CP Daily: Thursday October 3, 2019

Published 23:35 on October 3, 2019  /  Last updated at 01:18 on May 9, 2020  /  Newsletter  /  No Comments

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

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TOP STORY

Pennsylvania governor orders design of RGGI-linkable carbon market

Pennsylvania Governor Tom Wolf (D) issued an executive order on Thursday for the state to design a power sector carbon market in alignment with the US RGGI system, a move that could balloon the size of the nine-state programme in the next decade.

EMEA

EU pledges swift work on carbon border measures as US imposes tariffs

The European Commission will advance work on carbon border adjustments as part of its new programme of climate action, its incoming finance chief said on Thursday, reaffirming Brussels’ resolve as the US slaps fresh duties on European goods.

EU Market: EUAs tumble to 6-mth low as bearish factors pressure

European carbon prices plummeted to a six-month low on Thursday, with technical selling, investor exits, and bearish fundamentals weighing.

AMERICAS

Cost inefficiencies, technology conflicts could hinder US clean energy standard -stakeholders

A proposed federal clean energy standard could help promote renewable generation build-out in the US, but could also create technology conflicts and market inefficiencies if state-led policies set more ambitious goals, panelists said at the Environmental Markets Association (EMA) conference Thursday.

NA Markets: RGGI prices jump on Pennsylvania announcement, WCI allowances sag

RGGI allowance (RGA) prices reversed course this week after Pennsylvania’s governor announced the state will seek to join the Northeast US ETS, while California Carbon Allowance (CCA) values dropped as participants took advantage of a declining spread.

New York grid operator to lean on new climate council in supporting CO2 price

The New York Independent System Operator (NYISO) will seek support from a yet-to-be formed state council to help push a carbon price in the jurisdiction’s wholesale electricity market, a grid operator official said Thursday.

California’s ARB refutes “incorrect” forestry offset invalidation claims

California regulator ARB has rebuked “incorrect claims” that US forestry offset projects have been, or are in the process of being, invalidated.

Environmental markets director leaves US group

The managing director for environmental markets at US green group Environmental Defense Fund’s Global Climate Programme has left the organisation.

ASIA PACIFIC

Cambodia pushes for REDD deal with Germany

Cambodia has asked Germany to consider buying some of its nature-based carbon credits, the government said in a statement, likely putting the country’s REDD programme in the frame.

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BITE-SIZED UPDATES FROM AROUND THE WORLD

Three to go – Estonia now backs an EU 2050 net zero emission goal, Climate Home reports, leaving just three hold-outs among the 27 member states required for a bloc-wide consensus on upping the EU’s 2050 emission cut target from 80-95% under 1990 levels. Estonian Prime Minister Juri Ratas tweeted his backing as his country’s EU energy commissioner nominee Kadri Simson was being grilled on the issue by the EU Parliament. Czechia, Hungary and Poland remain, with Poland’s chief strategic energy adviser Piotr Naimski telling Financial Times the goal was “not possible and not feasible” for his country.

En vagueSimson did not manage to fully convince MEPs of her credentials, with some calling her proposals for a low-carbon energy transition “vague”. Danish MEP Niels Fuglsang, a member of the ITRE committee, tweeted that the socialist group was not satisfied by Simson’s performance, saying she “avoided questions” during her three-hour hearing. Green groups also panned her performance, with Friends of the Earth Europe claiming she was ambiguous and had “no vision”. Simson’s passion for the gas industry and infrastructure was also on display during her hearing. The Estonian nominee told MEPs that “the percentage of gas as an energy source will not reduce significantly because countries will replace coal with gas.” When “we talk about gas we are not talking about natural gas anymore” but about biogas and other types of gases, she added. Green MEP Ville Niinisto said he was “worried about this climate credential,” adding that Estonia is a “supporter of shale oil, one of the dirtiest energy sources.” The EPP gave Estonia’s commission-designate their okay, after what it called “a mixed hearing”, while green group CAN Europe said “she still needs to find her way towards the clean energy transition”. (euobserver)

