CP Daily: Wednesday July 17, 2019

Published 00:04 on July 18, 2019  /  Last updated at 00:10 on July 18, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Alberta large emitter carbon price of C$30/tonne “very likely” for 2020 -official

Alberta will likely keep the C$30/tonne compliance charge in its proposed overhaul of the Canadian province’s trading programme for large emitters, a shift from the ruling United Conservative Party’s (UCP) original plan to lower the CO2 price below the federal ‘backstop’ rate next year, a government official said Wednesday.

AMERICAS

Utah lawsuit challenging California climate policy on hold

A Utah-led lawsuit challenging the legality of both California’s cap-and-trade programme and a bill that sets emissions performance standards for baseload generation is on hold as funding for the case has not become available, sources told Carbon Pulse.

Oregon ETS compromise would have compensated power merchants for industry emissions

A proposed compromise on Oregon’s failed WCI-modelled cap-and-trade bill would have retired allowances for power supplied to heavy industries for at least the first two years of the scheme, according to text seen by Carbon Pulse, with lawmakers now planning their next moves for advancing the ETS.

EMEA

EU Market: EUAs recover to end steady after buyers protect €28 handle

EUAs fell to a three-day low before climbing back into positive territory on Wednesday, halting their slide from an 11-year high earlier this week as buyers emerged following this morning’s bumper auction.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Borne leader – French Transport Minister Elisabeth Borne will replace Francois de Rugy as the country’s environment minister, President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement late Tuesday. Previously, Borne headed the Paris transport authority and worked as strategy director for state-owned railway SNCF. She had also been part of Segolene Royal’s team as energy minister under Francois Hollande’s government. De Rugy resigned on Tuesday following a week of reports that he and his wife spent taxpayer money on lavish lobster dinners and home renovations.

Irish increase – An Irish Department of Finance document has suggested that a €10 carbon tax hike in the next budget would be effective, RTE reports. The tax currently stands at €20 per tonne of C02 and is applied on diesel, petrol, kerosene, natural gas, coal and peat. The Tax Strategy Group says that if the aim is to change people’s behaviour to meet the 2030 climate change targets, then front-loading the increases would be more effective. “In terms of meeting the commitment to increase the carbon tax to at least €80 by 2030, a possible trajectory is to raise the rate by €10 per tonne in 2020 and by €5 tonne every year thereafter,” the report said. Ireland’s centre-right government last month unveiled a climate plan that includes quadrupling the country’s non-ETS carbon tax to €80/tonne by 2030 in an effort to avoid a hefty EU compliance bill.

Patently clear – Innovation in clean technology in power, buildings, and transport has plummeted this decade amid political uncertainty and technological maturity, analysis by the IEA and OECD said, drawing on data from the Worldwide Patent Statistical Database. Inventions related to CCS and manufacturing were also down while communication and health innovations saw steady growth. (Climate Home)

On purpose – Chevron has “deliberately mismanaged” its carbon sequestration project at the Gorgon gas facility in Western Australia in order to avoid its environmental commitments, a WA conservation group has alleged. The carbon sequestration facility was taxpayer funded to the tune of A$60 mln under the country’s Low Emissions Technology Development fund, and supposed to begin operation just after the plant began processing gas in 2016. However, a series of technical issues has prevented that from happening. Chevron only recently applied for a licence to begin operating its carbon sequestration facility on Barrow Island in May of this year, according to Department of Water and Environmental Regulation (DWER) documents. This delayed licence application is proof the company never intended to begin sequestering carbon in 2016, said Conservation Council of Western Australia (CCWA) spokesperson Piers Verstegen. “They’ve left the first step in the process, the part where they seek initial approval, until two years after they were publicly saying they were going to do this,” he added. (ABC)

Worse than EU – President Trump’s leases of US public lands and waters for oil and gas drilling could lead to the production of more climate-warming pollution than the entire EU contributes in a year, according to a new report. The Wilderness Society estimates GHG emissions from extracting and burning those fossil fuels could range between 854 mln and 4.7 bln metric tonnes of CO2e, depending on how much development companies pursue. In contrast, the 28 nations in the EU produce about 4 bln tonnes of CO2e annually. (The Guardian)

Done with delays – Small-refinery companies regulated under the US Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) are threatening to sue the EPA for its ongoing delay in issuing a decision on 38 small refinery exemption (SRE) requests for the 2018 compliance year. In a letter sent to EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler on Tuesday, the companies’ attorney said they intend to sue within 60 days if the agency does not act on the outstanding requests, which are supposed to occur within 90 days of receipt. President Trump reportedly ordered the EPA and Department of Agriculture to review the SRE programme, which grants yearly compliance waivers for refineries with capacity of less than 75,000 barrels per day, after hearing from angry Midwest farmers about the environmental agency’s accelerated granting of the SREs. (DTE/The Progressive Farmer)

Good to be negative – Wind-power pioneer Henrik Stiesdal has begun work on what may be the most ingenuous of his decades’ worth of inventions: carbon-negative aviation fuel. The Danish inventor’s eponymous company – Stiesdal Fuel Technologies – is targeting a pilot plant in the next four years that will enable the production of 60,000 tonnes of carbon-negative jet fuel per year, enough to supply 6-7% of the Danish aviation sector’s requirements. And it may well prove to be cheaper than the highly polluting fossil jet fuel used today. He believes he will able to sell the carbon-negative fuel for “roughly equivalent” to standard Jet A-1 fuel produced when the price of crude oil is $50 per barrel. Read more about the initiative in Recharge News

In memoriam – Former US Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, who wrote the court’s landmark 5-4 decision in the 2007 climate case Massachusetts v. EPA, died on Tuesday at the age of 99. In that case, Stevens ruled that the US EPA had the authority to regulate GHG emissions, giving the agency under future President Obama the guidance to begin crafting rules such as the Clean Power Plan and emission standards for cars. Stevens also wrote the majority opinion in the 1984 case Chevron v. Natural Resources Defense Council, giving agencies leeway to interpret statutes that are vague or silent on a topic, a feature that is important for regulators’ ability to craft rules on global warming. (Axios)

And finally… Messrs Green Jeans – Jeans from some are set to become longer lasting, easier to recycle and more environmentally friendly thanks to new guidelines launched by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation and backed by leading retailers such as Gap, H&M, and Lee. According to BusinessGreen, the Jeans Redesign Guidelines, which were released Tuesday, set out minimum standards for the recyclability, durability, material health, and traceability of a pair of jeans, in a bid to curb the outsized environmental cost of denim production. Denim is a notoriously resource-intensive material to manufacture, requiring thousands of litres of water and contributing as much in GHG emissions for each pair of jeans as driving a car 80 miles. The Ellen MacArthur Foundation said the first pairs produced in line with the guidelines are expected to hit shops in 2020. They should be able to withstand at least 30 washes, feature labels with clear information on product care, be made with at least 98% plant-based fibres from organic or regenerative farming methods, and design out metal rivets to improve recyclability.

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