CP Daily: Monday August 19, 2019

Published 23:07 on August 19, 2019  /  Last updated at 23:08 on August 19, 2019  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Renewables intermittency, affordability pose challenges for California’s carbon neutrality

Replacing California’s fossil fuel power generation with 100% renewables and safeguarding low-income communities against price hikes present challenges for achieving the state’s 2045 carbon neutrality goal, experts said at a multi-day hearing.

ASIA PACIFIC

Resources boom makes Australia world’s third-biggest exporter of fossil fuel CO2 -report

Australia’s massive and increasing fossil fuel industry has made it the world’s third-biggest exporter of carbon emissions, with its share set to rise further without new government policies, a report said Monday.

EMEA

Energy company boss blasts analysts for inaccurate EUA price forecasting

The head of a Swedish energy company has slammed carbon analysts for their failure to accurately predict EUA prices, calling it a “major problem” that has limited investment in renewables and caused avoidable CO2 emissions.

EU Market: EUAs bounce back above €26 to curb August losses

EUAs climbed back above €26 on Monday as firmer demand at the day’s auction helped stir more bargain-hunters despite warnings of a prolonged bearish technical picture.

AMERICAS

Oregon Clean Fuels Program notches record credit deficit for Q1 2019

The Oregon Clean Fuels Program (OCFP) recorded its largest-ever credit deficit during the first quarter of 2019, dropping the low-carbon fuel standard’s surplus bank below 500,000 tonnes, state data showed Friday.

New Hampshire governor vetoes legislation to alter RGGI spending, remove exit clause

New Hampshire Governor Chris Sununu (R) has vetoed a bill that would have both ended consumer rebates from proceeds obtained by RGGI and removed a clause that allows the state to opt out of the regional cap-and-trade programme.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

The hype about Stripe – The payment tech company Stripe is planning to fund direct removal of CO2 from the atmosphere and its long-term storage, rather than just buying offsets to neutralise the carbon footprint of it and its customers.  The move is designed to go beyond Stripe’s existing carbon offsets programme, with scientists warning that that pathways for holding global temperature rise to 1.5C require some level of carbon removal. Late last week, Stripe said it’s soliciting information from parties looking to commercialise various techniques. “We expect that the best price will initially be very high: almost certainly more than $100 per tCO2, as compared to the $8 per tCO2 we pay for offsets,” Stripe’s Christian Anderson said in his post announcing the plan. The company plans to spend at least $1 million per year to fund the carbon-sucking efforts. “If every tech company over $1 billion in valuation joined Stripe at this $1 million/year level, it would make an enormous difference in the pace of negative emissions technology innovation and development,” said Noah Deich, executive director of the group Carbon180. (Axios)

Coal cashing in – Chinese coal, coalbed methane, and coal-to-gas projects earned some $1.1 billion in funds raised from green corporate and financial bond issues during the first half of the year, Reuters reports. The trend shows coal’s continued importance in China’s energy strategy as well as regulators’ inability to amend green bond rules, even though around a quarter of green bonds issued in China last year failed to meet international standards.

Giving up – The Australian Energy Market Operator (AEMO) will no longer include a possible price on carbon emissions in its scenarios for Australia’s future energy market, according to the Australian Financial Review newspaper. The agency – tasked with operating Australia’s biggest gas and electricity markets and power systems – pointed out in its latest report that none of the two major parties have explicit policies in place to put a price on carbon emissions. Future attempts to manage the energy market may instead include a volume-based carbon budget to suit each scenario’s level of decarbonisation ambition, it said.

Coal exit cash – German Federal finance minister Olaf Scholz has ignited doubts about where a promised €40 billion of support for German regions to phase out coal would come from, maintaining that the sum earmarked by the country’s coal exit commission should come from funds already set aside for infrastructure development. The remarks have raised alarm in coal states, with Brandenburg and Saxony holding elections within two weeks that the right-wing AFD is strongly contesting. Read Carbon Pulse’s report on why doubts over government coal exit spending are one reason analysts are sceptical that Berlin will fully implement an EUA cancellation programme alongside the phaseout. (Spiegel Online, Clean Energy Wire)

Swiss taxes – Switzerland is planning to impose a tax on aviation under its new climate law, Tages Anzeiger reports, citing “reliable sources”. The details are a bit unclear, but Swiss lawmakers are reportedly considering a charge of between 30 and 120 francs ($30.60-$122.40, €27.60-110.30) per ticket, as well as higher levies on gasoline and diesel. “Among other things, the money will be used to promote electric cars, including as the installation of charging stations,” the article adds. Part of the funds would also be redistributed to the population and deposited into a new national climate fund to support decarbonising the building sector. The measures are intended to ensure that Switzerland reduces its GHG emissions by 60% by 2030 compared to 1990, and to zero by 2050.

Plan pole position – US Bankruptcy Judge Dennis Montali on Friday rejected motions to terminate California utility Pacific Gas & Electric’s (PG&E) period of exclusivity, meaning the utility’s reorganisation plan will be considered ahead of creditors’ competing proposals. In his decision, Montali said that fire victims and insurers should not have to wait for the conclusion of expensive, lengthy, and uncertain disputes on the matter. PG&E, which filed for bankruptcy in late January in response to mounting liabilities from its potential role in last year’s deadly Paradise wildfire, will propose its reorganisation plan by Sep. 9. (Utility Dive)

Eight is enough – Eight US Democratic presidential candidates will participate in a climate-focused town hall hosted by CNN next month, the network said on Monday. Among the participants include front runners former Vice President Joe Biden and Senators Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. However, Washington state Governor Jay Inslee (D), who has made his entire presidential campaign focused on climate change, will likely fail to reach the 2% threshold in any of the four qualifying polls approved by the Democratic National Committee necessary to appear in the town hall. The Sep. 4 event will take place in New York before a live audience of Democratic voters. (The Hill)

And finally…  Good for plants, bad for third parties – Independent government agency Elections Canada will decide on a case-by-case basis whether discussing climate change becomes a partisan issue for third parties during the upcoming federal election campaign. Because People’s Party of Canada (PPC) leader Maxime Bernier has expressed doubts about the science, any group that promotes global warming as real or an emergency could be considered partisan, an Elections Canada official told green group Environmental Defence earlier this summer. And any partisan activity – including advertising, surveys, or any kind of campaign costing at least C$500 – would require a charity to register as a third party for the election, an onerous requirement that could jeopardise a group’s charitable tax status. The PPC is currently polling at 3.1%, according to CBC’s latest average. (The Canadian Press)

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