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The first quarterly WCI current vintage auction of 2019 sold out at the higher end of traders’ predictions, according to results released Wednesday, despite the absence of embattled California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E).
The board of the Green Climate Fund on Wednesday awarded $96.5 million to a Brazilian REDD+ project, the first time a scheme designed to cut emissions by halting deforestation has been backed by the flagship UN-backed climate finance initiative.
European carbon prices surged 8% on Wednesday, extending its recent recovery rally to erase the losses posted over the past two weeks.
France could move to a floating carbon tax linked to oil prices in an attempt to calm unrest and allay consumer concerns, modifying the government’s current and highly-divisive approach of fixing a schedule of steep annual rises, President Emmanuel Macron said this week.
A standalone UK ETS would be large enough and liquid enough to be viable, UK climate minister Claire Perry said on Wednesday, reiterating that the government’s preferred post-Brexit option remains linking with the EU carbon market.
Norway’s $1 trillion sovereign wealth fund made further divestments from coal and agricultural businesses in 2018, furthering its climate risk strategy, it revealed in its annual report published Wednesday.
California regulator ARB gave out more than 2.5 million carbon offsets (CCOs) this week, with forestry projects bringing in nearly the entirety of that amount.
The Oregon Court of Appeals on Wednesday upheld the state’s Clean Fuels Program (OCFP) after an industry trade group had argued that a regulatory agency improperly implemented the low-carbon fuel standard several years ago.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Purse strings – The German federal parliament’s research service believes the country is not liable to compensate coal plant operators over the coal phaseout, despite the coal commission recommending that billions of euros could be paid to operators like RWE on the basis of “mutual agreements” between the companies and government. (RP Online, Clean Energy Wire)
Cleaner clearance – Brussels will not raise antitrust objections to a major part of the deal between German utilities RWE and E.ON, clearing the way for RWE to acquire the renewable energy businesses of both E.ON and its former subsidiary Innogy in a complex asset swap the firms agreed to last year. The deal leaves E.ON as a major power supplier while RWE focused on power production, including from renewables. (Reuters)
Maine pain – The US Senate on voted 52-46 on Wednesday to limit debate on EPA Acting Administrator’s Andrew Wheeler’s nomination to head the agency. However, ahead of the final vote Maine Senator Susan Collins (R) issued a statement saying she will oppose Wheeler’s bid. Collins voiced concerns about her home state being at the receiving end of pollution from coal-fired power plants further west, along with outlining the threat that climate change posed to the state’s natural resources and economy. “The policies [Wheeler] has supported as Acting Administrator are not in the best interest of our environment and public health,” Collins said. The GOP holds a 53-47 edge in the upper chamber over Democrats and independents, meaning Wheeler could still eke through.
Shift to taxation – US Congressional leaders have increasingly sought to implement carbon regulations through the use of carbon taxes rather than cap-and-trade programmes, according to an analysis by the Congressional Research Service. The analysis found 60 bills aimed at reducing carbon emissions have been submitted in Congress over the past 15 years (2003-2018). However, since 2011 most of the introduced bills would have established a carbon tax or emissions fee programme. Cap-and-trade made up a bulk of the proposals between 2003-2010, which included the Waxman-Markey proposal that would have established a national ETS. Despite numerous proposals, the US Congress has failed to pass either a national carbon tax or cap-and-trade scheme as Republicans and even some Democrats disapprove of them.
You’re ok – European energy exchange EEX has been awarded Recognised Overseas Investment Exchange status for the UK by the Financial Conduct Authority, effective from Feb. 21. The status means the exchange, which offers trade in EU carbon products, can continue to operate in Britain regardless of the consequences of Brexit. EEX’s clearing house, European Commodity Clearing (ECC), will also be able to continue to offer clearing services in Britain for three years in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
Shop till you offset – New York-based e-commerce giant Etsy on Wednesday announced that it will become the first major online shopping destination to offset 100% of their GHGs from shipping. The company partnered with California-based developer 3Degrees to invest in four existing offset projects, including a Minnesota-based forestry project, an SF6 conversion project in Michigan and Ontario, and wind and solar projects in India. 3Degrees said the retailer’s investment will support the development of new projects over time.
And finally… Circle of life – A research team from RMIT University in Australia have harnessed liquid metals to turn CO2 back into solid coal – a breakthrough that offers an alternative pathway for safely and permanently removing the GHG from our atmosphere. Scientists from the university developed a new technique using a liquid metal electrolysis method which efficiently converts CO2 from a gas into solid particles of carbon. This solution offers a more viable approach than many of today’s CCS systems that compress CO2 into a liquid form with the aim of injecting it underground. (E&T)
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