CP Daily: Tuesday July 16, 2019

Published 00:36 on July 17, 2019  /  Last updated at 00:40 on July 17, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

New Zealand agriculture sector to face carbon price from 2025

New Zealand’s government has reached an agreement with farmers to price the sector’s carbon emissions starting in 2025.

EMEA

EU Parliament approves ‘climate’ Commission chief without Greens backing

The European Parliament narrowly endorsed Ursula von der Leyen as the new European Commission president late Tuesday, though her promise of a “green deal for Europe” failed to win over the assembly’s most dedicated environmentalists.

French environment minister De Rugy resigns over spending scandal

France’s energy and ecology minister Francois de Rugy has resigned after being embroiled in a scandal over spending taxpayer cash on lavish lobster dinners and home renovations.

EU Market: EUAs retreat below €28.50 as bullish drivers fade

European carbon fell for the first time in five days on Tuesday, sinking below major technical resistance after some traders warned that the bullish drivers that had pushed prices to a new 11-year high this week were waning.

France, Germany advisers tout more teamwork on non-ETS carbon pricing

France and Germany should set up a separate non-ETS carbon pricing system with willing EU countries and work towards integrating it with the bloc’s current carbon market, independent economic advisors from the two nations said on Tuesday.

German government keeps CER standards in new tender to offset travel emissions

Germany has launched a new tender to buy CERs to offset emissions from its 2018 business travel, setting extensive limits in a process that offers some clues as to what rich-nation governments may seek to push for under Article 6 of the Paris Agreement and the CORSIA international offsetting mechanism.

AMERICAS

New Hampshire governor signs post-2020 RGGI bill into law

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) has signed a bill that will implement most of the post-2020 RGGI Model Rule, marking the seventh of nine states to finalise the regulatory changes for the northeast US ETS.

The Nature Conservancy’s investment fund acquires three WCI offset projects

An investment vehicle managed by green group The Nature Conservancy (TNC) has acquired three WCI-registered offset projects in the southeast US, as the organisation continues to build its portfolio in the California carbon market.

New York expected to make climate policy announcement Thursday

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) is slated to make a major climate policy-related announcement on Thursday, but the move is not expected to have a direct impact on the northeast US RGGI ETS or the proposed Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) carbon market.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Billion tree tsunami – Cash-strapped Pakistan, struggling to bolster depleted public finances, hopes to earn much-needed hard currency by selling UN-backed CDM carbon offsets from a massive reforestation project named the Billion Tree Tsunami, the climate change ministry said on Tuesday. Cricket-star turned politician Imran Khan, whose Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) party won the 2018 general election, spearheaded the initiative, which started in 2014 and cost $169 mln. Under the project, a total of 300 mln trees were planted across the northwestern Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, where the PTI headed the provincial government from 2013-2019. Khan, now prime minister, has allocated $47 mln in this year’s budget to expand the project and plant 100 mln more trees in five years across the country. “We have awarded consultancy to a reputable firm to examine the potential of carbon credits in Pakistan and their prospects of being sold in the international market,” Javed Shahzad, a spokesman for the Ministry of Climate Change, told Arab News, adding that the firm would complete its work within six months and that despite the low CER prices, the country hopes to at least recover the cost of the project.

Flight props – Taxpayers may be propping up almost a quarter EU airports served by Ryanair, according to green group T&E. It found that of the 214 EU airports the airline serves, at least 35 are likely to be loss-making and propped up with government subsidies, while a further 17 are likely to be losing money as they attract low numbers of passengers. The group wants the EU to ban state aid for loss-making airports as it says this subsidises aviation’s high levels of emissions and benefits shareholders in airlines such as Ryanair. (Irish Times)

Tough month – A combination of high carbon and low fuel prices in June saw gas plants out-compete lignite-fired generation, slashing German generators’ EUA demand by a third, the Fraunhofer ISE institute said on Tuesday. Germany’s lignite power plants were confronted with operating costs of between €30-40/MWh last month but were only able to cash in on power prices that averaged just under €32/MWh, the think tank said in a research note. By comparison, gas units were able to lock in total fuel and carbon costs of between €24-28/MWh. As a result, German lignite generation plunged 38% year-on-year in June to 7 TWh, while hard coal output fell 41% to 2.6 TWh, according to Fraunhofer data. Gas-fired generation climbed by 62% to 3.7 TWh, with the remaining difference in output among the technologies mostly reflected in greater renewable energy production and a slump in exports that turned Germany into a minor net-importer of electricity. One of the report’s authors said the side effect this was a significant reduction in CO2 emissions from fossil power generation, which fell by 33% to 11.5 Mt in June 2019 from 17.3 Mt last year. (Montel)

