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Ten US companies and organisations have formed a consortium to advance a voluntary market programme for promoting soil carbon sequestration and water conservation in agriculture, with more work underway to scale up nationally in the next few years.
The COP25 UN climate conference in Chile will be held this December, the international organisation confirmed on Thursday, reversing an initial decision by the host nation to push the next annual negotiation round to Jan. 2020.
Several wealthy EU nations are mulling introducing or raising air travel taxes to help tackle the sector’s emissions, which are still rising despite having been covered by the bloc’s ETS since 2012.
Swiss lawmakers in both legislative chambers have approved the country’s carbon market link to the EU ETS, advancing the bill to a final vote later this month that will also likely approve a price floor for the small scheme.
EUAs surged back above €23 late on Thursday to eye their recent highs, dragging up power prices despite falls across other financial markets on weak ECB economic forecasts.
The Dutch government will close one of the country’s five coal-fired power plants next year – four years earlier than originally planned – to help reach its court-enforced deeper climate goals, broadcaster RTL reported on Thursday.
Adopting an ambitious emissions cap and allowance bank adjustment would unfairly burden Virginia as it looks to join the northeast US RGGI carbon market next year, utility Dominion Energy wrote in public comments.
A surge in buying after the February WCI auction spurred higher California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices this week, while RGGI allowances (RGAs) fell by double-digits ahead of the programme’s first quarterly sale of the year.
The US EPA made an unannounced and fundamental change to its methodology used to grant compliance waivers under the federal Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) that allowed for an increasing number of companies to receive exemptions to the biofuels credit market, a new court filing alleges.
Western Australia’s Environmental Protection Authority (EA) on Thursday recommended that new projects emitting more than 100,000 tonnes of CO2e a year should be required to offset their emissions using high-quality carbon credits.
South Korea’s environment ministry has halved the allowance volume each ETS participant can bid for at next week’s sale, a move designed to allow more buyers to bid successfully.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Not so fast – The Brookings Institution has analysed Chinese economic data and found that the country’s growth rate has been overstated for years, to the tune that GDP is currently 12% smaller than officials claim. Based on those numbers, China’s carbon intensity reduction over 2005-2016 would only be 31% and not 39% as China claims, Greenpeace analyst Lauri Myllyvirta said on Twitter. It would still meet the nation’s Copenhagen pledge of a 40-45% cut by 2020, but wouldn’t overachieve that goal by as much as it has stated. It would also leave China with much more to do than previously thought in order to meet its Paris target of cutting carbon intensity 60-65% from 2005 levels by 2030.
Rotten to the core – The mining giant Glencore secretly bankrolled a “globally coordinated campaign to prop up coal demand by undermining environmental activists, influencing politicians and spreading sophisticated pro-coal messaging”, an investigation by the Guardian Australia reveals. Dubbed “Project Caesar”, the covert campaign began in 2017 and was orchestrated by “world-renowned political operatives” at the C|T Group. It had annual funding of between £4 mln and £7 mln. Glencore confirms the project’s existence, but claims that it began the process of shutting it down last month, to “ensure alignment” with its recent decision to limit coal production for environmental reasons.
Reduced renewables – The Trump administration is again seeking severe cuts to division charged with renewable energy and energy efficiency research, a department official familiar with the plan told Bloomberg. The White House plan would see its $2.3 bln budget slashed by about 70% to $700 mln under President Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget request, which is set for release on Monday. However, the request is unlikely to be granted by Congress, especially with Democrats now controlling the House. Last year, the White House proposed cutting the agency’s funding by nearly two-thirds, but Congress instead provided $2.3 bln for the agency, more than three times the White House’s request.
Pure shores – The UK has struck a deal with the wind industry to ensure that 30% of UK electricity comes from offshore wind by 2030. Industry players have agreed to invest £250 mln over the next decade in exchange for £557 mln in state subsidies. The announcement leaves environmentalists wondering where the other 70% of the UK’s clean electricity will come from, as plans to expand nuclear are floundering while there is only a single CCS gas plant planned. (BBC)
The time is now – Australia’s Resources Minister Matt Canavan on Thursday backed calls from Queensland politicians to hurry up and get government-funding for a new power plant in place before the May election. The plan has been widely criticised as energy and climate professionals are both against using taxpayer money to fund new fossil-fuelled power plants that could be costly in terms of contributing to climate change and risk opening a plant destined to lose money. But Canavan stood firm on his position. “I think perhaps the best time to start building a coal-fired power station was 10 years ago, and the second best time is now,” he told reporters, according to the Guardian.
Futuristic CDM – South Korean company CPE Cell has developed an AI platform to digitalise MRV data for CDM projects, reports the Korea Herald. The CDM Work-Owner Device (CDM WOD) is the first step in what will eventually be a device that through algorithms can collect data from CDM projects, check them against current methodologies and CDM rules, and transmit them to the CDM Executive Board for issuance of carbon credits. A test will be carried out in Vietnam in April.
Disclosure deal – EU lawmakers reached a provisional agreement on new rules on disclosure requirements related to sustainable investments and sustainability risks. The agreed rules are intended to strengthen and improve the disclosure of information for end-investors as part of the EU’s wider Sustainable Finance Action Plan to connect finance with needs of the real economy.
Art of the six – Brussels-based think-tank ERCST has put out a paper examining the different versions of text on the yet-to-be-agreed Paris Agreement Article 6.2 rulebook governing international emissions trade. The paper analyses and compares four versions of the Article 6 text issued during the COP. Read Carbon Pulse’s article on how the text is expected to be advanced this year.
And finally… School dazed – US state curricula around the country are being targeted by legislation directly boosted by climate denier groups, the AP reports. More than a dozen states have seen bills with ideological ties to both the Heartland Institute and the Discovery Institute, with several pieces of legislation echoing “model legislation” provided by Discovery to encourage presenting “both sides” with regards to science and climate. While some of these bills have already failed, non-inding resolutions encouraged by Discovery were passed by Alabama and Indiana in 2019. (Climate Nexus)
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