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Forest protection deals inked between African nations and a World Bank fund could spur international emissions trade under the Paris Agreement and ICAO’s CORSIA offsetting scheme for aviation.
European carbon prices posted a fourth straight day of gains Thursday, ending above €22 for the first time in a fortnight on what traders said looked like short-covering combined with technical buying.
The UK government has awarded £19.5 million in compensation to 60 companies for their 2018 costs relating to the EU ETS and the UK’s carbon price support, in an effort to shield them from carbon leakage risks.
The UK’s greenhouse gas emissions fell by 2.5% in 2018, according to provisional government data released Thursday, a decline driven by the ongoing energy sector shift from coal to cleaner gas and renewables but muted by colder temperatures.
California Carbon Allowances (CCA) pushed through market expectations for the 2020 floor price this week, while RGGI allowances (RGGI) languished on the secondary market after their most recent post-auction rise.
Two US Democratic legislators reintroduced a bill Thursday to implement a national carbon trading programme that they said could gel with progressives’ Green New Deal (GND)-style approach to decarbonising the US economy.
China last year restarted construction on a number of previously suspended coal plants, offsetting a decline in the rest of the world to push up global capacity build figures for the first time in three years, according to a report published Thursday.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Driving forward – The EU has tightened caps on CO2 from cars in a bid to accelerate the development of electric vehicles, Bloomberg reports. The European Parliament set a 37.5% reduction target for 2030 compared with the 2021 limit. In a vote on Wednesday in Strasbourg, the assembly also fixed an interim CO2-cut goal for autos of 15% for 2025. EU governments have already signalled support for the new CO2 limits after striking a deal in December with the 751-seat parliament, making their final approval due on Apr. 15 a formality. MEPs also voted overwhelmingly to ban single-use plastics with reasonable alternatives from 2021.
Bankruptcy billions – Creditors of embattled California utility Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E) are proposing a $35 billion plan that would allow the company to emerge from bankruptcy this year, Bloomberg reports. Pacific Investment Management, Elliot Management Corporation, and Davidson Kemper Capital Management have been meeting with California lawmakers and other stakeholders to discuss the proposal, according to sources. Their plan would establish a $14 bln cash trust to pay for claims tied to the 2017 and 2018 wildfires that led PG&E to declare bankruptcy in January. The plan would also have PG&E exiting bankruptcy by Mar. 31, 2020, and would be “mainly neutral for consumers” with respect to electricity rates.
Power up – US power emissions rose last year as overall generation increased enough to outpace declines in emissions per unit of output, according to new data. Figures from Carnegie Mellon University’s Power Sector Carbon Index project showed that electricity sector CO2 emissions totalled 1.791 billion tonnes in 2018, up from 1.780 bln the year prior, marking the first rise in five years. (Axios)
Big buyers – A plethora of US corporate giants have launched a new trade association aimed at greatly expanding direct renewable power purchases. The Renewable Energy Buyers Alliance hopes to collectively bring more than 60 GW of new renewable capacity online by 2025, which is nearly equal to the 64 GW of solar PV capacity at the end of 2018. Hundreds of companies, including energy buyers, renewable power developers, and service companies, are taking part, with big names including Google, Facebook, Walmart, and General Motors. (Axios)
Lone waiver –The US EPA on Thursday showed that it had granted another small refinery exemption (SRE) under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS), bringing the number of compliance waivers given for the 2017 compliance year to 35. That leaves one outstanding waiver for the 2016 and 2017 compliance years each, along with 39 waivers for 2018 that the EPA has yet to act on. The agency granted its first waivers under Administrator Andrew Wheeler earlier this month, continuing a practice that increased significantly under former head Scott Pruitt, swelling the amount of surplus biofuels credits in the RFS market.
Oily palms – A senior Indonesian minister has warned that Southeast Asia’s biggest economy could consider exiting the Paris Agreement if the EU goes ahead with a plan to phase out palm oil in renewable transportation fuel. Speaking at a palm oil forum, Luhut Pandjaitan, the coordinating minister overseeing maritime and natural resources, said the EU “should not underestimate Indonesia” and pledged the government would firmly defend its national interest. (Reuters)
We need to talk about dirt – Decarbonising electricity won’t be enough to meet global climate goals unless it is matched by every other sector of the economy, writes Microsoft founder Bill Gates on his blog gatesnotes. Agriculture, forestry, and land-use account for nearly a quarter of global GHG emissions, he writes, and one significant contributor to that is soil. “Here’s a mind-blowing fact: there’s more carbon in soil than in the atmosphere and all plant life combined. That’s not a big deal when left to its own devices. But when soil gets disturbed – like it does when you convert a forest into cropland – all that stored carbon gets released into the atmosphere as CO2.” Gates says he is involved with Breakthrough Energy Ventures that is “backing a number of creative solutions to tackle the problem”.
And finally… Frame the swamp – US Interior Secretary nominee and former fossil fuel lobbyist David Bernhardt had his confirmation hearing before the Senate on Thursday, which featured a unique attendee in the audience. A spectator put on a “Swamp Thing” mask and sat calmly throughout the hearing, which turns out was organised by environmental campaigners Greenpeace to protest Bernhardt’s nomination. “David Bernhardt heading the Interior Department would be a dream come true for fossil fuel companies, but a nightmare for the American people. If ethical violations alone don’t disqualify him from holding this position, his record of selling out public lands and waters to his industry buddies should,” a statement from Greenpeace said. (Time)
Look in the background during Interior Secretary Nominee David Bernhardt’s opening statement.
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 28, 2019
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