CP Daily: Wednesday May 29, 2019

Published 01:11 on May 30, 2019  /  Last updated at 01:11 on May 30, 2019  /  Daily Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

UK carbon investment fraud case collapses after trading expert discredited

A UK court case against eight defendants over an alleged carbon credit investment scam has collapsed after the prosecution’s expert witness – a former London emissions broker – was discredited by members of the defence team, in a move that could have ramifications for previous prosecutions.

AMERICAS

Offset developers defend California forestry protocol amid new scrutiny

California’s forestry protocol likely underestimates its long-term environmental benefits and a recent policy report critical of those compliance offsets does not provide any new information, a group of offset developers said in a statement Wednesday.

Saskatchewan considering federal offset criteria as it looks to implement programme in 2020

The Saskatchewan government is keeping in mind certain federal eligibility criteria to allow jurisdictional offsets to qualify under Ottawa’s large emitter trading system, and the Canadian province will soon commence a series of stakeholder meetings as it looks to operationalise its own compliance offset programme next year.

Connecticut agency evaluating next steps after RGGI regulation rejection

Connecticut’s Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) is determining the next steps to revise its post-2020 regulation for the northeast US RGGI carbon market after a legislative committee rejected the proposal due to numerous errors, an official told Carbon Pulse on Wednesday.

Non-profit group launches initiative to inform NYC, global municipal credit trading plans

A new multi-stakeholder coalition will begin the process of studying how to best to implement a possible carbon or energy efficiency credit trading programme in New York City during the next decade, with a possible eye to expanding such a system to other international cities.

EMEA

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal flags second cut in EU output, blaming imports

Steelmaker ArcelorMittal has flagged its second cut in EU ETS-regulated output this month, blaming a surge in imports and weak demand as it launched a net zero 2050 EU emission roadmap that it said would require substantial government aid and a carbon border tariff.

EU nations’ coal exit plans found wanting in many cases -report

The EU’s 21 remaining coal-burning nations are being urged to come clean on their phase-out plans after green groups found just eight were planning to eliminate the fuel from their power mix by 2030, while several more are receiving EU aid to transition to cleaner sources.

EU Market: EUAs stick around €25.50 despite breakout caution

EU carbon prices ended little changed on Wednesday in thin, auction-free trade that belied traders’ preoccupation with technical signals that are raising the prospect of a sudden price move.

ASIA PACIFIC

NZ Market: NZUs trade below FPO amid lingering uncertainty

New Zealand carbon allowances continue to drift amid the uncertainty lingering after the recent government ETS announcement, with permits trading below the NZ$25 fixed price option level for the first time in almost four months.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Ramping up – Around 80 countries may ramp up their Paris emission pledges ahead of the end-2020 schedule set by the pact, according to Luis Alfonso de Alba, a Mexican diplomat who is currently the UN secretary general’s envoy on climate change. He declined to say which countries were expected to announce higher climate ambitions but signalled that announcements could be made at the upcoming UN New York summit in September. (New York Times)

Manana move – Following its second meeting, Germany multi-minister climate cabinet on Wednesday said it will make key decisions about the country’s climate law in September and adopt these by the end of 2019. As the next step, the climate cabinet will address the issue of CO2 pricing in July on the basis of expert opinions currently being prepared. (Clean Energy Wire)

The only way is up – Australia has submitted its 2018 GHG inventory to the UN, confirming quarterly domestic reports showing that emissions continue to climb. Last year, carbon output rose for a fourth consecutive year, Fairfax reported, increasing 0.4% to 537 MtCO2e. The data showed that emissions are still 11% down on 1990 levels, but a Twitter thread by Cicero analyst Glen Peters pointed out that excluding LULUCF, Australia’s GHG output has risen 32% since that year.

Half way there – Australia could reach 50% of electricity from renewable sources by 2030 even without federal policies to regulate carbon emissions from the sector, according to analysts Reputex. Further growth is set to be driven by state schemes as well as the popularity of rooftop solar, it said in a new report. However, the lack of a federal mechanism might mean higher electricity prices. (The Guardian)

Resolution rejection – American oil majors ExxonMobil and Chevron both faced protests from environmental activists and some shareholders at their annual meetings on Wednesday as they face increasing pressure to do more to combat climate change. While Exxon and Chevron both announced new emissions reduction plans in recent months, Exxon Mobil shareholders still easily rejected climate-related resolutions at the meeting, with none receiving more than 30% support. One resolution, asking to create a climate change committee, didn’t even garner 10% of the votes. Exxon CEO Darren Woods reiterated the company’s support of a carbon tax, but said global energy demand will keep growing and that the world will need more fossil fuels. (Houston Chronicle)

Last but not least – Nunavut tax filers will get a rebate that will put Canadian federal ‘backstop’ carbon tax revenue back into their pockets, Finance Minister George Hickes said in the territory’s legislature on Tuesday. That makes the remote northern jurisdiction the last of Canada’s provinces and territories to announce how it will use revenues raised by the imposition of the federal CO2 tax, which kicks in for Nunavut and Yukon on July 1. In a minister’s statement, Hickes said the legislature will introduce a supplementary financial bill during this sitting to fund a carbon tax rebate for Nunavut residents, as well as amend the Income Tax Act’s personal and corporate income tax provisions to help mitigate the impact of the federal carbon tax. (Nunatsiaq News)

Partners in offsets – A junior mining company and a northwestern Ontario First Nation community want to explore opportunities in the carbon offset market, Northern Ontario Business reports. AurCrest Gold and Lac Seul First Nation have hooked up with developer Bluesource to evaluate the hidden value in the community’s traditional lands and whether the forests can be monetized through the sale of carbon offset credits. AurCrest said it has signed a letter of intent with Bluesource Canada to jointly investigate capturing and sequestering CO2 and selling credits for both the gold exploration company and Lac Seul.

Shut ‘er down – The Cato Institute in Washington DC has quietly shut down a programme that for years sought to raise uncertainty about climate science, leaving the libertarian think-tank co-founded by Charles Koch without an office dedicated to global warming. The move came after Pat Michaels, a climate scientist who rejects mainstream researchers’ concerns about rising temperatures, left Cato earlier this year amid disagreements with officials in the organisation. A spokeswoman said Cato’s shuttering of the Center for the Study of Science does not represent a shift in the institute’s position on human-caused climate change. But the think-tank moved decisively to close down the science wing that was overseen by Michaels. (E&E News)

And finally… O’er the land of the freedom gas – Energy officials within the Trump administration referred to natural gas exported by US energy companies as “freedom gas” and “molecules of US freedom” in official statements on Tuesday. In a press release detailing the expansion natural gas exports in Texas, Under Secretary Mark Menezes of the Energy Department (DOE) said the project would aid the agency in “spreading freedom gas throughout the world,” while a second DOE official said that increased supplies of US natural gas on the world market “are critical to advancing clean energy”. The new fossil fuel rhetoric was mocked online, including by Washington state governor and Democratic presidential candidate Jay Inslee, who compared the move to US lawmakers renaming french fries as “freedom fries” in the House of Representatives cafeteria in the early 2000s decade due to France’s refusal to support the US war in Iraq. “Freedom gas? Freedom is generally good, but freedom from glaciers, freedom from clean air, freedom from healthy forests that aren’t on fire, and freedom from the world we know and cherish is not what we seek,” Inslee added on Twitter. (The Hill)

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