CP Daily: Wednesday April 17, 2019

Published 01:06 on April 18, 2019  /  Last updated at 01:11 on April 18, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Nordic firms unite to develop voluntary market for CO2 removals

Twenty-three mostly Nordic firms led by Finnish utility Fortum are developing a platform to create and sell GHG removal units on the voluntary carbon market, in an effort to stimulate CO2 removal applications derived from soil and from concrete and wood used in buildings.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs flirt with 11-yr high amid supply dearth, as analysts eye gas, speculators

EUAs came within a few cents of breaking last week’s 11-year high near €28 on Wednesday as the lack of an auction and resilient gas prices encouraged both speculative and compliance buyers.

AMERICAS

Virginia GOP efforts to thwart RGGI, TCI entrance seen as unlikely to succeed

Virginia Governor Ralph Northam is likely to veto Republican budget amendments that would prevent the state from joining the RGGI and Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) programmes, a regulatory source said.

LCFS Market: California futures notch another monthly volume record

A record amount of California Low Carbon Fuel Standard (LCFS) futures have already traded on ICE just over halfway through April, marking the second consecutive month to set an all-time high.

ICYM

Alberta’s UCP wins election, ending NDP carbon tax and setting up another Canadian climate policy showdown

(Updates Tuesday’s story in CPD with further details, reaction)

Alberta’s United Conservative Party (UCP) and leader Jason Kenney were elected in a landslide victory in the Canadian province on Tuesday, ending the ruling NDP’s two-year old carbon pricing programme and setting up multiple battles with the federal government over the party’s pledged climate policy rollbacks.

CORRECTION: Nations seek to shift gears on UN Article 6 carbon market talks

(Clarifies paragraph 3 process on seeking new text, corrects attribution to observers)

Governments are looking to change their approach on agreeing to a global rulebook for carbon markets in an effort to avoid a repeat failure that almost crashed the UN climate talks last year.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Real-world experience – Teen campaigner Greta Thunberg is finding the politics of climate change aren’t easy. The 16-year-old Swedish environmental activist said that she is learning that those dynamics are making it difficult to enact changes as they could be viewed as unpopular decisions by voters, and so far, politicians seem unwilling to make the drastic changes needed to alter the world’s climate course. “They talk about the same things,” betting on some future technologies “that will solve everything” or championing their party proposals as something “everyone has been waiting for,” she told Politico. But “it doesn’t seem like they’re open to actually change as drastically as they have to.”

Climate-focused – Washington Governor and US Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee has called on the Democratic National Committee (DNC) to host a debate solely on climate change. Inslee, who has made climate change the primary focus of his campaign, wrote in an email to supporters that the subject “can’t be a one-off question where candidates get to give a soundbite and move on … Each 2020 nominee needs to have a concrete plan to address climate change – and we deserve to hear those plans”. Beyond scheduling the first two debates this summer, the DNC has not made commitments about the topics, hosts, or even structure of the rest of the dozen primary debates. (The Daily Beast)

Transmission in twos – The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) has approved two projects that will add significant new transmission capacity to the state’s system and help to move renewable energy into load centres in New York City from upstate. The projects, which still must receive approval by the New York Public Service Commission, will increase Central East transfer capability by at least 350 MW and UPNY/SENY transfer capability by at least 900 MW, according to the NYISO. Green groups applauded the decision, saying it will help the Empire State meet its goal of 100% carbon-free energy by 2040. (Utility Dive)

Climate-charged hurricanes – A new study has found rainfall totals similar to Hurricane Maria’s record-breaking total are more likely to occur today due to the effects of climate change. The study published Tuesday in the journal Geophysical Research Letters found that the 15 inches (38 centimetres) of rain dumped in a single day by Maria was 30% more than the previous high in 1985, and also noted that storms of the same magnitude are five times more likely to occur due to climate change. A previous study made a similar connection between the warmest water ever recorded in the Gulf of Mexico and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. (NPR)

Super plants – Dr Joanne Chory – who has long banged the climate drum and now leads a project that could lower the Earth’s temperature – is perhaps the world’s leading botanist and is on the cusp of something so big that it could truly change our planet. She’s also a woman in her 60s who is fighting a disease sapping her very life, the Guardian reports. In 2004, Chory was diagnosed with Parkinson’s, which makes the timetable for success all the more tenuous. “We’re trying to do something that’s a huge, complicated thing even though it sounds so simple,” Chory says. “Plants evolved to suck up CO2 and they’re really good at it. And they concentrate it, which no machine can do, and they make it into useful materials, like sugar. They suck up all the CO2, they fix it, then it goes back up into the atmosphere.” She is now working to design plants capable of storing even more carbon dioxide in their roots. Her Ideal Plant project uses gene editing – via traditional horticulture and Crispr – to do so. On a large scale, this could suck enough carbon out of the atmosphere to slow down climate change. This concept basically splices the genes of regular crops and everyday plants like beans, corn and cotton, with a new compound that makes them absorb more carbon. Their roots then transfer it to the soil to keep it there. This approach essentially supercharges what nature already does.

And finally… That’s gold, Zinke! – Former US Department of Interior Secretary and climate change sceptic Ryan Zinke has landed a position on the board of directors of a gold mining firm that has pending mining projects on public lands. Chief Executive Edward Karr of the firm US Gold touted Zinke’s “excellent relationship” with the Interior in discussing his hiring, which some observers had said could represent yet another conflict of interest for the former secretary, who resigned after multiple ethics-related investigations. Federal restrictions and regulations prevent cabinet officials from lobbying their departments for five years after their departure. (Climate Nexus)

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