CP Daily: Tuesday April 2, 2019

Published 02:01 on April 3, 2019  /  Last updated at 10:30 on April 3, 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 backloads new ERF cash, stretches funding period

Australia’s A$2 billion ($1.42 bln) top-up of the Emissions Reduction Fund will be allocated over 15 years instead of 10 as previously announced, with less than 10% of that due over the next four years, government budget papers showed Tuesday.

EMEA

Germany slashes GHG emissions by 4.2% in 2018 after years of stagnation

Germany cut its greenhouse gas emissions by 4.2% in 2018, its government announced on Tuesday, recording a significant reduction after almost a decade of stagnation.

EU Market: EUAs end above €22 as spec buying, falling coal prices support

European carbon prices ended back above €22 on Tuesday on the back of technical buying and short-covering by speculators, and as coal prices continued to crater.

France confirms launch of GO auction in September

France will begin auctioning green certificates in September, host platform EEX-owned Powernext said Tuesday in confirmation of supply that many observers expect to weigh on prices this year.

Swiss commodity merchant Ezpada hires veteran carbon options trader

Swiss-headquartered commodity trading house Ezpada has hired a veteran options trader to help it expand its carbon desk.

AMERICAS

New Oregon cap-and-trade amendment seeks to cancel LCFS

An Oregon state senator introduced an amendment Monday to the proposed WCI-modelled carbon market bill that would nix the state’s low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) to avoid overlapping emission reduction policies.

Connecticut pushes RGGI Model Rule approval to May

A Connecticut legislative committee will not review the state’s revised RGGI cap-and-trade regulation until late May, meaning the post-2020 Model Rule changes of the northeast US ETS will not take effect until this summer, a state official confirmed to Carbon Pulse.

Shell ends relationship with US lobby group over climate policy

Oil major Shell will terminate its relationship with a US lobby group and found misalignment with nine other North American and European industry bodies due to their position on climate change issues, according to a company report released Monday.

US EPA still waiting on RFS waiver recommendations for 2018

The US Department of Energy (DOE) has not delivered its recommendations on which small refiners should receive compliance waivers under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) and the EPA is likely to grant those exemptions on a “rolling basis” once the agency has received them, Administrator Andrew Wheeler said Tuesday.

ASIA PACIFIC

Report backs calls to reform Australia’s Safeguard Mechanism

Australia’s industrial GHG emissions would rise 22% above 2005 levels by 2030 without reforms to the Safeguard Mechanism, analysts said Tuesday, though a potential new Labor government pushing such reforms might face an uphill battle in parliament should it try to legislate changes.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Working for the man – Australia’s Delta Electricity has en energy efficiency upgrade at its Vales Point coal-fired power station registered as a carbon offset project, but when the regulator refused to issue the company any carbon credits over lack of information, it lobbied Environment Minister Melissa Price, according to the Guardian. The minister ended up querying the Clean Energy Regulator how coal-fired power plants could get access to funds earmarked to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

Go for it – A Japanese government panel on Tuesday urged the country to aim to be carbon-neutral as soon as possible after 2050 through innovations such as the wide use of CCS technology and lower cost hydrogen production. The panel, a group of academic experts and business leaders, also said Japan should cut the costs of producing CO2-free hydrogen to one-tenth by 2050, which would become lower than liquefied natural gas (LNG). However, it postponed an outline on the direction of coal financing or a carbon tax. The proposal comes as the country is mapping out a long-term low-emissions strategy to be submitted to the UN to flesh out how to reach commitments made under the Paris Agreement.

Another pilot – China’s Henan province has drawn up regulations for its energy consumption scheme, which will create a market trading permits among energy consumers using more than 5,000 tonnes of standard coal equivalent per year, equal to annual CO2 emissions of around 13,000 tonnes. The market has been limited to coal-generated energy consumers, though the provincial government did not specify when the market will start as regulators have to draw up an allocation plan first. Henan is one of four provinces picked to pilot such a scheme. The central government has said it will assess the pilots in 2020 and launch a national scheme if they are a success. However, it remains to be seen if there is much to assess, as designing the programmes is taking a long time. Fujian province launched its scheme in 2017.

Not gonna make it – Europe’s draft national energy and climate plans are insufficient to deliver the EU’s 32% renewables target for 2030, according to analysis released today by WindEurope at its annual event in Bilbao. The analysis shows that some EU countries are pledging to deploy good volumes of wind in their plans. But the strategies are badly lacking in the detailed policy measures that will deliver these pledges – which means the pledges are not meaningful.

It’s a date – United Conservative Leader Jason Kenney says if he wins Apr. 16 Alberta election, a formal court challenge of the federal carbon tax will be launched by the end of the month. Kenney, who has already pledged to axe Alberta’s carbon tax, says he would instruct his attorney general to file the challenge in Alberta’s Appeal court no later than Apr. 30.  The suit would follow cases filed against Ottawa’s backstop programme by Ontario and Saskatchewan.  The poll-leading UCP this weekend unveiled its campaign platform, which included a pledge to soften the performance standards and excess emissions charge that make up the Canadian province’s pricing system for large installations. It also wants to scrap the ruling NDP’s climate plan that provides the basis for multiple other GHG reduction and clean energy goals. (National Observer)

Closing the door on disclosure – The US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) has granted ExxonMobil’s request to throw out a shareholder-pushed resolution urging the oil giant to disclose targets to reduce GHGs. The non-binding resolution filed by the New York public pension fund and Church of England’s endowment called for short-, medium-, and long-term targets for lowering emissions in company operations and products in line with the Paris Agreement. However, the SEC said in a letter to Exxon on Tuesday that the resolution would result in micromanaging the company and impose policies “in place of the ongoing judgments of management as overseen by its board of directors”. (Axios)

Pulp policy – The US EPA is aiming to propose a policy this summer that would recognise energy produced from burning forest biomass as carbon neutral, agency head Andrew Wheeler told the House Committee on Appropriations Tuesday. That comes despite the fact the EPA did not indicate a timeline for the rulemaking in its October Unified Agenda update. The EPA issued a policy brief last April that said it will “treat biogenic CO2 emissions resulting from the combustion of biomass from managed forests at stationary sources for energy production as carbon neutral”, though the agency’s Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) has not definitely settled the issue. (Bloomberg Environment)

And finally… Rock-A-Bye RGGI – The implementation of the northeast US RGGI carbon market has been associated with decreases in overall infant mortality and boy mortality through reducing air pollutant concentrations, a new “quasi-experimental” study has found. Research published in the medical journal BMJ estimated the impacts of RGGI on infant mortality from 2003-2014, or six years before and six years after the programme began operating. The analysis found that while overall and male neonatal mortality rates and infant mortality rates dropped, the rates for females in both categories were not significantly affected. The analysis was released at the same time as a larger “State of Global Air” study, which found that the life expectancy of children born today will be shortened by 20 months on average due to toxic air, with the greatest toll in south Asia. That study also determined that air pollution contributed to nearly one in every 10 deaths in 2017, making it a bigger killer than malaria and road accidents and comparable to smoking, according to the Guardian.

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