CP Daily: Tuesday February 12, 2019

Published 02:29 on February 13, 2019  /  Last updated at 03:01 on February 13, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

**Please note that Carbon Pulse has withdrawn its Feb. 11 article on South Africa’s carbon tax bill facing further delays. See below for details.**

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TOP STORY

World Bank carbon fund inks first REDD payment deals

Two African nations will receive over $100 million for protecting some of their forests under the World Bank’s Forest Carbon Partnership Facility (FCPF), the agency announced on Tuesday, jump-starting the first REDD payouts from the facility’s Carbon Fund since it launched at the beginning of the decade.

AMERICAS

Ontario proposes to harmonise OBPS with federal carbon pricing system

The Ontario environment ministry on Tuesday released draft regulations for its climate plan for large emitters, aligning with the Canadian federal government’s mandate through a rising carbon price and possible credit trading.

LADWP to close three California natural gas-fired plants by 2029

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP) will phase out three natural gas-fired power plants by the end of the next decade as the city works toward its 100% renewable energy goal, city officials announced Tuesday.

Industries seeking greater allowance allocations, looser offset rules in Oregon ETS

Emissions-intensive, trade-exposed (EITE) industries are seeking greater free allowance allocations than currently floated under Oregon’s proposed cap-and-trade programme, while the agricultural sector is advocating for more cost protections and less onerous offset restrictions, according to written comments.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs plunge by over 8% to new 2019 low after key support breaks

European carbon fell by nearly €2 on Tuesday to their lowest so far this year, plummeting late in the day as prices crashed below a major support level that had held up since late 2018.

EU prepares to pick up airline ETS burden in event of no-deal Brexit

EU rules passed into law on Tuesday will transfer away from Britain the responsibility for managing the ETS requirements for hundreds of airlines in the event of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit, with Germany adopting many of the major carriers.

ASIA PACIFIC

China ETS emissions accounting improves, study finds

Chinese companies covered by regional pilot emissions trading schemes submit more correct CO2 data over time, a study has found, adding some hope that the national cap-and-trade programme can operate with credible data.

NZ Market: NZUs jump to 2-month high on firm demand

New Zealand carbon allowances on Tuesday rose 1% to their highest since mid-December, as demand around the fixed price option level remained firm while available supply was scarce.

ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Former UNFCCC boss Yvo de Boer still working the climate puzzle, but from a different angle

Yvo de Boer values his solitude and his garden – both of which he neglected while serving as Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) from mid-2006 to mid-2010.

WITHDRAWN

WITHDRAWN-South Africa’s long-awaited carbon tax may see further delay -PwC

**This story has been withdrawn due to inaccurate information published Feb. 8 by PwC. The consulting firm’s comments were based on an old version of South Africa’s carbon tax bill.**

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Breakdown age – A gathering storm of human-caused threats to climate, nature, and economy pose a danger of systemic collapse comparable to the 2008 financial crisis, according to a meta-study from UK left-leaning think-tank IPPR. The study says the combination of global warming, soil infertility, pollinator loss, chemical leaching, and ocean acidification is creating a new domain of risk vastly underestimated by policymakers. While climate change features in policy discussions, other impacts barely figure. (The Guardian)

Green goals – The share of renewable energy in the EU rose to 17.5% in 2017 towards a 2020 goal of 20%, with 11 member states already achieving their 2020 targets, the EU statistics agency Eurostat said. The Netherlands and France are furthest away from their goals.

Eco-benefits – EU GDP would be 1.1% higher by 2030 if the Paris Agreement was implemented compared to the baseline scenario due to a spur in investment in clean energy and energy efficiency and a consequent reduction in fossil fuel spending, according to Cambridge Econometrics and EU agency Eurofound’s European jobs monitor. The report forecasts a 1.7% boost in investment a 0.7% rise in consumption by 2030. (Financial Times)

Blip dip – US GHG emissions from both sources and sinks dipped 0.3% in 2017, new data from the EPA showed on Tuesday. The small decline reported in the agency’s latest annual GHG inventory resulted largely from the continued move toward cleaner fuels, though it wasn’t as large as the nearly 2% decline from 2015 to 2016. The EPA report found that transportation again topped the power sector in 2017 in emitting GHGs, accounting for 36.5% of the total from fossil fuel combustion. (Bloomberg Environment)

Off the rails – California will not complete a high-speed train between San Diego and San Francisco because of cost overruns and the time required to finish it, Governor Gavin Newsom said in his first State of the State speech. The project had been proposed by former Governor Jerry Brown as a way to reduce emissions from the transportation sector, with the $77 billion project funded by the state’s cap-and-trade auction revenues. Newsom said the project would be completed between Bakersfield and Merced to invigorate the Central Valley’s economy and reduce the region’s air pollution, but it would not be extended beyond that. (LA Times)

