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A Washington state senator proposed a flat $15/tonne carbon tax on Thursday as part of a larger transportation funding package, potentially revitalising efforts to price CO2 in the Evergreen State after two separate initiatives failed last year.
Germany’s environment ministry wants to set a 2050 domestic emission cut goal of at least 95%, laying out its first draft Climate Action law as part of a law-making process that is likely to face heavy pushback.
EU carbon prices fell to a fresh 2.5-month low on Friday before finding support and crawling back towards €19 for a big weekly loss that pushed EUAs deeper into bear market territory.
Fossil fuel subsidies can drastically skew the overall impact of carbon pricing, according to new research that found the UK transport sector facing an net impact of more than £200/tCO2 (€230, $260) while some EU ETS-covered sectors face only £2.
California state agencies on Friday kicked off the development of a Clean Miles Standard (CMS) to reduce the carbon footprint of app-based ride-sharing companies, such as Uber and Lyft, but officials have yet to decide how a possible crediting programme might interact with the state’s Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS).
Australia’s Clean Energy Regulator this week issued nearly 90,000 carbon credits, a tenfold increase from last week’s low but still less than half of average issuances.
Swiss firm South Pole has sold its majority stake in Australian carbon offset project developer Climate Friendly back to the company.
Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
On both sides – President Trump on Friday said he will nominate Kelly Knight Craft to be the country’s ambassador to the UN. Kraft, currently serving as the US ambassador to Canada, is a former Republican fundraiser who has questioned the mainstream consensus on climate change. “I think that both sides have their own results, from their studies, and I appreciate and I respect both sides of the science,” she told CBC in 2017. The ambassador is also married to billionaire coal mining-magnate Joe Kraft, who criticised former President Obama’s climate change policies. The ambassador position for the UN has been vacant since former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley left at the end of 2018. (USA Today)
Hedging bets – Coal demand in Europe will almost completely collapse within three years, according to Per Lekander, who manages more than $1.1 billion at London-based hedge fund Lansdowne Partners. He predicts this will come amid a rise in EU carbon to its “normalised” price “north of €50”. Lekander, who has been involved in the EU ETS for over a decade, also believes this quarter’s 25% drop in EUAs is only a temporary correction triggered by mild weather and falling gas prices. Lansdowne’s fund is up 1% so far this year compared to a return of 6% in 2018 and 24% in 2017. (Financial Times)
Brexit grilling – UK climate minister Claire Perry faces lawmakers in the House of Lords’ cross-party EU Energy and Environment Sub-Committee on Wednesday, Feb. 27. Roughly a year since her last appearance in front of the panel, she will be asked about what Brexit means for carbon pricing in both ‘deal’ and ‘no deal’ scenarios. Read Carbon Pulse’s take on the committee’s previous hearing, when experts warned of the ‘incredibly tight timetable’ for the UK to set up its own ETS by 2021.
How to spend it – Romania has announced it is building a 200MW combined cycle and high-efficiency cogeneration plant with a gas storage facility. The €180-mln project in Ghercesti will be partly funded using the company’s share of revenues from the EU’s Article 10c derogation programme. (Energy Industry Review)
Not PACking lightly – Veteran US Democratic party operative Corey Pratt has created a new unlimited-money political action committee, known as a super PAC, to support Washington Governor Jay Inslee’s possible presidential campaign. The group, called Act Now on Climate, illustrates how Inslee is planning to focus on the environment to make a mark in his presidential bid. However, it also puts him at odds with other major Democratic party candidates, such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris, who have sworn off super PAC support. (Politico)
Calc requirement – The US Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) on Thursday approved a long-delayed liquefied natural gas (LNG) export facility after reaching a deal on how to calculate its climate change impacts that could lead to a dozen more approvals. FERC voted 3-1 to approve the Venture Global Calcasieu Pass LNG project in Louisiana, with Democratic Commissioner Cheryl LaFleur signing off after the inclusion of GHG calculations in the final order. Typically, the Department of Energy weighs emissions impacts in such decisions, rather than FERC, but LaFleur said her agency “has the clear responsibility” to at least disclose the expected GHG pollution. “Today’s FERC order rightly discloses the direct GHG emissions from Calcasieu Pass and puts them in the context of National GHG emissions,” she tweeted. (Utility Dive)
Eight years late – The US EPA on Friday said it has agreed to conduct a long-delayed study to assess the impact that burning ethanol for motor vehicle fuel has on air quality. Green group Sierra Club had sued the EPA to compel the agency to conduct the study, which the environmental organisation said was supposed to have been done roughly eight years ago. The outcome of the so-called backsliding study is due by Mar. 2020, and could trigger new action on the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) if the study finds ethanol burning makes the air dirtier. (Reuters)
Auction approach – The World Bank has published a policy advocating the use of climate auctions for domestic climate action. The bank’s own climate auction platform has hosted reverse auctions designed to buy emission reductions cost-effectively since launching its Pilot Auction Facility in 2014. (Read Carbon Pulse’s take on the bank’s latest plans to host an auction to buy credits on behalf of Germany’s Nitric Acid Climate Action Group)
Roll Over Tide – Alabama Power will shut down the 100-year-old coal-fired Plant Gorgas, the company announced this week, with elected officials blaming Obama-era regulations for the plant’s demise. “Obama’s negligence and disregard for Alabama families and their jobs is one of the many destructive outcomes of his presidency,” Public Service Commissioner Chip Beeker said. “The liberals who helped drive Obama’s agenda continue to put Alabama’s economy at risk.” Elsewhere in the country, other owners in Montana and Indiana announced this week they will be closing mines this year. The owner of the mine in Indiana claimed to have raised more than $1 million during President Trump’s 2016 election campaign. (Climate Nexus)
And finally… She knows what she’s doing – That was the response from California Senator Diane Feinstein when asked by a group of children to back the Green New Deal. The kids of various ages presented Feinstein with a letter urging her to back the resolution when it comes up for a vote in the coming days. “We have our own Green New Deal,” she told the children in a video tweeted by the Sunrise Movement. “[Climate change] isn’t going to be turned around in 10 years. You know what’s interesting about this group? I’ve been doing this for 30 years. I know what I’m doing. You come in here and you say it has to be my way or the highway. I don’t respond to that. I’ve gotten elected. I just ran. I was elected by almost a million-vote plurality.”
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