CP Daily: Monday February 25, 2019

Published 02:19 on February 26, 2019  /  Last updated at 02:19 on February 26, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Australia pledges A$200 mln annual boost to carbon offset fund

Australia’s ruling Coalition will boost the annual budget of the Emissions Reduction Fund by A$200 million ($143 mln) over the next decade, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced Monday.

AMERICAS

California stakeholders to tackle allowance oversupply question in 2019

California legislators, regulators, and academics will explore whether further actions should be taken to deal with the growing allowance surplus in the WCI cap-and-trade programme during the upcoming year, sources told Carbon Pulse.

Alaskan carbon tax hopes fade as governor eliminates climate committee

New Alaskan Governor Mike Dunleavy (R) formally disbanded his predecessor’s climate change committee on Friday, scuttling its recommendations for the implementation of a CO2 tax and sector-specific GHG reduction targets in the remote northern US state.

EMEA

British Steel, other UK firms face hefty ETS compliance bills linked to Brexit ‘shield’

British Steel and other UK companies reportedly face hefty EU ETS bills due to Brexit-linked market safeguards, as the government continues to wrangle over its divorce from the bloc.

EU Market: EUAs pare losses after re-testing lows, but views mixed as to next move

European carbon allowances pared their losses on Monday after re-testing last week’s 2.5-month low in early trade, as talk of last-minute compliance buying and optimism around Brexit supported prices.

AVIATION

Without two-pronged offset limit, airlines’ CORSIA scheme risks having no climate benefit -researchers

Governments this month risk adopting CORSIA international aviation offsetting scheme rules that have no climate benefit unless they impose both vintage and vulnerability limits on the eligible carbon credits, researchers said on Monday.

INTERNATIONAL

Green Climate Fund fills key positions ahead of crucial year

The Green Climate Fund on Monday unveiled its new executive director and a global facilitator for its replenishment process, as the fund enters into crucial negotiations with donor countries over topping up its budget.

ECOSYSTEM MARKETPLACE

Can the Green New Deal boost sky farming and save the giant carbon sink?

By now, you’ve probably seen the news about US Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA). On Friday, she unveiled a sweeping draft resolution to set US climate change policy for decades to come, and major media outlets competently contrasted her resolution with the more ambitious but less detailed “Green New Deal” proposal. Oh, wait… sorry. Wrong universe.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Watchdog wants – Kay Scheller, president of Germany’s government spending watchdog Court of Auditors, said the government should “seriously consider introducing a CO2 price” to meet the country’s emissions reduction goals. At the same time, the government should examine whether existing subsidies, fees, and levies are still fit for purpose, he said, referring to lower taxes on diesel compared to petrol, the exemption for certain companies from power and energy taxes, and the buyer’s premium for electric cars, which the government recently extended despite low interest from customers. (Welt Online, Clean Energy Wire)

She picked a Fein time – California Senator Dianne Feinstein unveiled a less ambitious alternative to the “Green New Deal” after she was caught on tape last week rejecting a push by children for her to support the sweeping climate change plan backed by progressive Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. According to Bloomberg, Feinstein’s proposed draft plan seeks to eliminate US GHGs by 2050 – 20 years later than the Green New Deal – and also explicitly calls for achieving those reductions through a price on carbon, among other ways. Feinstein’s plan would largely reinstate a suite of Obama-era regulations that Trump officials are trying to roll back, including the EPA’s Clean Power Plan and passenger vehicle emissions limits. Axios notes that if released prior to the GND, Feinstein’s plan would have been among the most aggressive proposals ever floated by a mainstream Democrat.

Buying abroad – New Zealand’s opposition National party has released its new platform for environmental policies. The party expressed strong support for the ETS, which it administered for eight years while in office. The document backed the government’s plan to begin auctioning of NZUs, but it stressed New Zealand must take a cautious approach to phasing out free NZUs to emissions-intensive, trade-exposed strategies. The National party also said it was a strong proponent of buying “robust” carbon credits from abroad, if they are available.

Ban’s ire – Former UN chief Ban Ki-moon criticised the UK for funding fossil fuels projects overseas. He said the government’s support via the UK Export Finance (UKEF) was at odds with the country’s commitments under the Paris Agreement. Over 2010-16, Ban said the UKEF provided £4.8 bln of support for fossil fuel projects, while the UK’s spent a total of £4.9 bln on its International Climate Fund for 2011-17. He said: “There is now a growing consensus that fossil fuels should not be funded in any way by export finance organisations.” (The Guardian)

Endorsed expansion – Canada’s National Energy Board (NEB) has endorsed an expansion of the Trans Mountain Pipeline following a reconsideration of its impact on marine life off the coast of British Columbia. The oil pipeline, which would run from Alberta to the Pacific Ocean near Vancouver, would still result in higher GHG emissions and greater harm to southern killer whales from increased tanker traffic, but the NEB said the benefits of the project outweigh the costs. After the NEB’s original approval was set aside by a Federal Court of Appeals ruling last summer, the new endorsement starts a 90-day clock for Ottawa to decide whether the project should proceed. If OK’ed, the regulator’s support does not guarantee restart of construction on the controversial pipeline, as there are expected to be more lawsuits, protests, and delays. (The Canadian Press)

The not great eight – Atmospheric CO2 levels exceeding 1,200 parts per million could unleash global warming of 8C by breaking up clouds that shade large portions of the ocean. According to new research published in the journal Nature Geoscience, stratocumulus cloud decks, which cover around 20% of Earth’s tropical ocean regions, would become unstable and break up if CO2 levels tripled from current concentrations above 400 ppm. When these clouds break up, they no longer shade the surface, triggering global warming of 8C and as much as 10C in the tropics. Scientists said the paper represents one of the first firm climate tipping points to come out of modelling exercises, though they cautioned the results are still speculative. (Carbon Brief)

Carbon move – Danish trading house InCommodities is planning to start trading carbon certificates within the next two years, while further expanding its power and gas trading presence across Europe, according to CEO Jesper Severin Johanson. InCommodities now has more than 15 traders and analysts that trade physical and financial power from day-ahead to year-ahead in 10 European countries. It is also active in six gas markets. (Montel)

Big-time neutral – German power company Eprimo has bought 400,000 CERs from a natural gas-based CDM project in India owned by Gautami Power, according to a UNFCCC website. The credits have been cancelled in order to offset Eprimo’s GHG emissions. The UN also announced a further 32,152 CERs from the same project have been cancelled to offset the emissions of an unnamed client of trading house ACT Commodities.

And finally… The gravity of the situation – The White House is planning to set up an ad hoc group of scientists to reassess federal climate science studies and counter their conclusions, according to a Washington Post exclusive that cites three senior administration officials. According to those individuals, the group would feature scientists that question the severity of climate change impacts and to what extent humans contribute to the problem. The panel mimics an idea pushed by former US EPA head Scott Pruitt of a ‘red-team, blue-team’ debate on climate science modelled on military studies, except in the new version there is no team representing mainstream climate science other than the reports themselves. A NASA scientist likened the idea to “assembling a panel of ‘gravity skeptics’ who insist it’s safe to jump off tall buildings, except in this case they want to take us all with them”. (Carbon Brief)

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