Credit link – EU ETS-covered fertiliser major Yara has signed a $1.1 billion five-year revolving credit facility where the margin is adjusted based on the company’s progress in meeting its CO2-intensity targets, making it the first Norwegian company to introduce such an initiative linked to ESG targets. Yara’s carbon intensity target is to achieve a 10% reduction in GHGs per tonne of fertiliser produced by 2025. (Reuters)

Staying put – Brazil’s vice president Hamilton Mourao said that he considers it “impossible” for Brazil to leave the Paris Agreement, Reuters reports. French president Emmanuel Macron had said prior to the agreement of the EU-Mercosur trade deal in June that France would not sign onto that pact if Brazil leaves the 2015 pact. Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro said during the 2018 election he plans to pull Brazil out of the 2015 pact, but he later reversed course and said he was committed to keeping the nation in the accord “for now”. (Reuters)

Wake me up when September ends – The Trump administration has abandoned its plan to roll back Obama-era clean car rules by early summer and will push that timeline to the fall, E&E News reports. Sources speaking with the news outlet said that the White House hoped to complete the rollback in June so that lawsuits’ challenging the plan could have reached the Supreme Court by next November’s presidential election. However, with the plan delayed until after Labor Day or possibly the end of September, any future legal challenges would not likely be litigated by the US Supreme Court until after Nov. 2020, when a Democrat could oust Trump and restore the stricter vehicle fuel economy standards agreed during President Obama’s tenure.

Bad planningNew research shows that communities in US coal country are at an increased risk of fiscal collapse. Local governments dependent on coal are failing to account for the financial implications of the industry’s demise, according to new findings from Columbia University and the Brookings Institution. That trend is likely to worsen should the federal government take action to curb carbon emissions, which would be likely if a Democrat were to triumph in 2020. Released Monday, the report looks at 26 counties in 10 states, all in Appalachia or the Powder River Basin in Montana and Wyoming. (ThinkProgress)

That sinking feeling – Some oil tankers could be headed to the scrapyard early if the world lives up to the ambition of the Paris Agreement. Demand for the vessels is set to shrink a third by 2050, as fossil fuel use declines under a scenario in which global warming is limited to 1.5C, according to analysis by consultancy Maritime Strategies International (MSI) for the European Climate Foundation. Dry bulk carriers will also be hit by a predicted halving of the seaborne coal trade, but can switch to carrying other commodities such as grain. While there may be some growth opportunities in transporting wood pellets or biofuels, most renewable energy sources do not require fuel supplies. Investors should target their money towards the most efficient ships and consider divesting from big carbon carriers, the report advised. (Climate Home)

What do you think?A public consultation exercise has been launched by Singapore’s National Climate Change Secretariat to seek feedback on measures that can be taken to contribute towards the country’s long-term emissions strategy. These measures would be actions that the government, businesses, households and individuals can take. Some key areas the exercise is seeking views on include improving energy efficiency, encouraging responsible climate action through carbon pricing, reducing emissions from power generation, tapping alternative energy sources and using low-carbon technologies. The consultation ends on Aug. 30. Singapore has committed under the Paris Agreement to cut its emissions intensity by 36% from 2005 levels by 2030, and to stabilise emissions with the aim of peaking around 2030.

And finally… Cereal killer – Cereal prices could rise by up to 29% by 2050 because of climate change, according to a leaked copy of an upcoming special report on climate change by UN scientific panel IPCC. The draft report, not due for publication until early August, said that climate change is “already affecting the four pillars of food security – availability, access, utilisation, and stability”. It also warns that observed impacts of climate change in pastoral systems include pasture declines, lower animal growth rates and productivity, and loss of biodiversity. (Carbon Brief)

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