Speak up, man! – Meanwhile, the “near silence” from Lithuania’s Virginijus Sinkevicius’s – the Commission’s nominee for environment and oceans commissioner – on an EU plan to tackle deforestation was disgraceful, said Greenpeace. Sinkevicius reportedly answered questions from MEPs but said little about a pending action plan to tackle the EU’s contribution to global deforestation. “That Mr Sinkevicius said next to nothing … is an absolute disgrace,” said Greenpeace EU legal strategist Andrea Carta. “Around the world, from the Amazon to Borneo, our best line of defence against climate breakdown is in flames – flames fanned by Europe’s insatiable hunger for land. The EU must urgently clean up its markets: the incoming Commissioner must propose new laws to ensure that no soy, meat, palm oil or other products sold in the EU drive forest destruction or human rights violations any longer.” Sinkevicius listed three priorities for environmental matters: biodiversity, the circular economy, and zero pollution. He spoke in favour of working at global level to achieve the equivalent of the Paris climate Agreement for biodiversity, and proposed extending circular economy policies to new sectors, such as textiles, food, and the information and communications technology sector. MEPs are expected to vote on the the incoming Commission team on Oct. 23.

All tooled up – Just 23 of the world’s 50 largest private banks have made commitments to finance projects for sustainable energy, according to think-tank WRI’s Green Target Tool. Among those with commitments, the average annual level of fossil fuel finance between 2016 and 2018 is nearly twice the annualised amount of sustainable finance commitments. Only seven had annualised sustainable finance targets greater than the amount of finance they provide for fossil fuel-related transactions. (Reuters)

Five on five – The Vermont Climate Solutions Caucus and five state lawmakers on Wednesday night held a public discussion on climate policy to hear what type of bills Vermonters want to see passed next year. The panel talked about five bold climate bills that the quintet feels confident about for the 2020 law-making term: the Carbon Tax, the Global Warming Solutions Act, the Renewable Electricity Standard, the Energy Efficiency Utility Modernization, and the Transportation and Climate Initiative (TCI) Authorization. The discussion, hosted by the Richmond Climate Action Committee, is expected to be one of many between now and when legislators return to Montpelier next year. (WCAX)

Pacific plans – Portland-based PacifiCorp plans to add nearly 7,000 MW of renewable generation and storage capacity by 2025 and will shut down 20 of its 24 coal-fired units by 2038, the company announced Thursday in its draft 20-year integrated resource plan. That plan will result in 1,075 MW of solar with 244 MW of battery storage installed in Oregon between 2020 and 2023, while Washington will receive 814 MW of solar with 204 MW of battery storage between 2024 and 2036. However, some environmental groups accused the utility of “slow walking” the coal retirements. (Utility Dive)

And finally… Donald Trump and the Chamber of Bleakness – The tendency for Washington DC policymakers to not accept mainstream climate science is growing inside echo chambers and under President Trump, according to new peer-reviewed research. Echo chambers – the concept that people share views only with those with similar views – have formed relatively quickly among policy leaders around misinformation of climate science under the Trump administration, according to the study, which is online and to be published in Environmental Research Communications. The study surveyed and analysed dozens of Washington elites across government, think-tanks and more, over three separate periods: 2010, 2016, and 2017. The latest year of research was the only time out of the three periods that the authors found echo chambers formed among those who do not accept the climate science consensus. They also found a lower tendency to agree with the statement that “human activities are an important driver of global climate change”. (Axios)

Bonus: Subtle shift from a not-so-subtle president? – Separately, Trump and his White House are subtly shifting how they talk about climate change and environmental issues, even as they push ahead with boosting fossil fuel production and easing regulations, the Washington Examiner reports. Trump allies are noting the changes, which they say comes from pressure from his re-election campaign, which has noticed polls showing increasing concern about climate change and environmental protection, including among younger and suburban Republicans. “The campaign is having some influence on the rhetoric coming out of the White House,” said Myron Ebell of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, who led Trump’s EPA transition team. “It’s in the direction of softening the rhetoric on some issues, including climate. However, I have seen no sign that any policies are being changed because of campaign considerations.” The US pledged Wednesday to work with Finland to help address challenges caused by the melting of sea ice in the Arctic, after a White House meeting between Trump and Finnish President Sauli Niinisto.

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