond 15% by 2025 and 30% by 2030, according to EU documents. The Netherlands, the EU’s second-biggest manufacturer of heavy-duty vehicles after Germany, wants a higher reduction in GHGs from trucks. A Dutch position paper, seen by Reuters, calls for a 20% reduction in CO2 emissions from trucks by 2025 and 30% by 2030. France will also push for more ambitious targets than what was proposed by the European Commission in May, though has not yet settled on concrete limits, an EU official said. Many other member states are still shaping their positions due to be discussed by EU environment ministers on Dec. 20. The European Parliament has backed a CO2 reduction target of 20% by 2025 and 35% by 2030, despite warnings from the truck industry that the higher reductions could cost jobs and cut growth.

BECCS on deck – Britain’s Drax has started a pilot project to capture and store CO2 emissions at its biomass plant, the first of its kind in Europe, it said on Monday. Drax said using BECCS technology at the plant in North Yorkshire that burns biomass could enable the company to operate the world’s first carbon negative power station. “If successful, the six-month pilot project will capture a tonne of CO2 a day from the gases produced when renewable power is generated,” Drax said in a statement. It added that the CO2 will initially be stored on site but that eventually it will seek to find a use for the gas, such as in the drinks industry which earlier this year was hit with a CO2 shortage.

Pump it up – Using high-efficiency electric heat pumps instead of gas for residential heating needs in California could cut GHGs significantly, according to a new NRDC analysis just published in the Electricity Journal. It found that over a full year of use, electric heat pumps cause significantly lower emissions than either gas or electric resistance technologies. Switching to a heat pump water heaters could reduce emissions 50-70% per household annually, depending on the efficiency of the gas technology they replace. Similarly, switching from a gas furnace to a high-efficiency air-source space heating heat pump could reduce emissions 46-54% annually per household.

Another lawsuit – A Quebec environmental group is taking legal action against the Canadian federal government, arguing that Ottawa’s failure to act on climate change violates the rights of 3.5 million young people in the province. Environnement Jeunesse filed an application for authorisation of the class action suit in the Quebec Superior Court on Monday, the first legal climate change initiative against the federal government in Canada. The suit cites both the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms and the Quebec Charter of Human Rights and Freedoms in arguing that Ottawa has demonstrated “gross negligence” for 25 years in failing to protect young people against the effects of climate change. (The Globe and Mail)

Ask the experts – The Canadian federal government is turning to a long-time environmental activist and the CEO of the country’s largest community credit union as it seeks advice on how to reach its climate change targets, particularly in the transportation and buildings sectors. The newly named panel chairs are Steven Guilbeault, co-founder of Equiterre, a Quebec-based non-profit that promotes sustainable agriculture and solutions to environmental degradation, and Tamara Vrooman, president and CEO of Vancity, a member-owned financial cooperative. Finance Minister Bill Morneau announced the establishment of the panel in his fall economic update on Wednesday. Its mandate has not yet been fully defined, said Guilbeault. (CBC)

It’s fine – US President Donald Trump said on Monday he had read parts of a the US government report released Friday that projected that climate change will cost the country’s economy billions of dollars by the end of the century, but he does not believe the economic impacts will be devastating. “I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” he told reporters at the White House. Asked about severe economic impacts, he said, “I don’t believe it.” (Reuters)

And finally… Blotting out the sun is cheaper than you think – Cooling the Earth by injecting sun-blocking particles into the stratosphere could be “remarkably inexpensive”, according to the most detailed engineering analysis to date. The fear of a rogue nation or military force unilaterally taking control of the global climate is unfounded, the researchers added, as the many thousands of high-altitude flights needed to affect global temperatures could not escape detection. The new research estimated the technology costs of putting millions of tonnes of sulphate particles high into the atmosphere would be $2-2.5 billion per year. This form of geoengineering mimics major volcanic eruptions, which have significantly reduced global temperatures in the past, though some worry it will carry unintended consequences such as droughts or damage to crops. (The Guardian)

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