CP Daily: Monday April 22, 2019

Published 07:30 on April 23, 2019  /  Last updated at 01:20 on May 9, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Virginia board signs off on final RGGI cap-and-trade regulation

Virginia’s Air Pollution Control Board approved a final cap-and-trade regulation from the state’s Department of Environmental Quality on Friday, bringing the state a step closer to joining the northeast US RGGI carbon market in Jan. 2020.

AMERICAS

The Nature Conservancy taking over large WCI forestry offset project

Environmental group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) will acquire a southeast US forestry project that has already generated several million California Carbon Offsets (CCOs) through the WCI cap-and-trade programme, with the organisation accumulating a majority of those credits in the process.

New Jersey board grants subsidies to three nuclear facilities

The New Jersey Board of Public Utilities (BPU) awarded zero emissions certificates (ZECs) last week to three nuclear plant reactors, bolstering the energy source ahead of the state’s entry into the northeast US RGGI carbon market in 2020.

ASIA PACIFIC

CN Markets: Pilot market data for week ending Apr. 19, 2019

Closing prices, ranges and volumes for China’s regional pilot carbon markets this week.

ICYM

ANALYSIS: Will Germany cancel EUAs to offset its coal phaseout? Analysts aren’t counting on it

There is growing scepticism amongst analysts that Germany will agree to cancel a sufficient number of EU carbon allowances, if any at all, to offset the emissions impact of phasing out its fleet of coal-fired power plants.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Plugging the gap – Former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg for the second year in a row will make up the funding gap left by the US federal government on its commitment to the UN’s climate change secretariat. Bloomberg, who also serves as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Climate Action, will provide $5.5 mln to the UNFCCC this year after having donated $4.5 mln last year. The Obama Administration had committed $15 mln to the secretariat for the two-year 2018-2019 funding cycle, but in 2018 the Trump Administration only transferred $2.5 mln, and is expected to deliver the same this year.

Spirit of the Beehive State – One of the authors behind Washington state’s failed 2016 I-732 carbon tax ballot initiative is starting a new push to give Utah voters a chance to endorse a CO2 price in 2020. The “Clean the Darn Air” campaign, which counts I-732 author and economist Yoram Bauman as a co-sponsor, is proposing an $11/tonne carbon tax that would rise to $15 in 2031 and $20 by 2040. Roughly 80% of those revenues would go towards expanding other tax credits and ending the state’s grocery tax, while the other 20% would go towards air pollution and economic development projects in the rural part of the Beehive State. To quality for the 2020 ballot, the group must hold public meetings across the state and collect roughly 115,000 signatures by next year. Efforts to push carbon tax legislation through Utah’s Republican-controlled House and Senate were unsuccessful this year, and the state has set aside funding to sue California for its climate regulations. (KUER)

Dead lift – A US federal judge ruled Friday that the Department of Interior (DOI) wrongly lifted the Obama-era coal leasing moratorium in 2017 without first studying the environmental impacts, a blow for the Trump Administration’s efforts to support coal production. Judge Brian Morris of the US District Court for Montana said the DOI “failed to take even the initial step of determining the extent of environmental analysis”, though he would not prescribe what level of environmental review is required. Morris also declined to immediately block all federal coal leasing, instead calling on the Trump administration to negotiate a remedy with the environmentalists and Democrat-led states that brought the legal challenge. (Politico)

Passing wind – A 730-mile (1200 kilometre) transmission line to connect the largest US onshore wind project in the Rockies to California and the southwest received the last of its necessary permits in Wyoming on Friday. The Chokecherry Sierra Madre Wind Project and TransWest Express Transmission Project, which were developed by subsidiaries of the oil and gas firm Anschutz Corporation, won approval from Wyoming’s Industrial Sitting Council, an independent arm of the Wyoming Department of Environmental Quality. The permit enables the project to finish construction on 92 miles (148 km) in the state, though some county-level permits in Utah and Nevada are still expected to follow this year. (Casper Star Tribune)

Down to Earth – Several companies and organisations made offset-related announcements on Monday to celebrate Earth Day. US-based airline Delta said that it purchased nearly 50,000 voluntary credits from the Conservation Coast Project in Guatemala to counteract the air travel of some 300,000 customers flying on Monday. The University of San Francisco announced that it had achieved its goal of becoming carbon neutral more than 30 years ahead of its target 2050 date, in part utilising an undisclosed number of offsets from clean cook stoves projects in Africa, methane gas initiatives, and reforestation projects for that achievement. Additionally, the National Hockey League (NHL) said it had purchased some 2,000 offsets from the Portland, Oregon-based non-profit organisation Bonneville Environmental Foundation to compensate for air travel for games during the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs.

And finally… “Who(osier) better?” – Scandal-riddled former US EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt on Sunday was announced as lobbyist for an Indiana coal mining company. Terre Haute-based Hallador Energy said that it hired Pruitt to “protect” power customers of the Hoosier State from rate increases caused by coal plant closures, with the company blaming “Obama-era rules” for the trend, which the Trump Administration is seeking to reverse. “[The utilities’] argument is that no one knows what the new rules will look like so we should hurry and make permanent decisions today,” Hallador said in a release. “Who better than Scott Pruitt to aid the Indiana legislature on what Trump energy policy will look like?” During his roughly 1.5-year term in office before his July 2018 resignation, Pruitt was routinely panned by green groups and public health organisations for his support of climate policy rollbacks. (Utility Dive)

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