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California officials and several automakers announced an agreement Thursday on higher vehicle fuel economy standards than those proposed by the Trump Administration’s regulatory rollback, but it is still uncertain whether the new framework will ever be implemented.
The European Commission is investigating the risk of the EU ETS and its emissions registry being used for money laundering, terrorist financing, and fraud.
EU carbon prices sank on Thursday as sellers unloaded inventory after another failed effort to top €30 and as Europe’s latest heatwave peaked.
German utility EnBW advanced its hedging rates over Q2 2019, leaving it in a similar position compared to a year ago even as it sold more power overall.
Incoming British Prime Minster Boris Johnson has named new minsters in charge of energy and the environment after more than half of the Conservative cabinet resigned or was sacked upon his arrival at Downing Street earlier Wednesday.
California Carbon Allowance (CCA) prices dropped amid lower demand on the secondary market as RGGI allowances (RGA) rose for the second consecutive week.
NZUs edged up slightly in Thursday trade but remained within the tight price range seen since the government last week launched a consultation process that could see some agricultural emissions brought into the ETS from 2021.
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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD
Like no other – Earth’s rapid warming in the late 20th century was far more widespread than any temperature variations during the previous 2,000 years, according to analysis based on proxy records of temperature variation around the world from almost 700 sources. The findings show that famous historic events, such as the “Little Ice Age”, were more localised and do not compare to the global scale and extent of recent warming. The scientists say their research shows many of the arguments used by climate sceptics are no longer valid. (Reuters)
Flying growth – With an anticipated growth in international air traffic during the period 2015-2045, ICAO projects fuel consumption and carbon emissions will increase by 2.2 to 3.1 times, depending on advances in technology and air traffic management (ATM). International aviation consumed approximately 160 Mt of fuel in 2015, resulting in CO2 emissions of around 505 Mt. By 2045, if the scenarios were followed, carbon emissions from international flights could rise to between 1,110 Mt and 1,570 Mt. Even under the most optimistic scenario, the ICAO’s projected long-term average fuel efficiency improvement of 1.37% per annum falls short of its aspirational goal of 2%. (GreenAir Online)
Blowing growth – Europe added 4.9 GW of new wind energy capacity in the first half of 2019, according to figures by WindEurope. The combined installations of new onshore and offshore wind capacity is up on the same period last year (4.5 GW), but onshore installations were down due to serious issues in Germany. Europe installed 2.9 GW of onshore wind in the first half of the year – below the 3.3 GW installed in the same period last year. Installations were particularly poor in Germany, which had its worst first half of the year since 2000. The industry expects installations to pick up in the second half of the year, but the German grid connected volumes for 2019 as a whole will be lower than historical levels. Of all European countries, France had the most onshore installations with 523 MW.
Expensive atoms – Nuclear power production is too expensive and dangerous to play a role in the low-carbon energy system of the future, according to a study by the German Institute for Economic Research (DIW). The authors say “radioactive emissions” mean nuclear power can never be “clean”, and has not ever been economically viable. Nuclear power has only been able to compete commercially because it is a byproduct of a technology developed for military, rather than civilian purposes, they argue. Even without the colossal costs of decommissioning plants and storing nuclear waste, a survey of 674 plants revealed they would have made average losses of €5 billion without public support, the authors say. (Clean Energy Wire)
Stark warning – Despite encouraging net zero emissions commitments from major economies, such as the UK and France, fossil fuel energy sources are continuing to grow worldwide with effective action from wealthier countries to halt climate change still sorely lacking. That is the stark assessment offered by analysts at investment giant Schroders on Wednesday as it released the latest update to its Climate Dashboard forecasting tool. The report warns the world is currently on track for an average temperature rise of 3.8C by the end of the century, based on the latest data from the second quarter of 2019 – a forecast which is unchanged from Schroders’ projections in the previous quarter. (BusinessGreen)
Bills, bills, bills – In addition to several carbon tax bills, US federal lawmakers introduced Thursday a slew of other environmental and emissions-related legislation before the start of the August recess. A bipartisan group of Senate and House lawmakers put forth the Clean Industrial Technology Act to expand research, development, and deployment of carbon capture, utilisation, and storage (CCUS) technologies. A separate bunch of Democratic lawmakers, led by Minnesota Representative Ilhan Omar, introduced the Zero Waste Act to create a federal grant programme to aid local cities in investing in zero-waste initiatives. Lastly, Democratic Representative Dan Lipinski co-sponsored Congressman Francis Rooney’s $30 carbon tax and introduced his own version. According to the Washington Examiner, Lipinski’s version would start the tax at $40, while dedicating 84% of the revenue to cut payroll taxes, up from 70% in Rooney’s bill (Axios, WCCO)
Taxes and trillions – US Senator and Democratic presidential candidate Kirsten Gillibrand revealed her $10 trillion climate plan on Thursday to tax and phase out fossil fuels. The New York senator’s plan would impose a $52 CO2 tax and spend the estimated $200 bln in revenues on renewable energy, while a separate fossil fuel excise tax would generate $100 bln annually for climate change adaptation projects. Gillibrand is also proposing to reduce the federal government’s carbon footprint through purchasing and infrastructure permitting requirements. (Politico)
At your Service – New Jersey-based utility Public Service Electric and Gas Co. (PSEG) announced Thursday it will divest all of its remaining coal interests and will not build or acquire new fossil-fuelled generation. The company will also shut all but three of its natural gas-fired plants by 2046, explore opportunities for solar, wind, and emerging technologies, and begin on climate and sustainability using the Task Force on Climate-related Financial Disclosures framework. PSEG is aiming to cut emissions by 80% below 2005 levels by 2046 and reach net-zero GHGs by mid-century, assuming public support and advances in technology (Utility Dive)
Emissions Beefup – Agri-commodities major Cargill has committed to a 30% emissions intensity reduction across its North American beef supply chain over 2017-2030, promising to ‘BeefUp Sustainability’ from the industry’s existing GHG efficiency efforts in partnership with green group Nature Conservancy. (Food & Drink International)
And finally… Sing it girl – Activist Greta Thunberg has teamed up with UK band The 1975 to record a song in which she calls for mass civil disobedience to force climate action. In the track, titled “The 1975”, Thunberg recites an essay over ambient music, urging listeners to join a popular rebellion against climate change. “Everything needs to change. And it has to start today,” she says in the song, released July 24. (CNN)
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