CP Daily: Monday April 29, 2019

Published 23:28 on April 29, 2019  /  Last updated at 23:28 on April 29, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Pennsylvania agency recommends electricity sector carbon market

Pennsylvania’s Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) recommended Monday developing a power sector ETS in a possible nod to joining the northeast US RGGI programme, only weeks after a state agency agreed to study a green group’s economy-wide cap-and-trade petition.

EMEA

Analysts correct upwards EUA forecast for 2019 by a third as speculators return

Analysts have hiked their near-term EUA forecasts by 33% on renewed confidence that speculators are making bullish bets while the risk of a no-deal Brexit has subsided considerably.

EU Market: EUAs lift above €26 despite weak auction as observers keep bullish outlook

European carbon prices showed signs of recovery on Monday following the previous session’s 5% crash, although the lower prices failed to attract keen buying at the day’s auction.

BNEF hires new carbon analyst from specialist firm

Bloomberg New Energy Finance (BNEF) has hired a new carbon market analyst, Carbon Pulse has learned.

AMERICAS

Washington state LCFS, carbon pricing bills fail to pass as 2019 session ends

Washington state’s legislative session drew to a close on Sunday without lawmakers having endorsed proposals for a low-carbon fuel standard (LCFS) or various forms of carbon pricing, despite last ditch efforts to include a scaled-down version of the clean fuels programme.

US federal court to hear motion on temporarily stopping biofuel credit waivers

A US federal appeals court on Friday announced it will hear a biofuel trade group’s request to prevent the EPA from issuing any more compliance waivers under the Renewable Fuels Standard (RFS) until its own pending lawsuit against the agency’s use of these exemptions is resolved.

ASIA PACIFIC

Release of draft rules brings India’s voluntary carbon market a step closer

Non-profit group Network for Certification and Conservation of Forests (NCCF) has circulated draft rules for an Indian carbon standard and credit registry that will form the foundation of the country’s voluntary carbon offset market.

Japan’s J-Power scales back coal plant plans as Osaka Gas pulls out

Japanese utility J-Power has halved the planned size of a new coal-fired power plant in Yamaguchi prefecture after fellow generator Osaka Gas pulled out of the project.

NZ Market: NZUs shackled as market awaits news on fixed price option

NZUs on Monday closed within the same tight 5-cent range for an 18th consecutive session amid limited demand ahead of next month’s compliance and lack of news on the fixed price option.

Australian carbon industry group picks new CEO

Australia’s Carbon Market Institute has appointed a high-profile climate policy veteran as its new CEO, the group announced Monday.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Viva verde – Spaniards threw their weight behind a Green New Deal programme on Sunday, after re-electing the pro-climate Spanish Socialist party (PSOE). The PSOE, which campaigned on a sweeping platform of ecological transition, clinched 29% of the vote and 123 seats in the 350-seat congress. It will still need to form a coalition with populist left-wing party Unidos Podemos (UP), which has also called for a decarbonisation of the economy, and others. Notably, the PSOE also gained votes in coal mining regions where it has struck a major deal to shut the industry down.

Germans opening – More and more politicians from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s grand coalition are showing openness to the idea of introducing a price on CO₂ beyond EU ETS sectors and have entered a debate about its possible form and details. Several Conservatives from Merkel’s CDU/CSU have proposed setting up emissions trading for the transport and buildings sectors instead of a CO₂ tax. However, current EU legislation stands in the way of extending the EU ETS to other sectors, according to the environment ministry’s top official, who said EU law would have to be amended, which would be very complicated politically. (Clean Energy Wire, FAZ, Tagesspeigel)

Brit zero – The UK government’s official adviser on climate change, the Committee on Climate Change, is set to this week recommend Britain adopts a 2050 target of net zero emissions, Bloomberg reported, citing people familiar with the plan. If adopted, the proposals would give the UK the tightest emissions rules of any of the leading economies.

