CP Daily: Monday January 14, 2019

Published 23:33 on January 14, 2019  /  Last updated at 23:33 on January 14, 2019  / Carbon Pulse /  Newsletters

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

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California utility PG&E to pursue bankruptcy protection

California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) announced Monday that it will pursue bankruptcy protection as it faces significant litigation and possible liabilities from a devastating wildfire last year.


New York aiming to have RGGI draft regulations by end of Q1

New York’s Department of Environmental Conservation (NYDEC) is aiming to draft regulations for the post-2020 RGGI Model Rule by the end of Q1, a regulatory source said.

California’s ARB loses LCFS branch chief to trade group

California regulator ARB is losing its Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) branch chief to a renewable natural gas trade group.


EU Market: EUAs claw back early losses as Brexit vote looms

EU carbon prices recovered most of their early fuel-related losses on Monday as traders braced for more big moves this week from a crunch Brexit vote in the UK and the resumption of coal phase-out talks in Germany.


Beijing ETS companies get access to credits from voluntary car programme

Companies regulated by the Beijing emissions trading scheme will from now on be allowed to use carbon credits from a voluntary programme to cut traffic to help meet their ETS obligations.


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Nuclear build – Japan’s Hitachi says “no formal decision” has been made over its future in building the new Horizon £20 billion 2900MW nuclear power plant in the UK following a report that construction would be halted due to mounting works costs. The Nikkei Asian Review reported Hitachi’s board would likely decide to suspend all work on the Wylfa Newydd plant this week. Speculation has been mounting that Hitachi will scrap the Horizon nuclear power plant project due to potential increases in construction costs. (BBC)

Plan up – Seven EU member states missed an end of 2018 deadline to submit draft energy and climate plans to the European Commission. Sources have revealed that Bulgaria, Czechia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Luxembourg, and Spain failed to deliver on time. The final deadline for the plans is year-end 2019, but the commission needs to look into the nitty-gritty of the draft efforts well before that so the executive can make recommendations by June. (EurActiv)

Lifeline – The 1.2GW EDF-run Cordemais coal plant will operate beyond the French government’s deadline of 2022 to phase out coal plants, French energy minister Francois de Rugy said. In a statement released on Friday afternoon, he said the extension was necessary to maintain a secure amount of power in the French northwest region of Brittany. There have also been setbacks to long-term power production due to the 1.65GW Flamanville 3 nuclear plant and 400MW Landivisiau gas plant being delayed. Amongst the options studied for the Cordemais coal plant would be a partial switch to using biomass as a fuel. However, de Rugy said the only way that can happen is if grid operator RTE ensures there is enough supply for the west of France. (Heren)

Choke hold – Britain pledged to introduce new air quality legislation this year, setting itself up to be the first major economy to adopt goals based on WHO recommendations regarding people’s exposure to particulate matter. Last year, the government published plans to reduce emissions from cars and planes. The new strategy would also look to tackle home, farming, and industrial pollutants. It would also commit Britain to halving the number of people who live in areas breaching WHO guidelines on pollution as poor air quality in British cities comes under scrutiny. (Reuters)

Free of furlough – The White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) has cleared the way for US EPA Acting Administrator Andrew Wheeler to use furloughed agency staff in preparing for a confirmation hearing on Wednesday. Senate Environment and Public Works Committee top-ranking Democrat Tom Carper (D) last week questioned if the Trump administration had the authority to use these employees as the partial federal government shutdown continues. Yet OMB General Counsel Mark Paoletta told the EPA in a letter on Saturday that preparing for the hearing constitutes an “exempted activity” in helping the president discharge his constitutional duties. That drew fire from environmental groups that called Wheeler’s use of unpaid staff “profoundly unfair.” (Politico)

Barclays bar coal – UK-based international bank Barclays will likely reject opportunities to finance oil and gas drilling in the Arctic, as well as other climate change threats including coal power and mining, according to a new policy it announced Monday. But critics noted that although Barclays will stop coal project financing, they will continue to fund coal companies and financing “highly polluting” tar sands oil.

Comments open – The Alberta Climate Change Office has opened its revised draft Specified Gas Reporting Standard for a 30-day public comment period. The department undertook the revision to better align it with the federal reporting programme, the province’s Carbon Competitiveness Incentive Regulation (CCIR), and to help inform policy analysis. The public comment window is open until Feb. 15.

Ivanka no more – Ivanka Trump is overseeing the internal search for a nominee to lead the World Bank but is not herself a candidate for the job, according to the White House. The bank’s current president Jim Yong Kim announced last week that he will step down next month, touching off speculation about his replacement. The Financial Times on Friday reported that Trump’s daughter’s name was “floating around Washington” as one possibility, but a WH spokesperson said that “reports that she is under consideration are false.” (Politico)

And finally… Green visas – Portugal’s parliament has voted to extend its residency programme for wealthy foreigners who spend at least €500,000 on environmental projects. Foreigners will qualify if they invest in organic agriculture, eco-tourism, renewable energy, or other environmental projects that contribute to cutting emissions. The scheme offers residency for investments in property, setting up tech companies, or creating jobs. Other EU countries, including Spain, Malta, Greece, and Cyprus, run similar programmes, though critics charge that such initiatives face corruption risks. (Reuters)

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