Not great, Bob – A Utah state lawmaker released a proposal to tax carbon emissions on Monday, but the representative admitted the likelihood of the bill passing this year is “not great”. HB-304, which was introduced by Representative Joel Briscoe (D), would assign a $10/tonne tax that rises by roughly 3.5% annually until maxing out at $100/tonne. The 1,734-line bill also includes a smattering of tax cuts to offset the costs, including removing sales taxes on consumers’ electric and natural gas bills, cutting income taxes for businesses outside the energy sector, and doubling the tax exemption for senior citizens to $800 from $400 per year. However, Republicans hold supermajorities in both the House and Senate, meaning the legislation is unlikely to advance. (Utah Policy)

Separation speculation – The US EPA is considering releasing its draft proposal to expand sales of 15% ethanol blends (E15) without including simultaneous measures to limit biofuel credit speculation under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), Reuters reports. The combined draft proposal was scheduled for release this month and was meant to be finalised and implemented by June, but sources told the news outlet that the EPA separated reform efforts for Renewable Identification Numbers (RINs) under the RFS in order to speed up the E15 process before the summer driving season starts June 1.

Secret talks – UN aviation body ICAO is facing increasing criticism for its lack of transparency and industry influence. Environmental NGOs are calling on the body to match other UN agencies in boosting openness to increase public trust amid its protracted negotiations on what carbon credits are eligible for its CORSIA offsetting mechanism, the Guardian reports. CORSIA eligibility was fairly low down on the agenda of ICAO environment committee CAEP’s Feb. 4-15 meeting, with more talks planned in spring, observers said.

Behold: hybridge – German power grid operator Amprion and gas grid operator Open Grid Europe (OGE) are planning to build a 100MW power-to-gas plant along with hydrogen infrastructure, a project they have dubbed “hybridge”. The companies said the project – in which renewable electricity will be used to make hydrogen and green methane via an electrolyser – will cost around €150 mln and would be the first power-to-gas plant of this size. (Clean Energy Wire)

Blowin’ in from the east – An offshore windfarm on the Yorkshire coast of England that will dwarf the world’s largest when completed is to supply its first power to the UK electricity grid this week, the Guardian reports. The Danish developer Orsted, which will be installing the first of 174 turbines at Hornsea One, said it was ready to step up its plans and fill the gap left by failed nuclear power schemes. The size of the project takes the burgeoning offshore wind power sector to a new scale, on a par with conventional fossil fuel-fired power stations. Hornsea One will cover 407 sq km and at 1.2 GW of capacity, it will power 1 million homes, making it about twice as powerful as today’s biggest offshore windfarm once it is completed in the second half of this year.  The wind farm will eventually be expanded to a total capacity of 6 GW across three subzones that will be constructed between 2021 and 2025.

On the lam – Sami Raja, a British man sentenced to eight years behind bars last month over a £2.4 mln carbon credit scheme fraud, is on the run, City of London police confirmed to Money Marketing. Raja was convicted of six counts of conspiracy to defraud and money laundering, having mis-sold VERs and CERs to vulnerable investors through two companies – Harman Royce Ltd and Kendrick Zale Ltd – between Jan. 2012 and Aug. 2013. Money Marketing reports that Raja was tried in absentia and authorities believe he is in the UAE, where his social media profiles suggest he is running a consultancy firm. In fact, a Feb. 5 press release from Dubai-based Sami Raja Consulting announced that the company would be expanding its operations to other GCC countries. REDD-Monitor also flagged that Raja is thought to be in Dubai currently and not a UK jail.

Comments please – Climate Action Reserve has released its draft US landfill offset project protocol version 5.0 for public review and comment. Proposed revisions to the methodology include an updated performance standard test, deferred verification option, increased flexibility for projects applying for a second crediting period, expanded project definition, and several other updates to enhance usability. Please submit written comments, preferably in MS Word format, to policy@climateactionreserve.org by 1800 PST on Tuesday, Mar. 12. Join CAR for an online public workshop to discuss the proposed revisions on Wednesday, Feb. 27 at 1000-1100 PST.

And finally… Doing it live – US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R) announced Tuesday that he wants the Senate to take a vote on the Green New Deal (GND) unveiled by Democrats last week, in what some have seen as a move to drive a rift between more moderate and progressive elements of the party.  “I’ve noted with great interest the Green New Deal, and we’re going to be voting on that in the Senate,” McConnell said at a Senate Republican news conference. “I’ll give everybody an opportunity to go on record and see how they feel about the Green New Deal.” Senator Ed Markey (D), one of the GND’s primary sponsors, criticised McConnell’s move to hold a vote “without committee hearings, expert testimony, or a true national debate,” adding that Republicans want to sabotage any effort to make the fossil fuel industry pay for pollution. (NPR)

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