Beto for zero – US Democratic presidential candidate Beto O’Rourke on Monday released a proposal to reduce net GHGs to zero by mid-century. The proposal would see the former Texas representative work with Congress to devise a legally enforceable standard within his first 100 days of office for achieving that goal, along with getting halfway there by 2030. It also calls for $1.5 trillion in federal funding and up to $3.5 trillion from state, local, and private monies to improve infrastructure to bring down emissions and invest in clean energy research. Though the document says that the country will “harness the power of the market” in achieving GHG reductions, it did not mention a cap-and-trade programme or CO2 tax to achieve that. However, campaigners Sunrise Movement noted that O’Rourke had backtracked from a net-zero goal by 2030 he made during a campaign stop in Iowa this month, and called on him to sign a pledge to reject contributions from fossil fuel companies. (The Los Angeles Times)

Emissions down in Tinseltown – Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti on Monday unveiled a sweeping sustainability plan for decarbonising the second largest city in the US. The plan calls for increasing the percentage of electric or zero-emissions vehicles in the city from 1.4% in 2018 to 25% by 2025, 80% by 2035, and 100% by 2050. The new report also says that all new buildings should be “net-zero carbon” by 2030, with the entire building stock converted to zero-emission technologies by 2050. Other measures laid out in the plan include creating 300,000 “green jobs” by 2035 and reducing the amount of time Los Angelenos spend driving from an average of 15 miles (24 kilometres) per day now to 13 miles (21 km) per day in 2025 and 9 miles (14 km) by 2035. (The Los Angeles Times)

Gigawatt gains – The California Public Utilities Commission on Friday voted unanimously to adopt a Preferred System Portfolio that includes 12 GW of new solar, wind, battery storage, and geothermal resources the state will need to procure by 2030 in order to hit its GHG targets. The decision caps a two-year process aimed at developing the state’s benchmark portfolio, with the Integrated Resource Plan docket seeing to balance resources necessary to move the state to a zero-carbon grid by 2045 with capacity for near-term reliability. (Utility Dive)

Back to the future – Over forty local, regional and national groups on Monday launched the Our Transportation Future (OTF) coalition to help establish a regional clean transportation system in the US northeast and Mid-Atlantic region. The OTF supports the policy objectives of the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI), which on Tuesday will hold its first public workshop for developing a regional carbon pricing programme for the transportation sector. Among the supporting groups are Environment America, NRDC, Climate XChange, and Sierra Club.

Belt up – China’s belt and road summit saw leaders talk up sustainable development while investors forged ahead with existing coal power projects in partner countries. The official round-up highlighted Chinese involvement in coal projects in Pakistan and Vietnam while media reports and company announcements flagged coal projects in Turkey, Cambodia and Indonesia. Some 25 countries signed up to a “green development coalition” in Beijing, while 28 joined the “belt and road energy partnership”. There was little overlap between the two groups. (Climate Home)

That don’t impress me much – The Australian Conservation Foundation has handed out policy scorecards to parties ahead of the May 18 election, which wasn’t pleasant reading for everyone involved. The ruling Coalition only scored 4% on climate policy for its coal-friendly policies that have seen emissions rise ever since it took office six years ago. The opposition Labor party fared better with 56%, but had points deducted for the lack of clarity on its position on the planned massive Adani coal mine, which is making its way through the bureaucracy. The Greens came out on top, earning a 99% backing. (The Guardian)

Not best to over-invest – Oil companies risk over-investing in their traditional business lines as governments’ emissions policies grow stricter and shareholders demand tougher steps on climate, according to new analysis from Boston Consulting Group. The report recommended that companies adopt flexible and multi-pronged strategies for navigating uncertainty, including better and more transparent reporting of their own emissions, performing a “portfolio stress test”, and having a “clearly defined plan” for boosting what are new and relatively small investments in electric vehicles infrastructure and renewables. Additionally, the analysis notes that if there is an oil glut, companies face a “dual risk” of weak prices and stronger odds that policymakers will push for a faster transition to cleaner fuels. (Axios)

Degrading message – Climate change can’t be halted if we carry on degrading the soil, the IPBES – the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services – will say in a report next week after its plenary meeting. There’s three times more carbon in the soil than in the atmosphere – but that carbon is being released by deforestation and poor farming. This is fuelling climate change and compromising our attempts to feed a growing world population, the report will say. (BBC)

And finally… The fine print – A New Zealand forester who five years ago bought a forest that had been voluntarily opted into the NZ ETS has been fined NZ$85,000 ($56,700) for cutting down many of the trees earning carbon credits under the scheme. The original fine was NZ$15,000, but was increased when forester Harold Finch refused to replant as ordered by the government. Finch told the Sunday Star Times “the whole bloody thing is just a total crock” because he hadn’t been told about the ETS when he bought the property. He did recall seeing “something about the Kyoto Protocol” in the deed but added he didn’t know what that meant. Inch now has to sell cattle in order to pay the fine, although he was hopeful his lawyer might be able to negotiate down the fine. (Stuff)

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