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Non-EU nations Norway, Iceland, and Liechtenstein will begin auctioning EU carbon allowances in June, the European Commission announced late on Tuesday, cueing up the long-delayed sales after the formal requirements were fulfilled.
The Washington state legislature on Monday approved a bill to move the Evergreen State to a 100% carbon-free electric grid by 2045 and align the policy with a possible cap-and-trade programme, as Nevada’s governor signed off on doubling the state’s Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS).
The Canadian federal government’s plan to implement fuel-specific electricity benchmarks under its ‘backstop’ output-based pricing system (OBPS) will weaken the true carbon cost of coal-fired generation and diminish incentives for investing in renewable energy, according to a new study released Tuesday.
UK metals firm Liberty House is set to substantially increase its EU ETS footprint after Brussels cleared its purchase of ArcelorMittal steelmaking facilities that were allocated millions more EUAs than they needed.
EUAs rose to within reach of this month’s 11-year high on Tuesday, resuming their upward course following the Easter break’s jump in oil prices.
Australia’s opposition Labor party on Tuesday announced a plan to spend A$1.5 billion ($1.07 bln) on natural gas extraction projects that critics say would balloon carbon output despite the government running on a platform to strengthen the nation’s emissions targets.
As corporates across Canada adjust to new federal and provincial carbon regulations, energy efficiency providers are fine-tuning their products and to serve the low-carbon economy. From low-hanging fruit to futuristic devices, there is no shortage of options to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Oil spoil – A number of major oilsands operations in Northern Alberta seem to be emitting significantly more carbon than companies have been reporting, according to newly published research from Canadian federal scientists. The study, which was published in the journal Nature Communications on Tuesday, featured researchers from Environment Canada calculating emissions rates from four major oilsands surface mining operations collected in 2013. The scientists said the air samples from those operations suggested their CO2 emissions are 64% higher on average than what the companies report to Ottawa using the standard UN reporting framework. That would take Canada’s overall emissions 2.3% higher than previously thought. (CBC)
All about consistency – Six Canadian environmental groups on Tuesday released a series of recommendations for federal/provincial equivalency agreements on climate policies. Canadian law allows federal and provincial governments to sign these agreements if provincial regulations would achieve equivalent or better environmental outcomes as federal regulations. However, the green groups argue that there is little precedent and no standard method for judging equivalency.
Pricing pitches – Germany’s environment minister Svenja Schulze told Der Spiegel that she aims to work on a domestic CO2 pricing proposal by summer that will not burden low-income households. The minister did not suggest a definite price, but she mentioned €20, as proposed by experts, as a first step. Former Economy and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel (SPD) wrote in Tagesspiegel Background that for Germany to reach its 2030 climate targets, it would need to rise to €200 and argues that a CO2 tax would have “significant advantages compared to emissions trading” while exempting firms now in the ETS. (Clean Energy Wire)
Aid capture – Brussels has cleared the Netherlands’ granting of €706,000 of state aid to firm Meerlanden to install carbon capture at its biomass power plant. Some 2,400 tonnes per year of waste CO2 is aimed to be transported to PrimA4a greenhouses rather than have them use gas-fired heat generators to produce it.
Record – Britain topped its record for the longest continuous period without generating coal-fired power, highlighting the near redundancy of the fuel in the electricity mix. Data from National Grid showed that UK coal-fired units lay dormant for more than 90 hours until Monday afternoon – the longest coal-free spell since the industrial revolution and almost 20% longer than the previous record.
New boss – UK-based voluntary carbon market and sustainability project developer ClimateCare has appointed a new CEO to work alongside long-standing director Edward Hanrahan. Former McKinsey consultant, Vaughan Lindsay, has a long track record of working with impact investors in the developing world. The firm has set a new target to cut 50 million tonnes of CO2 while seeing 20 million lives improved by 2025 from a 2014 start point. The firm said since its 1997 launch that it has already cut 16 million tonnes of CO2 and an additional 22 million lives improved since 2014.
And finally… Greta greets – Swedish teen climate activist Greta Thunberg has shrugged off the UK’s claims of climate leadership, dubbing the government’s active support for new fossil fuel exploration and Heathrow airport expansion “beyond absurd” in an address to MPs in London after meeting the heads of several political parties but not PM Theresa May. She said the UK had a “mind-blowing historical carbon debt” and uses “very creative carbon accounting”. Thunberg came to London to speak at the Extinction Rebellion environmental protests that have seen more than 1,000 people arrested amid sit-in protests in the British capital over the past week. (The Guardian)
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